STATUS: In stock. Orders placed now ship in 1-3 business days.
Now, you can add DSD to any DAC for only $149. Yes. You read that right: pure DSD playback capability. $149. Meet Loki. Loki is a complete DSD DAC and switching system. Just connect the output of your current DAC to Loki, connect Loki via USB to your computer, and you’ve added DSD to your system.
DSD Only When You Need It
With Loki, you’ll instantly get DSD64 decoding from PC and Mac USB sources. But it also integrates with any DAC. Push the front-panel button, and Loki seamlessly passes through the output of your current DAC, untouched, so you can listen to all your other digital music.
A DSD-Optimized Design
Because Loki is a DSD-dedicated design, with no PCM decoding, we were able to optimize the output stage and filtering to the unique requirements of DSD. The result is cleaner output, from a stage that isn’t compromised to try to accommodate both DSD and other digital sources. Compare it to megabuck DSD DACs that also do PCM—and you might be very surprised!
The Right Path to an Uncertain Future
DSD is the buzzword right now. Some of us also remember when SACD, HDCD, DAT, reel-to-reel, ELcassette, and quadraphonic were the “next big thing” on the audiophile scene. There’s a very real possibility DSD will go the way of the dodo. Loki allows you to try DSD at a very low price, and decide if it’s for you—without throwing away your current DAC. If DSD succeeds, cool! If it doesn’t, you’re not out big bucks.
Made in USA
By “made in USA,” we mean made in USA. The vast majority of the total production cost of Loki—chassis, boards, assembly, etc—goes to US companies manufacturing in the US. Our board house is 20 minutes away from our office in Newhall. Our chassis guys are just over the hill in the Valley.
Loki is covered by a limited warranty that covers parts and labor for two years. That’s 2x the coverage of most products in this price range.
Unlike our other products, Loki is so affordable we can’t offer the same 15-day, 5% satisfaction guarantee. But if you don’t like your Loki, you can still send it back for a refund, minus 15% restocking fee, within 15 days of receiving it.
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20Khz, +/-0.3db, 2Hz-200KHz, -3dB
THD: <0.005%, 20Hz-20KHz, at 1V RMS
IMD: <0.007%, CCIF, at 1V RMS
SNR: >100db, unweighted, referenced to 1V RMS
Crosstalk: >-70dB, 20 Hz-20KHz
Output Impedance: 75 ohms
USB DOP Input Receiver: C-Media CM6631A
DOP to DSD Decoding: proprietary Schiit code implemented on 32-bit Microchip processor
D/A Conversion: AKM4396, in native DSD mode
DSD capability: DSD64
Analog Topology: based on AD8616 with DSD-specific filtering
Power Supply: USB bus powered with significant decoupling, post-regulation, and isolation used throughout
Power Consumption: 100mA, 5V
Size: 5 x 3.5 x 1.25”
Weight: 1 lb
What the hell is DSD?
DSD is an acronym for Direct Stream Digital, which is the encoding format used by SACDs. SACDs will not output DSD, due to licensing restrictions. However, some recordings are now available in DSD format, which can be played from a PC or Mac via USB. This DAC decodes DSD.
Where can I get some of this DSD stuff?
I thought you guys weren’t so hot on DSD?
One of the big reasons we weren’t thrilled about DSD is the fact that the decoding requirements for DSD are very different than PCM—which dictates a different output stage, notch filters, etc. Mixing the two in a single DAC would require compromises on one or both—or heroic design workarounds that would increase cost significantly. So we decided to do it as a separate box—and, in the process, create a product that can add DSD to any DAC, not just our own.
So I can use this with Bifrost?
Of course. You can also use it with Modi, Gungnir, or any other DAC. To use a DAC with RCA outputs with Loki's built-in switching system, just hook up the output of your current DAC to Loki. Listen to DSD via Loki, and press the front-panel button when you want to listen to PCM via your current DAC.
Wait. I can use Loki with any DAC?
Are you saying I can add true DSD capability to any DAC for $149?
Yes. You aren’t so hot on this “comprehension” thing, are you?
