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Chord Electronics Qutest DAC - Official Thread

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  1. ATXKyle
    I use the Sonore microRendu 1.4 which does a good job, but recently many folks have started to swear by using an Intel NUC running the latest version of audiolinux OS (from RAM, no hard disk) as a streamer. Apparently this sounds amazing, if I were in the market for a new streamer that’s what I’d do.
    Ragnar-BY likes this.
  2. Christer
    Well according to Rob himself,and he can NOT claim I am misquoting him in this case.

    He said at a seminar at Canjam in Singapore last year that personally he wants the mscaling to become available in" HUGO 3 or 4."
    That is a direct quote: I was there and personally talked to him about it afterwards.
    So I would not absolutely rule out a cheaper M Scaler.
    But do not expect one in the immediate future unfortunately.
    A shame that we still have to play the game according to the saying:

    "The only difference between men and boys
    is the price of their toys".

    My advice to those interested is still, if you mainly listen to well recorded acoustic music M Scaler extremely expensive as it unfortunatetly still is, is something you should audidition if you want to hear how natural and realistic digital recordings can sound with mscaling applied.
    And if your preferences are elsewhere I still don't understand why anyone would spend this much money on something that is obviously designed to keep distortions and other typical digital artefacts as low as possible.
    Cheers Controversial Christer
    Ragnar-BY likes this.
  3. Rob Watts
    Yes that's very much the intent - to get M scaling into a lower price - but I am less optimistic than I was last year. Getting M scaling to work at lower price points needs lower cost and more capable FPGAs and this is looking less likely; cost per gate as process is shrinking is actually increasing, and this has never happened before. In this sense, Moore's law has already broken. The whole point of more complexity is that it occurs at a lower cost per gate, and this is what has driven electronics over the last 50 years; but that process has stopped.

    Another point - Xilinx used to create new FPGA generations where each family had more capability at a lower price, and this used to happen every 2 or 3 years; today the economic price point is the Artix 7, and that family was launched 6 years ago, with no replacement in sight or rumored about.

    Another point - Intel has had serious problems migrating from 14nm to 10nm process, with speculation that the 10nm process has been cancelled - which Intel denies. But for sure they are having serious problems migrating down to 10nm, and it looks like it won't get shipped till 2019 - that will make the process 3 years late.

    So I am not so optimistic as before - it may actually never happen if they can't make die shinkages with lower cost.
    Chord Electronics Stay updated on Chord Electronics at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
    https://www.facebook.com/chordelectronics https://twitter.com/chordaudio http://www.chordelectronics.co.uk/
    Ragnar-BY, AndrewOld and theveterans like this.
  4. Malmbak
    Thanks... For me their practical qualities are secondary to how they sound. The Digione Signature could also be in the mix for less than half the price of the S2 Ultra. I would use either as a Roon Endpoint. It is simply a question of SQ for me.

    Any input on their sound with the Qutest is appreciated. Thanks
  5. TomWoB
    Hi Ragnar-BY,
    normally I don't like streamers with build-in HDDs or SSDs, because they are typically overprized. E.g. upgrade from ZenMini Mk3 1 TB HDD -> 8 TB HDD = 600 Euro(!). The Pro-Ject Stream Box S2 Ultra has a USB-Port on the back, especially for storage, so you can use this to connect e.g. a SSD. I do this on my Raspberry Pi (btw: S2 Ultra has a Raspberry Pi inside too) with the following Icy Box IB-233U3-B:


    Inside I use a Samsung 1TB Evo SSD, which works very well (SSD are strongly recommended, because they are total silent and have low power consumption). So, for me there is no need for an additional device "for storage", the SDD will deliver the data "bit perfect". I use my Raspberry Pi together with a Digione (the "normal one", not Signature). I think together with a DAC like Qutest there is no need to reduce jitter from 0.6 ps -> 0.4 ps (!), because Robs "DPLL thing" anyway eliminates completely any source jitter.
  6. Ragnar-BY
    Indeed, SSDs are superior. If you don`t need Roon, Stream Box or even basic Pasberry Pi might be good solution. ALLO Digione sounds great. I did not buy it only because of its 24/192 limit on BNC output.

