USB Meets its match - the Schiit Eitr (pronounced "Eater")

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by toddrhodes, Sep 15, 2017.

  1. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    I was browsing the forum a few days ago and learned of this new device, "just" a USB--> S/PDIF converter but from Schiit, whose products I find to deliver value and no nonsense. I understand they're a polarizing company and have quite a few detractors but I do not count myself among them. Ever since my first Gungnir three years ago, long before "multibit" was a thing, I knew I was picking up what they were putting down.

    My current rig is in my profile, but basically on the digital side it's W10 --> Roon --> Modi 2 Uber (non-mbit) --> Anthem Statement D2 pre/pro, then out to a NuPrime ST-10 and so on.

    You may be wondering - why is OP not just going HDMI out to his Anthem from his PC? Well, I game on this rig too and for some reason my nVidia card and the Anthem just don't mix well. And when I tried going HDMI out from my built-in GPU to the Anthem, I did achieve sound but it was neither impressive nor engaging. So, I went with the Modi which was a holdover from my now-defunct headphone setup at work. This helped, but if you recognize my name, you may know I've been on a vinyl adventure for about two years and loving every minute of it.

    Before vinyl, I built a custom PC that ran i2S into an Aqua La Voce S2 and out to the same amp but a different set of speakers. I loved that setup but I couldn't afford both a top-flight digital AND vinyl rig, so I downsized the digital side and frankly have not looked back since. Still, I have a plethora of music in high-rez or at least RB FLAC that I wasn't making use of because my vinyl rig just put the digital side to shame*

    Even back then, I hated USB. I tried the Regen. I tried better cables. It's just not a good medium to send audio information through IMO. If you're an audio objectivist - you may as well just back the heck out now and save us all the trouble. I found the optical input on the Gungnir to be far better than USB at the time, for example, and i2S was an evolutionary step into a great R2R ladder DAC (the Aqua). Then I got a mid-fi turntable, some cheap used records, a $200 phono preamp and thought, what the $%@# have I been doing the last X years? This is it!

    And it still is, but enter the Eitr (and, I suppose, the DAC in the Anthem). I just got this thing today and I have to say, for the first time in two years, I WANT to listen to the digital setup. And here's the kicker - I have to max my sampling rate at 96k or the Anthem just says "nope, you get silence." It is what it is, it's 12 years old or something like that. Still, I don't think I mind.

    Now, I was hoping for a nice bump in SQ. I was hoping this would make any sort of difference. Turns out, for me, this thing could be a gamechanger. All $179 of it. Remember, I put something like $6500 into a really, really good digital rig last time around it was not as fun, effortless, smooth, and non-fatiguing to listen to than a $1500 vinyl rig. I know price isn't everything but really? I'm listening to the exact same files I had back then, on a PC that is more meant for video games and office productivity than strict sound quality.

    This setup possesses air, and that "it" factor I get from vinyl - where the volume range never tops out. It never gets harsh, or imparts any glare, or sounds like it's congealing into Schiit. It just gets better, and more dynamic, and I want to keep turning it up. And I feel like I can listen to it at a ludicrous volume for hours. I've been playing 24/192 (downsampled, of course), Redbook, DSD64 - you name it. It all sounds great. Spacious and deep soundstage, fantastic instrument separation, coherence to the point you can follow whatever sound you want, at any volume you want throughout the soundscape.

    I am so very happy I tried this. I did a little test between the DCC Master of Puppets and my best copy, the 2x45 RPM MFN release. For the very first time, the DCC smacked me in the face and made me take notice. I daresay I prefer it to my LP.

    Schiit.
     
    wgb113, jfeldt, timind and 1 other person like this.
  2. colby2415

    colby2415 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    For sure, they definitely make some good Schiit.

    I'll see myself out now.

    All joking aside, I have a Modi 2 in my setup as well (just the regular usb input, rca output one) and it really has a certain "magic" sound quality.
     
    Aftermath, Minty_fresh and toddrhodes like this.
  3. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    Just to be clear, I sold the Modi 2U to help fund the Eitr. I figure, I have this Anthem here, and it's got a pretty nice DAC in it I think, let's try that. It does simplify things a bit this way too :)
     
  4. colby2415

    colby2415 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Yeah, I got that part. I was talking about in general they make great products. Maybe I am a little biased as I really haven't use any other DACs (except the udac 3 which I hated). It seems no one dislikes ANYTHING schiit males.
     
  5. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    I've encountered a few folks who feel they are more a marketing company than an audio company (to which I disagree, you can't please everyone.) And yea, for the money they charge, I won't be complaining. I just hope they keep their focus and try not to become a company that tries to do everything. They're getting into analog and I truly hope they knock it out of the park but at some point, they'll have more products than they know what to do with and once you start trying to iterate 20 products instead of 8, things could go sideways quickly. I sure hope not, but the potential is there.
     
    ribonucleic, Ghostworld and wgb113 like this.
  6. Jack Flannery

    Jack Flannery Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston, TX
    It doesn't seem to be happening though. Schiit makes some killer stuff.
     
    toddrhodes likes this.
  7. murphythecat

    murphythecat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    ive bought one Eitr
    it seem to have added a layer of stability/clarity in my yggy. very cool improvement for very little
     
  8. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Well-Known Member

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    I did my first comparison of Gumby Gen 5 vs. Eitr last night. Given how good Eitr is, I have to say I was surprised just how good the Gen 5 USB is...it's really very good, excellent, in fact.

