This is good Schiit...


Hang on... this is a long one...

So I had never tried anything from Schiit Audio before in my nearly 30 years messing around in mid-fi gear.  I have owned many, many amps, preamps, integrated amps, CD players, DACs, etc.  Most individual units were ranged between $500 to maybe $6,000 (retail), but the majority were purchased used.

So I was messing around on YouTube one day and saw some videos on the Schiit Freya+ tube preamp.  I have always been a fan of a tube preamp + big SS amplifier.... just always preferred this setup generally.  So after seeing what these were selling for used (and the fact that I much preferred the black finish - harder to find), I decided to just order a new one from Schiit and give it a try.  Even if it suck or was Schiity, I could sell it for a decent price and only lose maybe $200 or so.  At the same time, I ordered a couple matched quads of old NOS RCA & Sylvania tubes.

Having owned much more expensive SS & tube preamps in the past, I was fairly surprised with the sound straight out of the box.  As a few music sessions went by over the next month or so, it got better and better sounding.  I was using a Parasound A23+ amp with it at the time and a Bluesound Node 2i for a streamer/DAC up front. 

Then seeing several other videos on YouTube about the Schiit Aegir amplifiers... I decided to buy a pair of those and give them a try.  I was also shocked at what they sounded like, especially at that asking price... HUGE bank for the buck in my opinion. 

Then, after watching more videos on YouTube about the new Tyr mono blocks, I bought a pair of those to try.  I have been going back-n-forth between these amps on/off for the last few weeks - still trying to decide which ones I prefer... they both sound fantastic and are a ridiculous value I feel.

So this brings me to my question (finally, I know)... since I seem to have a serious fondness so far for this Schiit and I am only running a Bluesound Node 2i for both streamer & DAC duty... maybe I give one of their DACs a try also???  Would it make a significant difference???

My experiences with DACs (and I have tried many) left me satisfied with the sound from the BS Node 2i alone.  When trying different DACs in the past, with decent cables, etc., the sonic differences were very minor to my ears. 

One specific comparison was when I had the BS Node 2i hooked up with both a pair of Clear Day silver RCA cables out and a nice Furutech digital cable out.  I sent the digital stream into an MHDT Orchid tube DAC w/ the highly recommend NOS Western Electric tube, then the same Clear Day RCA cables continued onto the integrated amplifier (Plinius 8100).  The other Clear Day silver RCA went directly from the BS Node 2i into the integrated amplifier.  The power cord on the BS Node 2i was a Nordost Purple Flare and the power cords on the MHDT DAC and the Plinius integrated were both LessLoss DFPC Signature (so I am not hooking all this up with basic/cheap cables at all).  All of this was plugged into a BPT line conditioner.

So cue up some music stream from Tidal and go back-n-forth on the two different inputs on-the-fly....differences?  Yes, but not that much...  not NEARLY enough to justify the additional costs of the DAC, tube & cables I felt.

So does anyone have actual experience with using a Bluesound Node 2i alone and then upgrading to a better external DAC and just using the BS Node 2i for streaming duty?  I understand that there are many out there that downplay the BS Node capabilities as a DAC, but let's not make a comparison to a streamer/DAC that cost $8,000... let's really compare apples to apples.

I do not have a huge issue with buying Schiit's best DAC, but I feel like it would take that unit to have me hearing a worthwhile difference.

Thanks for your attention and any/all advice is much appreciated.

128x128audiofreak32

I went from a Bluesound to Zen Stream + Bifrost 2 - that was a nice uptick in quality. 
 

Not to open a can of worms, but upgrading the fuse in your DAC can take things to another level, as well. 

I also did the PD creative update for my Node 2i, upgraded to a Nordost Purple Flare cable, but found the ifi Zen Stream and a separate DAC to add more.

I also have a Node 2i with a Denafrips Ares II.  I almost went with the Schiit Bifrost or Gungnir, but chose the Ares based on the vast number of reviews that described a sound signature that I thought I would like better.

While the Node's DAC is pretty good, I'd recommend trying an external DAC.  I have both connected and occasionally switch back and forth.  While I prefer the Ares, I'll admit that the differences are subtle. Some (but not all) MQA albums through the Node can narrow the gap.

Al a point of reference, I have a Bluesound Node 2i that i use with an external Schiit Modi Multibit and noticed an improvement in sound quality.  My system is Don Sachs preamp with a upgraded Bob Latino ST 120 tube amp to Spatial M3 Triode Masters/or Vandersteen 3A speakers.  The internal dac sounded good, detailed, but brittle on a fair amount of music.  The Multibit was warmer and had a more fleshed out coherent sound.  I have not had any other external dacs to compare it with but this very modest upgrade did make a difference in sound quality over stock Bluesound 2i. I have been itching to try a better dac myself to see what difference that upgrade will make.

  • Schiit makes some pretty good stuff but recently had to return an item, not that the quality was bad, in fact build quality was solid, but the synergy with my system just wasn’t there and wouldn’t have of known that without a home trial in my rig.
     
  • Only issue I have with Schiit is how penalized you are should you need to return a product. By the time you’re slammed for shipping both ways & restocking fees, makes me think Next time I may look at alternatives with good customer reviews from sellers who’s return policy is more “Home Testing Friendly”

Also using Freya+ with various NOS tubes, Parasound A21+, and a better DAC (now in for warranty repair) with Bifrost II in interim. (Fully agree on bi-amping Aegirs, what a bargain). Before springing for Yggy, try Bifrost II. Both Schiit and users say sound is similar to Yggy whereas Gungnir is of a different stripe (their website is pretty clear about the differences, so I won't elaborate). For me, Bifrost/Yggy sound is not optimal & I will continue experimenting with DACs. For streamer, Aurender will leave you wanting for nothing. Whichever model (sans DAC) is in your price range.