Chord Electronics Qutest DAC - Official Thread
Mar 3, 2019 at 7:44 AM Post #3,197 of 5,691

Zzt231gr

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I heard the Holo quite sometime back, but it was not on a system that I was familiar with, so my impression might be sketchy.

The Holo is definitely more natural sounding with a more softer/ romantic/ musical presentation. As for transparency, I would think both the Holo and Qutest come very close to one other. We might be splitting hairs here.

A friend owns the Holo, with the Melco N100 as source. I can arrange to drop by his place with my Qutest but it will close to end of March as I will be travelling next week.
That would be great!
 
Mar 3, 2019 at 8:28 AM Post #3,198 of 5,691

x RELIC x

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@rob
Can you please explain what you have done with the orange filter m compared to the white? Orange really sounds better ....
Thank you

If you want Rob Watt’s attention this is his handle, @Rob Watts
 
Mar 3, 2019 at 10:34 AM Post #3,199 of 5,691

nick77

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Damn I'm really really loving the holo spring 2. Can't even imagine the qutest being much better! I'm a NOS fan though, doesn't the qutest sound much harsher?

My comments need to be taken with a grain of salt, the Spring had already left the building and I was just going on audible memory. As someone already mentioned it probably just comes down to personal preference, I just never connected with the Spring.
 
Mar 3, 2019 at 11:33 AM Post #3,200 of 5,691

T Bone

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Damn I'm really really loving the holo spring 2. Can't even imagine the qutest being much better! I'm a NOS fan though, doesn't the qutest sound much harsher?

I have the original Holo, not the Holo 2. From what I understand the core R2R circuit hasn't changed - so essentially they're the same.
In my limited time with the Qutest I'm finding more detail and a wider soundstage than with the Holo Spring. I use the Focal Utopia headphone. They're not known for having the widest soundstage. I found myself frequently adding a little crossfeed in JRiver Media center to open them up. It became clear to me that my Holo Spring was the limiting factor in my rig. Once I swapped in the Qutest that narrow soundstage disappeared.

That's not to say that the Holo is "bad", it's that the Qutest is doing everything I prefer better. I'm something of a detail freak and the Qutest gives me what I'm looking for. ...and no, I don't find it harsh at all. Even if you did, there's 4x filters - surely one would fit your personal taste.
 
Mar 3, 2019 at 12:25 PM Post #3,201 of 5,691

Baten

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I have the original Holo, not the Holo 2. From what I understand the core R2R circuit hasn't changed - so essentially they're the same.
In my limited time with the Qutest I'm finding more detail and a wider soundstage than with the Holo Spring. I use the Focal Utopia headphone. They're not known for having the widest soundstage. I found myself frequently adding a little crossfeed in JRiver Media center to open them up. It became clear to me that my Holo Spring was the limiting factor in my rig. Once I swapped in the Qutest that narrow soundstage disappeared.

That's not to say that the Holo is "bad", it's that the Qutest is doing everything I prefer better. I'm something of a detail freak and the Qutest gives me what I'm looking for. ...and no, I don't find it harsh at all. Even if you did, there's 4x filters - surely one would fit your personal taste.
I see! I'm more of a "laid-back" sound freak. But would love to compare both :wink:
 
Mar 3, 2019 at 5:19 PM Post #3,202 of 5,691

odanovich

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Has anyone used the Chord Qutest paired with an old Sennheiser HDVA 600 amplifier? I'm considering adding this DAC to my HDVA + HD800 but am curious to know anyone elses thoughts...

I bought the HDVA 600 + HD800 on Ebay for $1,200 total, but am currently without a DAC as I connect my laptop straight into the HDVA using a 3.5mm audio jack to RCA cable.

I'm wondering if the upgrade will be noticeable - or more importantly - if it will be worthy of the additional investment price.

Thanks for any feedback. It helps keep me complacent as I wait for the shipment to arrive. I'll be sure to share my thoughts in the near future
 
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Mar 3, 2019 at 6:57 PM Post #3,203 of 5,691

Deftone

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I picked up a Chord Qutest 2 days ago - replacing my Holo Spring non-oversampling "R2R" DAC. While I enjoyed the Holo, the Qutest has far more detail.

I use JRiver Media Center as my player and thought I'd share my configuration. It might help the next buyer.

I'm using the "kernel streaming" driver.


I have quite a number of DSD files, so enabling bitstreaming was important.


I also created a playlist with a variety of sample rates - from 44.1khz to quad rate DSD - to make test my configuration.


It's working great. Now I've got to get ROON configured!

In Jriver you should use ASIO or WASAPI driver and in advanced settings switch Jriver bit exact dither to no dither.
 
Mar 3, 2019 at 7:28 PM Post #3,204 of 5,691

Ragnar-BY

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Has anyone used the Chord Qutest paired with an old Sennheiser HDVA 600 amplifier? I'm considering adding this DAC to my HDVA + HD800 but am curious to know anyone elses thoughts...

