CHORD ELECTRONICS DAVE
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miketlse

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Agreed, but that isn't what I said. I referred to two things and commented on "the latter feature" which is the DDC. The ADC is the "former" feature and has been discussed many times.

So far as I'm aware, for obvious reasons Rob has not mentioned the upscaler on this blog or anywhere else, but I stand to be corrected.
Sorry, I misread your post.
 
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JaZZ

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So meridian rep explained there is a difference between computer deciding MQA files and dac decoding since dac decoding seem to play at 24/352.8 and not 24/88. I'm not super into the tech end of it but there is a noticeable sound difference playing through a MQA dac verse letting the app change it over for a non mqa dac. I've purchased a few album in mqa now as well and they really sound terrific for classical music verse standard cds and don't require the storage space of dsd. So I'm hoping the Dave will receive an update for mqa in the future even if I have to pay a fee to get the update.
 
I strongly suspect that an MQA signal would require MQA capable (software) equalizers to pass the full content of the format to a hardware decoder/DAC. And I don't expect such equalizers to be available any time soon. So for people like me who are into equalizing MQA is most likely no option for now.
 
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Hubert H

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Also wanted to ask if other Dave owners felt that Dave improved over time? Any run in?  
I know Chord say every Dave is identical, but mine sounds more musical today, after a month....
 
Maybe my imagination?
 
Could also be my Dynaudio speakers as I got them a few months ago, but they need hundreds of hours of running in time.
This is interesting.
 
I don't believe that there is any burn in with the Dave, I had a long term loan whilst I waited for my new Dave and they sounded the same or as near as possible.
 
I have had some thoughts on this burn in business for a while and I think that it could be to do with the cable connections. I had my system running sweetly for a good year or two and never touched it, BLU, QBD76, CPA4000 Chord pre-amp and SPM1400E monos. I've always used contact enhancer to clean terminals (with a cotton bud using very little fluid) and good quality standard balanced cables that meet spec.
 
When I decided to sort out my stand I took it all apart, clean the heatsinks of cobwebs and dust et cetera and re-connected the components. No cables were changed, power was the same, shelves etc. Switch on and the sound has changed, it's brighter and sharper. After a few weeks the sound suddenly popped into goodness again and stayed that way. I have heard this a few times now.
 
So, what I am saying, is that if a system is resolving enough, low noise floor et cetera, even small 'issues' can impact the sound. I think that phono sockets, speaker binding posts et al are degrading regardless of supposed quality. My Dave sounds brilliant at the moment so I won't be touching anything for a while

 
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Hubert H

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Is the Klimax a balanced preamp? I've found that as a general rule, balanced tends to work better into a balanced circuit, SE into a SE circuit, but not invariably so. Like everything, it depends on how it's implemented.
 
Exactly, it's not easy to compare as it depends on the amp's architecture.
 
I have a balanced amp and assume that the circuitry in the Dave is more direct than that in the amp. Besides, if the ultimate destination is a balanced amp, it makes sense to use the advantage of balanced cables to connect - as long as they are in spec...
 
H.
 
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adyc

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Romaz,

Can you check with chord whether Davina has USB output to DAVE? Two good quality BNC cable is more expensive than USB cable given the high bit rate demand good quality BNC cable.

DAVE specs it needs 4 BNC input to accept 704 KHz but it seems that they can now accept 704 KHz using dual BNC input. Is there a need to upgrade the firmware?
 
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ecwl

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So meridian rep explained there is a difference between computer deciding MQA files and dac decoding since dac decoding seem to play at 24/352.8 and not 24/88. I'm not super into the tech end of it but there is a noticeable sound difference playing through a MQA dac verse letting the app change it over for a non mqa dac. I've purchased a few album in mqa now as well and they really sound terrific for classical music verse standard cds and don't require the storage space of dsd. So I'm hoping the Dave will receive an update for mqa in the future even if I have to pay a fee to get the update.

Right. While I'm sure some tracks are originally 24/192 or even 24/384, I think most tracks as Tidal pointed out were MQA 24/96 to begin with. So if you play it with Tidal app, it'll decode the track to 24/96 and feed it to DAVE which would then use its 164000 taps to decide it to 24/384 then 24/11.2MHz and then so on. Whereas if you feed it to a meridian DAC, the DAC would decide the MQA file to 24/96 and then based on the MQA coding, choose an appraising or non-appraising 1000 tap length say digital filter to take the 24/96 to 24/384. That's why I think MQA is great for non-Chord DACs that have short tap length filters because it's compensating for an inherent technical limitation for the DACs. Ultimately, you'll have to compare software decided MQA into Chord vs MQA into Meridian yourself and pick your preference. I just don't think MQA is as magical as you think it is and nor do I think Chord DACs would improve miraculously if they can decode MQA files via hardware.
 
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Jawed

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I have a mechanical keyboard which I use for my computer at home, a classic IBM Model M from 1993 that makes quite a loud clicking sound as each key is pressed.

