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Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click
Source: 27" iMac with 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, 16GB 1.333MHz RAM, 2TB hard disc, 256GB SSD drive, ADM Radeon HD 6970M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, PureMusic 1.82 in hybrid memory play with pre-allocated RAM and AIFF files up to 24/192; Antelope Audio Zodiac Gold/Voltikus, April Music Eximus DP1, Esoteric/APL Hifi UX1/NWO-M
Preamp/Integrated: ModWright LS-100 with Synergy Hifi tubes, Esoteric C-03, Bent Audio Tap-X
Amplifier: FirstWatt S2 [on loan], Yamamoto A-09S, Woo Audio Model 5, Trafomatic Audio Kaivalya
Speakers: Aries Cerat Gladius [on long-term loan], Voxativ Ampeggio, Zu Essence, Audiomanufacture Boenicke B8 [on review], Rethm Maarga [on review]
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Audio Event, Entreq USB cables
Stands: 2 x ASI HeartSong 3-tier, 2 x ASI HeartSong amp stand
Powerline conditioning: 1 x GigaWatt PF2, 1 x Furutech RTP-6
Sundry accessories: Extensive use of Acoustic System Resonators, noise filters and phase inverters
Room size: 5m x 11.5m W x D, 2.6m ceiling with exposed wooden cross beams every 60cm, plaster over brick walls, suspended wood floor with Tatami-type throw rugs. The listening space opens into the second storey via a staircase and the kitchen/dining room are behind the main listening chair. The latter is thus positioned in the middle of this open floor plan without the usual nearby back wall.
Review component retail: $349 without USB; $449 with USB

Mike Moffat formerly of Theta Digital isn't merely a self-professed or wannabe old digital dawg. He sports bona-fide bark and teeth. After he and Jason Stoddard of formerly Sumo joined forces in Schiit, they in short succession released three US-made affordable headphone amplifiers (check here for company back story and our reviews of them all). The smart money all along banked on a future DAC from the man who nearly invented this category. As Jason relates the Bifrost genesis, Mike however was far from convinced that USB and hifi had any business getting it on in any serious fashion. But Stoddard knew. USB was a must for any contemporary converter. This forced the old dawg to learn new tricks. About which more on the next page.

As Schiit's first converter—word on at least two more models is already out—the Bifrost was conceptualized as their entry-level offering. To shave off costs, the design is fully modular. This allows retrofitting of the 24/192 asynchronous USB board which is built around the C-Media CM6631 USB receiver. A customer not interested in PC audio can thus buy a single frost and for $100 go bi later. Or never. The modular concept also covers future-proofiness. The digital and analog boards are hot-swappable. The former is built around AKM's 4399 32-bit chip as we've already seen in Esoteric machines, Alex Peychev APL Hifi rebuilds thereof and the AURALiC Ark MX+. The Bifrost output stage is a fully discrete low-noise FET circuit.

Unlike converters which upconvert all incoming signal to 24/192 to conveniently clock it with a single oscillator, the Bifrost dispenses with a sample rate converter altogether. It processes all data at their native resolution. To do proper justice to the high in fidelity, Schiit banks on their "sophisticated microprocessor-controlled bit-perfect clock management system". A Crystal Semiconductor CS8416 receiver handles the 24/192 coaxial and Toslink inputs. Then there's the (optional) USB 2.0 socket. 10-ohm analog outputs are exclusively on RCA. Fully balanced is for future higher-end models.

Max output is the industry standard 2Vrms. THD is less than 0.008%, S/N is greater than 105dB. Power consumption is 12 watts and there are five stages of regulation which includes separate supplies for analog and digital. Size is 9 x 6.75 x 2.25", weight is 5lbs.