I bought the HDVA 600 + HD800 on Ebay for $1,200 total, but am currently without a DAC as I connect my laptop straight into the HDVA using a 3.5mm audio jack to RCA cable.

I'm wondering if the upgrade will be noticeable - or more importantly - if it will be worthy of the additional investment price.

Thanks for any feedback. It helps keep me complacent as I wait for the shipment to arrive. I'll be sure to share my thoughts in the near future
Well, the improvement leap between laptop headphone out and a DAC like Qutest would be great. Sound differences between a DACs isn`t something that would punch you into your face with impressions. If it is your first experience with external DAC, give it a careful listening for a week or two. Then return to the laptop for comparison and you`ll understand what a DAC is doing.
 
Mar 4, 2019 at 1:23 AM Post #3,205 of 5,691

Rob Watts

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@Rob Watts
Can you please explain what you have done with the orange filter m compared to the white? Orange really sounds better ....
Thank you

Sure I can explain, but it's not simple - I will try my best to explain.

The white/green filter has a WTA 16FS to 256FS filter, which replaces the analogue type digital filter (it's a third order IIR type filter) that is used with orange/red.

To perfectly reconstruct the analogue signal that was in the ADC before it was sampled you need a sinc function filter. But a sinc function filter has values that take an infinite amount of time to decay to zero; fortunately the values of the sinc function halves every time you double the time period (that is double the number of samples that the filter processes by doubling the tap length); that means for a given oversampling rate (16FS say) if you double the tap length, then the values of the sinc function halves. Eventually we get to the point where the values are so small it will no longer make any difference to SQ. Hence with the M scaler, I have sinc function values that are smaller than 16 bits, which means that we can guarantee reconstruction at 16FS to better than 16 bits, as it is accurate to sinc to better than 16 bits, and it's this aspect that gives the M scaler it's transformational sound quality improvement.

But there is another aspect about a sinc function; it is infinitely oversampled, so you need finer and finer time resolution. In this case, as you double the oversampling rate using a sinc function filter, you reduce the area of the error by four; so a 16FS filter will reduce the area of the peak transient error by 256 times. With 16FS we have an output every 1.6 uS; and with 256FS the output is every 88 nS. Now when I designed the WTA 2 filter, which takes us from 16FS to 256FS I did not expect any real change in SQ, as the ear/brain resolves 4uS of timing differences. But when I heard the filter, I was surprised at how much a difference it made to the perception of starting and stopping of notes; you can perceive transients much more easily - so I thought it would be cool for people to hear the effect of the filter, which is why I put the option in.

But getting back to your question - technically the white filter (256FS WTA filter engaged) is better able at reconstructing transients more accurately, as running at 256FS means the residual peak error is reduced by another 256 times to 65,536 times; when we increase the accuracy of transients, then it becomes easier to perceive transients; when it's easy for the brain to perceive transients things sound faster, brighter and sharper. So if you are preferring the sound of orange over white than it means that you are doing the equivalent of soft focus for images; this suggests that your system is fundamentally too bright and edgy - either your transducers or the amp driving it is too bright. You may get better results by sticking with white but to use DSP EQ from the source.... but the downside to using source DSP will be a loss in transparency, as it's no longer bit perfect data, and EQ at 44.1 kHz will require re-dithering back to 24 bits, and that degrades transparency. But in the long term ideally you need to get the bright component that's in your system replaced. If you are using loudspeakers, consider repositioning them, so you optimise your system around white or green filters.
 
Mar 4, 2019 at 2:10 AM Post #3,206 of 5,691

486930

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I have a Zen Mini MKIII on loan from my dealer. I use it as a Roon Core. When I use it's analog output it works, but when I connect it to my Qutest via USB there is no sound. Anyone know what's going on?

On a sidenote, the DAC in the Zen Mini is actually not bad. It's not on par with the Qutest of course, but as a DAC-streamer in a minimal setup with a pair of active monitors it would be really nice....
 
Mar 4, 2019 at 4:13 AM Post #3,207 of 5,691

x RELIC x

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I have a Zen Mini MKIII on loan from my dealer. I use it as a Roon Core. When I use it's analog output it works, but when I connect it to my Qutest via USB there is no sound. Anyone know what's going on?

On a sidenote, the DAC in the Zen Mini is actually not bad. It's not on par with the Qutest of course, but as a DAC-streamer in a minimal setup with a pair of active monitors it would be really nice....

Um, silly question... did you select USB as the input for the Qutest?
 
Mar 4, 2019 at 4:45 AM Post #3,209 of 5,691

x RELIC x

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Yes. Thank you though. I discovered that I had made some errors in Roon. Now everything is playing very nicely.

I usually find it’s the simple things we overlook. Glad you got it working! :)
 
Mar 4, 2019 at 1:45 PM Post #3,210 of 5,691

T Bone

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in advanced settings switch Jriver bit exact dither to no dither.

I am not familiar with the dither setting. What does it do? ....and more importantly how does this interact with the DAC?

Dither.PNG
 

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