This is a long shot but I’m hoping for some advice on getting the best audio quality out of my new Schiit Yggdrasil when running Roon.
It seems to be consensus and Mike Moffat’s strong recommendation that USB is not recommended on the Yggy and is significantly inferior to both AES (preferred) and coaxial/optical. As I’m currently looking to buy my first external endpoint I’m not sure if the criticism of USB is completely solved by a low noise device such as a MicroRendu or if the use of AES would upstage any USB based option with this particular DAC?
Also it’s not clear whether an Ethernet to AES endpoint is the preferred option or if the use of a USB to AES converter (digital to digital converter) would accomplish the same quality sonically.
From what I can gather, the options seem to be:
Great USB endpoint to Yggy:
Roon --> Ethernet --> Sonore MicroRendu --> USB --> Yggy
Very-slightly less highly regarded endpoint but with AES/EBU output:
Roon --> Ethernet --> Aurialic Aries --> AES/EBU --> Yggy
Direct from computer USB with a AES/EBU converter such as a Yellowtec Puc2 Lite or Musical Fidelity V-Link 192
Roon Server --> USB --> USB to AES converter --> Long AES/EBU cable --> Yggy
Microrendu to AES converter
Roon --> Ethernet --> Sonore MicroRendu --> USB to AES Converter --> Yggy
If using anything other than ethernet and USB, are there any issues associated with Roon no longer knowing what device it’s connected to? Should I expect this to cause any issues for future Roon MQA software decoding etc?
Any other thoughts on getting optimal output from the Yggdrasil via Roon would certainly be appreciated and welcome and probably help many others along the way judging by the Schiit multibit DACs popularity!
Thanks for your help! Enjoy the rest of the weekend everyone!
I’m interested in answers to this as well. Currently, I use a microRendu with the ultracap UpTone LPS-1 power supply. It sounds very good to me, and somewhat better than a less fancy streamer with a USB>S/PDIF coax converter, but I’ve never compared with anything that bypasses USB. Mike Moffat wrote recently on Head-Fi that he’s investigating better isolation solutions for USB, but ultimately he doesn’t think that any approach based on complex hardware and software is as good as the simplest CD transport>AES>DAC setup. It would be cool to have a microRendu with AES or S/PDIF output instead of USB…
My current recommendation for feeding your Yggy as well as possible would be a microRendu getting power from an LPS-1, with the microRendu’s USB output driving one of:
a Singxer F-1 (a shockingly good value for how excellent it sounds: S/PDIF only, USB-powered [but getting fed clean power by the microRendu which in turn was powered by the LPS-1])
a Singxer SU-1 (not necessarily going to sound any better than an F-1, but can deliver AES/EBU if the Yggy indeed likes that noticeably better than S/PDIF). The SU-1 has its own good-quality built-in linear power supply; if you’re as insane as some of us, you might want to experiment later with disconnecting that fine supply and powering with a second LPS-1 instead. I have not yet tried this.
a Mutec MC-3+ USB (which I haven’t yet heard personally, but which is quite well thought of - and can output AES/EBU)
a Berkeley Alpha USB (ditto).
The USB-to-whatever gizmos above are listed in order of increasing price, but I’m not sure how much incentive there is to go past the F-1.
These recommendations are based on reading I’ve done then listening to combinations in my own setups, one of which includes a Schiit Gungnir Multibit (but I haven’t listened with an Yggy yet).
The microRendu’s DC power source is very important, and if you haven’t tried an LPS-1 in this context (both for the quality of the DC - low noise and low impedance - and for the thoroughness of its isolation from feeder power ground noise) I strongly recommend you do so before proceeding into the realm of outboard USB-to-S/PDIF-or-AES/EBU bridges.
If you really really want a high-quality single-box RoonReady Ethernet-in, AES out device - and if perchance price is largely not an issue - it’d be interesting to check out the dCS Network Bridge. Not only have I not yet heard one in action, I haven’t even run across a review yet - but there’s an excellent chance it’s very good, because dCS. Price about two Yggdrasils.
