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Charles T

A Quick Rundown of the "New Guy's" System...

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Extremely interesting concept and I'm sure an equally impressive sound. 

 

I must say though, with my current setup, it's nothing short of impressive as well. I can't sleep, so I'm sitting here listening to the system, playing Stevie Wonder's "In Square Circle" album on Qobuz. At peaks of about 58 to 60 dB, it is totally involving listening to it at these quiet volume levels displaying these kind of dynamics while everyone else in the house is asleep. Hearing little, distant musical cues typically buried in the background are clear and present. Very subtle details and textures within the sound of various instruments are quite palpable. Currently listening to "Overjoyed", and there's a water droplet sound just barely right of center, and it has a certain dimension and heft to it which I've never heard before. I mean, I've heard the droplet sound, but not with that dimension and heft. And speaking of dimension and heft, even the bass at these low listening levels are balanced, solid and extended. Naturally, you can't "feel" it, but you can definitely hear it. 

 

I just listened to this same exact album last week around this same time and volume when I got home from work, and it was rather bland sounding in comparison. I remember thinking how "average" this album sounded. I couldn't believe that Qobuz had this album in 192/24 and it sounding this blah. It's obvious to me now that it wasn't the album at all, but the Bluesound Node 2 not being able to deliver the goods to the Bifrost DAC. I'm finding myself re-listening to albums I recently played prior to the Pi 4, and getting new enjoyment and excitement out of them. 

 

Who says you have to play music at high levels to enjoy it?! 

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On 3/19/2020 at 11:40 AM, Charles T said:

I flashed RoPieeeXL which makes the Pi 4 into a Roon bridge. The entire package is connected via WiFi. And speaking of connections, I'm using one of the USB outputs to a Wyred 4 Sound Recovery via the included 6" USB cable that came with the Recovery. On the outgoing end of things, I'm using a 6" long Wireworld Ultraviolet 7 USB cable to the Unison USB input on the Bifrost 2 DAC. 

 

Can you give a bit more details about each component in this system? eg is the Wyred 4 an external drive? Not familiar with what you listed. 

 

edit: I wonder how the Shiit Bifrost 2 DAC would compare to the DAC in the Ragnarok 2. Any idea?

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33 minutes ago, ILI said:

 

Can you give a bit more details about each component in this system? eg is the Wyred 4 an external drive? Not familiar with what you listed. 

 

edit: I wonder how the Shiit Bifrost 2 DAC would compare to the DAC in the Ragnarok 2. Any idea?

They can explain it better than I can...

https://wyred4sound.com/products/digital-converters/recovery

 

As for the Ragnarok 2, I have no idea. For the price, I would imagine it's around the same as the older Bifrost Multibit as there's not mention of it having the Unison USB, which is the big improvement. 

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3 hours ago, Charles T said:

They can explain it better than I can...

https://wyred4sound.com/products/digital-converters/recovery

 

I've been doing some research after your interesting posts.

 

question: Isn't the Wyred 4 redundant when you use the Bifrost 2.  After all: "USB, Elevated: Introducing Unison USB™
Bifrost 2 introduces our all-new Unison USB, our own USB input based on a general-purpose PIC32 microprocessor, using precision local clocks and complete electromagnetic and electrostatic isolation. No more off-the-shelf USB for us—this unique, UAC2-compliant input provides the highest performance and lowest power draw of any USB input we’ve offered to date. "

 

Do you actually hear a difference with the Wyred 4?

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On 3/20/2020 at 11:40 AM, ILI said:

 

I've been doing some research after your interesting posts.

 

question: Isn't the Wyred 4 redundant when you use the Bifrost 2.

 

Do you actually hear a difference with the Wyred 4?

 

To a point, yes, it is redundant. But the Recovery is the first line of defense of cleaning up , isolating and re-clocking the signal before it gets to the DAC, which there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. And when you think about it, the Wireworld Ultraviolet USB cable does something similar as it physically separates the power and signal wires as well, helping to further isolate. It's less work the DAC has to deal with. 

 

And to answer your other question... Yes, you can clearly hear a difference with the Wyred Recovery in the signal chain. Even though the system is completely silent and clean with the Pi 4 directly connected to the DAC, when the Recovery is added, there's a bit more depth and space between instruments and singers. There's more sense of the volume of the venue in which the recording was made. Percussions such as drums and piano, have a sharper, cleaner leading edge to them. 

 

These aren't huge "in your face" differences, but they are clearly noticeable when quickly comparing with and without the Recovery in the system, even when in use with the awesome Unison USB in the Schiit Bifrost 2 DAC. 

