Schiit’s $199 Modius DAC Is Total Schiit

Unlike many of their competitors, Schiit Audio seemingly intends to guide hi-fi beginners up the quality/price ladder. Their direct-to-consumer standalone components, some advertised for gaming and office setups, start at just $99. Schiit’s products appear feature-packed, but does the sound live up to the specs? Or are Schiit products, well, total shit?


The new $199 Modius multibit DAC, available in silver and black finishes, utilizing the popular AKM AK4493 converter chip, handles audio up to 192kHz/24bit resolution. (There is no MQA decoding, but 44.1kHz MQA files don’t need the “unfold”). It has micro USB, optical, RCA, and XLR digital inputs – the analog outputs are RCA and balanced XLR (rare for a budget DAC). The balanced output stage is based on a Texas Instruments LME49724 op-amp and the SE output is a TI OPA1662 (both outputs are independent). When using the USB input, that cable is both the power and audio source; otherwise, the included micro USB to USB-A cable plugs into the dedicated 5V USB power input. Next to LED input indicators, Modius’ sleek metal chassis’ front has a somewhat loud input selector button. The unit measures 9”x6”x1.5”, and save for the wall wart is entirely US-assembled and/or manufactured. Schiit offers a 2-year parts and labor limited warranty and 15-day returns (with 85% refunds).


Right out of the box, compared to my well broken in $299 reference DAC, Modius sounded lifeless and thin. Modern pop recordings, such as Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Run Away With Me” (Emotion, 44.1kHz MQA stream), lacked bass drum punch and top end energy. Folk singer Laura Marling’s latest album Song For Our Daughter (44.1/16 stream), recorded much like the 70s records of which it’s musically reminiscent, through the Schiit had especially weak drums. It wasn’t bad, it just sounded rather unappealing.

After a few days, however, the sonics improved. The Carly Rae Jepsen album, while still sounding lackluster, had more percussion excitement, and Marling’s album had greater acoustic guitar presence. LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver (256kbps Apple Music stream) sounded reasonably full-bodied, and Bob Dylan’s Rough and Rowdy Ways (44.1/16 Tidal stream) had decent vocal staging. Still, other genres unfortunately were lacking. Ecco2k’s cloud rap masterpiece E (44.1/16 stream) was spatially deficient, and K-pop girl group LOONA / ODD EYE CIRCLE’s Max & Match (256kbps Apple Music stream), recommended by a friend, sounded slightly muddy and compressed. Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage” (192/24 FLAC) neither impressed nor disappointed – the dynamics were intact, but the presentation was timbrally flat. With the exception of Fishmans’ superbly engineered final concert 98.12.28 Otokotachi no Wakare (48/24 FLAC), which sounded reasonably vibrant, the Schiit murkily reproduced live albums. As a monitor DAC, Modius’ sound works, although for that purpose I prefer a brighter tonality. The input switching is quick and convenient (the transition takes as long as the button press), especially for those with larger setups. Modius well-serves entry-level listeners with older stylistic preferences, but for genre- and era-generalist audiences produces mixed results.


For $199, the Modius DAC is decent. It’s total Schiit in that it’s totally made by Schiit Audio, but thankfully not total shit. Its flat timbral character (not "flat" as in "flat frequency response") works for some purposes, and although not to my taste, I appreciate its practicality. If you prioritize high quality audio performance no matter the analog output, I suggest saving further for the Audioquest Dragonfly Cobalt. However, Modius is by far the most affordable, well-built, output-flexible DAC made by a reputable (and for that matter, recognizable) hifi company. Newcomers willing to sacrifice some sonic versatility will be well-served with the value-minded Schiit Modius, which at the price point is the best DAC of its type—at least that I've heard, and I've heard more than a few (M.F.s review of the Schiit SOL turntable coming up shortly).

(Malachi Lui is an AnalogPlanet contributing editor, music lover, record collector, and highly opinionated sneaker enthusiast. When he registers to vote in 3.5 years, he certainly won’t join the Birthday Party. Follow him on Twitter: @MalachiLui.)

22508 Market Street
Newhall, CA 91321

CarterB's picture

Was curious about this DAC so glad to read about it. Looking forward to the Sol review

J. Carter's picture

Great review, it’s nice to see some honesty out there and not have everything be great all the time.

