Marching Into Our Lives: The March Issue

Auralic's innovative and affordable streaming Altair D/A processor takes pride of place on the March Stereophile's cover, but loudspeakers dominate this issue's interior, with reviews of super stand-mounts from Aerial, Bowers & Wilkins, and Wharfedale and an intriguing, room-friendly tower from the Swedish Larsen company.

Multichannel maven Kal Rubinson reviews three-channel amplifiers from ATI and budget specialists Monoprice; vinyl champion Mikey Fremer auditions a new turntable from the designer of the superb Continuum LP player; Larry Greenhill cleans up his power with a tidy Torus transformer; and Art Dudley experiments with an MC step-up transformer from Bob's Devices.

The March issue kicks off with a look by Jason Victor Serinus at the state of audio shows in 2017. It's a must-read!

Richard D. George's picture

Which Bowers and Wilkins stand mount?

My iPad subscription app does not have the March 2017 issue available yet.


Kal Rubinson's picture


tonykaz's picture

Phew, Stereophile has certainly kicked a hornet nest at Schiit. Mr.Stoddard just did half a chapter's worth of rant on their Yggy DAC being called-out for being "obsolete". Hmm, is only 21 Bits obsolete? I'm quite happy with only 16 bits but I have hearing that rolls off above 8k.
I heard the much hyped Yggy at the Ann Arbor headphone meet, a while back, it didn't move the needle for me but the Schiit Valhalla 2 ( with Russian tubes ) was a thrill, we all were lining up to try headphones on the Valhalla 2, I even purchased a pair of Audeze 8 Open from that experience ( only to discover the magic wasn't there with my Asgard 2, so I sold em ).

Seems like Mr.Stoddard is all pissed off and is changing his Ad.buys to describe most of his designs to be Obsolete.

Here I'd thought our Audiophile Hobby was without Drama.

I like the Schiit stuff, the DACs not-so-much but I'm not a True-Believer sort of person. Schiit have actually banned me from reading their Head-fi stuff ( I'm clever enough to read it without their permission ). Oh-well, it's sort-of a fan-boy "only" type of site, criticism gets shut-out. I think NwAvGuy got similar treatments.

Schiit's new 2-Channel stuff looks wonderful, it's got 6SN7s, hmm-hmm-good!

This New Issue ( Print ) has been sitting on my Reading Chair for a couple of Days now but I haven't yet opened it. I wonder if Mr. Fremer says that there's anything obsolete in the design of that Record Player?

Jana's video is wonderful.

Tony in Michigan

Staxguy's picture

Now I'm starting to understand you, re: 8 kHz.

A 21-bit dynamic range should get you 128.18 dB, which is generous to be comparable with a great power amp (audiophile) like Bryston's 28 B3 (-116 dB SNR) Monoblocks, today, at the 130 dB SNR you would find in the best analogue studio console (one channel, all else muted) of your favourite studio albums.

That Schitt DAC (Yggdrasil, $2,299.00 USD) however, will only pump out a SNR of 117 dB, so it's sort of shunting in the performance department, but still the level of a Bryston 28B ST3, which is great! (Yet Bryston makes a great DAC...)

Still, to prevent your hearing from deteriorating from 8 kHz (likely you were into stadium rock?) further, you likely wouldn't be listening at close to 128.18 dB (or 117 dB), so noise wouldn't be an issue: a Devialet Phantom Gold (single speaker) only pumps out 108 dB SPL - but great specs on that one! :)

Steve Huff went from Sonus Faber Armati Futuras with a Devialet 200 to Focal Sopra 2's with a Macintosh MA 8000 to a pair of Devialet Phantom Golds!

While I do believe that Schitt makes terribly performing (though nicely packaged) products, I'm sad to hear they banned your comments on their performance.

I mean they've got Jason Stoddardof Sumo, and Mike Moffat, of Theta as leaders - why shouldn't their products perform as well as (and measure as well as) products like those of Bruno Putseys, today?

Especially when you can buy a DAC today (ESS 9038 PRO SABRE DAC) that does 140 dB DNR right out of the DAC...

What gets me about Schitt products is not typically the SNR, which is ok, but should be higher, but is the terrible cross-talk.

Now, I've got an Audio Alchemy HPA amoung others and am a headphone guy, so I'm used to a cross-feed circuit.