    By the way, I think that Qutest USB input is great. My previous USB-DAC sounded awful without USB decrapifier. I used Schiit Wyrd and it was significant upgrade over direct connection. With Qutest USB-decrapifier makes so small changes, that I`m not even sure if it is a positive change. After some listening, I decided to put Wyrd away from the system. With all this in mind, I can`t wait to hear Qutest from good coaxial source.
  7. Ragnar-BY
    @Rob Watts thank you for the info. Very interesting, as always.

    Can you help me with DSD-playback, please?
    I`m using Qutest via USB from MacBook Pro. Music in DSD256 from nativedsd.com. There are no problems with PCM hi-res, including DXD (24/352,8). Only with DSD. I`ve tried three different players: latest Audirvana, Colibri and Bitperfect with it`s DSD Master add-on.

    Colibri makes the worst experience. It plays DSD, but I get a lot of clicks during playback. Audirvana with default settings plays .dsf file good, but Qutest light was blue, not white. Processor usage significantly raised, so I assume some type of conversion was involved. If I set Audirvana to DoP I get white light, but there are clicks during playback. Much less clicks than it was with Colibri, but still.

    Creating "Hybrid-DSD" with DSD Master and playing it with BitPerfect is not the most comfortable solution, but sounds better. I still had some clicks, but much less than in previous cases. After taking the USB-decrapifier out of chain, I found that I have less clicks. After changing my USB-cable with more expensive one (AudioQuest Cinnamon) situation improved once again.

    Now everything sounds great, but occasionally I might have one or two clicks during the playback of one track. I don`t understand what`s the reason. Is it my USB output to blame, or my software. Unfortunately, I don`t have any other sources, capable of DSD streaming, to check if it`s a problem with my DAC.
  8. Nejiro
    As you write it seems that the coax is better than the usb, I'm really very satisfied with my Qutest that I've always used with the usb (with Intel nuc, windows 10 and Foobar) , the difference is so much that it is worth spending on an interface that allows you to use the Qutest with the bnc?
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
  9. Rob Watts
    I use JRiver on a Windows 10 machine and don't have click issues with DSD - even with DSD512 (then using Chords ASIO driver with native interface format).

    So I asked Matt at Chord as he has more experience with Apple and he suggested:

    "On the Mac he needs to check that he is not running time machine or any other type of backup or program/process that might be
    taking up additional resources on the computer processor. He should also try a different USB port or hub as the Mac tends to share
    it's USB bus with other peripherals like the track pad and camera and they can interfere.

    Finally he could try with a free trial of Roon just to see what happens."
    Chord Electronics Stay updated on Chord Electronics at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
    https://www.facebook.com/chordelectronics https://twitter.com/chordaudio http://www.chordelectronics.co.uk/
    Ragnar-BY likes this.
  10. Em2016
    Another thing to try, with Audirvana - try up-sampling to PCM705/768kHz (since there's no recordings) to Qutest. Just as a test only.

    Because if PCM705/768kHz struggles in your chain, DoP256 won't work well either.
    Ragnar-BY likes this.
  11. Nejiro
  12. paulkwan

    I just try connect my dCS NB dual AES to Qutest, It can playback all sample rate music (PCM & DSD, even DSD128) without any problem all night, except those sample rate equal to or below the "Dual AES Sample Rate" config in dCS NB settings. They will playback in mono, and suffer random pops and clicks noise.

    dCS NB manual at https://www.dcsltd.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Network-Bridge-Manual-v1_0x.pdf

    Any suggestion or experience can share ?
    Meanwhile, I have config the "Dual AES Sample Rate" to 88.2k, and use Roon to upsample music =< 88.2k to 96k or above, and this works flawlessly.

    Seems NB only use dual AES mode for upper sample rate, but Qutest use this for all if it sense it is in dual connection.
  13. Ragnar-BY
    Thank you for directions.
    There was almost no load on processor, but I will try to experiment in this direction and quit all programs during playback.

    And indeed, there is difference between USB ports on MacBook Pro. Mine is "late 2013 model" and it`s left-side USB port sounds significantly better than one on the right side.

    By the way... I wanted to ask about BNC inputs, but I assume you`ve already answered a lot of questions about different digital inputs. Can you give a link to explanation why coax inputs sounds better?
  14. Em2016
    Hi all

    Can someone please post a photo of the included 5Vdc power supply that comes with Qutest?

    If possible, a clear photo showing the text on the PSU.

  15. Triode User
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
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