Schiit Bifrost vs Topping D90

Holy Moly, nice site, now for the numbers.

I tried D90 and Ares II and found Ares II to be more pleasing to my ear. D90 had a shrill top end that caused listening fatigue for me. I have Klipsch Heresy IV speakers that are very dynamic, so D90 might work great on more warm speakers.

If you listen to Tidal a lot and like MQA format then D90 is great also.

I just preferred Ares II as it was more simple to use and sounded more “natural”.

If you don’t need the headamp then the SMSL SU9 is a great DAC.

Thanks for the tip. Looks like a nice DAC and the price is right too

Found a used Bifrost, saved and its smooth sailing, transforming my power FET’s into warm el34 tubes. Bingo!

Holy Moly! purchased that used Bifrost 2. Its made one heck of a improvement to Roon’s input. Absolutely fantastic sound stage!!! Its turning my head! Yes; Its happiness to hear something new. I never felt like this. Extremely pleased! If this is a cheap dac I can’t imagine what the top of line sound like. My large mono block power amps use FET’s and the Bifrost 2 transforms them into a clean EL34 tube sound. What the heck! Warm regards with no hum! As Myron would say “Double Wow”! Hands up and down to the engineer’s who designed this DAC. Not sure how they found it, but; They hit the electrons in the middle of the head on both sides of the sine wave.

Got mine! It’s crazy! Yes what i was missing! Sound stage is incredibly strong. Feel like I’m up front in Ronnie scott’s!

Wow! I am glad you are really liking it and that is it working so well in your set up!

Naive question time.

I’m probably going to push the button on a Topping D90, but unsure if I should shell out the extra £100 on the MQA version of this player. The streamer I wIll partner with the D90 is either a Lindemann Limetree Bridge, or a SOTM SMS-200 Neo, neither of which are MQA streamers. So would this scenario effectively render the MQA version of the D90 Dac a waste of time?

The limetree would as I believe it upsamples everything. The SMS would just pass it through to the DAC if all set correctly in Roon.

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Unless I’m really missing something, normally not, in either case: the interpolation (or “2nd unfold”, or upsampling) is always done on the DAC. As long as your streamer bit-accurately transmits the file to it, then you’ll get the full MQA experience.

This said, as long as you stick to Roon, you have already paid an MQA license. Roon will do what MQA Ltd. call the “first unfold”, which is kinda all that matters (ducks). There is no extra data extracted from the file after that, only data created by and on the dac chip. There’s also the question of the MQA filters, which are also set at the DAC level. I personally don’t hear a difference, some do and like 'em, so do and hate 'em, so YMMV.

Because of what Roon is already doing, I personally wouldn’t shell out anything extra for an MQA-licensed DAC, but that’s me, I don’t subscribe to Tidal, and I believe that MQA and MQA Ltd should die a very painful death.

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Before you buy the D90, be aware of the issues in this thread -

As stated, I have a D90/A90 combo, which I have been happy with, but apart from the sound there are problems (in my experience) with both devices.

Thanks for the heads up, but pushed the button anyway. Went for the non MQA version. Nearly every review I read seemed to be massively positive, and most agreed was equalling far more expensive DAC’s performance wise. Quite a lot of Youtube reviews out there too.

Where did you buy it, if I may ask?

Amazon. for £699, which seems the price across the board, certainly in the UK anyway.

Hopefully no issues, but at least with Amazon fulfillment I can return no questions asked.

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I lowered the upsampling to 384 khz and not had any of those issues for about a week now. I think it might of been the processing rate. On 384 it’s around 4.5x, I didn’t look but on 700+ it may have been too much for Mac.

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So, in other words, you are happy! :slightly_smiling_face:

Hmm, I don’t believe the processing rate or your Mac is the issue.

I run on a Ryzen and my processing rate 9.6x when I oversample to 702/768.

It’s either the D90 or, in my case, Ropieee.

I guess I’ll have to feed from USB out of my Core to see if Ropieee is the problem.

Do you run Ropieee to your D90?

My D90 arrived today. Very impressed so far, after only a few hours of use.
So far preferring USB from SOTM SMS-200 Neo streamer over Optical from Lindemann Limetree Bridge streamer but both sound terrific.

Only minor complaint is the remote control only works at a distance of 3 or 4 feet. My sitting position is about 8ft away from the D90, and from this distance the remote will not work. I am using brand new batteries so this cannot be the problem. I have several remotes I use from this distance and this is the only one that doesn’t work, anybody else have distance issues with their remote?

Edit - got a reply from a user on the Audio Science Review website and he says his remote is not responsive at a distance of 8-10 ft. Disappointing.

That reply was from me - and after doing some research this morning, I discovered that I could use my Harmony remote to turn the D90 on and off. That may not be a solution for you, but if you use a programmable remote to control your system, you might find yourself able to bypass the Topping remote.

That’s probably not an option if you play with DSP or other settings regularly (though that might also be part of what the Harmony or other remotes can do). But for my set-it-and-forget-it use, I now have a solution.