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Charlie: Yes, if I went to the Bitfrost it would be with the upgrade -otherwise it cannot compete with the Dac-It. I've read that the Dac-It is more analytical, while the Bitfrost (despite its name) has a warmer sound, so I wonder which one would be a better company for the tubes of my amp: a better balanced analytical sound, to compensate, or a more warmer one to go down the same road.
Jaydacus: Thanks for the suggestion, I'll add Burson to the list, if I can spot a second hand one within my budget.
Edits: 07/20/17Follow Ups:
I have not heard that it provided a warmer sound. But I run it with an ARC LS-17SE tube preamp, and Harmon Kardon Citation-II vintage tube amp. The speakers I run are very good at details (Merlin TSM Black Majic edition). Maybe that rounds things out. Maybe post a Wanted ad for a used Bifrost and see if you get any responses.
At a much lower level, I'm on the same road: little tube amp paired with detailed and even dry speakers (Cabasse's Altura Riva). So your experience really comes in handy. What kind of music do you listen to? And what are your digital sources?
I've already spotted one with the 4490 upgrade at $310. Cons: no USB input (which I don't think I'll be using anyway) and 100 bucks more than the Dac-It. Of course I don't mind at all paying a bit more if it's worth it.
So I now only stream audio off the Internet (i.e., Whispering Solo Piano, Accuradio for Classical Music and Classic Rock from the 60's and 70's). I have a Mac Mini dedicated for this and control it with a Blue Tooth Keyboard and Track Pad. Gave/sold my brother my Thornes 124 or 125 with a Black Widow tone arm, and my heavily modified Marantz 63SE CD unit sits in a box. I like the randomness of the music. It exposes me to songs I've never heard, but yet brings back tunes I love from the likes of Steppenwolf.
" Cons: no USB input (which I don't think I'll be using anyway)"
Copied and pasted from the Schitt website :
Inputs: Coaxial SPDIF, Optical SPDIF, USB
NB: Given the opportunity I'll bet that you will find a use for the USB input. Maybe shortly after you find that a piece of music that you really love is only available as a download.
Also you know the Schiit does not do DSD
Well I do. But I am not potentially buying it. The OP is. Whether or not DSD is important to him/her I have no idea as he/she hasn't mentioned it. However as he/she thinks that even a USB input is not important I assume not.
My comment was meant for the OP
No, DSD is not my priority at this point. If I had a huge collection of sacds, I would definitely narrow it to DSD-capable dacs -in this case, the two Teacs. But mostly I'll be playing CDs and Hi-Res FLACS, so my priority are the overall sonic qualities, and how well they go with my tube amp and musical tastes.
You do know that an SACD cannot normally be played through a DSD capable DAC? Still it's not your priority (which seems sensible).
Yes, it also surprised me. The space for the usb input is there, but covered by what looks like an authentic factory seal (look). Odd. There's another one for sale including USB; costs some $50 more...
I do listen to a lot of Hi-Res flacs, but for that I use a digital player -the Fiio X5. This is why I don't think I'll be needing an USB input for a while.
I think that is just a swing gate that opens up when you go to insert a USB cable. Looks like mine.
Yes, all the Bitfrost have the same chassis, and as far as I know all came with usb. But for some reason this one doesn't include the usb input -behind that seal there's just a hole. I guess the usb board broke down and they just covered it with an official-looking sticker... In any case, not a good sign. I can always get a second hand but complete unit for $380. But that's over 140 bucks over the price of the Dac-It. Hence my doubt...
I've found a couple of head to head comparisons between the two, and the opinions are pretty much coincidental: everybody agrees the Dac-It sounds much better than the standard version of the Bitfrost, but the upgraded Bitfrost (the one I'm looking at) gets a slight upper hand (often described as "warmer sound"). What to do?!
What makes it worse is that I live in Argentina -where a second hand price for any of these would be around u$1000 (not kidding) and it's virtually impossible to have it shipped from abroad. I'm going to USA for some days, so I need to do a thorough homework beforehand.
When the Bifrost first came out USB was optional.
That's it then. So I gather the USB was an optional "upgrade". That would explain that it still came with the button and hole.
Well, not sure where you are going in the US, but Schiit is in Valencia, CA 91355 if that is of interest. Once in a while they have B-Stock (blemishes or returns). Maybe contact them directly and see if they can be super nice. Sorry to hear that products are so expensive in your country. Wishing your Country the best.
Oh well, DACs are not exactly our biggest problems over here.
What about these Teacs (the UD-301 and UD-305)? They do DSD, are monoaural and have tons of configurations... Anyone heard them?
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