Prescribing Shiit for an ailing Squeezebox

Shiit Modi 2 Uber & SB3Aged though they may be, we continue to enjoy our little fleet of Logitech Squeezebox music players. Sadly, as they age one common problem is the failure of the analog outputs.

The analog output has an electrolytic capacitor on each channel. As they age they dramatically change their electrical behavior. In our case the output level of one or both channels falls off dramatically. This fault has now befallen three of our five SB3s.

The faulty analog outputs can be overcome is a few ways. One of the easiest, albeit not the cheapest, is to leverage on of the digital outputs, adding an external digital-to-analog convertor (in audio-geek-speak, an external DAC.)

Late last year I found a Shiit Audio Modi 2 Uber DAC under the Christmas tree. This little box is not especially expensive, yet seems well regarded. It’s derived from the very well-regarded* Bifrost model, which is considerably more expensive.

The Squeezebox 3 has both coaxial and optical (TOSlink) SPDIF outputs. This dictated that I use the Modi 2 Uber. The standard Modi 2 has only a USB input for use with a computer.

Shiit Modi 2 Uber Back

The Modi 2 Uber now finds itself connected to the Squeezebox 3 in my office, which drives a pair of M-Audio BX5 D2s and a small JBL powered subwoofer. I’ve had this combination in place for several years, so I know it well.

To my admittedly aging ears the Modi 2 sounds every bit as good as the Wolfson DAC built into the SB3. It definitely sounds better than the extremely cheap DAC that I bought to use temporarily.

While the Raspberry Pi + HiFi Berry has proven a good solution for adding an entirely new playback node to our network, the Shiit Modi 2 Uber has proven more than satisfactory at overcoming a failed Squeezebox analog output.

* I cringe to reference some of these goofy audio sites as I don’t share most of their world-view. I believe in the value of principled engineering over the seemingly magical properties ascribed to devices by some writers.

  • Justin Eltoft

    I love my SB’s. I have 13 running in my house/yard. I use them with topping t-amps and drive regular speakers. They are awesome. Never had these issues yet with caps but most of mine are sb receivers so maybe less issue?

    • mjgraves

      The SB receiver is a much newer product. On the basis of age alone it might not yet be suffering failed capacitors. Also, it’s design may be less reliant upon such components.