Chord Electronics Qutest DAC - Official Thread
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TheNidz

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Question for Qutest users: is there a USB cable you would recommend that can be purchased with a 6” or thereabouts length?
My Qutest arrives tomorrow, and since it will be located next to my MacBook Air (repurposed as a server), I’d like a short USB cable with audiophile pretensions.
Wireworld offers USB cables in 0.3m lengths.
I use an Ultraviolet7 ($46) which I'm very happy with, but you can go lower (Chroma@$23) or higher (Starlight7@$85) or even much higher.
('Zon prices.)

P.S. Is your amp a Luxman?
 
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jwbrent

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Wireworld offers USB cables in 0.3m lengths.
I use an Ultraviolet7 ($46) which I'm very happy with, but you can go lower (Chroma@$23) or higher (Starlight7@$85) or even much higher.
('Zon prices.)

P.S. Is your amp a Luxman?
Thank you for your cable suggestions.

Yes, it is a Luxman MQ-88, a 40 watt per channel KT88 based amp.
 
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gordec

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First of all, the stock psu sounds FANTASTIC. It has a very lush tonal presentation, warmest of what i tried, i can see why they chose this for stock. ifi iPower 5v provides a much faster/precise and neutral sound. At this point you can go either way depending on taste and setup. (both same size & weight). Now the $400 uptone audio LPS 1.2..... dynamics are compressed, midrange becomes more distant, a sense of 3D is now flattened, I can see someone saying that this sounds more "analog" but to me it just sounds underpowered and noisy. I'm not bothering with a power bank because I do not want to deal with the use/recharge.

To me the differences are not subtle or hard to hear. To those that yell "but Rob Watts Says the PSU doesnt matter!" the stock psu does in-fact sound great so have fun listening to a great DAC. For the rest...well I cant wait to try some more power supplies once I get bored and the "upgrade/change itch" sets in.

Qutest>CMA600i>LCD-3
I'm so glad I saw your comment. I got the Qutest last Friday after auditioning it. My unit came with iFi iPower as free throw in, so I never bothered with the stock PSU. I was pretty disappointment because, even though the Qutest sounded technically good, it sounded digital and thin compared to what I remembered. I was changing different inputs, etc, not sure what was going on. Now I switched to the stock PSU, it sounds so much better to me. The natural and analogue qualities are all back. Never knew the power supply can make this much difference.

I guess before you run off and drop more dough on a fancy power supply give the stock PSU a try.
 
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jwbrent

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I'm so glad I saw your comment. I got the Qutest last Friday after auditioning it. My unit came with iFi iPower as free throw in, so I never bothered with the stock PSU. I was pretty disappointment because, even though the Qutest sounded technically good, it sounded digital and thin compared to what I remembered. I was changing different inputs, etc, not sure what was going on. Now I switched to the stock PSU, it sounds so much better to me. The natural and analogue qualities are all back. Never knew the power supply can make this much difference.

I guess before you run off and drop more dough on a fancy power supply give the stock PSU a try.
Nice to read the stock PSU works well. My new Qutest has been running 24/7 since I picked it up last Tuesday. I’ve given it a listen a couple times and the one quality that really comes through is the liquid nature of the upper frequencies; coupled with my Raidho’s ribbon tweeters, the delicacy of the trebles is quite stunning.

Although the subject of burn-in is fraught with controversy, my experience has always been that DACs benefit from being left on all the time and do require some play time before they sound their best.
 
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AlexB73

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I reported on this forum, that Qutest has much darker sound signature compared to 2Qute.
And it was true after 250 hours break-in with music played 24/7 from my computer.
After that I moved Qutest into a basement where is my main system stays.
I connected it to CD transport by coaxial cable and I leaved Qutest plugged in and CD transport switched on for 2 weeks.
I didn't expect the sound can be changed significantly after 250 hours of break-in.
It was a big surprise for me, because sound of Qutest opened up, became more dynamic and brighter.
Tonal balance now is more similar to 2Qute but more extended on frequency extremes.
Base become more natural without emphasizing of mid-base.
So I need to do more detailed comparison to 2Qute again.
 