But seeeing a number like - 71 dB (and not - 100 or 120) in a Cross Talk specification today is ... amazing!

As for the Audelze EL-8's, I hated them myself. Loved the LCD-3 (pre-fazor) and liked the LCD-2.

Loved the BMW Design works job on the EL-8 cable - great looking - a bit like the Fostex TH 900 mk II cable, but much nicer!

It's likely the MAC Mini I've got sitting before me right now, but I love the look of all the Schitt products, the little

The DIP switches remind me of the FiiO Olympus E10K, which is nice - it's got two of them - and it's got balanced out.

The specs are enough for a toy product (except the cross-talk at -70 dB) at at 125 mW to 7.5 watts for $399 (so maybe $500 CDN) I could go for it.

Of course I would wish they have the specs of an iFi (the internals) product.

tonykaz's picture

Not a chance, I was Heavy Industry ( Gigantic Diesel Engines ), Detroit Diesel for 20 years, then Traveling Manufacturing Trouble Shooter ( for another 20 years ). Pllllllenty of high noise levels. I wore ear protection. I very old. I've been an active Audiophile for 60 years. My hearing is typical for a person my age.

Thanks for the description of Schiit Specs., I guess that I don't much follow all these technical details but simply accept and enjoy a good performing device, I seem to be drawn to Tube Rolling so may invest in the Polish Feliks Amp.

Thank you for your wisdoms,

Bon Vivant

Tony in Michigan - heading for Florida ( soon )

ps. Are you suggesting that Schiit specs. are obsolete?, I suspect so. No wonder JA felt confident to write it in Public forums. Ouch!

PeterG's picture

I love my Yggy, and i think the Schiit guys are terrific. But having reread the rave review that the obsolete headline refers to, I have to say that the folks who have themselves worked up over this should read the review again. No manufacturer or fanboy could ask for more.

tonykaz's picture

I think that I agree.

The Yggy performed as well as the Famed Antelope at Big Sound 2015, which I think is quite an accomplishment.

However, the guy that said it's obsolete is non other than John Atkinson of Stereophile, their measurement specialist, Recording Engineer and Editor in Chief. His words carry weight.

We have a Market about to adopt MQA, promising Master quality level "authenticated", running on 16/44.1 RedBook.

The ProAudio folks consider R2R old stuff and not appropriate, they seem surprised that this old design manages to keep-up. ( my take ).

I don't have a dog in the fight, I'm only an old geezer that uses standard 16/44.1 on iTunes. I will adopt Tidal MQA because I'm weary of Collecting discs ( CDs ). I'll enjoy having access to the entire World's music collection, even if I'm only "Renting" it. I'll be quite happy with a Mytek Brooklyn DAC decoder device feeding some Active Loudspeakers that I can take out to the BBQ area when the Party begins.

I was once a VPI Koetsu loving Analog man who is delighted to not have to go thru that ritual any longer and I've been a Schiit Fan for over 5 years ( despite being blocked by Schiit from reading their HeadFi writings ), they've adopted my T-Shirt graphic ideas without giving a nod of credit. Hmm, makes a person wonder about them.

I did hear Jude's ( from HeadFi ) Yggy and wasn't moved, I already own that level of performance ( I think ).

Sooooo, in summary,( I think) the DAC has been solved, it's not worth chasing. Everybody has pretty darn good results. The Engineering standard is 24 Bits. But, in Audiophile Worlds, 2+2 often equals any number the designer comes up with.

Go figure.

Tony in Michigan

ps. thanks for your take on all this.

georgehifi's picture

Schiit Yarrigasil obsolete???
R2R multibit dacs which Schiit like, are the best way to convert RedBook CD (PCM) be it 16/44 or 24/96 if this is why it's called "obsolete" and that it can't do DSD is a big injustice. As they have given owners of a thousands Redbook cd's who don't care about dsd the better "bit perfect" way to hear them with, instead of a facsimile of it being converted by more "modern/cheaper" Delta Sigma (bitstream) dacs

Quote MoJo Music and many other believe the same.
"When a PCM file is played on a DSD or Bit Stream converter, the DAC chip has to convert the PCM to DSD in real time. This is one of the major reasons people claim DSD sounds better than PCM, when in fact, it is just that the chip in most modern single-bit DACs do a poor job of decoding PCM."

Cheers George