Question about DAC Settings

I use a Schiit Modius DAC which has a maximum bit depth of 24. The following is from the specs:

SE or Balanced Outputs:

  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz, +/-0.02dB
  • THD+N: 0.0003%, with or without external power
  • IMD: 0.0004%, CCIR, with or without external power
  • S/N: > 118dB, referenced to full output, with or without external power
  • Crosstalk: -125dB, 20-20kHz

Maximum Output: 4.0V RMS balanced, 2.0V RMS single-ended

Inputs: USB, Toslink SPDIF, Coaxial SPDIF, AES

Sample Rates and Bit Depths: 16/44.1 to 24/192


My question is this: how should I set the Bitdepth Maximum setting? Thanks in advance.

The settings as you show them seem correct. You can always play with the following settings (but you don’t have to, in your case they are optional):

  • Try to set 'BitDepth maximum of 24 bit (instead of 32 bit) ON. (Because your DAC is max. 24 bit). But if your DAC is playing fine with this setting off, don’t bother.
  • Mute during sample rate change ON (to avoid pops and clicks on track changes). This has nothing to do with your particular DAC, but does not hurt either.
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Thanks, @AndyLubke. I will give it a try.

I think I’m missing something here. Why does the DAC show 32/192 when the DAC Input is set to 24/192?

See this link:
DAC indicates 32Bit when 16Bit is played - Audio Formats - Audirvana

Audirvana always reports the maximum bitrate your DAC can handle. In your case it is a bit confusing because Schiit reports in their tech specs that the DAC has a bitrate of max 24. In reality the DAC chips used in the Modius (AKM or ESS one of them is in your model) are both capable of 32 bit. It can be that Schiit limited the USB input to 24 bit, but that the chip (or software driver) still reports a max. or 32 bit to Audirvana.

See also the discussion in the link below. There seems to be quite some confusion about the bitrate of the Schiit Modius:
Schiit Modius Balanced DAC Review | Page 29 | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum

Some people on the internet also claim dat they can play 32 bit through a Schiit Modius with no problems.

I would not worry about this to much as it only seems to be a display issue. The real bitrate played is fine.

In short:
No matter the settings in Audirvana, Audirvana always reports (in the right below corner) the maximum bitrate your DAC is capable of, this info is provided by your DAC (driver) to Audirvana. In your case the info given by Schiit and the maximum bitrate of the built in chip seem to differ.

Maybe you can Google a bit more or try to get some more info from Schitt (although other people noticed that Schiit is not very talkative about this issue at all). Anyways, don’t worry because the actual bitrate played by the DAC seems fine. This does not seem an Audirvana bug either, because Audirvana simply shows info provided by the DAC itself.

Thanks for pointing me to those links, @AndyLubke. I agree that there seems to be confusion about the bitrate supported by the Modius. I will play with the Bitdepth maximum switch and see if I can hear a difference. Then I will report back.

I spent 15 minutes trying to hear the difference between Bitdepth Maximum of 24bit (instead of 32bit). I still don’t know if I can hear a difference. I ended up leaving the setting off, but I can’t really say why.

Well, there is no difference, because 99% of all source material is 16 or 24 bit. If 16 or 24 bit is put in a 32 bit container, it stays 16 or 24 bit.

I suggested to try that option ‘on’ for the following reason:

  • If your Modius indeed can only do max 24 bit and there would be a source file of 32 bit, your Modius can’t play it. By forcing the bitdepth to a maximum of 24 in Audirvana, your Modius would be able to play it.

That was the only reason (for compatability with your DAC). But in practice you should not hear any sound difference, which you don’t, which is good :grinning:

Just enjoy the music with the settings you have now, because they are perfectly fine for your DAC.

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I reached out to Schiit technical support. Their response confirms what you have been saying. I have set the switch on (max of 24bit) and will leave it that way.

On Tue, Dec 27, 2022 at 11:45 AM Tom E (Schiit Audio) wrote:

Your request (171950) has been updated. To add additional comments, reply to this email.
Dec 27, 2022, 08:45 PST


24/192 since that is the max sample rate the Modius can playback. It can playback when set to 32/192, however it will still only convert to a max of 24/192.

All the Best,
Tom E.

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