In this article, we will be sharing a review of the Schiit Modi 3 Review, a popular DAC (Digital Analogue Converter) that has three inputs – TOSLINK, coaxial (also known as COAX) and USB. The Schiit Modi 3 is produced by a California-based Hi-Fi company, Schiit Audio. But before anything else, what is a DAC or digital-analog converter?
In technical jargon, a digital-to-analog converter can also be referred to as DAC, D/A, D-to-A, D2A. Taking from its name, it is a system that literally converts a digital signal to an analog signal. Meanwhile, an ADC or analog-to-digital converter performs the opposite function. We need to put this information out there so you can fully understand our Schiit Modi 3 review.
Table of Contents
- Schiit Modi Review – Overview
- Schiit Modi Review – Who is it for?
- Schiit Modi 3 Review: Features
- Schiit Modi 3 Review: Build and Package
- Schiit Modi 3 Review: Signatures and Reference Designs
- Schiit Modi 3 Review: Sound
- Schiit Modi 3 Review: Compatibility and Device Power
- Schiit Modi 3 Review: Our Verdict
Schiit Modi Review – Overview
The Schiit Modi 3 has a price tag of $99, which is a fairly reasonable price point for a product that offers this kind of services and technology. The first microUSB port of the Schiit Modi gets power and audio data from Mac, laptop or a computer. The second port is for sending ones and zeroes over the S/PDIF inputs. Meanwhile, the twin RCA sockets direct the analogue output to amps or active loudspeakers. Don’t mistake the Schiit Modi 3 to be a Multbit version – you actually need to shell out extra money, specifically at a price of $150.
Schiit Modi Review – Who is it for?
Initially, this device aims to externalize or improve sound that comes from an existing mobile device or smartphone, tablet, sound card or computer audio solution. It also has flexible input options which means that the Schiit Modi 3 can be easily paired with game consoles, a CD player, transports and other AV devices.
Schiit Modi 3 Review: Features
The Schiit Modi 3 is known to be a very basic DAC model – it can support PCM only replay via TOSLINK, RCA S/PDIF connections and USB. As long as the USB port the Schiit Modi 3 is connected to has power, the unit also remains powered. You can also make the Schiit Modi 3 switchable using a switchable cable or adapter. In terms of power connectivity, you have the option to either make it switchable or just keep it powered all the time.
Schiit Modi 3 Review: Build and Package
At a glance, the package of Schiit Modi 3 is simple and has no frills. It comes in a sturdy, white cardboard box containing the DAC, switching USB power supply and standard USB-A and micro USB-B cable. The power supply of the Schiit Modi 3 is small enough to take up only a single socket, so you can forget about competing with other plug-ins in place. This is only needed if you’ll be using a non-USB input or driving device that can’t provide adequate USB power such as mobile devices.
Schiit Modi 3 Review: Signatures and Reference Designs
Traditional reviews of headphones highlight the features and cost of specific models and devices. In this Schiit Modi 3 review, we will also be talking about its signature sound and reference designs. Whether you are looking for a replacement unit or just auditioning DACs using personal experience, you’ll eventually develop a certain familiarity with fundamental sound signatures that exudes the brand sound quality.
In an effort of companies to reduce cost but still maintain the quality and precision of sound signature without affecting the price point, reference signatures generally become more recognizable that have minimal differentiation during execution, and such is the case with the Schiit Modi 3.
Schiit Modi 3 Review: Sound
The sound industry in the USA is practically streaming with various brands and models in different pricing ranges – from a bargain price to an expensive selling price. In this Schiit Modi 3 review, we’ve come to terms that the general presentation of this device absolutely gives a bang for your buck.
The sound is refined and smooth, with a good sense of clarity and definition combined with a solid, tonal weight and density. For our Schiit Modi 3 review, take our word for it – the agility and bass articulation is excellent. The Schiit Modi 3 leans more on sounding laid back and relaxed rather than being active, but it does so without necessarily giving up any sign of energy or distort the vocals or music rendition. There’s also a little extra roundness that comes with the lower registers and provides an additional bass weight sans the slowness or thickness of the sound.
While making the Schiit Modi 3 review, we noticed that the vocals are nuanced and natural, with a remarkably good presence that can contest any other DAC in the same price range. It can handle high, female notes without actually losing or distorting the natural edge, which for us, is truly worthy of a great review considering that this is actually a blind or fall apart feature of other budget DACs.
In our Schiit Modi 3 review, we found out that the instrumental timbre is rich and impressive – guitar strums sound different from a dulcimer, violins sound impressively distinct from a viola, while brass and piano maintain an unexaggerated level of oomph to the strings and horns.
Schiit Modi 3 Review: Compatibility and Device Power
As mentioned earlier, the Schiit Modi 3 can operate without a driver on Windows 10, Linux and macOS. If you are running an earlier version of Windows, you can use the drivers provided. In terms of connectivity, you can simply connect it to a USB port for standard USB operation from a USB 2.0 compliant source or from a computer. For TOSLINK inputs and S/PDIF RCA, you will have to connect an appropriate alternative to the power input or to a supplied USB wall-wart.
Schiit Modi 3 Review: Our Verdict
To conclude our Schiit Modi 3 review, we would like to say that it is one of the best sounding DAC in its respective price range. It may come across as small in terms of optical aesthetics, but it is actually a technically proficient and excellent sounding unit. Our Schiit Modi 3 review concludes that to date, this is one of the best entry-level DAC that can deliver decent audio from any modern devices and media (TV, mobile phone, YouTube videos, etc) and delivers what the test-bench results have promised. If you’re looking for an entry-level DAC that can expertly do its job as a compact or desktop DAC, the Schiit Modi 3 is an ideal option.