A whole lot of detail, even to a fault


Where to even start on this DAC. Features... All of the features... This is a balanced DAC, so expect to want a balanced AMP with this one. Inputs galore. USB, coax digital, optical, AES, and even bluetooth. If you have a thing that you want to make sound, this can probably do it. It can output both to balanced, or single ended, so this will work with pretty much any amp or powered monitors. It is built as a balanced architecture and will sound best as such, but it's nice that it offers both.

Running through the Asgard 3/Topping A90D


Compared to Schiit's offerings like the Modi, or Bifrost 2, this DAC handles bass respectably. I'm not sure which is more correct, but the body of the bass is not nearly as big or strong on the Topping. That's not to say that it doesn't sound great, because it's crystal clear. I'd put bass down to a preference on which presentation you prefer personally, but both sound great. The bass is... There, and it's fine. Nothing to complain about, nothing to rave about.


Where to even start here. Unlike the Modi that I'm directly comparing this to, there are different filter modes. Out of the box, it comes in "Mode 3", which seems to be a "Fast roll off minimum", which sounded brilliantly detailed, but very painful to listen to, almost like the audio was boosted to clipping range, regardless of volume. I quickly started playing with settings to make that go away as it was hard to listen to, especially on tracks with low dynamic range especially, which most modern music is. I tried several modes, but seemed to settle on "Mode 5", which is "Fast roll off linear". This had an impact on perceived detail, but made it much more enjoyable to listen to. Almost all of the clipping sound was instantly just gone. For very busy sections of tracks, or insanely fast notes, it did seem to blur the audio a bit, but it was fairly minimal, and at least not painful.


The highs on this DAC excede anything that I heard from Schiit's offerings. Cymbals, stringed instruments, the breathing of singers, and anything in the airy space is much more audible. I wouldn't say that it's louder, but there is just much more information that got lost on other DACs I've tried. Female vocals that extend well into the high range shine here in terms of details as well.


After many hours of listening to this DAC, I can say that I'm quite impressed with the level of detail that I've never heard out of my Schiit Modi, but subjectively, it is not as fun to listen to. If you want to suck some fun out of your music for the sake of finding details in there, this is great at that. It's what I would call an analytical DAC. It doesn't try to colour the audio, it doesn't try to hide flaws in recordings, or bad masters. It shows you every flaw in it's glory. It's default PCM filter of "Mode 3" absolutely was the worst part of this DAC. Once that was changed, it became at least listenable without physical ear pain for me. I personally wouldn't want this DAC in my collection most likely as it's too much detail and presented harshly. For the price and feature set, if you need the features, and don't mind a harsh presentation, I can recommend it, but I'll be looking into other solutions for my listening.