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Hello all, purchased my qutest around 2 weeks ago replacing my schiit bitfrost which was connected to a eitr. My honest opinion is that the qutest isn't a massive upgrade but a subtle one . Just a few questions if anybody can help, I can't tell any difference when I change the filters so I just leave it on the white led. Also should I go USB from my mac into qutest or is my schiit eitr a better USB interface. I have tried switching between the two but not difference the eitr is limited to 24 bit 192 with spdif output.

My setups
Mac audirvana software - schiit eitr - yaqin 13s tube amp - Dali opticon 1
Mac audiravana software - schiit eitr - beyerdynamic a2 - beyerdynamic t1 g2 headphones
 
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Hello all, purchased my qutest around 2 weeks ago replacing my schiit bitfrost which was connected to a eitr. My honest opinion is that the qutest isn't a massive upgrade but a subtle one . Just a few questions if anybody can help, I can't tell any difference when I change the filters so I just leave it on the white led. Also should I go USB from my mac into qutest or is my schiit eitr a better USB interface. I have tried switching between the two but not difference the eitr is limited to 24 bit 192 with spdif output.

My setups
Mac audirvana software - schiit eitr - yaqin 13s tube amp - Dali opticon 1
Mac audiravana software - schiit eitr - beyerdynamic a2 - beyerdynamic t1 g2 headphones
24 bit 192 with spdif output is the maximum allowed by the SPDIF standard, so no AV equipment (includes dacs) will be able to exceed it.
I think Rob Watts used the same filters, that he developed for the Hugo 2 https://www.head-fi.org/threads/chord-electronics-hugo-2-the-official-thread.831345/page-297#post-13546609
The effect of the filters can appear very subtle, and difficult to detect for RBCD music. I use mainly RBCD files, and like some other posters I think the white filter makes the edges on piano notes sharper, but I have given up trying to detect any difference between the other filters.
As Rob suggests, the filters are more detectable with HiRes files.
 
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x RELIC x

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24 bit 192 with spdif output is the maximum allowed by the SPDIF standard, so no AV equipment (includes dacs) will be able to exceed it.
Actually, this applies to optical S/PDiF and not coaxial S/PDiF which has a max of 24/384. Just thought it should be clarified.
 
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Regarding bit rates I find even if I play a dsd file through audiravana its sounds quiet and lifeless, in fact all my 24 bit high res music does not sound as good as just playing music in the tidal app which is 16bit.
 
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Hello all, purchased my qutest around 2 weeks ago replacing my schiit bitfrost which was connected to a eitr. My honest opinion is that the qutest isn't a massive upgrade but a subtle one . Just a few questions if anybody can help, I can't tell any difference when I change the filters so I just leave it on the white led. Also should I go USB from my mac into qutest or is my schiit eitr a better USB interface. I have tried switching between the two but not difference the eitr is limited to 24 bit 192 with spdif output.

My setups
Mac audirvana software - schiit eitr - yaqin 13s tube amp - Dali opticon 1
Mac audiravana software - schiit eitr - beyerdynamic a2 - beyerdynamic t1 g2 headphones
I used the Eitr with my Mojo and noticed a massive improvement. The sound seemed more refined and delicate and I found myself raising the volume. Like you I've just got Qutest and started with usb direct. I find the sound to be very "incisive".
For the first time today, I tried the Eitr with Qutest but I really can't detect any improvement at all compared with usb direct. The Eitr brought Galvanic Isolation to Mojo but Qutest has already got it on the usb input so maybe my experience shouldn't be a surprise. I'll leave it in place for another day to let the Eitr warm up and settle down but I suspect it'll be redundant by the end of the week!
 
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Hello all, purchased my qutest around 2 weeks ago replacing my schiit bitfrost which was connected to a eitr. My honest opinion is that the qutest isn't a massive upgrade but a subtle one . Just a few questions if anybody can help, I can't tell any difference when I change the filters so I just leave it on the white led. Also should I go USB from my mac into qutest or is my schiit eitr a better USB interface. I have tried switching between the two but not difference the eitr is limited to 24 bit 192 with spdif output.

