Multibit DAC with Closed-Form Filter

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Forget everything you know about DACs. Yggdrasil is the world’s only closed-form multibit DAC, delivering 21 bits of resolution with no guessing anywhere in the digital or analog path. We’ve thrown out delta-sigma D/As and traditional digital filters to preserve the original samples all the way through from input to output. Let’s take a closer look:

Closed-Form Digital Filter Preserves Original Samples
Most DACs simply use the stock digital filters embedded in their D/A converters. But even the most sophisticated ones, using their own digital filter algorithms, don’t have what Yggdrasil has—a time- and frequency-domain optimized digital filter with a true closed-form solution. This means it retains all the original samples, performing a true interpolation. This digital filter gives you the best of both NOS (all original samples retained) and upsampling (easier filtering of out-of-band noise) designs.

Mission-Critical D/A Tech, Discrete Class A Analog 2 Output
For MRI diagnoses, doctors don’t rely on the guesswork of “24 bit” or “32 bit” delta-sigma D/A converters. Instead, they choose the bit-perfect imaging of precision multibit DACs, like the Analog Devices AD5791. We chose this same critical technology for Yggdrasil. Now in Analog 2 form (shipping since late 2017), we’ve combined the output of four of these DACs with DC-coupled, low-noise, Class A JFET buffers and summers with high current output capability to drive long cable runs and low-impedance line inputs, such as 600 ohm professional gear.

Adapticlock and USB Gen 5: Advanced Input Optimization
Yggdrasil accepts up to 5 digital inputs and carefully manages them with our Adapticlock™ clock regeneration system. Adapticlock is the most sophisticated clock management system in the world. It assesses the quality of all inputs, measures their incoming center frequency and jitter, and automatically routes the input to the best clock regeneration system. And, our Gen 5 USB features full galvanic isolation via transformers, self-power for low-noise and latching sections, and high-quality local clocking for both 44.1 and 48k multiples. (And, if you don’t understand the technobabble, here’s the bottom line: it works and sounds great.)

Designed and Assembled in USA
By “designed and assembled in USA" this is what we mean: the vast majority of the total production cost of Yggdrasil—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, or done in NorCal. Our transformers are also made in California. You get the picture. 

5-Year Warranty
Yggdrasil is covered by a limited warranty that covers parts and labor for five years. That’s 5 years. Yes. FIVE. Which is up to 5X that of our competition, if you weren’t so hot at math. Note the marketing weasel-wording “up to.”

15-Day Satisfaction Guarantee
Try Yggdrasil in your own house for 15 days. If you don’t like it, simply send it back for a refund, minus a 5% transaction fee. Try spending 15 days in an audio store. They’ll kick you out. Unless you buy them donuts. Maybe.

Input Capability: up to 24/192 for all inputs
Input Receiver, SPDIF: AKM AK4113
Input Receiver, USB: C-Media CM6631A
Clock Management: Bitperfect clock management at all native sample rates via Adapticlock analysis and VCXO/VCO regeneration, plus asynchronous USB Gen 5 module
Digital Filter: proprietary Schiit bitperfect closed-form digital filter implemented on Analog Devices SHARC DSP processor
D/A Conversion IC: Analog Devices AD5791BRUZ x 4 (2 per channel, hardware balanced configuration)
Analog Stage: Fully discrete, DC coupled Class A FET buffers optimized for high current output and fully discrete, Class A FET summing stages for single-ended output
Output: One pair XLR balanced and two pairs RCA single-ended
Output Impedance: 75 ohms
Frequency Response, Analog Stage: 20Hz-20Khz, +/-0.1dB, 0.5Hz-200KHz, -1dB
Maximum Output: 4.0V RMS (balanced), 2.0V RMS (single-ended)
THD: Less than 0.005%, 20Hz-20KHz, at full output
IMD: <0.005%, CCIF, at full output
SNR: > 119dB, referenced to 2V RMS
Power Supply: two transformers (one for digital supplies, one for analog supplies) plus one input choke for discrete, dual mono, shunt-regulated analog +/-24V supply, plus 12 separate local regulated supplies for DACs and digital sections, including high-precision, low-noise LM723 regulation in critical areas.
Upgradability: Fully modular architecture. Separate digital input board, USB input board, DSP engine board, and DAC/analog output boards.
Power Consumption: 35W
Size: 16 x 12” x 3.875”
Weight: 25 lbs

So this is your bestest brightest DAC? For only $2399?
Yes. We don't believe in fancy casework, nor in blingy displays, nor in any kind of complication that just ups the price for the sake of upping the price. So yes, this is our top DAC. A DAC that can look any other DAC in the world in the face and not flinch. That is, if it was human. And if DACs had faces. Hell, you know what we mean.