That being said the last unfold in MQA does make a difference and if you play MQA tracks frequently even the 24/44.1 tracks will benefit from the last unfold that you only get from an MQA decoder. The last unfold corrects for time correction issues that would come from the DAC in use.

energon's picture

I never knew that Texas Instruments had a hand in anything but those TI-# calculators in high school classrooms, haha. I’m still new to the world of hi-fi, so I am yet to own a DAC, but I’ll try to avoid this one when I do get one.

Also, loved the shoutouts of Ecco2k’s E, Fishmans’ 98.12.28, and Loona Odd Eye Circle’s Max & Match, some of my absolute favorite albums. I wonder who recommended you Max & Match, :p

Michael Fremer's picture
Will follows AnalogPlanet on Twitter
MalachiLui's picture

we're all well aware of that. makes sense considering you're a vinyl writer AND co-made the furry movie

Lincoln Matt's picture

Texas Instruments owns Burr Brown, so they have had a hand in high end DAC products for some time.

Montpier's picture

Hey Malachi - well done but could you please say more about what is intended by "...well-serves entry-level listeners with older stylistic preferences, but for genre- and era-generalist audiences produces mixed results."?

You're not very complimentary about SQ of the oldest recording mentioned (Hancock's Maiden Voyage). If "older" means anything before you were born or started actively listening to music, well seems that would still encompass a pretty wide range "genres" as well as eras, generalist or not. If the DAC seems to be decent within a limited stylistic range of musics perhaps a bit more specificity than "older" might be helpful?

By "a monitor DAC" are you referring to listening to the output via headphones (though there's no mention of a dedicated headphone output)? Did you audition both SE and balanced outputs?

Oh, and what's a "loud input selector button"? Was there a loud noise when switching? While you're at it, If you were switching, were there any notable differences between input sources?

BTW - think it's great in your world that Schiit is both "reputable" and "recognizable" but then not quite sure who is the competition?

MalachiLui's picture

yes, the actual oldest recording mentioned is "maiden voyage," although the laura marling album evokes 70s folk and of course the bob dylan album is modern without a "modern" sound. my definition of "older" recording in this case is pre-1990 (although in general, it's pre-2000). by "monitor DAC," i mean a DAC to monitor mixing and mastering work. for that purpose, you typically want the flattest sound possible for accuracy. and yes, the input selector button is LOUD when clicking it. and while i only tried the micro-USB and optical inputs, i didn't notice any sonic difference.

in this price range, schiit is reputable and recognizable compared to those cheap SMSL DACs you see on amazon, where they decode absurdly high resolution files for $150-250, yet no one knows ANYTHING about the "company." in fact, an amazon search (usually the first step for beginners looking to find these things) shows an SMSL DAC above products from audioquest, pro-ject, cambridge audio, ifi, etc.

Montpier's picture

Okay, I should have guessed you're a DIY kind of guy who is doing his own mixing and mastering. As for "flattest sound possible": well, presumably you're aware that in the "old" days for pop singles the final arbiter was often how it sounded on a car radio speaker, and if I'm not mistaken more recently tracks have been mixed to sound at their best in mp3 format (with ear buds or Beats?)

Understand this is a short capsule review of a real "entry level" product -- so offering to be constructive rather than nit-picking -- but would wish for less vague descriptors that "older" or "modern" recording. What aspects of the sound of more "modern" recordings do you feel the Schiit is lacking which apparently less a shortcoming for you on "older" recordings? For example the sound of drum/percussion rhythm tracks on pop recordings certainly varies over time, so you could perhaps say more about strengths/weaknesses of the DAC in reproducing a less processed acoustic drum sound vs. an electronically generated pulse, etc.

