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Modius

Balanced DAC

Finish

$199.00

In production, ships 3-5 days

Description

Specs

FAQ

Reviews

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Modius? Yes, as in “Modius Maximus,” a bigger, balanced-output Modi with super-high performance—and even better versatility. Connect to any computer or streamer—or tablet, TV, CD player, or many other sources—and Modius delivers exceptional sound.

High Performance DAC and USB
Modius features Schiit’s exclusive Unison USB™ interface, which provides plug-and-play compatibility with virtually any modern device. Combined with the AKM AK4493 D/A converter and dedicated balanced and single-ended output stages with DC-coupled output, Modius provides exceptional performance for a very low price.
 
Class-Leading Versatility
Plug Modius into virtually any computer or streamer with the included USB cable and you’re ready to go. Or, choose optical, coaxial, or AES digital sources and use the included wall power supply. Or, if you want to connect your phone or tablet—something that needs very low power draw—again, use the included wall power supply to eliminate dreaded “draws too much power” errors. That’s right—Modius accepts pretty much any input you can throw at it! 
 
Perfect Pair with Asgard 3, Jotunheim, and Lyr 3
Modius has exactly the same footprint as our popular mid-sized amp series. If you’re looking for more connectivity than the internal cards provide, Modius is a perfect pair. Don’t have one of our amps? No worries, Modius works great with virtually anything!
 
Designed and Built in California
By “designed and built in California" this is what we mean: the vast majority of the total production cost of Modius—chassis, boards, transformers, assembly, etc—goes to US companies manufacturing in the US. Our chassis are made minutes from our facility. Our PCBs are done just over the hill from us. Yes, the wall-warts aren't made here, but there's some give and take at this price point. 
 
2-Year Warranty and 15-Day Returns
Modius is covered by a limited warranty that covers parts and labor for two years. And, if you don’t like your Modius, you can still send it back for a refund, minus 15% restocking fee, within 15 days of receiving your DAC.
SE or Balanced Outputs:
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz, +/-0.1dB
  • THD+N: 0.0003%, with or without external power
  • IMD: 0.0006%, CCIR, with or without external power
  • S/N: > 115dB, referenced to full output, with or without external power
  • Crosstalk: -125dB, 20-20kHz
Maximum Output: 4.0V RMS balanced, 2.0V RMS single-ended
 
Inputs: USB, Toslink SPDIF, Coaxial SPDIF, AES
 
Sample Rates and Bit Depths: 16/44.1 to 24/192
 
Input Receiver: 
  • USB: Schiit Unison USB™
  • SPDIF: AKM 4113
D/A Conversion IC: AKM AK4493
 
Analog Stage: Based on LME49724 for balanced output, OPA1662 for SE output, both independent, with precision thin-film resistors and film capacitors, DC coupled 
 
Output: XLR balanced and RCA single-ended
 
Output Impedance: 75 ohms
 
Power Supply: USB powered with +/-5V switching rail generator; auxiliary USB power input for 0mA USB power draw devices (like phones and tablets)
 
Size: 9 x 6 x 1.5”
 
Weight: 2 lb
 

Holy crap, a do-all balanced DAC, designed and built in California, for $199? What’s the catch?
None, really. It’s a great little DAC that is super-versatile and very high-performance. It happily runs on a single USB connection from your computer (and many streamers), but you can also use the external power supply for devices that need low power draw from the USB port.

And it comes with Unison USB?
Correct. Modius includes our own, proprietary USB interface (that is, not based on C-Media or XMOS, it was developed by us with about 2 person-years of R&D). 
 
What’s so special about Unison USB?
It’s a very good USB interface designed to do a single thing well: to interface seamlessly with modern UAC2-compliant devices. There’s no stuff in it for DSD or MQA. It doesn’t have drivers for now-obsolete Windows platforms. It’s really just for getting PCM audio (still over 99% of all files) from your streamer or computer to this DAC. 
 
That’s it?
Yes. Well, some people think Unison USB sounds very good, too.
 
But how can a USB interface sound different?
Yeah, we hear you. No pun intended.
 
Okay, moving on. How’d you deliver so much value in this package?
There’s no real magic–we just keep doing the same things we’ve always done—designing things for ease of production, and making a lot of them. 
 
So, you’re saying you plug Modius in and you’re ready to go?
Pretty much. Modius can be used with virtually any computer with no drivers: Windows, Mac, or Linux distros that support UAC 2.0. It also makes using phones and tablets easier, though, because if you use the provided wall-wart and USB cable into its external power port, it will avoid the dreaded “draws too much power” error. But Modius can also be used with a wide variety of digital sources, not just USB. Feel free to connect an optical, coaxial, and AES input as well.
 