How can this possibly be better than, say, the Arglebargle $15,000 DAC when this is so much less expensive?
Because the Arglebargle was most likely designed to the expectations of today, using commonly available parts in a super-fancy case, while we started with a clean sheet of paper. 

But the Arglebargle has like twelve 32-bit DACs in it! Yours only has 21 bits! Hell, that’s not a full 24 bits even! What about my 24-bit recordings?
If your 24 bit recordings actually have 24 bits of resolution, we’ll eat a hat. And those "32-bit" DACs? Well, they have this measurement known as “equivalent number of bits.” This means, in English, how many bits of resolution they really have. And that number, for most of them, is about 19.5. 
But it’s only 21 bits! I can’t get over that!
We can’t get over the fact that delta-sigma DACs are actually 2- to 5-bit designs. Different strokes for different folks.
What about DSD or MQA?
Yggdrasil won’t do DSD, unless it's converted in the player. Yggdrasil plays MQA just fine (like any other DAC.) Some software and hardware players can "unfold" MQA as well. 
What? But I hear DSD and/or MQA is the future!
Yeah, and reel-to-reel was the future in the 1970s, and it’s dead now, and DAT was the future in the 1980s, and it’s dead now, and HDCD was the future in the 1990s, and it’s dead now, and SACD was the future in the 2000s, and it’s dead now. But, let's say Sony suddenly opens their vaults and offers 30,000 DSD albums with guaranteed direct-from-DSD provenance at $5.99 each, or if Apple and Spotify and Amazon start streaming only MQA for free (yes, we know, stop laughing) then hey, Yggy is fully upgradable.
What’s this bullschiit about a closed form digital filter, and why does it matter?
Most digital filters destroy the original samples in the process of upsampling. They’re just like sample rate converters or delta-sigma DACs. We’re all about the original samples, so we created a digital filter with a true closed-form solution, which means it retains all the original samples. This is a major difference between Schiit multibit DACs like Yggdrasil and every other DAC in the world. 
I don't believe you!
Then ask Mike Moffat, the father of audiophile digital playback, about his 5-year quest to perfect this digital filter, involving 1917 Western Electric papers on pulse-code modulation, a professor emeritus of mathematics who devised a way to get around the divide-by-zero problem, a RAND corp mathematician to implement it, and a master programmer to get it to run on our SHARC processor engine. In his words:
"The below are the claims of the digital filter/interpolator/sample rate converter in Yggy:
  1. The filter is absolutely proprietary.
  2. The development tools and coefficient calculator to derive the above filters are also proprietary.
  3. The math involved in developing the filter and calculating has a closed form solution. It is not an approximation, as all other filters I have studied (most, if not all of them). Therefore, all of the original samples are output. This could be referred to fairly as bit perfect; what comes in goes out.
  4. Oversimplified, however essentially correct: The filter is also time domain optimized which means the phase info in the original samples are averaged in the time domain with the filter generated interpolated samples to for corrected minimum phase shift as a function of frequency from DC to the percentage of nyquist - in our case .968. Time domain is well defined at DC - the playback device behaves as a window fan at DC - it either blows (in phase) or sucks (out). It is our time domain optimization that gives the uncanny sonic hologram. (It also allows the filter to disappear. Has to be heard to understand.) Since lower frequency wavelengths are measured in tens of feet, placement in image gets increasingly wrong as a function of decreasing frequency in non time domain optimized recordings - these keep the listener's ability to hear the venue - not to mention the sum of all of the phase errors in the microphones, mixing boards, eq, etc on the record side. An absolute phase switch is of little to no value in a non time domain optimized, stochastic time domain replay system. It makes a huge difference with an Yggy.
  5. This is combined with a frequency domain optimization which does not otherwise affect the phase optimization. The 0.968 of Nyquist also gives us a small advantage that none of the off-the shelf FIR filters (0.907) provide: frequency response out to 21.344KHz, 42.688KHz, 85.3776KHz, and 170.5772KHz bandwidth for native 1,2,4, and 8x 44.1KHz SR multiple recordings - the 48KHz table is 23.232, 46.464, 92.868, and 185.856KHz respectively for 1,2,4, and 8x. This was the portion of the filter that had the divide by zero problem which John Lediaev worked out, to combine with #4 above AND retain the original samples.
This is what other DACs typically offer: frequency domain optimization FIR filters with Parks-McClellan optimization. Any avoidance of the Parks-McClellan pablum requires a lot of original DSP work. Am I a prophet who received the tablets from God or some other high-end audio drivel. Hell, no. I was the producer and director of this project and worked with Dave Kerstetter (hardware-software), John Lediaev (Math), Tom Lippiat (DSP Code), Warren Goldman (Coefficient Generator and development tools) for a total of 15 or so man years. These folks either taught math at The University of Iowa, Computer Science at Carnegie-Mellon University, worked at think tanks like the Rand Corporation – you get the idea. We did this for no money - What we all had in common was that we loved audio. All other audio pros were interested in Parks-McClellan and pointed and laughed at us. That's the way it happened. It was worth it, every hour, day, and year."

