Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019 is less than a week away and Schiit Audio wasted little time taking a major dump on the proceedings with the announcement of two new products which are available for order this week. Both the Asgard headphone amplifier and Bifrost USB DAC have been part of the Schiit Audio line-up from the very beginning and the demand for both is still strong.
Q1 2019 saw consumers spend more than $2 billion on headphone-related products giving manufacturers reason to expand their offerings within the category. Schiit has announced that they will be rolling out the Asgard 3 headphone amplifier, and Bifrost 2 w/Unison USB DAC for $199 and $699 respectively.
“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.”
Trickle-down? Schiit Audio has made a habit of rolling out new technology at the top end of their product line-up and then implementing it into their more affordable products like the Asgard and Bifrost.
From their press release:
“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.”
The Bifrost 2 implements Schiit’s proprietary Unison USB solution which they feel betters SPDIF by a considerable margin. Consumers who use digital streamers like the Sonore microRendu that do not feature SPDIF digital outputs, or their laptops as Roon endpoints are no longer out of luck when it comes to maximising the sound quality of their digital source using its USB output.
The Bifrost 2 adds balanced outputs, a new remote control, and AD5781 converter chips which are already featured in the more expensive Gungnir USB DAC.
Schiit’s success in the personal and desktop audio categories has forced other manufacturers like NAD, Marantz, Naim, and Cambridge Audio to integrate headphone amplifiers into all of their current integrated amplifiers as consumers have demonstrated a preference for headphones over loudspeakers.
For more information: https://www.schiit.com