The Schiit Yggdrasil 2 DAC

Mikem53

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Oct 1, 2020
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I agree with your assessment, especially about piano rendition.. The Yggdrasil is truly amazing on redbook CD’s in general.. it changed my life ! After many years of dissatisfaction with digital.. Mike Moffat gave us something musical without breaking the bank. I was using a BC Ref link to AES as input to the yggy.. I tried the unison USB and now I use it exclusively.. It’s that good.. Compared to the unison, the Gen5 interface sounds broken..

The Summary

We have praised its virtues in many a thread, but after some 6 months of ownership, I felt it deserved its own thread.

Initial thoughts were posted under Al M's system thread https://whatsbestforum.com/threads/my-monitor-subwoofer-system.25101/page-18#post-623618 with his own unit in my system, and I am just going to paste a couple of things that described it best:

Me: So far, the Yggy2 fed through AES/EBU and this Spectral SDR-3000SL transport offers the cleanest, most resolving redbook sound I have heard to date [in here, and that includes the dCS Vivaldi 2.0, the Spectral SDR-4000SV player and the MSB Premier+outboard PS & stock clock; I don't do tube DACs]​

Harley: "It’s a spectacular performer on an absolute level, and an out-of-this world bargain. The Yggy is not just a tremendous value in today’s DACs, it’s one of the greatest bargains in the history of high-end audio."

I have determined that the Yggy2's RCA outputs are a little colored, partly due to its summation circuit, so I run it XLR-to-RCA, and always AES/EBU in. In addition, as wonderful and super dynamic as it sounds with that connection (for a claimed max 4V output), it does cause the preamp to distort at loud crescendos, so I have to engage the preamp's -6dB filter for that input.

The Yggy2 (v2.01 analog board) via AES/EBU and as connected is a new benchmark for me in here. Let me explain:

1) it has enabled me to fine-tune my speakers' crossover, to a point that analog sounds best as is as well
2) it has pushed me to fix that Pass XP-25 phono preamp, and I can now use its 76dB gain plus 47K "loading" for additional dynamic headroom, with simultaneous very low noise at loud levels and very life-like timbre and articulation; other changes were also necessary
3) it has enabled me to voice my modded Berkeley Alpha DAC even further to a point that it actually surpasses the Yggy2 with HDCD material

Let me start with #3; here's how I recently summarized the two DACs on HDCD (the Yggy does not decode HDCD, the Alpha does):

a) The Alpha outshines the Yggy2 with HDCD in terms of dynamic headroom and harmonic structure (at least with strings); the difference in macro-dynamics is really staggering
b) It does so - especially the macro-dynamics - even with its output volume slightly less than the Yggy's (51.5; output voltages are equal at 52.5)
c) By virtue of their analog section designs, the Yggy's bass is rounder and more well defined, with all material (HDCD or not)
d) The HDCD encoding is responsible for raising the Alpha's performance and dumbing down the Yggy's, and in addition, the HDCD process does affect timbre. One of the HDCD algorithms is to compress and expand dynamics
e) The Alpha's superiority with HDCD (excepting the bass) is evident despite the SPDIF input and the "lesser" Shunyata Venom RCA interconnects, which I think are a fascinating cable for some $400 on the street. I use the famed Illuminations D-60 SPDIF cable
Along the way and over the past few months, the Yggy2 with redbook guided me how to best voice the Alpha with HDCD, in terms of mods and output volume setting (51.5)

Among the DACs I've had in here, the modified Alpha, Yggy2 and MSB Premier stand out because they have an extremely similar sound character, which indicates truth to the recording. They are not euphonic, they are not lush, they are not fake, just limited in what they can do with the format. The Yggy2 and Premier stand out for their clean sound with redbook.

Regarding #2, and how it compares to my analog now, there is no mistaking that analog is still the higher resolution format over redbook (with or without HDCD). But it took a lot of analog tweaking to get that: from anti-skating, to the XP-25 mods, to a new turntable suspension, and cartridge isolation with Isodamp. All these have been described elsewhere on this site.

The Sound

As compared to the other DACs, excepting the 4000SV player, the Yggy2 excels at rendering complete notes which raises truth of timbre and articulation, thus realism. It does piano unlike anything else so far in here but the 4000SV - but the latter's presentation is still slightly euphonic (which for me kills its rendition of complete notes), though less so than their old SDR-2000 DAC and much less than the Vivaldi's. It is incredibly low in noise, which increases transparency, palpability, realism and separation of instruments. It does still require a very low-noise and -jitter digital source, despite the manufacturer's reclocking claims. No experience so far with the Unison USB.