Yeah, must confess I had never searched for DAC on Amazon so had not heard of SMSL or several other much cheaper gaming-oriented" brands. Have never searched just for "DAC" on Amazon, but the similarly priced ifi Nano and Cambridge DACMagic 100 came up on top for me, both of which would appear to be quite competitive with the Schiit. (However both appeared to be "sponsored"/higher listed items so results may vary but noted a couple of Schiit DAC's also "sponsored")

Drunksaru's picture

Firstly, Have to state that this is not a Multibit DAC. If it was, it would be a hell of a deal with all the options it has to offer. But for now, I've been recommending this to those who are thinking about the Modi but wants a bit more experimental play in the audiophile world. Sound-wise, there isn't much of a difference between the Modi and Modius when connected via SPDIF - so little in fact that if I stop paying attention, I can't tell anymore between the two. However, there are 2 main points for the Modius. First is it's USB connection. Since they introduced the Unison USB a couple of years ago, there is just way less jitter and noise through the USB that the first time I heard it, I thought it was a trick. Secondly, you have both options, RCA or XLR out which is more of that fun factor of does one sound better than the other? I honestly would have been happy if Schiit just added the Unison USB to their Modi and sold that for $129 or $149 and completely skipped the XLR connection. That would have been IMO a far better deal. But I guess they are trying to push the Modius and Magnius to those who want something better than the Modi and Magni or wants to graduate the Modi/Magni for something a little better but isn't ready to jump up to Asgard/Bifrost level. I think more people know about SMSL now than 5 years ago and Depending on the product, some can totally be better than Schiit.. but seeing how I live about 10 minutes away from the Schiitr, I've been trying to support my local businesses plus I'm totally happy with my Bifrost Multibit even though they let me borrow Yggdrasil once.. I am totally fine with my Bifrost for the type of music listening I do.

Andy18367's picture


You write "After a few days, however, the sonics improved." Why do you think that is? and/or what insight can you offer regarding the cause of the sound improvement.

MalachiLui's picture

most pieces of gear take a bit to break in and reveal their full potential.

Andy18367's picture

..that's not true. Break in is a myth. Ask some real engineers.


Greg S's picture

I'm listening to a cartridge right now that sounds worlds better than it did when I installed it ten days ago. Same experience with tubes and electronics to varying degrees. Just because he's young doesn't mean he's incorrect.

And look at the bight side. At least the young gentleman did not open the article with a broad insult to the entire readership this time.

xtcfan80's picture

Andy...."Real engineers" are seldom respected by any domestic audio fan who has heard the improvement several hours/days/weeks of playing time can make in a new piece of gear....Again, consider canning the "If you can't objectively measure it you can't hear it" mindset and LISTEN....if you don't hear the change, fine...but please stop trotting out the tired, old "engineers say it's fake/snake oil/whatever" line...

Zworykin's picture

Out of curiosity, if there's no "objectively measur[able]" difference, then what difference do you imagine you're hearing? Doesn't the very definition of "objective" mean that if there's no objective difference, there's no difference at all?

xtcfan80's picture
Michael Fremer's picture
Measure everything yet. If we hear something and it's not measurable that's proof to me. But surely you've heard capacitor differences? Values are the same but sound is very different. I sat with, yes, a trained electrical engineer who built a very good though basic test amplifier and simply switched out same value coupling caps and each made the amplifier sound very different.
ahannan's picture

actually has a measurable parameter. The one key parameter is dielectric absorption. The parameter affects the clarity and precision of the soundstage. Electrolytic capacitors have the highest absorption, and the expensive boutique film caps have the least. Most electrical engineers are unaware of the parameter. Cost and physical size drives the engineers to use the less desirable coupling capacitors. One can add a much smaller value film cap to bypass the larger electrolytic cap and achieve the best of both. My point is that just because you are an electrical engineer does not mean you understand all the parameters that are associated with a component. Your point is well taken though. In other cases we may not understand the physics of why something affects the sound we hear yet (or have found the right person to ask).

Michael Fremer's picture
And I've asked many real engineers!'s picture

Little fellow.
You're ears and brains are not developed yet. It explains the hiatus in your review.

Michael Fremer's picture
Was completely unnecessary and having sat with the "little fellow" and compared pressings and other things I can say his ears are and his brain is very well developed. I'd say "you're" grammar isn't, though. Seriously if you wish to criticize him, feel free, he's up to it, but the age thing is a cheap, unnecessary shot.'s picture

I wonder how many languages you're proficient in like the way I am in English, which is not my first language by a long shot. Speaking about cheap (and stupid) shots.
My criticism however is not the boys hearing. It's his lack of experience which because of his age, still has to build up.
We know when you are writing, that besides some technical know how, you have at least auditioned a lot of stuff so you can compare if you were so inclined. We know from reading a lot of your reviews where your (sometimes unfounded) biases lay and can cope with that. I have no issue with the boy. I have an issue with the far from honest and incompleet review he has no other means than to write because of his young age etc.

