Any news of Schiit Audio launching new products is always an occasion for sheer curiosity, anticipation and excitement given how revered this brand name and it’s products have become in such a short period of time. The company which is still strongly influenced by the widely popular Norse mythology for the nomenclature of their products, have launched three new products to their line-up viz., Asgard 3 Headphone Amplifier, Bifrost 2 DAC & perhaps the longest teased audio product of all time, the Sol Turntable. The founder of Schiit Audio, Jason Stoddard says:
“What do you do when it’s time to replace both of the products that started it all? I mean literally - Asgard was our first product period, Bifrost was our first digital product, and both started out being built in a garage. Well, here’s what we do: rethink everything.”
The first revision for the Asgard in the form of the new Asgard 3, now comes with a bigger power supply and promises of an overall lower noise floor. On the docket of the headphone amplifier, Schiit has introduced a new digital section that will provide a one stop audio solution when using a desktop. The biggest upgrade, however, is that the Asgard 3 has been made modular like the mid-tier Jotunheim. The modular architecture allows it to be configured as an amp/DAC as well as just an amplifier. Customers can either choose between the standard AK4490 DAC option or the Schiit Multibit DAC section for an upgrade at an additional cost. The Asgard 3 is expected to be priced at Rs. 19,999.
The Schiit Bifrost 2 DAC debuts a new Unison USB input and Autonomy platform, which enables hardware and firmware updates without returning the DAC to the factory. A new remote control has been added along in the box. The Bifrost 2 comes with the balanced outputs, and uses Gungnir-class AD5781 DACs. This seems really worth given the fact that the earlier Bifrost had some preliminary drawbacks. The first gen Bifrost had a Gen 2 input with a slower processing speed & did not come with an XLR input. The Bifrost 2 has been designed to solve this issue. The Bifrost 2 DAC will be available for Rs. 69,999.
Moving onto the most interesting part of the three launches by Schiit; Ever heard of a niche within a niche? Wondered if people still listen to records? Yes, the big Vinyl Discs of yore! The answer came: You don’t say. What was once a dying audiophile category, is now the latest cult! How’s that for irony. A little late to the party perhaps is Schiit Audio with their brand new Sol turntable that has finally been released after being teased for so many years in the making.
The Sol had been in R&D for the last six long years & it was widely speculated if Schiit Audio had shelved the idea completely. The Sol proposes many unique traits making it a natural competitor to market leading products like the Rega Planar 3. However, The Sol does not have an in-built cartridge, so vinyl fans will have to source one of their own. Technicalities aside, the new turntable will be another analog litmus test for the Southern California company, as growing big from the personal audio segment has to be a massive jump for Schiit. The Sol turntable is expected to be priced around Rs. 79,990 in India.
The new products will be available soon on pre-order at Headphone Zone.
Check out my review of the Astell&Kern Billie Jean wherein I explain in detail various aspects of the headphone including its design, comfort, and performance. Has Astell&Kern outdone itself with the quality and performance with its Billie Jean. Click to find out!