My setups
Mac audirvana software - schiit eitr - yaqin 13s tube amp - Dali opticon 1
Mac audiravana software - schiit eitr - beyerdynamic a2 - beyerdynamic t1 g2 headphones
Not quite what you asked for but I suggest you find someone who can lend a dedicated digital player and connect direct to qutest via coax or optical. I realise you are only interested in the performance difference between the DACs and in the past I have also tried to compare components this way but with the Qutest, it is all about discovering and eliminating the bottlenecks in the rest of the system.
 
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jwbrent

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Regarding the filters, I’m a little surprised that the Mojo-like filters are not differentiated with unique colors—they’re both red on my Qutest. Nevertheless, I find myself going back and forth between the white and green filter depending on the recording.
 
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gordec

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Before you go out and spend more money on gear you may want to consider the following:
a) PCs in general and usb ports in particular can be particularly noisy. However, there are some things that can help. You may want to mess around with your port assignments on device manager to see if you can tell if "loud" devices like mice and keyboards and other peripherals are running off the same one as your audio. Additionally, programs like fidelizer can reduce background activities which may help. There is a free version without all the bells and whistles. http://www.fidelizer-audio.com/ Also, I am a long time supporter of JRiver, but it is more susceptible to background noise than some programs in my experience. HQPlayer is very quiet, and again you can run a trial version without dropping any cash. https://www.signalyst.com/consumer.html Not nearly as sexy or user friendly as JRiver but the sound and silence is better I think. Finally, is your PC sharing the same power source with your audio? Often with PC's the power sharing of the PC, Audio, peripherals, etc can create noise. At a minimum, I may try plugging the DAC into a different wall socket than that running my PC power strip to see if that makes a change. Some people have had a lot of success with the IFi's AC purifier. If you are in the states you could order it on amazon risk free, try it, and if it has no effect, return it. https://www.amazon.com/IFI-iPurifier-Mains-Audio-Eliminator/dp/B07835J8XF One last comment, I wouldn't rule out the effect of something like Micro USB 3.0 or the ISO Regen, or different USB cables that isolate the data and the power signals for that matter. My bet is that your data is coming from the PC just fine, its just coming with a lot of crap too. You have to strip that crap away. Often, this is trial and error. Also, you will get to the point of diminishing returns on investment. Good luck.
I unplugged everything associated with the USB 2.0 ports except the Qutest. This seems to work really well. Three days now, and only had 1 episode of audio stutter. I'm getting clear and natural sound. I'm thinking about buying a standalone PCIE USB card. I'm not sure if that will squeeze out the last bit of performance. I also looked at the SoTM and JCAT USB cards, but just can't make myself pay $300 + for a USB card.

Qutest-> MHA100 -> Susvara sounds just sublime.

Qutest with MHA100.jpg
 
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I unplugged everything associated with the USB 2.0 ports except the Qutest. This seems to work really well. Three days now, and only had 1 episode of audio stutter. I'm getting clear and natural sound. I'm thinking about buying a standalone PCIE USB card. I'm not sure if that will squeeze out the last bit of performance. I also looked at the SoTM and JCAT USB cards, but just can't make myself pay $300 + for a USB card.

Qutest-> MHA100 -> Susvara sounds just sublime.
Do you have to play it off a computer? You wouldn't consider a dedicated music server/NAS? I got an Auralic Mini for $400, put in an internal SSD and eliminated all worries about interference or interruptions, and can control it wirelessly. It's as clean sounding as can be and you don't have to worry about the restraints of a wired computer.
 
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gordec

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Do you have to play it off a computer? You wouldn't consider a dedicated music server/NAS? I got an Auralic Mini for $400, put in an internal SSD and eliminated all worries about interference or interruptions, and can control it wirelessly. It's as clean sounding as can be and you don't have to worry about the restraints of a wired computer.
Very good point. I should do that.
 
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