What’s the difference between Modius and Modi 3?
Lots. Let’s break it down:
  • D/A Converter: Modi 3 uses the respected AKM AK4490 DAC, Modius uses the AK4493, a newer, higher performance version.
  • Analog Section: Modi 3 uses the OPA1662 op-amp and is DC-coupled, Modius uses two separate output stages, one based on the LME49724 balanced op-amp for the balanced output, and one based on the OPA1662.
  • USB Input: Modi 3 uses the C-Media CM6631A for USB input, Modius uses Schiit Unison USB.
  • SPDIF Inputs: Modi 3 offers coax and optical inputs, Modius adds AES as well.
  • Size: Modi 3 is the perfect size for stacking with our Magni and Vali amps, and Modius is the perfect size for stacking with Asgard 3, Jotunheim, Lyr 3, and Valhalla 2. 
Wait a sec, you have two totally separate output stages on this DAC, one for single-ended and one for balanced?
Yes. We chose to optimize for each use. The balanced output stage uses an inherently balanced, differential op-amp, whereas the SE stages use a single-ended op-amp. Both are very high performance, and both are designed specifically for their use. 
 
So I can use both at the same time?
Yes. They are totally separate.
 
Hey, wait, your "universal" wall adapter for Modius has a US plug on it. What if I need a Europlug/UK Plug/Australian Plug/Martian/Borg/Uninsulated Victorian/Alternate Timeline Edison DC Plug? 
The wall adapter is universal in the sense that you can plug it into pretty much any common AC wall voltage--100V to 240V--and it will (a) not self-immolate, and (b) provide 5V out of a USB connector. It does have a US/Japan style plug, but you can use a plug adapter and plug it in pretty much anywhere. Or you can use any 5V-out USB wall adapter you have handy. Or a battery pack. Or a computer.
 
I thought you hated switching power supplies!
We’ve said we would never use one where we didn’t need to. In this case, to hit the performance and price we were looking for, it needed a switcher. Don’t worry. It’s a very nice switcher.  
 
Well, I’m gonna get me a fancy-shmantzy linear power supply, what do you think about that?
We think you’re a little strange, because the output of that fancy power supply is going into a switcher, anyway. But if it makes you happy, we’re not going to stop you. Nor will we try to sell you such a power supply.
 
So what platforms does your Unison USB input support?
Actually, the question should be “What platforms support your USB input?” since our USB input is 100% UAC2 compliant (that is, USB Audio Class 2, the accepted standard for USB audio transmission.) So, here you go:
  • Windows. Windows 10 is plug and play with our DACs. We do not provide drivers for earlier versions of Windows.
  • Mac OSX. From 10.7 on up, Macs have been plug and play with our DACs. 
  • iOS. From iOS7 on up, iOS devices work with our DACs using a USB Camera Connection Kit, Lightning to USB Camera Adapter, or Lightning to USB3 Camera Adapter. 
  • Android. Most Android devices that shipped with Android M or above work with our DACs using a USB OTG cable. Some may require separate player software, like USB Audio Player Pro. 
  • Linux. Most Linux distros that support UAC2 natively will be plug and play with our DACs. Please note that we cannot provide detailed technical support for Linux.
  • Roon. Roon recognizes our products and is plug and play.
  • Most streamers. Most streamers are Linux-based, so they have no problem with our USB input.
I want a combined DAC/amp! Why didn’t you put an amp in here?
We did. They’re just in different chassis and costs another $199-499. They’re called “Asgard 3”, “Jotunheim,” and “Lyr 3.” You can also pair it up with the Valhalla 2, older Asgards and Valhallas, and older Lyrs. It has the same footprint as all of those amps. Now you have many options for a desktop stack, instead of a single soon-to-be-obsolete combo box.
 
What is “Modius?” That doesn’t sound Norse. 
Modius doesn’t sound Norse because we are silly. When we were developing this product, we started calling it “Modius Maximus,” because, well, it’s a bigger Modi. And yes, we know, that’s a Roman naming convention, and yes, we know, that doesn’t make a lot of sense with Norse mythology. But hey, we’re just having a bit of fun. Roll with it.  
Modius vs Modi 3
Tee-Jay The Stereo Bargain-File
Z Reviews: Schiit Modius
ZeosPantera
Schiit Modius Review and Measurements
Purrin, SuperBestAudioFriends.com

"BTW, the Modius is super resolving. I thought overall SQ would be 5%-10% better than Modi 3 subjectively, on par with the RME. It's more like 25%-30% better than Modi 3 and easily bests the RME ADI2 from memory, although the RME obviously has way more functionality, so not really appropriate to make an apples-apple comparison. But really, if we think about it, it makes sense. Schiit's not going to charge x2 more for something that sounds 5-10% better subjectively. The measurements are just a distraction. They make gear based on listening - heck I know because sometimes they ask my opinion - just to make sure they aren't nuts. More data points is always better."

 

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Schiit Modius
AudioScienceReview, amirm

"Just a year ago we could not imagine a balanced DAC at $199 let alone from a western company. But here we are with Schiit Modius. Company shows that when it focuses on excellent engineering together with great value, it can deliver.

 
As a big fan of balanced XLR outputs (to reduce chances of nasty ground loops due to connection to PCs), I am happy to recommend the Schiit Modius."

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Schiit Modius Review and Comparisons
Distro User