If you do not understand my writing (as for Americans is that's not at all a given) I can provide this answer in another 6 languages I mastered in speaking, reading and writing.'s picture

Sorry for the few typo's, the spelling correctors dominant behaviour and my tendency to write in civilized English instead of American.

Jazz listener's picture

wondering why a review of a dac is on Analog Planet?

Anton D's picture

Sometimes, the monks need a break from the Analog Monastery!


I would love a follow up, which your question feeds into!

Malachi, could/would/did you compare and contrast the sound of this unit with the same recordings played back via your vinyl front and vs. this as your front end?

That would grab my interest, for sure!

Jazz listener's picture

if I’m interested in a dac review there are many other reviewer websites I would check out first. This site is dedicated to all things analog and should stick to that. I find it interesting that Mr. Fremer would allow this youngster’s first foray back on the site following the verbal beating he took several weeks ago to be something not even related to analog. I also find it perplexing that Mr. Fremer continues to insist on giving this youngster such a high profile on this site, instead of finding him a corner of his own to publish his audio thoughts. Most of us are really not interested in reading the words of a 14 year old who continues to present himself as an expert, which he is clearly not.

Michael Fremer's picture
Firstly, this review was originally handed in mid July but it needed some work so I sent it back to him. The reasons for his hiatus have nothing whatsoever to do with him taking a "beating" on this site. He's quite a resilient fellow. He was dealing with other issues not related to this website. That said, you ask the question of why a DAC review on this site? Malachi attracts a different, younger audience to this site who are interested in both analog and digital. This was something I became aware of looking at the big numbers attracted to his AudioQuest Cobalt Dragonfly review. This review has been up a very short time and guess how many views it's attracted? Don't bother, I will tell you: almost 20,000! That is a very, very good number in a very short period of time. I should do as well. Clearly there are people interested in his DAC reviews! Why should he be relegated to a corner?
Montpier's picture

Perhaps MF could lobby JA2 to find a "Teen Corner" feature for ML's non-Vinyl/Non-Analog "real entry level audio" writing output on the main Stereophile site?

Applaud encouraging his development, and as a "robotic boomer" think it's great that his youthful musical opinions stir things up with my cohort on the site.

In the meantime, may I suggest my fellow "robotic boomers" not revert to bratty teens in their comments.

Raise your hands, when you were his age how many of you were really buying and listening to pop music from before you were born (that wasn't your parents or older sibling)? I know it wasn't until college that I first began exploring earlier jazz, blues, country, etc.

davip's picture

...and now it's here. I hoped that Fremer's indulgement of the child whose head is turned by an LP sleeve with breasts on it to the degree that he trashes rock icons with a 50-yr pedigree in its favour would limit his input to AnalogPlanet to 'writing' about music that few really care about -- and that he wouldn't be so stupid as to let this kid review equipment. Now he has. People come to review sites because they expect authoritative, experienced opinion to help guide their expenditure -- and you let a mouthy kid loose on it.

I'm done with AnalogPlanet MF -- you've turned the flag-bearer of the analogue cause into a joke.

robert r dawson's picture

yer a little late. He's been reviewing cartridges and phono pre's for awhile now...and doing a fine job of it.

MalachiLui's picture

1. you obviously have nothing better to do than be angry about a review published 7+ months ago

2. i LIKE some of the who’s discography. ‘tommy’ and ‘who’s next’ are both 8/10. ‘quadrophenia’ is a 7. however, the rest of their discography does nothing for me.

3. you KNOW FOR A FACT that i like older (pre-2000) music. i have 4 older david bowie albums on the 10-11/10 range, 2 kraftwerk 10s, plus “blood on the tracks,” “ascension,” and “bitches brew” at 10s. here’s my rateyourmusic page, with ALL of my album ratings:

4. i can attack your robotic boomer ass for not liking charli xcx’s 2016-2020 run as much as you can attack me for not liking the who’s latest.