At different times I hear a huge variation in the quality of the sound of this keyboard. It varies from a dull-ish clack to a sharp, seemingly higher-pitched click. The keys do vary in their sound compared with each other, but the overall sound quality that I perceive varies quite a lot. Some days it sounds dull and other times it sounds much more precise, much sharper, much more "clicky".

All this variation happens to coincide with how "good" or "bad" my hi-fi sounds.

When the clicking noise is very sharp, fast and precise sounding this is also the time when the hi-fi sounds best: the bass sounds fast, powerful and deep, the midrange sounds more open and the treble sounds delicately refined and extended. There's a sense of great dynamics and an effortless flow in the music. The soundstage feels much easier to hear into and is much bigger. Music makes much more sense and is very satisfying to listen to :D

So, from the variation in the sound of my keyboard I can tell that my hearing is changing over time: the quality varies up and down. It can change over a few hours. It can remain at a particular level for days or weeks at a time. I don't blame the hi-fi...

Now playing: Pink Floyd - Fat Old Sun
 
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Crgreen

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Exactly, it's not easy to compare as it depends on the amp's architecture.

I have a balanced amp and assume that the circuitry in the Dave is more direct than that in the amp. Besides, if the ultimate destination is a balanced amp, it makes sense to use the advantage of balanced cables to connect - as long as they are in spec...

H.

I agree, which is why I used balanced out from my DAVE. Both my preamp and power amp are balanced circuits.
 
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esimms86

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Simple question for those who have had a chance to listen at CES 2017. How does MQA with reported improved time domain accuracy compare with Chord Dave/Blu CD mkII with 1 million taps?
 
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pkcpga

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Right. While I'm sure some tracks are originally 24/192 or even 24/384, I think most tracks as Tidal pointed out were MQA 24/96 to begin with. So if you play it with Tidal app, it'll decode the track to 24/96 and feed it to DAVE which would then use its 164000 taps to decide it to 24/384 then 24/11.2MHz and then so on. Whereas if you feed it to a meridian DAC, the DAC would decide the MQA file to 24/96 and then based on the MQA coding, choose an appraising or non-appraising 1000 tap length say digital filter to take the 24/96 to 24/384. That's why I think MQA is great for non-Chord DACs that have short tap length filters because it's compensating for an inherent technical limitation for the DACs. Ultimately, you'll have to compare software decided MQA into Chord vs MQA into Meridian yourself and pick your preference. I just don't think MQA is as magical as you think it is and nor do I think Chord DACs would improve miraculously if they can decode MQA files via hardware.

Just an FYI, MQA native is 24/352.8 if you buy a MQA track or natively play one. Meridian told me you need a native mqa playing dac to play at that level, hence the difference of playing even Tidal direct mqa, needs to be selected in tidal verse tidal master which is not the same as direct mqa. This is also stated on Tidal site if you look how to play mqa direct verse master in settings.
 
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Beolab

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I spent a good part of yesterday in the Chord room at CES. It was a wonderful several hours spent with Rob and John with enlightening conversation and, of course, listening to DAVE with Blu Mk2. I will be back in the Chord room today to give Hugo 2 and Poly a listen. Obviously, these are exciting times for Chord and for many of us.

As I've already previously posted, the SPDIF/BNC input on Blu 2 is run through the M-scaler and so 1 million TAPS is not just limited to CD playback.

As I've also previously posted, the next Chord component to incorporate the M-scaler will be Davina. This will be both ADC and DDC and will have the same digital inputs as DAVE. The PCB for Davina will be completed in a few days and from there, testing will ensue. Rob isn't sure when it will be ready, maybe by summer but ultimately, "it will be ready when it's ready." Is there a reason to wait for Davina if all you are interested in is the M-scaler? According to Rob, not really. Even if you prefer a USB source (as I do), you could use a USB to SPDIF converter. While the Audiophilleo converter I recently tried didn't sound as good to my ears as USB direct to DAVE, Rob believes this difference will disappear with the SPDIF input on Blu as the signal will be completely regenerated by his M-scaler before it is passed off to DAVE.

As for those of us who no longer spin CDs (like myself) but who really want the benefits of a million TAPS and the vastly improved WTA filters Rob has come up with, then consider the CD transport as a free bonus because Blu 2 and Davina are expected to cost the same. If you feel you might benefit from the ADC in Davina and insist on having multiple digital inputs, then wait for Davina. If the appeal of spinning CDs is there for you (even occasionally), then there's no reason to wait as the M-scaler implementation in Blu 2 will be equivalent to Davina.

To answer the questions posed by some, will there be an upgrade path for original Blu owners? Unfortunately, no. Should original Blu owners consider the upgrade even if you don't own a DAVE? If SQ is your goal, absolutely, yes!

Can you combine Blu 2 with a Mojo, Hugo 2 or even a non-Chord dac like a Schiit Yggy or MSB Select II and will the M-scaler benefit those DACs? Yes, you can and yes, it will. The M-scaler will effectively bring those DACs up to 500 million TAPS but according to Rob, those 500 million TAPS still won't sound as good as the same 500 million TAPS on DAVE because of a certain synergy that will exist between Blu 2/Davina and DAVE and of course, with DAVE, it will be 1 million TAPS.

