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Jason's hammer on a forum. "Ha! I see we've been accused of 'not knowing USB' by some USB mafia on another site because, you know, 'them old guys with their S/PDIF canes don't understand the future'. So to clear things up here's a version of an email I just sent.

"Not enough experience with USB? Ha! Our DAC would have been out a year ago if it wasn't for USB.

"We have investigated all the commercially available USB interfaces—including some very expensive licensed ones—and arrived at a design that is one of the best if not the best out there. It's USB 2.0 not antique 1.1; it's async; it has separate crystal-controlled clocks for 44.1 and 48kHz multiples; it has galvanic isolation. We put a ton of engineering time into USB. We know it's necessary for many customers. We simply aren't going to portray it as anything it isn't. We have no reason to. So if you buy our USB solution, you know you're getting one that's solidly engineered and done to the highest level we can possibly achieve today. It's not slapped together or an afterthought. And it sounds really nice. For USB. And unlike everyone else at or near this price point, it's upgradable for when the technology changes. And yeah, you can speculate about whether or not upgrades will come but you know what? One thing is for sure, technology will change and when it does, you will throw away a non-upgradable DAC or accept less than state-of-the-art performance.

"S/PDIF from computers is inferior? I'm unsure where this idea that S/PDIF from computers is 'inferior' derived. Sure there's variation in S/PDIF output quality but we're getting jitter rates from Apple Toslink and good PC soundcard coax that are not significantly different than what we get from a good transport. So I gotta ask whether maybe it's not a case of these 'old dogs' not knowing USB? Maybe it's a case of these newfangled designers not knowing how to properly implement a S/PDIF receiver? There are so many tricks beyond the data-sheet implementation - and we've been doing them since the 80s. But we'll see. When Bifrost ships, you judge for yourself."

Is this a case of well-meant honesty backfiring?
Team Schiit makes no bones about considering S/PDIF superior to USB. Theoretically the master-mode asynchronous protocol possible with USB should poke a hole into that. It's led Naim to devise an S/PDIF scheme that uses 10 different clocks in a proprietary auto-adapt mode to clone quasi asynchronous mode even for the ancient slave-mode Sony/Philips digital interface. A counter argument might point at the decades engineers have had to finesse S/PDIF transmission to its current state. USB particularly for high-end audio use is much newer and arguably far from mature. No matter how you slice this, Schiit's stance will strike many as retro. Some might even think self-defeatist. Given their name, such non-conformity seems simply par for the course.

What even naysayers on this subject can't turn upside down is the simple fact that two industry veterans have strategically pooled their combined experience not to launch yet another company with over-priced bling product. Instead they focus on the common man and do so with home-grown rather than farmed-out manufacture. “Bifrost offers much higher performance than the last DAC Mike and I collaborated on (the Cobalt 307). It has more features and more inputs and costs only about half as much as the Cobalt, which didn’t have discrete analog and wasn’t upgradable. Progress is a wonderful thing.”