So what platforms does your 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 7, 8, and 10. Windows 10 is highly recommended. It is usually plug and play with our DACs. Sometimes you have to install drivers, which are available at schiit.com/drivers. Windows XP, Vista, and Windows Server editions are all untested and are not recommended.
  • Mac OSX. From 10.7 on up, Macs have been plug and play with our DACs. Sometimes you’ll run into power management problems that will require you to turn off App Nap.
  • iOS. From iOS7 on up, iOS devices have been able to interface with our DACs using a USB Camera Connection Kit, Lightning to USB Camera Adapter, or Lightning to USB3 Camera Adapter. You may have to use a hub to avoid a “Draws too much power” error.
  • Android. Most Android devices that shipped with Android M or above will interface 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.
How about the DACs and analog stage? 
The DACs we're using—AD5791—were billed as "the industry's first true 20-bit DAC" by Analog Devices when they were introduced in 2010. Note the words "first" and "true." This is not 20-bit as defined for audio applications, this is not 24-bit delta-sigma, this is not (nudge, snicker) "32 bit" complete fantasy stuff. These DACs have never been used in an audio product until Yggdrasil. Normally, they are used for medical device imaging and weapons targeting—applications in which accuracy is absolutely paramount. Now, we're using 4 of the highest-spec AD5791BRUZ in this product—2 each per channel, for true differential hardware balanced design. Beyond that, a fully discrete, DC-coupled, Class A FET buffer stage and fully discrete FET summers (for the single-ended output) complete the picture. 
So how come everyone isn't using the AD5791, if it's so great?
Because they require very, very special care and feeding. AD5791s aren't "bolt in and go" DACs, with pleasant little paint-by-numbers application notes for use with audio. They don't even accept normal digital audio formats. Managing their use with multiple input bit depths and sample rates is, well, challenging. And special care has to be taken with their output. Plus, people are more focused on silly claims like "32-bit" DACs and "Giga-Rate" DSD. "21 real bits," doesn't sound real sexy in that context.
Wait, what is this about 32-bit music?
How much 32 bit music do you have? (Not that it will ever exist—we can't get the noise floor that low. Period. Unless Dr. Who pays us a visit and drops some alien tech on us...) 
You guys are crazy!
Yes. We know that. And so are you. You're considering a $2,300, 25-lb product that does the same basic thing as a $0.32 chip in your iPhone. 
Okay, fine, I get the picture. Change of subject: is this thing upgradable?
Yggdrasil is built for the future, as plainly evidenced by the two updates we’ve released for Yggdrasil in the 4 years since its release (Gen 5 USB and Analog 2 Output). The main board is nothing more than a motherboard and power supply. From there, separate, plug-in modules are used for the input board, the USB board, the processor/DSP board, and the separate analog boards. This means that any part of Yggdrasil can be updated as standards change. Better USB? Sure. Better SPDIF? Sure. More processing power? Sure. Different DAC and analog section? Sure. This is one DAC you won't be throwing away when things change. 
How do I know I have the Gen 5 USB input?
Gen 5 is indicated with a separate sticker near the USB input.
How do I know I have the new "Analog 2" output?
Your serial number will start with a "B." 
The Absolute Sound
Robert Harley

 "I don’t know how Schiit Audio has done it, but the $2300 Yggy is in many ways competitive with any DAC I’ve heard regardless of price. In some criteria—transient speed without etch, clarity of musical line, whole-body involvement—the Yggy is as good as digital gets."

"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."‚Äč


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ComputerAudiophile Yggdrasil Review
Chris Connaker, ComputerAudiophile.com

"Based on my experience with countless DACs and after spending a couple months with the Yggdrasil, I can say without a doubt that this DAC is very special. It's one of my favorite DACs available today. In fact, I will happily mention the Yggdrasil in the same sentence as some of my other favorites, the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC RS ($16,000) and the EMM Labs DAC2X ($15,500), when talking to fellow audio enthusiasts. The Yggdrasil is one of those products that subtly grabs hold of the listener, yet the listener is the one who can't let go. I couldn't stop listening through the Yggdrasil enough to write this review on time."

"The Yggdrasil has a really solid yet simplistic build quality on the outside and very selective component use on the inside. However, I believe the Yggdrasil's performance has much more to do with intellectual property than any other factor. Any manufacturer can use identical hardware in a competing product, but only Schiit Audio has its closed-form filter."

