Troubleshooting the Modi 3 DAC

Earlier this week, sound began playing through the internal speakers of a commonly used computer instead of the headphones that were paired with the Schiit Audio Modi 3 and Magni DAC/amplifier combo. A recent operating system update was the last event to occur before this source ceased functioning. Troubleshooting the operating system ultimately was an exercise in futility due to the fact that the fault occurred within the Modi 3. Utilization of prescribed device troubleshooting techniques on Schiit’s website were followed with different yet known working cables, introduction of a powered hub, and switching operating systems entirely. A fully patched Windows 10 instance kicked back an initialization failure. A deeper dive into search results led to the discovery of a known flaw related to the CMedia CM6631A processor that facilitates USB connectivity for the DAC. While the unit did power up, the initialization errors were due to a flaw in the chip. The following forum thread on Audio Science Review describes an ad-hoc fix of heating the unit with a hair dryer or a permanent fix of replacing the processor. A newer revision of the Modi, known as the 3+, replaces this problematic CMedia processor with an in-house developed solution. The cost of repair and shipment of the failed unit would come close to procuring the new model. The Modi Multibit still relies on the CMedia processor. Hopefully, Schiit will find a way to transition the Modi Multibit to use their Unison USB interface. For the two and a half years of operation, the Modi 3 and Magni combo outperformed the Audioquest Dragonfly v1.0 that was in use. Hopefully, the Modi 3+ will stand the test of time from the operational reliability perspective.

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