5. experience ≠ quality. miles davis in the 80s had a lot of experience behind him. that material sucked. eric clapton has almost 60 years of performing experience. his new studio material still bores me. there has not been a new original kraftwerk album since 2003, and they’ve been around for 50 years. paul mccartney wrote great songs with the beatles, but his 50 years’ worth of solo material still sucks. sure, there are artists like david bowie, haruomi hosono, bob dylan, herbie hancock, wayne shorter, etc who still had late career masterpieces and/or still give compelling performances. but artists’ creativity generally wanes as they age, so 50+ years of experience doesn’t matter if you have nothing interesting to write!

Anton D's picture

While I am sure Malachi will miss his little stalker, this part here would be worth the price of paying to read here: "I'm done with AnalogPlanet MF -- you've turned the flag-bearer of the analogue cause into a joke."

Looking forward to your boycott!

(And good luck with that stick up your bum.)

Glotz's picture

LOLOLLOLOLOLOL.. Anton... you rock!

Bill1986I's picture

Make way for the new!

I think ML has great taste in music (specially for his age), has great writing skills and is clearly very passionate about music, sound and everything I enjoy about this great art form.

You sir, should listen to more music, I bet you do not have the slightest idea who James Murphy is...

You get old when you stop listening...

Michael Fremer's picture
I've learned a great deal from young Malachi, whose musical tastes have broadened my horizons and whose attention to detail I work hard to match. I know he's learned a great deal from me, though as an adolescent I'm sure he's loathe to admit that in public. It's not part of the 13-17 year old job description. That's fine with me. I think most readers are either happy with his contributions or if not, just skip over them. I'm not sure why so many are bothered by a young man's well-informed opinions? Plus he can be laugh out loud hilarious. That's very difficult to do in print. He does it.
MalachiLui's picture

1. you obviously have nothing better to do than be angry about a review published 7+ months ago

2. i LIKE some of the who’s discography. ‘tommy’ and ‘who’s next’ are both 8/10. ‘quadrophenia’ is a 7. however, the rest of their discography does nothing for me.

3. you KNOW FOR A FACT that i like older (pre-2000) music. i have 4 older david bowie albums on the 10-11/10 range, 2 kraftwerk 10s, plus “blood on the tracks,” “ascension,” and “bitches brew” at 10s. here’s my rateyourmusic page, with ALL of my album ratings:

4. i can attack your robotic boomer ass for not liking charli xcx’s 2016-2020 run as much as you can attack me for not liking the who’s latest.

5. experience ≠ quality. miles davis in the 80s had a lot of experience behind him. that material sucked. eric clapton has almost 60 years of performing experience. his new studio material still bores me. there has not been a new original kraftwerk album since 2003, and they’ve been around for 50 years. paul mccartney wrote great songs with the beatles, but his 50 years’ worth of solo material still sucks. sure, there are artists like david bowie, haruomi hosono, bob dylan, herbie hancock, wayne shorter, etc who still had late career masterpieces and/or still give compelling performances. but artists’ creativity generally wanes as they age, so 50+ years of experience doesn’t matter if you have nothing interesting to write!

Michael Fremer's picture
His second DAC review has gotten almost 20,000 views so far. I'm not sure why his opinions so easily offend you. You claim "few really care about" but you've not seen the numbers. Many do care about the artists he covers. They may not be my favorites (but a few have become) or yours, but many people, especially young ones we are happy to have here, do appreciate his contributions. The numbers prove it. If it's too much for you, you are welcome to leave. Your intolerance will not be missed.
supamark's picture

What was the system used (speakers/headphones, pre/amp, etc), were the balanced outs compared to the single ended since they're separate, which imputs used, sources (laptop/dedicated streamer/transport) etc?

I think this is more of an editor fail than anything - MF, as editor you need to make sure this sort of basic info is included before you publish and guide the novice reviewer since you're also kinda his mentor in this.

Oh, one more thing - Cabaret Voltaire's "Microphonies" is NOT generic synthpop (I read this in another article, it stuck in my craw). If you can't tell the difference between that and, say, Human League or Erasure then you need to expand your horizons. A lot. On the other hand, surprised ML had even heard of it.