Its bass matches that of the 4000SV in tightness, roundness and musicality, and leaves the Alpha far behind in that respect. It is really very well defined and refined, but perhaps not as deep as other DACs. With the right recordings, strings can be phenomenal, with real palpability - out of redbook. This DAC has LIFE.

I posted sonic impressions with certain music material under Al's thread, but one thing that stands out is the BSO/Shostakovich recordings on DG (of all!), which render a very good replica of Boston Symphony Hall's acoustics as experienced from near and above the orchestra (basically, Balcony 1, seats A1-3), very much where the microphones would be. Symphony #11's second movement is just Wow material.

Al himself does a better job at describing sonic attributes, and he's done a very good job at that over the years; so I defer to him, plus I am out of time... I hope he'll chime in.

At the end of the day, I can listen to this DAC all day, every day; and I am obviously keeping the Alpha for HDCD.

-ack
 

plasmod3

Active Member
Aug 28, 2020
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does schiit mean anything ( no disrespecto_O) ; just wondering if there is a meaning to it...Yggdrasil as well?
 

Mikem53

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Oct 1, 2020
272
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does schiit mean anything ( no disrespecto_O) ; just wondering if there is a meaning to it...Yggdrasil as well?

Just a name one of the founders, Jason came up with to be “different”, to jive with their business model..
Norse naming conventions on most of their products.. Yggdrasil is the Central “Tree”. it actually makes their site difficult to use, according to some I heard back from after recommending schiit to them..
Their documentation and views on cables, etc are quite humorous.. but can be insulting to some.. I find some of their products to be excellent sounding, but lacking frills, looks that some desire.. but they use all discrete components, all made in the USA, circuit boards and all..
Jason Stoddard and Mike Moffat both have their bio and Company stories posted up on Head-fi ..
 

Alpha121

New Member
Aug 15, 2020
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Gentlemen,

I am seriously considering moving to the Yggy from my PSAudio DS after many years, and I am trying to sort out which streaming transport or server would best serve the purpose. I listen mostly to Tidal HiRes, and Master. I have a Pass XP-22.

My understanding it that the streamer will have to be able to fully 'unfold' MQA and present it to the Yggy. Input selection to be determined. I'd like to keep it under $5K.

Any recommendations? Currently I am looking at the Auralic Aries G2.
 

tony22

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Nov 4, 2019
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@Alpha121, have you had a chance to compare the Yggy to the DS DAC? If so I’d be interested in your thoughts on how they compare, and which DS FW was used for the comparison.
 

Alpha121

New Member
Aug 15, 2020
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0
1
@Alpha121, have you had a chance to compare the Yggy to the DS DAC? If so I’d be interested in your thoughts on how they compare, and which DS FW was used for the comparison.
Hi Tony. No, I have not yet done that yet. As soon as I get a streamer/transport identified and bought for the Yggy I will give it a comparison run through with the DS DAC and Bridge II I am running now.

I will be sure to report my findings. The DS DAC is very good, highly detailed and very smooth. It will be interesting.
 

Don C

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Jul 21, 2013
165
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Minnesota USA
Do all CDs played over that Yiggy eliminate the slight heshness or screech in a lot of CD playback, compared to vinyl playback on a great system?

I have heard ‘perfect‘ CD playback, but it is not not on 100% of CDs. More like 75%.

I can only enjoy digital for long periods, if I stop listening to vinyl.

I have used both the Gumby and Yiggy and agree with one of the Schiit founders, who prefes the Gumby over Yiggy, which to me is more like LP playback.

Anyone have long term use with both the Gumby and Yiggy, or does everyone just go with the more expensive Yiggy?
 
Last edited:

Mikem53

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Oct 1, 2020
272
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Hello @Don C , I have the Yggdrasil and the “Mimby”, which is the modi multibit DAC (combo modi/mani3) I use in my office system, similar in sound to the Gumby.. The Modi MB has a smoother presentation, not As detailed nor as dynamic as the Yggdrasil. I find it enjoyable and very forgiving of what’s being sourced.. I play it through my headphones or my Pass amp/monitor speaker setup.
In my main system, I run the Yggdrasil which is more opened up, dynamic and more resolving.. More transparent and detailed without any smoothing. It’s never harsh or etched, but it will not mend a bad recording Or cover it up. Here again, I’m feeding a Pass amp which doesn’t hold back and I’m never fatigued or analytically overdosed by the sound.. Since I removed the Bel Canto Reference Link and upgraded to the unison USB interface, I‘m getting even more detail and a cleaner background that just adds to the Yggy‘s realism and musicality.. Pace, rhythm and dynamics are clearly better, rendering a more realistic soundstage and layering.. I even have some hard core vinyl friends who are now adding digital because of what they heard from the Yggdrasil setup.. I have a large CD collection and for years I could not listen to much of it, until the Yggdrasil.. Now I’m rediscovering ALL my music again and thanking Mike Moffat daily for his creation !! Redbook never sounded better, even better than some high res recordings. I’ve had many CD players and DACs along the way, the Yggdrasil makes Music !! I have no desire to go back to analog, it’s really that good.. IME.. hope this helps.. I’m not a professional reviewer, which is clearly evident from my scribble..
 