 

And honestly, I don't really think it matters how good and/or expensive a source or DAC is, they can all benefit to a certain extent on the signal being cleaned up a bit more after it leaves the source and before it hits the DAC. 

 

As a side note, when I was using the Bluesound Node 2, I always used an ifi Audio iPurifier via the coax. It does the same thing as the Recovery, only with coax and Toslink which resulted in similar improvements, but nowhere near as drastic and noticeable as with the Recovery. 

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13 minutes ago, Charles T said:

I don't really think it matters how good and/or expensive a source or DAC is

 

That's a very interesting observation. I like to think that, as in photography, most gear nowadays is really up to standard with above average quality (at least, compared to 20 odd years ago). It's really the details in the setup that make the difference. In photography they say it is not the camera, but the photographer that makes the picture. Something similar can be said in audio: if you know what you're doing, you can achieve a very 'audiophile' sound with a limited budget.

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22 minutes ago, ILI said:

 

That's a very interesting observation. I like to think that, as in photography, most gear nowadays is really up to standard with above average quality (at least, compared to 20 odd years ago). It's really the details in the setup that make the difference. In photography they say it is not the camera, but the photographer that makes the picture. Something similar can be said in audio: if you know what you're doing, you can achieve a very 'audiophile' sound with a limited budget.

 This is all very true. I used to do photography a while back, semi-professionally, using an old Olympus Evolt E-300 and a newer E-3. Shot both in fully manual mode and custom white balance, and people couldn't understand how I got such good shots. I had actual professionals tell me that I had a natural eye for composition, which I suppose is true. All I used these days is my phone to take pictures, usually in full manual mode, and people can't believe I'm taking these pics with a phone. 

 

When it comes to audio, it's all about synergy, choosing the right gear, proper speaker positioning, and if you use them, properly positioning and dialing subwoofers. Lots of research, planning, trial and error go a long way.

 

This is also the reason why I am on the hunt for possible driver/crossover upgrades for my Heresy III's, as everyone claims that Heresy IV's are so much better. Mainly in the midrange and treble as I'm not concerned with the bass response of the new IV's. 

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6 minutes ago, Charles T said:

an old Olympus Evolt E-300 and a newer E-3. Shot both in fully manual mode and custom white balance,

That's a funny coincidence... I have 3 camera bags: a Nikon bag, a Canon bag, and a Panasonic bag, all with associated new and vintage lenses. 

But the only camera I've been shooting with since 2016, is my 35mm fixed lens Fuji X100s. Don't need anything else, except my smartphone perhaps... 

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2 minutes ago, ILI said:

That's a funny coincidence... I have 3 camera bags: a Nikon bag, a Canon bag, and a Panasonic bag, all with associated new and vintage lenses. 

But the only camera I've been shooting with since 2016, is my 35mm fixed lens Fuji X100s. Don't need anything else, except my smartphone perhaps... 

 

I used to carry my camera bag around with me everywhere I went, even to work (manager at a hardware store). Why in heck would I need my camera gear there?! LOL

 

Once the cameras in phones started getting pretty good, I found myself shooting with my phone more than with my DSLR's. And now with my current phone, a Samsung Galaxy Note 10+, it's smallest, weakest camera is still 12mp, larger than the E3's 10.1mp. Granted, much much smaller sensors, but with the much more advanced sensor technology and associated software, extended dynamic range, , noise filters, low light performance, and now even with optical zoom, depth of field effects and both mechanical and digital image stabilization, all of which this phone has, it's really putting up a challenge to DSLR's in some regards. The main thing is the compactness and convenience since your phone is always on you. 

 

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19 minutes ago, Charles T said:

 

I used to carry my camera bag around with me everywhere I went

That sounds very familiar! 

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5 minutes ago, ILI said:

That sounds very familiar! 

 

Very familiar...

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Re-clocking a signal transported over USB?  Special USB cables?  Methinks someone ought to investigate how things work.  Digital transport mechanisms ain't analog.  Some of the arguable(!) improvements available to analog transport, automatically transferred to digital just because it's "audio", is very uninformedly silly.  Though the description of the results doesn't surprise me in the least because that's what was expected, so it was realized.  

 

This wasn't intended to be rude or critical.  At this point it's a cautionary plea to perform due diligence in study of the mechanisms prior to spending any more money on things which can't possibly do what's claimed of them.

 

7 hours ago, Charles T said:

It's less work the DAC has to deal with. 

 

Ahem...  The DAC is doing exactly the same amount of work, passing the already-buffered data through it's mechanisms using its own clock to do so.  The data is there waiting in an unclocked state and it doesn't matter how near to any DC leads it's passed or whatever timing manipulations have (or have not, most likely) been uselessly performed on it along the way.  Seriously.

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