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Chord Electronics Qutest DAC - Official Thread

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  1. dawktah2
    Hello ALL!

    I finally took delivery of my TT2, so I'm selling my Qutest. I don't think I put 10 hours on it.
  2. Deftone
    Less than 10 hours with Qutest to decided you needed a TT2? :grin:
    Zzt231gr likes this.
  3. MI five
    Like many have reported and from what I've tried in my set up optical is giving me the best sounding output from the Qutest.

    My source is an XPS15 lap top and I started by feeding this direct into the Qutest, it was clearly a step up from the 2Qute, but like many I began to play around with other gear I had lying around.

    First I tried placing an iUSB3.0 in between the lap top and the Qutest but in my set up this had little to no effect on the sound, so I then feed the Qutest with the optical output from an SP1000 and straight away there was a noticeable change and to my ears a change for the better.

    Following the result with the SP1000 I got hold of a Matrix X-SPIDF 2, USB to SPDIF converter, and this like the SP1000 is giving for me a noticeably better sounding output, I'm using a Cable Talk 3 G Reference Glass Fibre optical cable between the Matrix and Qutest.

    What's better well there are many here who can describe far better than me the changes they hear but briefly what I'm hearing is a better controlled bass area and highs that still have the same sparkle but are less harsh. I wouldn't go so far as to describe them as night and day changes but they are quite noticeable.

    As always YMMV.
    Deftone likes this.
  4. Zzt231gr
    I also heard much more bass depth.Check some tracks with kick drum and you'll see!
  5. Triode User
    After another 10 hours will you be getting Dave? You know it makes sense.
  6. domho7
    What's the next step after dave. Maybe another 10hrs need to upgrade again.ha ha
    Deftone likes this.
  7. dawktah2
    LOL, I chose getting a TT2 over getting the Prima Luna Dialogue Premium HP. Both have a remote...
    Deftone likes this.
  8. Rob Watts
    Yes agreed on you about galvanic isolation, as the term itself hide a multitude of sins, and can vary considerably. I once bought a galvanically isolated BNC cable adaptor, that was simply two capacitors - completely useless for RF isolation.

    So Qutest provides almost perfect isolation from DC to GHz - but it's easy to short circuit the isolation externally. Imagine a mains powered source, and a mains powered USB reclocker that offered no or less than perfect isolation. That will create a ground/mains loop, with RF currents flowing around the loop; imagine that Qutest is connected to another mains powered amplifier, and we have another ground/mains loop. Now depending upon your mains wiring, these two ground/mains loops will intersect; when that happens you will get induced RF currents from the source/USB reclocker loop; and so the Qutest galvanic isolation has now been impaired, as noise from the source is induced into Qutest. And it would not matter if the reclocker was optical to Qutest, as the RF current injection is via ground/mains. But remove the reclocker and we no longer have the source loop and so RF noise can't interfere into the Qutest amplifier ground/mains loop. So this is an example of a reclocker actually raising system noise. This is why I was careful in my post to define it as overall system noise. Moreover, actual audio bandwidth noise is irrelevant; it's RF noise that we are concerned about with source components.

    You will of course get unique benefits in using the M scaler, as it does things to musicality that nothing else touches, due to the better than 16 bit reconstruction of the original analogue signal in the ADC. But you will also get big transparency benefits from the shear reduction in components that eliminating an external amp will give you; I can't give you a hard and fast answer to your question of which will be most important- except perhaps suggesting that one day you absolutely will be getting an M scaler!

    My advice is to find a good dealer and try for yourself.
    Chord Electronics Stay updated on Chord Electronics at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
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    Triode User likes this.
  9. Ragnar-BY
    Thank you. I think I will buy both sooner or later, but start with M Scaler.

    By the way, if TT2 and Qutest are used as DACs with M Scaler and external amp, the only difference would be a better PSU in TT2? Or there are more differences?
  10. nick77
    Please share your thoughts between the TT2 and Qutest. ??
    Gibson59 likes this.
  11. Rob Watts
    There are a lot more differences apart from the PSU - on the DAC side, it has better noise shapers on the FPGA (better depth and detail resolution) very much more advanced reference circuitry (taken from Dave, giving a darker and more full bodied SQ). On the analog side we have the second order analogue noise shaper topology, which eliminates HF distortion, and allows no high frequency distortion at all once a load is attached.

    But of course the biggest benefit is the simplification of your analogue path - TT2 is an order of magnitude simpler than Qutest + headphone amp, so the connection from digital to transducer is fundamentally more direct. A more direct connection is much more transparent; plus the distortion and noise will be very much lower than with an external amp.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
    Chord Electronics Stay updated on Chord Electronics at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
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  12. Qute Beats
    I'm looking at a small form factor pc, preferably fanless, to use as dedicated music player to replace laptop. I saw the Intel NUC has optical out, but has CPU fan I believe. Anyone used a NUC optical out with Qutest with good results? Is it quiet?
  13. miketlse
    There are several owners posting about their experiences using NUC units (some of them fanless), so a search of the Chord threads using the term NUC, should bring you some interesting info to read.
    I will try and add some links later.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
    Qute Beats likes this.
  14. dawktah2
    Let me do a specific comparison and give impressions
  15. dawktah2
    I've built a few shuttle computers, never used one in an audio setup. Fanless and designed to fit in VESA mount
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