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Joe Whip

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No it is the great jazz pianist Benny Green. i am married.... to a woman for 31 years. Not sure why you even asked this question.
 
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Don C

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Jul 21, 2013
165
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Minnesota USA
Hello @Don C , I have the Yggdrasil and the “Mimby”, which is the modi multibit DAC (combo modi/mani3) I use in my office system, similar in sound to the Gumby.. The Modi MB has a smoother presentation, not As detailed nor as dynamic as the Yggdrasil. I find it enjoyable and very forgiving of what’s being sourced.. I play it through my headphones or my Pass amp/monitor speaker setup.
In my main system, I run the Yggdrasil which is more opened up, dynamic and more resolving.. More transparent and detailed without any smoothing. It’s never harsh or etched, but it will not mend a bad recording Or cover it up. Here again, I’m feeding a Pass amp which doesn’t hold back and I’m never fatigued or analytically overdosed by the sound.. Since I removed the Bel Canto Reference Link and upgraded to the unison USB interface, I‘m getting even more detail and a cleaner background that just adds to the Yggy‘s realism and musicality.. Pace, rhythm and dynamics are clearly better, rendering a more realistic soundstage and layering.. I even have some hard core vinyl friends who are now adding digital because of what they heard from the Yggdrasil setup.. I have a large CD collection and for years I could not listen to much of it, until the Yggdrasil.. Now I’m rediscovering ALL my music again and thanking Mike Moffat daily for his creation !! Redbook never sounded better, even better than some high res recordings. I’ve had many CD players and DACs along the way, the Yggdrasil makes Music !! I have no desire to go back to analog, it’s really that good.. IME.. hope this helps.. I’m not a professional reviewer, which is clearly evident from my scribble..
That is your choice and mine.

The Absolute Sound review said the ‘ bold insisiveness‘ of the Yiggy may not best to those that like a more ‘relaxed’ sound quality.
That is what I hear and prefer with Lp..
I agree with that and prefer the Gumby multibit 5 over the Yiggy, which I used for 6 months.

I listened to Lps only from the 70’s until 2010 when I bought a Sony 5400 SACdD player and found digital acceptable to me.
The problem with Lps is in the arm /turntable setup. Very hard for most to get it right.
Digital is plug and play, and fine for a lot of people.
Some didital can sound ‘perfect’ on a good system. but not the majority of recordings.
I feel the percentage of great sounding music is higher on Lp.

Enjoy your Yiggy!
 
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Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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There are so many fans of the Yiggy that it definitely is on my list of high sound quality per dollar DACs to consider.

PS: "The problem with Lps is in the arm /turntable setup. Very hard for most to get it right."

I think it is very hard for most to get it "perfect." One amazing thing about vinyl playback is that as complicated as it is when you consider what mechanically and physically and geometrically is going on is that almost everyone gets great sound, and thus gets it "right."

Putting it differently, vinyl can sound great even when not set up perfectly.
 
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Mikem53

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Oct 1, 2020
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There are so many fans of the Yiggy that it definitely is on my list of high sound quality per dollar DACs to consider.
Good Morning Ron.. One of the attributes of the Yggdrasil that attracted me to try it was the fact they DON’T use off the shelf designed audio “chips”. They use medical/military grade hardware that is designed for precision timing and accuracy (think MRI vs 1 bit summing for music). It has 21 bit accuracy where many DACS actually have about 6 - 8 bit accuracy. This means it retains the original samples, performing a true interpolation. This in house proprietary digital filter gives you the best of both NOS (all original samples retained) and upsampling (easier filtering of out-of-band noise) designs. Created by Mike Moffat, Designer of Threshold, CAL players, etc.. I believe MM was the first to build a stand alone DAC for the industry..
I bought the Yggy originally for my headphone system, After trying it in my main system, I was floored by how Good it was And what I was missing.. I spent more on cables that made little difference.
If you do give it a try, one must be patient as it takes a few hundred hours to break in and sounds it’s best being on 24/7.
Many folks on here are into higher priced gear and have extreme high end equipment and might rightfully be overlooking less costly gear.. but this is one DAC that is truly worth a listen, regardless of cost..
I’m not associated with Schiit audio in any way, but I’m truly a fanboy when it comes to this DAC and the genius of its creator.
 