I have an Yggy with the following connection:
Roon --> Ethernet --> Aurialic Aries --> AES/EBU --> Yggy
I tried lots of USB stuff (Schiit Wyrd, Sonore products etc…).
Best USB results I got was playing through HQPlayer without filters.
But listening and testing convinced me to avoid any USB connection with the Yggy.
For my ears the AES/EBU connection is the preferred one.
Take a look at the Bryston BDP. Roon Ready. AES/EBU and also has BNC. I have a BDP-1 running BNC to a Schiit Gumby, little brother to the Yggy, and it sounds great. I also run a microRendu to USB input on the Gumby, and it sound great to me.
For shits and giggles I’ve just added my NuPrime uDSD to the mix as a USB to coax converter only, so the yggy has both BNC and USB input from an ODROID C2 feeding a uDSD and Wyrd respectively.
I’ve also ordered a Neutrik NADITBMC-M so I’ll be able to run the coax into AES3. Will report back then, but in the meantime the uDSD is an inexpensive way to get a USB/COAX converter and at the same time a great portable DAC you can take on the road with you.
Really appreciate the input so far guys. Incredibly helpful! Thank you!
@Jeffrey_Moore - I’ve been doing some further reading around The microRendu --> Singxer SU-1 combo. This certainly appears a very strong contender for my wallet at a very reasonable price point. (for those interested there’s a very compelling review of the Singxer here. The reviewer also rates the device very close to the Berkeley Alpha USB in performance despite the large price difference.
The dCS Network bridge looks like a wonderful option, but I’d simply have a hard time justifying 2x the Yggys price for getting a great AES sound through it. That said though, looking around today there are certainly more Roon-Ready AES one-box solutions than I had ever realised in the 1000-2500 price range that avoid USB in the path altogether. All the below seem like excellent options on paper.
So given that the microRendu + LPS-1 + Singxer + Cables combination falls into this range price has anyone done a straight comparison with the microRendu + AES converter option to one of the above devices avoiding USB completely on a yggdrasil or other Schiit multibit dac?
@miklats - Just to confirm, was it a microRendu you tried from Sonore? You preferred the Aries by AES to the sonore by USB? If so, that’s a big step towards what I’m trying to find out. Were you ever able to try a USB–>AES converter in sonore chain to see if this put things back in Sonore’s favour? Its difficult to determine whether the end connection is the larger factor here or whether complete absence of USB takes another step forward in sonic quality on the Yggy.
@rrwwss52 - Thanks Robert. I’ve been incredibly happy with my other Bryston gear so the BDP is high on my list. What were the pros and cons of the two options you have available? Were you ever able to try a non-USB converter with the microrendu to compare?
@evand - Ha! Sounds great Evan! Very keen to hear the outcome when the NADITBMC-M arrives!
Have a great night all!
@Fernando_Pereira - Yes, I recently saw Mike’s Head-Fi post which is a big part of my concern for making this decision as best I can from the outset. While I could be a mile off, reading between the lines it did still seem to suggest Mike’s focus was improving USB through isolation etc rather than creating an interface that avoided it altogether but time will tell! Your comparison with a cheaper streamer running USB–>S/PDIF is highly useful and does certainly provide some context that there is a lower limit here when the best USB only devices still outshine other options. Did you ever connect up the converter to the microRendu to see how that affected the output? Like you I’d love to see an AES version of the microRendu! That would make this decision a whole lot simpler! From what I’ve read it seems the Sonicorbiter SE is generally less preferred running S/PDIF than the microRendu running USB but if memory serves me correctly the comparison was on a non-schiit dac and obviously the design, goals and price points of both devices are very different. Thanks very much for your input!
I should do another test when I have time, now with the Yggy on my 2-channel system, but with the Bifrost Multibit on my headphone system I couldn’t hear any benefit from interposing the mLink USB>SPDIF coax converter between the microRendu and the DAC.