MalachiLui's picture

isn't GENERIC but sounds like watered down YMO, but without the forward-thinking innovation that made YMO great. i'd rather listen to 'BGM' (8/10) than 'micro-phonies' (6-7/10)

supamark's picture

Those acronyms are meaningless to me. Tip - Define the acronym the first time you use it, for example, "your milage may vary (YMMV) on how much you like Cabaret Voltaire's funk infused industrial/dance album Microphonies vs their later House record Code," unless it's a common term like RADAR or SCUBA.

Microphonies was a transitional record (along with "2X45" and the Flood produced "The Crackdown", and culminating in "...the Arm of the Lord") going from post punk and industrial to what would today be called electronic body music (EBM) <-! ;). Their next record (Code) was House music.

Still surprised someone under ~40 is familiar with Cabaret Voltaire (and non-mainstream 80's music generally). Junk Culture by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) is one you may like if you're not familiar (less "pop" than their hit record "Crush"), or Scritti Politti's "Cupid & Psyche 85", a winning combination of blue-eyed soul and reggae. Both were very well recorded/mixed pop, though I've only heard the original releases and can't speak for any remastered versions though most remasters sound like dog crap due to the amount of "brick wall" compression/limiting applied.

MalachiLui's picture

stands for yellow magic orchestra. late 70s/80s japanese electronic trio of yukihiro takahashi, haruomi hosono, and ryuichi sakamoto. sold a shit ton of records in japan, and crossed over to the US a bit. along with kraftwerk, they're widely considered the pioneers of techno. 'BGM' is literally the title of their march 1981 album ('BGM' standing for "background music" but listed on the release as 'BGM' - the band is also listed on the release as YMO). btw, you could've googled "YMO BGM" and found the album immediately.

supamark's picture

You're too lazy to type Yellow Magic Orchestra one time but you expect me to google it (because you're too lazy to type it)? Seriously?!? That's not how these things work. You want to be understood, speak (or write) clearly and unambiguously - that's not the listener/reader's job.

It'd be like me saying I thought Sleazy got better as a musician from TG to PTV (and later) and was a huge influence on NIN, though his visual work is what people remember. Nearly everyone will have to google to understand WTF I'm talking about. That's not effective communication.

I've heard of Yellow Magic Orchestra, though am not that familiar with their music. Keep in mind, YMO was never well known in the USA. A cursory listen to BGM and a couple of earlier songs on YouTube and... that sounds nothing like anything Cabaret Voltaire has ever done. BGM sounds a LOT like contemporary 80's synth based music (I could hear an Ultravox influence in one song - their album Vienna, produced by Conny Plank, came out the year before and "Cue" sounds like an out-take from it).

I really don't understand why you'd mention YMO and CV together, they're nothing alike and my subjective opinion on the two differs significantly from yours.

MalachiLui's picture

so? cabaret voltaire wasn't either! and if you weren't familiar with YMO back then, you've had 40 years to catch up! also, yellow magic orchestra was popular enough that the YMO initials were placed on ALL of their album covers from 1981 onward. some artists and bands are almost as well-known by their initials as they are their full name. YMO was one of those bands.

i think i see the similarities between 'BGM' and 'micro-phonies' mostly in vibe, although YMO had FAR MORE INFLUENCE on modern music as a whole than you'd initially think.

Montpier's picture

Not disputing YMO's broader influence -- and yes, he could have googled "YMO" -- but aside from 'Computer Game' YMO had very limited chart presence in the US or UK and mostly a one-hit wonder for music listeners from those countries in late 70's/early 80's. Obviously Sakamoto has had an illustrious post-YMO career and recent LITA Hosono reissues have raised his profile in US considerably (how about a review from you?)

By contrast while Cabaret Voltaire had no top 40 single or comparable worldwide success, their albums from that period were considerably higher charting and well known among UK indie and US import buyers at the time.* Some were buying just about anything on Mute and the CV/Rough Trade association with Joy Division also helped.

So it's quite reasonable for supamark to be a fan of CV and have limited familiarity with YMO, and there's really no reason to be engaging in a Monty Pythonesque argument by abusing commenters who disagree with your POV.

* And as someone who was managing record stores around that time can anecdotally recall that YMO and CV were selling to different buying audiences despite any perceived stylistic similarities, something you're not going to find online.

