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  1. #1
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    Schiit Loki - DSD-only for 149 USD

    Yep - change from a hundred and fifty bucks, and you can DSD your brains out.

    Schiit Loki - adds DSD playback to your existing DAC for US$149 | Digital Audio Review by John Darko

    I'm not seeing it on the Schiit site, but I like Jason and Mike's words of wisdom

  2. #2
    Masters Level Member ted_b's Avatar
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    Time will tell whether their passthrough is clean enough, but suffice it to say that a $149 investment is low enough for most people to "dip their toes" into DSD. And this "horses for courses" approach of having a DSD-only design is theoretically quite sound (pun intended) and becoming a reality at places like Lampizator. Frankly, I think it is a reason why more DAC mfgers haven't gone DSD; they see it as a completely different analog stage design and don't want to compromise their stellar PCM playback. Now the issue becomes: how do I run 2 USB setups?
    "We're all bozos on this bus"....F.T.

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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by ted_b View Post
    Now the issue becomes: how do I run 2 USB setups?
    Agree, this looks like a logistical nightmare. Don't want to switch DACs every time I switch format.

    It would really be interesting to compare this $150 DAC to Audirvana's on the spot DSD to PCM conversion.
    Main: iMac late 2009 8GB SSD / Qobuz Sublime > Audirvana+/JRiverMac/AmarraSQ > Audioquest Forest USB > BelCanto mlink > Atlas Ascent BNC > Exposure 2010S2 Dac > Audioquest King Cobra > Exposure 3010S2 Integrated > Chord Carnival Classic > B&W CM8
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  4. #4
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    Product announcement from Jason and Mike:

    Schiit Audio, Headphone amps and DACs made in USA.
    Office: MacBook Pro - Audirvana Plus - Lynx Hilo - Sennheiser HD 800.
    Travel: MacBook Air - Resonessence Concero - Cavailli Liquid Carbon - Audeze SINE or Noble Savant
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  5. #5
    Freshman Member Highfilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ted_b View Post
    Now the issue becomes: how do I run 2 USB setups?
    From the Loki product page, in the FAQ section:

    If I've already got a USB DAC, how do I connect Loki?
    With another USB cable. You'll have a USB cable running to your current DAC, and another to Loki. Loki reports as "Schiit DSD Audio Device," with a different USB ID, so there's no problem running both, say, a Schiit USB DAC and a Loki. You can run the output of your current USB DAC through Loki for switching convenience. On your computer, you can switch between DACs using your player software (usually.)
    So I can use this with Bifrost?
    Of course. You can also use it with Modi, Gungnir, or any other DAC that has RCA outputs. Just hook up the output of your current DAC to Loki, and press the button when you want to listen to DSD. Turn it off when you’re not listening, and the output of your current DAC is passed right through.
    Body: PI Audio ÜberBUSS > Synology DS1813+ > Sonore Rendu (SE Upgraded) -> WyWires Silver SPDIF > NAD M51 > WyWires Silver XLRs > Schiit Ragnarok > WyWires Silver Speaker Cables > Salk SoundScape 10's > Complete GIK / PI Audio Group Room Treatments > :)

    Head: PI Audio ÜberBUSS > Synology DS1813+ > Sonore Rendu (SE Upgraded) -> WyWires Silver SPDIF > NAD M51 > WyWires Silver XLRs > Schiit Ragnarok > WyWires RED Cable > Sennheiser HD800 > :)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ted_b View Post
    Now the issue becomes: how do I run 2 USB setups?
    Why would you want to? I keep playing all my PCM content as DSD... TEAC UD-501 and Mytek are always in DSD128 mode, never in anything else for true listening.
    Signalyst - http://www.signalyst.com
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  7. #7
    Sophomore Member zerung's Avatar
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    DSD Only When You Need It
    With Loki, you’ll instantly get 1X DSD decoding from PC and Mac USB sources. But it also integrates with any DAC. Push the front-panel button, and Loki seamlessly passes through the output of your current DAC, untouched, so you can listen to all your other digital music.

    .................................................. .................................................. ......................