I’ve had the BDP-1 for several years and prior to it being Roon Ready. It is a very competent player in MPD DLNA mode as well. Can be used as a music server via USB hard drive or as a renderer. Built like a tank. It was run into a Wyred4Sound DAC-2 prior to my a joining Roon. I always used the AES/EBU output. I picked two new DACs recently, and am running them as follows:
Bryston BDP-1>Schiit Gungnir MB via BNC
Bryston BDP-1>Uptone Regen>Meridian Prime Headphone Amp via USB (this works great for Tidal Masters MQA albums)
Sonore Microrendu>Schiit Gungnir MB via USB (I have only used the mR via USB).
Both the microRendu and BDP-1 can be used in multiple modes. BDP-1 has more output options. microRendu is far less expensive and is strictly a renderer since if you buy new, you’d have to target a BDP-2. I bought the microRendu prior to the BDP-1 getting Roon certified. IMO, you wont go wrong either way. You may choose to upgrade the power supply on the microRendu. I found a used Channel Islands Audio PS and added that to the mR. Also, the mR is compatible with HQPlayer via NAA mode; the BDP is not currently, although I think Chris Rice at Bryston was examing NAA.
Mike Moffat, one of the founders of Schiit Audio, explains in an other forum why to avoid USB in Audio chain alltogether.
One of the improvements he wants to see in the Yggy is the USB connection. Looks like they do quite some research in that area. He works on a new board for the Yggy as I understood him. So I thought who am I to argue with Mike Moffat?
My best USB results where:
Roon and HQP --> Ethernet --> Sonore Micro Rendu --> Schiit Wyrd --> Yggy.
HQP runs without any filters, just max PCM 192k.
I also used the Sonore Orbiter which gave more or less the same results. I can not hear much that much difference with different USB connections or USB improvers. Thats all the same for me.
I also tried the optical connection from the Sonore Orbiter to the Yggy. Here the “buy better equipment” indicator of the Yggy lights up. That might be caused by a low quality optical port in the Sonore Orbiter or by the cable I had to use because of the deep inside port connection in the Orbiter.
There’s also the Audiobyte Hydra Z
Then, I guess that is worth remembering that AES3 can only handle up to 24/192, so when the 8th light on the Yggy is made to light up through an upgrade your AES3 investment may well be defunct.
That “buy better equipment light” on the Yggy came up when using the Sonore Orbiter with the optical connection.
It only showed up with 16bit CD rips I made many years ago.
24bit Files played ok.
I used the Linn Ripstation some 10 years ago to rip these Cds. I have to recheck and rerip some of them to verify that here is not the source of that problem.
I tested @evand proposed setup. NuPrime DSD - RCABNC Cable - NADITBMC-M - AES Cable into Yggy. Works perfect and allows the use of Dirac and thats a great advantage.
Very good (same results) with a 75 Ohm RCABNC Cable into the BNC Connection of Yggy.
The use of an 100 Ohm RCAAES Cable directly from the NuPrime to Yggy AES is also possible.
I didnt use the NuPrime as USB to Coax Converter but an IFI IDSD DAC, which also has a coax connection.
NuPrime is on order. But that results in no differences.
There is no advantage using an Auralic Aries. I could not not detect audible advantages.
My NADITBMC-M arrived this evening, so tomorrow I’ll A/B
ODROID-C2 USB out > Yggy USB
ODROID-C2 USB out > NuPrime uDSD COAX out > Yggy BNC
ODROID-C2 USB out > NuPrime uDSD COAX out > NADITBMC-M > Yggy AES3
I’ll try it on my ATC’s as well as Yggy into Jotunheim into Sennheiser HD800.
@miklats, where in the chain does Dirac make its appearance?
Mac Book Pro ( with Roon, Dirac) as Zoneplayer-Wyrd-NuPrime DSD - RCABNC Cable - NADITBMC-M - AES Cable into Yggy.
I could route via Sonore Microrendu from my Main PC, but would loose the possibility of Dirac. This also works excellent.
whats your experience with the setup you proposed?
Could you do tests?
I’ve not gotten round to doing it, had too many competing priorities. When I’ve listened I’ve had the config setup to use aes3 on the yggy and I’ve pretty much left it that way since the NADITBMC-M arrived. I need to make up a short RCA/BNC as the one I’m using now is about a meter long.