Michael Fremer's picture
I agree with you here. His answer, that people can Google for things, doesn't cut it. This is not a game. People are entitled to have things spelled out (literally) at least the first time. Working on this....
Anton D's picture

I wish Anthony Burgess had done what you requested when he wrote that book.

Michael Fremer's picture
He does this a lot in our emails Lots of acronyms of bands, some of which I'm very familiar with but not by acronym. It's kind of a game with him, I'd say. It can be annoying. I'll push him to be less-acronym dependent.
MalachiLui's picture

it’s one thing if it’s a full album or band name that fans refer to by the acronym, vs a record like YMO’s ‘BGM’ where the acronyms are what’s actually printed on the cover.

Michael Fremer's picture
I agree. My fault. I should have had him list his system. I'll update the review.
gmsingh's picture

I have as Schiit Modi Uber and got a significant sonic improvement by upgrading the power supply to one with more current output.

ctbarker32's picture

Malachi, since you are young and hopefully not beholden to any corprate masters, why not take a look/listen to the Topping L30/E30 Headphone Amp and DAC? SOTA measurements for under $300.

MalachiLui's picture

if i'm ever offered them for review, i'll check them out.

Glotz's picture


On every level, he was spot-on. The lack of impact in the treble and midrange and high-frequency transient information and the issues with dynamics, I concur. The lower treble and overall dynamic range (less the slightly more dynamic bass range) is very 'off'. Cymbals sound like bursts of air, vs metal splashes and snare thwaks seem like cardboard on some recordings.

Totally disappointing, but for a $200 DAC in a pinch, it's workable. To listen to Qobuz or another for vinyl hunting, it works and does it cheaply. I'll give it a few months and look into the Benchmark DAC3B or the Denafrips of equal caliber, but yeah it's only decent. Besides, I've got a new cartridge to buy as well as a ton of friggin vinyl.

The unit is well-built and the compliment of inputs and outputs are great. So much, that it's a shame that elements of timbre are the downfall of this really solid on paper unit.

It is astounding that Schiit and Company would allow this thing to market, even considering the price point. I would think they would be able to change the filter and create a revision that would better service their budget market.

Lesson to be learned- Don't buy ANY component based on measurements alone.. CLEARLY the info on ASR is accurate, but DOES NOTHING to determine if a component sounds good or not. In this case, their 'recommendation' is an EPIC FAIL.

Lastly, glad to see Davip finally take the hint and get the f'out. Sorry, when someone just continually rails on ML for no reason, I'm gonna get nasty. PS- He's been that way for years. His last rant was again- just bs.

Glotz's picture

And many out there on the forums have said it sounds like crap. I bet that it does, but I haven't heard it myself.

Once again, measurements in digital really don't matter one fuckin iota.

Glotz's picture

cables, nothing can help the lackluster, wimpy sound of the Schiit Modius. It will open up the closed-in treble, but only as a additional air 'potential'; it does not improve the attack, dynamics nor the treble issues.

It would appear to be an intent of design? To tame really old CD's bright top-end? This much treble suck-out seems anathema, for any sound system... really.

King Of Dirk's picture

I have one of these on an ancillary system in my house - it does a good job for a realistic use case. $5,000 DACs shouldn't fret.

lingbopper's picture

There's a good reason Tiger Beat avoids leveraged index funds. What's this $300 mystery reference DAC? If the Modius is decent for $199, what's good? The button mechanism itself is somewhat louder than other types but is inaudible in the system. Modius delivers better SNR than the superb Benchmark DAC 3 for one tenth of the of price and while numbers aren't everything, that feat alone sets Modius apart from the competition by any standard.

Jimmyblues1959's picture

I have been using a Schiit Modius for several months now
and continue to be impressed by its performance to dollar ratio.
The Modius is an excellent sounding dac and tremendous bargain
for under $200.

Audiolad's picture

Don't fret if the host bashed your DAC. He's done it to me before when I commented. I have the SMSL M200 with the AKM DAC chips, and it sounds similar to my Modius which replaces it. The Chinese should be applauded for some of their fine DACs, but even their best don't cost $5000. My older Cambridge Audio reveive has a Burr Brown, and CDs sound very good on it. My old Cambridge Audio Dacmagic 100 has a Wolfson. Too many people hear too much (audiophile) sound out of their own equipment and too little out of other makes. I'm not that way, and it seems neither are you.