    On my Conrad-Johnson amplified loudspeaker-based system (which, with Shunyata Triton power distribution and Zitron power cords, is very quiet with a very low noise floor), I hear a difference of "character" more than "quality". They both sound excellent, but slightly different. The Gen 5 USB has more "presence", "immediacy" and somewhat "meatier" quality to the sound than Etir/SPDIF, along with slightly more transparency. This increased presence/immediacy is not accompanied by "hardness", etch, grain in any way, however. The most accurate analogy I can provide is through digitial photography; there seems to be a bit more delineation of "micro contrast" or a bit more of the Clarity slider around the different "subjects" in the musical presentation. Eitr/SPDiF sounds slightly more "refined" and a touch softer, as if there's somewhat less micro contrast in a digital photograph. Another analogy I can think of Eitr/SPDIF sounds more like an EL-34 based tube power amp, Gen 5 USB sounds more like a KT-120 based power amp.

    How much of this one might want in a photograph or a musical presentation is entirely to taste. At this point, on my full tube-based system, I think I prefer the Gen 5 USB; I can see how on other systems, for example, some solid-state systems that are less "tube-like" or leaner in character than a tube system, one might well prefer the Eitr/SPDIF presentation.

    I'll have to go back and forth a bit to gather a more fully informed perspective, but both sound really great; I think it comes down to: do you want to listen to an EL-34 based amp or a KT-120 based amp? Both are wonderful in their own way, but different.
     
    LeeS, jfeldt and toddrhodes like this.
  9. Kyhl

    Kyhl formerly known

    Location:
    Savage
    Did you send your Gumby in for the Gen 5 update? I've put together enough PCs that I'm tempted to try it myself.
     
  10. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Well-Known Member

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    I sent my Gungnir in for a Multibit upgrade to Gumby, and also the Gen 5 upgrade at the same time as I had had a USB port/controller failure.
     
    Kyhl likes this.
  11. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Well-Known Member

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    You can, but consider a couple of things: 1) folks say it is really difficult to get the LEDs to line up properly when re-assembling the board into the chassis 2) if you mess up and do it wrong, you've voided the additional warranty period you get when you get the Gen 5 USB upgrade installed by Schiit or a certified electronics professional.
     
  12. k4rstar

    k4rstar Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Canada
    I installed it myself. It is very straightforward, there is a step by step guide written by someone and a video of a Schiit tech doing it on YouTube if you need help.
     
    Kyhl likes this.
  13. daglesj

    daglesj Forum Resident

    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    It's the same $50 worth of gubbins in all of them. Take your pick.;)
     
  14. Kyhl

    Kyhl formerly known

    Location:
    Savage
    I saw a step by step guide with pictures already. Didn't look too bad. I'm going to wait mainly because I have plans to dismantle and replace the audio rack anyway. Planning to redesign part of the room, plus paint. It will probably go in for an upgrade while the system is dismantled in a couple months.
     
  15. Thouston

    Thouston Forum Resident

    Location:
    Mattoon, IL
    I bought an Eitr for my office system Rega DacR. The improvement is not subtle. It really smoothed out the treble.
     
    AmosM likes this.
  16. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Location:
    Texas
    I can't take this company seriously at all, with these naming conventions.
     
    Aftermath and crooner like this.
  17. Otlset

    Otlset free-range audiophile

    Location:
    Temecula, CA
    No schiit!
     
    Aftermath likes this.
  18. Kyhl

    Kyhl formerly known

    Location:
    Savage
    Err, maybe some other companies take themselves too seriously. Audio should be fun.
     
    nola27, avanti1960, Russooll and 4 others like this.
  19. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    What's funny is that from both a mythological and marketing/functional perspective, the full name of the product makes complete sense. Oh well, can't please everyone.
     
  20. Jack Flannery

    Jack Flannery Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Buy elsewhere.
     
  21. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Location:
    Texas
    I did/do :wave:
     
  22. Gabe Walters

    Gabe Walters Forum Resident

    Their stuff is very, very good. They name their stuff with a schiit-eating grin, but their products are legit. Listening to a first-gen Asgard powering some Senn HD600s right now, with authority.
     
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  23. SirMarc

    SirMarc Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    You seriously wouldn't buy a well made American product that punches out of its price bracket because of a goofy/fun name? Wow...
     
    WiredChuck likes this.
  24. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Location:
    Texas
    Would you buy a $80K car called the Turd Burgler? Is this company run by 10-year-olds?

    I’m glad you guys enjoy it, and get a laugh out of it. It doesn’t offend me (at all). I’m the farthest thing from a prude you can imagine. It just seems like a cheap gimmick. A distraction. And great audio products don’t need a distraction to “punch out of their price bracket”.
     
    crooner, formu_la and Shiver like this.
  25. WiredChuck

    WiredChuck Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bay Area
    the entire point of the naming conventions is to make fun of the cork sniffers and deliver high quality audio gear made in the USA at a reasonable price. Everything I've ever purchased from Schiit has been fantastic.

    is Turd Burgler any worse than the naming conventions used by BMW, Infiniti, or any other company that uses random alphanumerics like M37i or 528is or ...
     

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