Oh Schiit... back to the drawing board

So I got myself a Schiit Gungnir multibit DAC (Gumby). Was waitlisted for a month and it finally got here a week ago. These are notorious for break-in so I put over 100 hours on it before sitting down for a thorough evaluation. I'm sad and disappointed to report that I'm not totally digging the Gumby. I was really expecting good things too because of the stellar reviews all over the web.

To do my review I A-B'd it against my CDP, a Jolida JD-100. Maybe that's not a fair comparo? It's a damn fine CDP. But it is tube gear and the Schiit is not.

Compared to the Jolida the Gumby was simply less engaging, less fun. The Jolida presents a 3D soundstage with considerable depth. The images have substance and form and you can listen into the details of them deeply. The Gumby was a flatter presentation. Instead of 3D sound images arranged in space it presents more of a 2D sound "picture". Noticeably less fore-aft depth to the images. I also noticed distinctly that certain elements of timbre and musical images such as reverb and echos are presented in less detail and substance, almost not present in some cases. Which you would have no idea what you're missing without a comparo to another gear.

One thing the Gumby did very well was higher frequencies. These really stood out as clear and defined. Cymbals and bells were expertly crafted. The downside to that though is a tendency toward fatigue. And maybe lends to the Gumby's overall "dry" feel to its sound.

As a final test I swapped the IC's (AQ sidewinders vs King Cobras) and reran the test. No noticeable changes.

Well, that's my attempt at a review. I am open to any comments or suggestions in my approach. But at this point I've pretty much decided to send it back. Such a bummer after so much research and anticipation. :(

The search for a new DAC will continue...
System
Yamaha A-S3000 Integrated Amplifier
Sonus Faber Cremona Loudspeakers
Squeezebox Touch | Jolida JD-100A CDP | Sansui TU-717 Tuner

Comments

  • rpf65rpf65 Posts: 1,695
    Sounds like you prefer the sound of tube gear.

    If I were you that is where I would start refine the search.
  • zuulzuul Posts: 200
    i've been using a teac ud-501 for almost a year now and i have no complaints and can recommend. it's on the warmer side of things as far as DAC's go... there are endless positive reviews on the web... it's won awards and is featured on several "best buy" lists... they just introduced the 3rd generation ud-505 so prices are dropping on new old stock of the 501's... the 501's are supposed to be superior sonically to the 503 and 505's. The 501's use burr brown chips whereas the 503 and 505 use Verita chips...

    Based on my trip down the DAC rabbit hole... the mytek brooklyn is what you'd have to get to best it... and those are double what the teac's are going for now...
    speakers:
    bowers & wilkins 685 S2
    polk psw-10
    components:
    sonic frontiers line 1 preamp
    sonic frontiers anthem amp 1
    mac mini w/ audioquest jitterbug
    teac ud-501 digital to analog converter
    oppo dv-980h dvd/cd
    interconnects:
    monoprice
    guzi
    belkin gold series usb
    speaker wire
    audioquest type 4
    power:
    rhino-tek 1000w 15amp voltage regulator
    vansevers 211 power cord
    pangea ac-14 power cord
    tubes:
    amplifier: (2) NOS 1960 philco/lansdale 12AU7 (super rare!), (1) NOS 1967 mullard 12AX7, (4) 2016 svetlana hard blue EL-34
    pre-amp: (6) E88CC/6922 ??? (haven't cracked the case yet to see what previous owner was running...) so for now they are mystery tubes.
    misc:
    JRiver Media Center 24
    sanus 24" speaker stands
    auralex acoustics subdude II
    DeMoude Audio cylindrical bass traps
    rf/emi/noise reduction caps for empty rca inputs.
    Hall of Fame: [retired/sold]
    polk monitor series 5jr+ w/ RDO194-1 upgraded tweeters
    polk monitor series RTA 8T
    kenwood kd-550 w/ SME 3009 Series III tonearm grado gold cartridge
    adcom gfp-555II
    marantz 2238b
    luxman M-120A
    technics sl-b10
  • nooshinjohnnooshinjohn Posts: 17,684
    So what you are saying is that it sounds like Schiitt.


    Look for a PS Audio PerfectWave II. They can be had for a good price on the used market.
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, TriangleArt Reference SE with PS Audio NuWave Phono converter, Walker Precision Motor Drive, ClearAudio Stradivari v2 cartridge and Origin Conquerer Mk3c tonearm, Polk Audio "Signature" Reference Series 1.2TL with complete mods, Pass Labs X1 two channel preamplifier Signed by Poppa himself, PS Audio PerfectWave DAC MkII, Krell Evolution 525a CD Player, Pioneer Elite SC-65, Oppo UDP-205 Blu-ray , Sony XBR70x850B 4k, Polk audio AB700/800 "in-wall" surrounds

  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 39,816
    The Jolida is a nice CDP. What tubes are you using? Why do you feel the need for a DAC?
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 3,842
    Interesting review, thanks for sharing. I think I would certainly expect more from it, given the price point.
    Got Dayens?
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 14,581
    Jet, are you interested in trying a North Star DAC?
    audiothesis.com/

    Speakers: Harbeth: 30.2, SHL5+; Usher: Be-10, T-515; Rosso Fiorentino: Elba, Pienza, Certaldo, Fiesole, Volterra; Polk: T50, Signature S15, RTA 15tl, RTi12; Sonner Audio Allegro Unum, Legato Unum, Legato Semis, Legato Duo; Emerald Physics CS-2.8; Klipsch KLF-20
    Preamps: Shuguang S200MK, Dayens Ampino, Parasound P5
    Amps: Shuguang S845MK, Dayens Ampino Monoblocks, Parasound A23
    Integrateds: Triode Corporation TRV-88SER, MastersounD: BoX, Dueventi, Compact 845, Evolution 845; North Star Design Blue Diamond
    Sources: AURALiC Aries, Denon HEOS Link, North Star Design: Magnifico, Supremo, Incanto, Intenso, Venti
    Cabling: Wireworld
    TV: Sony XBR-75X940C
  • Jetmaker737Jetmaker737 Posts: 813
    F1nut wrote: »
    The Jolida is a nice CDP. What tubes are you using? Why do you feel the need for a DAC?

    Jolida has Psvane 12AX7's. The DAC is for streaming (Roon/Tidal). In my tests I was streaming FLAC at 44.1k 16 bit via Roon (no DSP) and Squeezebox touch over wifi
    System
    Yamaha A-S3000 Integrated Amplifier
    Sonus Faber Cremona Loudspeakers
    Squeezebox Touch | Jolida JD-100A CDP | Sansui TU-717 Tuner
  • Jetmaker737Jetmaker737 Posts: 813
    DSkip wrote: »
    Jet, are you interested in trying a North Star DAC?

    Hi Skip. Yes, I'd like to try it. PM me with details. Thanks!
    System
    Yamaha A-S3000 Integrated Amplifier
    Sonus Faber Cremona Loudspeakers
    Squeezebox Touch | Jolida JD-100A CDP | Sansui TU-717 Tuner
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