    So the sound that matters is the DAC downstream and the synergy between the
    Loki and your base DAC.
    Gotta try.
    Synology NAS (LPS)/MiniMc (UA JS-2/MMK LPS)>Uptone Audio Regen>Intona>Lamp Big7(R2R)/Meridian 808.3>Wavac EC300B/PRT1/MD-805m, Lavardin IT>Tannoy Canterbury SE
    Synology NAS/MiniMc (LPS)>Uptone Audio Regen(LPSU)>Lamp Big7>/Woo WES/Ifi ICan (LPSU)>Stax SR-009, Audeze LCD2

  8. #8
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    I see no active filters on their PCB (OpAmps).
    Just one big multifunction chip with three crystals (USB/Ethernet/DSD).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post
    I see no active filters on their PCB (OpAmps).
    Just one big multifunction chip with three crystals (USB/Ethernet/DSD).
    I was looking at the same. Can't quite recognize what the big chip is, but I guess it is just USB interface. All the analog stuff is probably at the other side of the board... (makes it easier to isolate the two by ground plane while having short data paths using through vias)
    Signalyst - http://www.signalyst.com
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Highfilter View Post
    So I can use this with Bifrost?
    Of course. You can also use it with Modi, Gungnir, or any other DAC that has RCA outputs. Just hook up the output of your current DAC to Loki, and press the button when you want to listen to DSD. Turn it off when you’re not listening, and the output of your current DAC is passed right through.
    Hey all,

    A couple of things. First, the above: sorry, edited this on the site to be more accurate. It now reads:

    So I can use this with Bifrost?
    Of course. You can also use it with Modi, Gungnir, or any other DAC. To use a DAC with RCA outputs with Loki's built-in switching system, just hook up the output of your current DAC to Loki. Listen to DSD via Loki, and press the front-panel button when you want to listen to PCM via your current DAC.
    To be totally clear, Loki does absolutely nothing to the output of your current DAC--it is simply a passive switcher. RCA inputs, PCB traces, and a switch are all that's in the signal path if you're using the passthrough.

    And yep, there are definitely active filters on there--it's just the opamps are really, really tiny, since they are MSOP packages. If you're looking only at the front of the board, you won't see 90% of what's going on--take a look at the back of the board at schiit.com/products/loki

    As far as managing two USB connections, Loki has a different USB device ID and reports as a different device than even the standard Schiit USB interface, so it's usually easy to switch between them using your playback software.

    Let us know if you have more questions, and I'll see if I can clear them up.

    All the best,

    Jason Stoddard
    Co-Founder
    Schiit Audio

  11. #11
    Ordered mine today. I am going to run mine through the analog input on my Emotiva DC-1. Can't wait to experiment.

  12. #12
    Ph.D. Level Member Paul R's Avatar
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    S'a funny - I actually popped that Schiit into the cart, and then found myself pausing at a $12 shipping cost. I could have sworn I saw free shipping somewhere or another.

    -Paul
    Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.
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  13. #13
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    Thanks for the clarification, Jason - interesting to see how quickly certain CA'ers whipped themselves into a lather over the 'logistical nightmare' (!) of having to connect a second device

  14. #14
    Junior Member Booster MPS's Avatar
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    Jason if you could indulge a question. How does the Loki fit in with the plans for a "statement" DAC? Thanks!

  15. #15
    Masters Level Member ted_b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miska View Post
    Why would you want to? I keep playing all my PCM content as DSD... TEAC UD-501 and Mytek are always in DSD128 mode, never in anything else for true listening.
    Agreed. Hence my question (i.e good luck managing two drivers and two USB connections). I answered my own question with JRiver upsampling to DSD (or HQPlayer of course) but it was on a different forum, sorry.
    "We're all bozos on this bus"....F.T.

    My JRiver screencast tutorials : http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f1...tml#post272960
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booster MPS View Post
    Jason if you could indulge a question. How does the Loki fit in with the plans for a "statement" DAC? Thanks!
    If you read the press release Schiit put out for Ragnarok/Yggdrasil, it's pretty obvious what they think of DSD as a viable format going forward.

    Yggdrasil is the ultimate expression of Schiit’s bitperfect approach, and the antithesis of noise-shaping DACs and technologies such as DSD

    Unless Jason has a different definition for 'antithesis', I'd say that is pretty clear. If it wasnt, his communique with Mr Darko per the original link in this thread makes it abundantly so, IMO. Still, I'm not Jason, so I look forward to his response.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Ned Kelly View Post
    If you read the press release Schiit put out for Ragnarok/Yggdrasil, it's pretty obvious what they think of DSD as a viable format going forward.

    Yggdrasil is the ultimate expression of Schiit’s bitperfect approach, and the antithesis of noise-shaping DACs and technologies such as DSD

    Unless Jason has a different definition for 'antithesis', I'd say that is pretty clear. If it wasnt, his communique with Mr Darko per the original link in this thread makes it abundantly so, IMO. Still, I'm not Jason, so I look forward to his response.
    I think we are very precise in what we say, and very clear about our position. Of course, many people think I am totally insane.

    As far as how Loki fits into our plans for the Yggdrasil, hey, it works perfectly fine side-by-side with Yggy. And, as we say in the FAQ, if DSD gains wide acceptance, that doesn't mean we can't do the ultimate super-duper no-DAC-just-a-switch-and-crazy-filtering DSD box that integrates seamlessly with any DAC.

    And to be perfectly clear: Yggy won't be doing DSD internally.