Technically, that’s not a question, but yes.
Can I use Loki with a Raspberry Pi for streaming?
Yes, Loki works with RaspyFi for the Raspberry Pi to create an inexpensive DSD server.
Can I use Loki with all of my music, including non-DSD music, AKA PCM?
Yes, you can convert all your music to DSD on the fly with JRiver and Foobar if you want to use Loki as your only DAC.
Well, hell, this thing can’t sound any good, it’s only $149.
Actually, Loki sounds better than a lot of DSD decoders, even megabuck ones. Why? Because we’re not trying to decode both DSD and PCM with the same DAC and filter stage. Loki is optimized for one thing, and one thing only: to decode DSD.
Yeah, but is it really DSD, or are you converting to PCM?
Yes, Virginia, it’s really DSD. Loki accepts the DSD over PCM (DoP) USB packet spec, where real DSD is sent over USB without conversion to PCM. It then unpacks and reassembles the actual, bit-for-bit perfect DSD datastream with custom Schiit code implemented on a 32-bit Microchip controller. Yes, this is our own proprietary solution, developed in-house for this specific use. No, we aren’t a bunch of boobs in a garage, like some people want you to think.
What players does Loki work with?
On the Mac, Audirvana, JRiver, and Pure Music. On the PC, Foobar and JRiver. These are the ones we’ve tested and confirmed to work. Others may also work, but we make no guarantees. Expect to spend plenty of time setting up your PC to run right with DSD. Sorry, complain to Microsoft about their crap support for audio.
If I've already got a USB DAC, how do I connect Loki?
With another USB cable. You'll have a USB cable running to your current DAC, and another to Loki. Loki reports as "Schiit DSD Audio Device," with a different USB ID, so there's no problem running both, say, a Schiit USB DAC and a Loki. You can run the output of your current USB DAC through Loki for switching convenience. On your computer, you can switch between DACs using your player software (usually.)
Can I use Loki with an SACD player?
Nope, SACD players output only PCM. Thank Sony and their copy protection. We think Sony and Microsoft have secret meetings about how they can make life more difficult for audiophiles.
What about DSD128 and DSD256 and DXD and other audiophile unicorn formats out there?
We hear you, but first, let’s see if those unicorn formats ever get more than, say, 27 recordings available. Recordings that people want to listen to, that is. If that happens, there’s no reason we can’t make a bigger badder add-on box with, say, DSD 2X and balanced in/out.
Product of the Week at LVAC
We just made Component of the Week at the Las Vegas Audiophile Club!
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A Non-Review of the Loki—Digital Audio Review
"DSD has modern music fanciers all dressed up with nowhere to go. Thankfully Schiit’s offering is cheap and cheerful, off the shelf rather than a multi-thousand dollar bespoke fit. DSD’s benefits remain theory-only to audiophiles with left-of-audiophile-centre tastes. There’s no Neil Young or Tom Waits or Bob Dylan or Kraftwerk or….the glass is 99.9% empty. Sorry about that.
It might not always be this way but this is the state of DSD content in the here and now.
My Schiit Loki remains Laura Palmered in plastic. It sits and it waits…it paper-weights."
Puma Cat, Steve Hoffman Forums
"Bottom line is that the little Schiit Loki is just stupidly good at $149. Can Loki compare to the mega-buck DSD DACs? IMHO, the answer is an unequivocal YES. I'm very, very impressed with Schiit and with Loki. Those boys at Schiit sure know what they're doing."
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"The boys at Schiit have, in my opinion and experience, hit one outta the park with the little Loki DSD Dedicated DAC. Especially when used in conjunction with JRiver Media Center converting PCM data to DSD so you only need the Loki to play back all of your music, it is one helluva deal."
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The Ear (UK): Schiit Loki DSD DAC
"Based purely on sonic performance, it is very difficult to find fault in the Loki. It would certainly be a challenge to unearth a better sounding native-DSD DAC for the money, and I suspect this little converter would also hold its own against competitors in higher price brackets. The Loki offers such ridiculously high quality DSD playback that it almost becomes irrational to make a case against buying it."
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