Gumby is a good gumby

I’ll try to avoid the schiit puns as Gungnir Multibit (Gumby) arrived and is settled in my audio rack. Gumby is a good Gumby! Jason Stoddard and Mike Moffat founded Schiit about a decade ago to scratch their audio design itch. Schiit has an unusual philosophy and take on high fidelity audio equipment, that it exists to serve the love of music and not to be techno-sculpture in the lounges of the rich. Rather than making a big statement piece for the wealthy, they began by making affordable $100 devices for those wishing for more than headphones plugged into an iBook. And they set out to show that you could build here of mostly US made stuff and be profitable.

References

  1. https://www.head-fi.org/threads/schiit-happened-the-story-of-the-worlds-most-improbable-start-up.701900/
  2. schiit.com
  3. https://www.schiit.com/reviews/gungnir
  4. https://youtu.be/IUBFtqNpC7U John Darko interviews Jason Stoddard and Mike Moffat.

My Introduction to Schiit

Its been so long that I’ve forgotten how but in all likelihood, it was a mention in Engadget or Gizmodo or Computer Audiophile. Since I had retired, I had time to listen to music again and to go to the occasional Virginia Symphony or Virginia Arts Festival event. Also while retired, I have had time to tinker with my music playing environment changing programs and equipment to become fans of Roon and Tidal Premium service.

I’d also been doing a lot of YouTube noodling. John Darko came up in my recommendations so I checked out some of his content. John is a music fan and recorded music fan who can talk about music and music playback equipment in a knowledgeable manner. I quickly found his DAC reviews of the Schiit Modi 3, their $100 DAC for those dipping a toe in the ocean. The Modi was a solid bit of kit. I caught several of his other Schiit equipment reviews and stumbled across Gungnir and the interview video. Finding the checking account backing up, I ordered a Gungnir Multibit DAC.

Settling Gumby in

In preparation, I spent Thursday cleaning up the audio rack. I removed all the orphan cables, rearranged equipment, and made a space for Gumby atop the preamp so I could connect it with short balanced cables to the single balanced input. On Friday, Gumby arrived, I unboxed him and put him in the rack. I let him play the afternoon WHRV shows via streaming and Roon. After a while, I played some music.

Listening Impressions

I thought the P5 DAC was good until I heard Gumby. John Darko does a good job of describing Gumby and Gumby’s sound and contrasts it with other Schiit DACS. I played Harry Belafonte Live at Carnegie Hall, a 1959 pioneering live recording. This was RCA’s first live outing and they nailed it. Belafonte has a dynamic harmonic-rich tenor and performs with a small orchestra, chorus, and guitar, bass, and drums.

The orchestra begins with the show intro. The orchestra image was rich and deep. Then Harry Belafonte comes on stage. The applause was striking. Missy Greyhound was looking nervously for the audience. The applause was crisper and more detailed spatially. The orchestra fades leaving the trio (guitar, bass, hand drums) playing the opening to Darling Cora. Then Harry begins to sing. Wow. Bass and drums are carrying the groove but the guitar is down in there playing quietly yet each note is crisp and clear.

The other things I played that night included Cowboy Junkies Trinity Session and Snarky Puppy with Metropole Orkest’s Sylva record. Gumby clearly resolved the complex harmonic stew that is Sylva. As with Belafonte, Gumby revealed the dynamical contrasts presenting small string sounds clearly separating them from the bass, drums, and winds