Before anyone who isn’t familiar with Los Angeles-based Schiit Audio wonders why people bother with $99 DACs, I think its important to point out that our comparison of the last Modi generation was one of our most popular posts ever. Ever. The market is hot-to-trot for this product, at this price point. And why shouldn’t the masses be? It is a fairly attainable cost for something that really starts to answer the opening question on the lips of any budding audiophile “How can I make this sound better?”
The main talking points are now three digital inputs at the $99 level and a new AK4490 D/A chip at the helm. The previous $99 level (non-uber variant) only offered a single USB input for connectivity. The new three maintains the additional optical and coaxial inputs via a included USB micro power supply, all packed into a very compact size for a product line that is really an interesting starting point on the idea of “separates”. The DAC is even designed for use with phones and other portables (0mA draw with external power connected), and can be powered from the USB alone from a computer if need be – versatility maximized.
More details and full release after the image.
“$99 MODI 3 REDEFINES THE 2-FIGURE DAC
USB, Optical, and Coax Inputs; USB or External Power
September 21, 2018, Valencia, CA. Today, Schiit Audio announced the introduction the Modi 3, the third generation of its popular, high-value DAC. Modi 3 is a significant enhancement over previous Modi 2, offering 3 digital inputs (rather than just USB), a premium AK4490 D/A converter with active filtering and DC-coupled output, and the capability to be powerd by USB or with an external power supply. A 5V wall power supply and USB Micro cable are provided. Retail price remains at $99.
“This is how you define progress,” said Mike Moffat, Schiit’s Co-Founder, and chief digital designer. “The original Modi in 2012 was a USB-only DAC that worked only up to 24/96, and provided only 1.5V RMS output due to its simple USB power supply. Now, Modi 3 gives you three switchable digital inputs, a better D/A converter, 24/192 capability, a dual rail power supply and full 2.0V RMS output—and we included a wall-wart and a USB cable, for the same price as the original Modi.”
Despite its low cost, Modi 3 is quite a sophisticated design, using custom firmware and a Microchip microprocessor for system control and oversight. In addition, Schiit worked with C-Media to extend its power-sensing-and-reporting code from Fulla 2 to this higher-performance DAC.
“This helps us eliminate ‘draws too much power’ errors,” said Jason Stoddard, Schiit’s Co-Founder. “If you use the included external power supply, Modi 3 reports as a 0mA USB device. This means it works much better with phones and tablets, which usually don’t want a lot of power pulled from their USB ports. Or, you can just plug the single supplied USB Micro cable into virtually any computer, and Modi 3 will get both its power and data from there.”
This versatility allows Modi 3 to be used in the same way as the outgoing Modi 2 and Modi 2 Uber. Connect one USB cable to use it as a single-input, USB-only DAC, or use the included power supply and connect up your optical and coaxial digital sources.
In addition, Modi 3 is the first product developed using new investments in Audio Precision and Avermetrics test equipment, which has helped it to be the best-performing DAC Schiit has ever offered, when using conventional metrics. A full APx555 report is provided in the product specs.
Modi 3 replaces both Modi 2 and Modi 2 Uber, at $99. It is available for purchase now at schiit.com
About Schiit Audio
Founded in June 2010 by Jason Stoddard and Mike Moffat, Schiit has grown into a leader in affordable high-end audio, with a wide range of products spanning DACs, headphone amplifiers, and preamplifiers, from $49 to $2399.”