"The Yggdrasil is a disruptive product that I can't recommend enough to both new and experienced music aficionados. Add to cart and enjoy."

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The Absolute Sound's 10 Most Significant Products
Steven Stone
In The Absolute Sound's show report for Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, Yggdrasil was chosen as one of the "10 Most Significant Products."
"Schiit is one of those companies whose products have an edge. For RMAF Schiit introduced a new flagship DAC, the Yggdrasil (say that fast three times) that is touted as “the world’s only bit-perfect DAC.” To achieve this lofty goal the Yggdrasil uses proprietary “adapti-clock” topology combined with VCO and VCXO re-clocking. The DAC’s analog stage uses differential current-feedback topology with a fully discrete design populated by both JFET and bipolar transistors. For $2299 the Yggdrasil delivers a lot of unique technology and flexible functionality. It sounded great driving a pair of Audeze LCD-2 headphones."

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Headphone Guru
Paddy Carroll

"The Yggdrasil has an amazing way of reproducing the sound of three dimensional space....Breaths taking by the four musicians and movements of the arms and feet are all amplified creating a much more intimate listening experience. It is even possible to hear the clothes that the players are wearing as they perform – movements of the sleeves and trousers! I also got a sense of the size of the concert hall, echoes of sound and microphone placement were precisely picked up which easily created images of the depth of the hall as the sounds are reflected from wall to wall."

"In my opinion it surpasses similarly priced DACs like the Eximus DP1, Chord Hugo and Arcam FMJ D33. It seemed superior even to DACs like the Lampizator Generation 4. The Yggdrasil’s advantages in price to performance peak at around the level of DACs like the Bricasti M1 which is an unbelievable achievement when you consider that the M1 is 3 times the price of the Yggdrasil.

"One of the crowning achievements of this DAC is how it can take regular CD quality (Redbook) recordings and squeeze every last drop of detail from them. I was floored when I went through my old rock collection."

"The Yggdrasil sets a new benchmark in price for performance. I believe that it is the best DAC on the market for the money."

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Thoughts on a bunch of DACs
"Just when you think the Gen V is good, the Yggdrasil is even better. You wouldn't believe how much musical information is contained in those 44/16 files; and just how much lesser DACs leave behind. Brings those old or even bad recordings into a new light. Monster dynamics, bass that stops on a dime, tight precision, decay and ambient cues that don't suddenly disappear when they are not supposed to. No digital crap. Makes me reminisce of vinyl in my youth. The Yggdrasil is the 2015 update to the Theta V by the same guys. The Yggdrasil is really beyond words.
The downside? Kinda sounds like **** in the first few hours. 24-48 hours at minimum to warm up. One week for best results."

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Schiit Audio Yggdrasil Digital-to-Analog Converter with Analog 2 Upgrade
Erich Wetzel, Soundstage! HiFi.

"In its Analog 2 version, the Yggdrasil DAC marries affordability to exceptional sound quality courtesy a bespoke DAC architecture from one of hi-fi’s most pioneering digital designers. The Yggdrasil provided beautiful, musical sound even when fed challenging recordings from digital’s early days. Clear imaging, large and solid soundstaging, linear frequency response, and a particularly fabulous midrange all make the Schiit Yggdrasil an excellent DAC at any price."

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The Best Schiit Ever
Steve Guttenberg, CNET Audiophiliac

"Schiit’s flagship converter, the Yggdrasil Analog 2, sells for a fraction of the cost of the best high-end converters, but it’s right up there in performance."

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Dial M for Multibit
John Darko

"With the Schiit Yggdrasil Analog 2 we see a DAC with no additional feature set on which to fall back should it materialise as an also-ran at its price point. Buyer appeal is determined solely by its performance as a converter of digital audio to analogue. And boy, does it deliver, cutting us a huge chunk of the high-end’s digital audio cake but without the associated price premium, in turn free-ing more of our budget for a top-flight server/streamer. Because Mike Moffat, multibit, medical, maths and modular. Astonishing for a product made entirely in the US of A."

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Bit Perfect
Gary Alan Barker, Headphone Guru

"Schiit have done their job. As a reference piece the Yggy Analog 2 delivers in spades. For detail and musicality, I have not heard better. The large deep soundstage speaks of levels of resolution not achievable with Sigma/Delta DAC chips when reproducing PCM. The incredible neutrality of the tonal balance says the Yggy adds nothing that does not belong there to the music. If I have any complaint it is that the presentation is sometimes a little more crisp than I prefer being an analog and tube guy at heart, but that being said, I have listened to $50,000 DACs that I can’t say sound better. If you are in the market for a reference DAC, or simply have the cash for one, you would be doing yourself a disservice to not audition the Schiit Yggdrasil Analog 2."

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