  18. #18
    Junior Member Booster MPS's Avatar
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    Thanks for your time Jason!

  19. #19
    Received my Loki today and I must say that I am a little disappointed with the build quality. The housing has some small scratches and the push button is way off center. Seeing as this is $149, I am discounting the exterior based on that.

    Based on some very quick listening this evening the unit sounds quite good, but I am not really able to compare it to anything as my Oppo 105 is used in another room on different speakers. For $149, it seems to be the quick and dirty way to get in the DSD door and sound pretty good doing it.

  20. #20
    Sorry to hear that! Is it possible it was damaged in shipping? We can always do a return/exchange for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Balthazar2k4 View Post
    Received my Loki today and I must say that I am a little disappointed with the build quality. The housing has some small scratches and the push button is way off center. Seeing as this is $149, I am discounting the exterior based on that.

    Based on some very quick listening this evening the unit sounds quite good, but I am not really able to compare it to anything as my Oppo 105 is used in another room on different speakers. For $149, it seems to be the quick and dirty way to get in the DSD door and sound pretty good doing it.

  21. #21
    Push button on mine also is off-center, but that doesn't trouble me and the unit otherwise looks good. I have no other DSD DAC for comparison, but I very much like what I'm hearing! Incredible idea, to do DSD only and at this price, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Balthazar2k4 View Post
    Received my Loki today and I must say that I am a little disappointed with the build quality. The housing has some small scratches and the push button is way off center. Seeing as this is $149, I am discounting the exterior based on that.

    Based on some very quick listening this evening the unit sounds quite good, but I am not really able to compare it to anything as my Oppo 105 is used in another room on different speakers. For $149, it seems to be the quick and dirty way to get in the DSD door and sound pretty good doing it.

  22. #22
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    Where is the rest of the thread? I just posted something and disappeared...
    Oh well...
    Quote Originally Posted by schiit View Post
    And yep, there are definitely active filters on there--it's just the opamps are really, really tiny, since they are MSOP packages. If you're looking only at the front of the board, you won't see 90% of what's going on--take a look at the back of the board at schiit.com/products/loki
    Now I see: AK4396 - probably in pure DSD more - and one AD OpAmp (ADA4004-4 quad since you have differential outputs?). That's nice (could be probably nicer), but you could probably leave the PCM 'in' with the same costs. Marketing strategy I guess...
    Why not, if that's what DSD purists ask for? Personally I think that the AKM multibit D-S approach to DSD sounds better than their 'direct DSD', but... if it sells, it sells...
    Last edited by SoNic67; 09-12-2013 at 07:41 AM.

  23. #23
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    The older PCI SOtM card had (2) USB outputs. Using JRMC feature you can push certain file types to unique zones. Too bad the new card has just (1) USB port.

    Funny too there are many new boards out from ASUS and ASROCK that still include one legacy PCI slot.

    I have an Adnaco S3B, that might be another option since it has (2) USB.

    Quote Originally Posted by ted_b View Post
    Time will tell whether their passthrough is clean enough, but suffice it to say that a $149 investment is low enough for most people to "dip their toes" into DSD. And this "horses for courses" approach of having a DSD-only design is theoretically quite sound (pun intended) and becoming a reality at places like Lampizator. Frankly, I think it is a reason why more DAC mfgers haven't gone DSD; they see it as a completely different analog stage design and don't want to compromise their stellar PCM playback. Now the issue becomes: how do I run 2 USB setups?
    DIGITAL: Windows 7 x64 JRMC19 >Adnaco S3B fiber over USB (battery power)> Auralic Vega > Tortuga LDR custom LPSU > Zu Union Cubes + Deep Hemp Sub

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  24. #24
    Freshman Member Sasaki's Avatar
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    I got my Loki, thanks Jason.
    I hooked it up with Mac with Ardirvana first. Roki sounded natural and harsh-less while retaining good details and solid imaging. I felt it as fairly DSD-ish sound signature.

    img_2547_filtered.jpg

    I next used RaspyFI 1.0 with Roki. RaspyFi is a Raspberry PI + MPD distro which is able to use USB DAC. RaspyFI also supports native DSD playback. I tried both of DSF and DFF. RaspyFI works very well with Roki.
    They cost only $35(Raspberry PI) + $149(Roki) but they playback hires and also playback native DSD, sound quality is impressive. This is an awesome $200 setup.
    blog: http://vaiopocket.seesaa.net/

  25. #25
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    My Loki + Magni combo arrived here yesterday. Initial impression is that it sounds surprisingly good for the price!

    I will have to try out Magni with some more expensive DACs too. Now I already wonder how Mjolnir would sound like.

    P.S. Works flawlessly on Linux...
    Signalyst - http://www.signalyst.com
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