Al M.

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The Absolute Sound review said the ‘ bold insisiveness‘ of the Yiggy may not best to those that like a more ‘relaxed’ sound quality.
That is what I hear and prefer with Lp..
I agree with that and prefer the Gumby multibit 5 over the Yiggy, which I used for 6 months.

The 'bold incisiveness' is precisely why I love the Yggy. That's what a lot of unamplified live music sounds like to me, at least when sitting close to the performers. On the other hand, when the music is relaxed, the Yggy can sound supremely relaxed as well.

I do have to say that because of that incisiveness, the Yggy is unforgiving to weaknesses in the chain and room acoustics, which can partially transform the natural incisiveness into artificial hardness and harshness. The DAC has forced me to upgrade electronics and to work on a number of issues with my room acoustics and system setup. But it was worth it, since my sound is so much better and more natural now. A more forgiving component might force such changes to a lesser extent, with as a result less progress in sound as well.
 
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Al M.

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Good Morning Ron.. One of the attributes of the Yggdrasil that attracted me to try it was the fact they DON’T use off the shelf designed audio “chips”. They use medical/military grade hardware that is designed for precision timing and accuracy (think MRI vs 1 bit summing for music). It has 21 bit accuracy where many DACS actually have about 6 - 8 bit accuracy. This means it retains the original samples, performing a true interpolation. This in house proprietary digital filter gives you the best of both NOS (all original samples retained) and upsampling (easier filtering of out-of-band noise) designs. Created by Mike Moffat, Designer of Threshold, CAL players, etc.. I believe MM was the first to build a stand alone DAC for the industry..
I bought the Yggy originally for my headphone system, After trying it in my main system, I was floored by how Good it was And what I was missing.. I spent more on cables that made little difference.
If you do give it a try, one must be patient as it takes a few hundred hours to break in and sounds it’s best being on 24/7.
Many folks on here are into higher priced gear and have extreme high end equipment and might rightfully be overlooking less costly gear.. but this is one DAC that is truly worth a listen, regardless of cost..
I’m not associated with Schiit audio in any way, but I’m truly a fanboy when it comes to this DAC and the genius of its creator.

I feel much the same way. My amplification and my speaker system (monitors/subs) both cost multiple times (more than or close to ten times, respectively) the price of the Yggy, but I never felt this DAC was a weak link. That it is not, became clear to me when in 2017 I first heard it in a friends' very expensive system where we both preferred its performance to a Vivaldi DAC with upsampler (yet without external clock), which my friend subsequently sold in exchange for the Yggy. Since then, I have upgraded to a high resolution system as well. The Yggy is a stellar performer in absolute terms, regardless of its price.

(As a side note, your comment about accuracy of 6 to 8 bits of other DACs is exaggerated.)
 
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Mikem53

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(As a side note, your comment about accuracy of 6 to 8 bits of other DACs is exaggerated.)
Good Morning !! Thanks for keeping me honest ! In an attempt to provide proper specs, I didn’t read far enough.. I ran into video specs.. I stand corrected !

”The audio DAC is a low-frequency, high-resolution type while the video DAC is a high-frequency low- to medium-resolution type. ... signals with 8- bit precision and use an LCD panel that only represents 6 or 7 bits per channel”
 
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Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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Good Morning Ron.. One of the attributes of the Yggdrasil that attracted me to try it was the fact they DON’T use off the shelf designed audio “chips”. They use medical/military grade hardware that is designed for precision timing and accuracy (think MRI vs 1 bit summing for music). It has 21 bit accuracy where many DACS actually have about 6 - 8 bit accuracy. This means it retains the original samples, performing a true interpolation. This in house proprietary digital filter gives you the best of both NOS (all original samples retained) and upsampling (easier filtering of out-of-band noise) designs. Created by Mike Moffat, Designer of Threshold, CAL players, etc.. I believe MM was the first to build a stand alone DAC for the industry..
I bought the Yggy originally for my headphone system, After trying it in my main system, I was floored by how Good it was And what I was missing.. I spent more on cables that made little difference.
If you do give it a try, one must be patient as it takes a few hundred hours to break in and sounds it’s best being on 24/7.
Many folks on here are into higher priced gear and have extreme high end equipment and might rightfully be overlooking less costly gear.. but this is one DAC that is truly worth a listen, regardless of cost..
I’m not associated with Schiit audio in any way, but I’m truly a fanboy when it comes to this DAC and the genius of its creator.

Thank you, Mike!

Someday I will look at Yggy, Holo Audio, and the all in one Innuos ZENmini Mk. 3
 

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