A NEW ERA: MEET ASGARD 3 AND BIFROST 2root
Schiit Reinvents the Two Products that Started it All
August 28, 2019, Valencia, CA. Today, Schiit Audio announced the availability of the Asgard 3 modular headphone amp/DAC/preamp and the Bifrost 2 upgradable DAC. The Asgard 3 headphone amp offers 3.5x the output power of its predecessor (3.5W/32 ohms), as well as a modular architecture that allows it to be configured as an amp/DAC as well as just an amp—at a price 50 euro less than the Asgard 2) The Bifrost 2 DAC debuts Schiit’s new Unison USB™input and Autonomy™platform, which enables user upgrades for both hardware and firmware—without returning the DAC to the factory. It also adds remote control and balanced outputs, and uses Gungnir-class AD5781 DACs, at a price of only 799.
“These are the two products that started the company,” Jason Stoddard, Schiit’s Co-Founder, said. “Asgard was our first product, introduced in June 2010. Back then, it was just a Class A headphone amp, and we were building them in a garage. We still were in a garage when we introduced Bifrost in September 2011, our first digital product. Both Asgard 3 and Bifrost 2 are incredible upgrades to their forerunners, and we’re very proud of them.”
Asgard 3 Brief
Asgard 3 moves from Class A to Schiit’s proprietary Continuity™ output stage, shared with Lyr 3 and Aegir. Continuity extends the benefits of Class A outside of the Class A bias region, addressing the problem of transconductance droop identified by Bob Cordell and John Broskie. Asgard 3 runs 500mW of Class A bias, so it’s running Class A for most headphone loads. However, when required, it can also deliver its full output of 3.5W RMS per channel into 32 ohms, both channels driven.
Asgard 3 is also modular, so it can be configured with a AK4490 or True Multibit DAC module for a single-box desktop solution, like Lyr 3 and Jotunheim. Asgard 3 is available now at schiit.com at the following pricing:
- 229 euro as an amp only
- 319 euro with the AK4490 module
- 409 euro with the True Multibit module
Bifrost 2 Brief
Bifrost 2 is nothing less than a complete re-invention of the affordable DAC. Compared to the outgoing Bifrost Multibit, Bifrost 2 offers:
- Balanced output: Bifrost 2 now has balanced output, as well as single-ended output, to simplify its integration with any system
- Remote control: Bifrost 2 now has a remote control for input select, mute, and phase invert
- Better DACs: Bifrost 2 now uses the 18-bit Analog Devices AD5781ARUZ D/A converter, rather than the 16-bit AD5547
- Better USB: Bifrost 2 introduces our Unison USB—a complete elevation of the USB input
- Easier updates: Bifrost 2’s Autonomy architecture means that both cards are replaceable from the back of the product for easy hardware updates, and firmware changes are handled with an external MicroSD card slot
- Improved power supply: Bifrost 2’s transformer is larger, and the power supply has more stages of local regulation, for insanely great low-noise performance
Bifrost 2’s Unison USB input is the first appearance of Schiit’s proprietary USB solution. Not based on C-Media or XMOS, Unison USB is the result of nearly 2 years of development and testing of a fully UAC2 compliant digital input based on a general-purpose Microchip micro controller. This allows us to focus specifically on optimizing the performance of USB for PCM audio.
“As a result, Unison USB is now our preferred input over SPDIF,” said Mike Moffat, Schiit’s Co-Founder. “It’s not ‘just as good,’ or ‘close.’ It’s really better than SPDIF. And yes, that’s me saying this, not an alien pod person.”
The Autonomy platform is also the result of extended R&D, and a response to customer requests.
“Our customers were saying, loud and clear, that they liked the upgradability of our DACs, but they also didn’t like sending them in for upgrade,” said Mike. “And yeah, I get it, being without a DAC for a couple weeks really sucks. So we decided to do a platform where they won’t have to send it in for USB, analog, or firmware upgrades.”
In Autonomy, the USB and firmware upgrades slide in from the back, making user-installed upgrades possible. Also, firmware changes are done via microSD card, so the chassis does not have to be opened or sent back to us for code changes. The goal is an upgradable product that gives the owner all the benefits of upgradability, with none of the downsides. As far as Schiit knows, this is the lowest-cost, completely upgradable DAC (hardware and firmware) in existence.
Since Bifrost 2 is a new platform, Schiit is addressing current Bifrost owners with a reassurance that Bifrost will continue to be supported and upgradable. As an example, the Unison USB card for current DACs, expected in January, will be available for Bifrost, and Bifrost does not have to come back to the Schiit factory for upgrade.
In addition, current Bifrost owners or upgraders receive $100 off the price of a Bifrost 2, if they want to move to the new platform. Current Bifrost owners or upgraders are anyone who purchased a Bifrost or Bifrost upgrade from Schiit or an authorized reseller, at any time. Current owners and upgraders will be asked for a proof of purchase.
Bifrost 2 is available at schiit-europe.com now at the following pricing:
- — euro price for current Bifrost owners and upgraders still to be announced
- 799 euro for all-new owners
About Schiit Audio
Founded in June 2010 by Jason Stoddard and Mike Moffat, Schiit has grown into a leader in affordable high-end audio, with a wide range of products spanning DACs, headphone amplifiers, and preamplifiers