DAC upgrade from Schiit Modi 3+?

SeattleChris

Active member
Apr 15, 2021
11
5
25
Hello - Earlier this year I started streaming Amazon HD through a Schiit Modi 3+ DAC to my home hi-fi system. I'm amazed at the soundstage and believe I got really lucky with the Modi 3+ which cost only $100. My question for those of you with multiple-DAC experience: do you believe there's a sub-$1000 (preferably closer to $500) DAC option where I might perceive a noticeable improvement over the Modi 3+? I understand this is subjective, and people here seem to think DAC's either make a big difference or little at all. I guess this question is for those who feel there's a noticeable difference as I just want to have realistic expectations. Thanks!
 

SeattleChris

Active member
Apr 15, 2021
11
5
25
This reviewer compares the Modi to more expensive DACs like the Topping offerings.

He basically says the Modi has less features but sounds as good. It is unlikely you will notice a big upgrade with a 500$ DAC. I think you have to stretch a little closer to 1000$.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_oeDy8xju8
Thanks, Sid! Interesting video, confirms my suspicion that I probably won't perceive a significant difference until I spend over $1000 on a DAC which I don't think I can bring myself to do...
 

muljao

Well-known member
Jul 18, 2016
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There's many articles/reviews/ opinions etc that believe dacs sound different and that expensive ones may not sound better. Usually the better improvement in sound comes from amplifiers and speakers
 
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SeattleChris

Active member
Apr 15, 2021
11
5
25
Hi All - thanks for the replies. I think you talked me down off the financial ledge and I'll enjoy the Modi 3+ for a while. However, I fear in six months I'll again start thinking, "what if I can hear the difference"....
 
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TenTonTarantula

Active member
Aug 17, 2021
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4
25
Having also just purchased the SM3+ I have to say I'm also kind of amazed. Would love to audition some of Schiit's more expensive DACs to see if I can hear the difference...presumably must do otherwise why would they bother, but have to say they've really pulled of a bit of magic with the SM3+ at that price point. Might upgrade from my Chromecast Audio to a Bluesound Node at some point, will be interested to hear whether the SM3+ outperforms the internal DAC on the Bluesound.
 

SeattleChris

Active member
Apr 15, 2021
11
5
25
Having also just purchased the SM3+ I have to say I'm also kind of amazed. Would love to audition some of Schiit's more expensive DACs to see if I can hear the difference...presumably must do otherwise why would they bother, but have to say they've really pulled of a bit of magic with the SM3+ at that price point. Might upgrade from my Chromecast Audio to a Bluesound Node at some point, will be interested to hear whether the SM3+ outperforms the internal DAC on the Bluesound.
At 11:25 in the video Surly Sid posted above the reviewer compares the $100 Modi 3+ with the $700 Bifrost. He thinks the Bifrost sounds somewhat better.
 

SeattleChris

Active member
Apr 15, 2021
11
5
25
Well, I already got back up on that financial ledge and jumped. Upgraded my Modi 3+ to a Bifrost 2 and I'm very happy I did as the difference is greater than expected. The Bifrost improves clarity, soundstage depth, width & height, bass is heftier & tighter, midrange is smoother, all creating what I feel is a bigger, warmer sound than the Modi 3+.

My conclusion is that a DAC upgrade can matter as much as a speaker upgrade and maybe even more than an amp upgrade. Seems each DAC has it's own character and the Bifrost 2 is perfect for rock & pop music which I listen to almost exclusively. This all matters to me as I'm an "active" listener, usually sitting between the speakers with my eyes closed imagining the soundstage. This may not matter quite so much to more passive listeners.
 
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RoA

Well-known member
Feb 11, 2021
335
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570
Denafrips 'Ladder' DAC's are reported to have a fairly distinct sound, different to off the shelf chip DAC's using AKG and ESS. - Chord use their own FPGA's.
 

ThisIsJimmy

Well-known member
Nov 11, 2020
235
95
870
Hello - Earlier this year I started streaming Amazon HD through a Schiit Modi 3+ DAC to my home hi-fi system. I'm amazed at the soundstage and believe I got really lucky with the Modi 3+ which cost only $100. My question for those of you with multiple-DAC experience: do you believe there's a sub-$1000 (preferably closer to $500) DAC option where I might perceive a noticeable improvement over the Modi 3+? I understand this is subjective, and people here seem to think DAC's either make a big difference or little at all. I guess this question is for those who feel there's a noticeable difference as I just want to have realistic expectations. Thanks!
The Modi3+ is a seriously good value DAC for the price, but because it's so cheap it does have it's weaknesses, and also lacks features


At $500 i'd be making a beeline straight for the Gustard X16 which is frankly an astonishing DAC for the money, gives you a whole plethora of input options, balanced and unbalanced outputs, MQA and DSD.


In this day and age, their is no reason at all to be spending over $1000 on a DAC unless you have a very specific requirement.

EDIT: Sorry, i've just seen i'm a bit late to this.
 

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