Will 1 million TAPS benefit 16/44 more than high-res files? According to Rob, more TAPS will benefit all resolutions equally. Rob was also quick to point out that it's not just about the number of TAPS but how those TAPS are used and he believes with his new filters, these TAPS are being used more effectively and to greater musicality than ever before.

As far as power consumption, yes, the M-scaler requires 10 amps but at 1 volt and so it only consumes 10 watts. Nonetheless, a 10A supply in the DAVE would be very polluting and so there was never a consideration to incorporate the M-scaler and DAVE in the same chassis.

Are there plans to incorporate M-scaler + built-in streamer? Not at this time.

Can the new Poly be used on the DAVE? Rob had nothing to do with the design of Poly but he looked at this possibility for the first time yesterday and it would appear that the Poly can be accommodated for the DAVE very easily.

Could Poly be looked at as being similar to a battery operated microRendu? Yes. The functionality and feature set will be similar. Poly also has the advantage of incorporating wifi. Poly is expected to receive Roon certification shortly.

As for SQ improvements, I will preface my initial comments by saying that when Hugo first came out, I was impressed by it but not overly enamored by it. When DAVE came out, I thought the SQ difference was enormous. The ratio of TAPS from Hugo to DAVE is about the same as DAVE to the M-scaler which is about 6:1 and so I was expecting roughly the same jump in SQ. Rob allowed me the privilege of directly comparing CD playback without the M-scaler vs CD playback at 500 million TAPS and finally at 1 million TAPS. I will provide more in-depth comments at a later time but the SQ difference is instantly evident from the standpoint of depth and clarity using both headphones (LCD-4) and speakers. While 500 million TAPS sounded very very good, 1 million TAPS was just simply that much more amazing. There was not this sense of diminishing return and the leap from DAVE to a full million TAPS is more impressive to my ears than the leap I recall hearing from Hugo to DAVE. I have never before found the DAVE to sound "pedestrian" when compared against any DAC but compared to DAVE + M-scaler, it does. I have placed my order for a Blu 2.

Great scoop Roy i think all of us in here highly regard this info from you.

Neverteless i hope and pray for a stand alone M-Scaler with USB / S/Pdif as everyone would like to buy, even not Chord owners.

Can you describe in short what you felt happened with the sound besides depht and clarity? Did it give you a more analog feeling with some wamth left or?
From your description i read it like it is more of the same as if it is about to tip over against the slightly analythical side, or what is your honest golden ear opinion?

Then it would have been great fun to hook it up to a diffrent DAC brand like a Nagra, Esoteric , Emmlabs , DCS or why not a Mojo and see what would happen!

Have a great day on CES !
 
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romaz

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Romaz,

Can you check with chord whether Davina has USB output to DAVE? Two good quality BNC cable is more expensive than USB cable given the high bit rate demand good quality BNC cable.

DAVE specs it needs 4 BNC input to accept 704 KHz but it seems that they can now accept 704 KHz using dual BNC input. Is there a need to upgrade the firmware?

I have confirmed with Rob that neither Blu 2 nor Davina will have USB out. Davina, however, will have USB in and also SPDIF/BNC, AES/EBU, and Toslink. As before, Blu 2 will only have SPDIF/BNC in. As for requiring expensive BNC cables, this will not be necessary. Unlike DAVE, the SPDIF/BNC input and the BNC/DX outputs on Blu 2 and Davina will be galvanically isolated. Just make sure you have a true 75 ohm cable with good shielding.
 
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Romaz,

Can you check with chord whether Davina has USB output to DAVE? Two good quality BNC cable is more expensive than USB cable given the high bit rate demand good quality BNC cable.

DAVE specs it needs 4 BNC input to accept 704 KHz but it seems that they can now accept 704 KHz using dual BNC input. Is there a need to upgrade the firmware?

I have confirmed with Rob that neither Blu 2 nor Davina will have USB out. Davina, however, will have USB in and also SPDIF/BNC, AES/EBU, and Toslink. As before, Blu 2 will only have SPDIF/BNC in. As for requiring expensive BNC cables, this will not be necessary. Unlike DAVE, the SPDIF/BNC input and the BNC/DX outputs on Blu 2 and Davina will be galvanically isolated. Just make sure you have a true 75 ohm cable with good shielding.
Just to clarify - Davina does have a dedicated USB out - the single USB is bi-directional, so it could input say 48 kHz on the single USB and at the same time output the M scaler output at 768 kHz back to the PC. So you could make a recording at 768 kHz and play back to Dave at a later date; or I guess you could route the USB output from Davina to Dave via the PC with an appropriate app.
 
But the intention is that Dave would get the 768 kHz via the galvanically isolated BNC  exactly like I am doing now with the Blu mk 2.
 
Rob
 
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