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Chord Electronics Qutest DAC - Official Thread

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  1. miketlse
    Best to check the @Rob Watts posts on the subject.
  2. kumar402
    I am very close on getting this DAC but it seems to be sold out right now and dealers are awaiting shipment.
  3. domho7
    It's hot stuff. I prefer it to Hugo2.
  4. Staxaphone
    I just took delivery of my Qutest and find the sound to be great right out of the box using the supplied Chord wall wort. But I also own an iso regen with LPS-1 PS. I was thinking of using the the LPS-1 to power the Qutest and compare sound to the supplied Chord WW. But the LPS-1 is supplied with an output cable having 2.1mm connectors at both ends. I searched on-line but could not find a 2.1mm to micro usb adapter as required for input on the Qutest. For those of you using the Uptone PS on the Qutest, could you please advise where you procured your adapter. Thanks.
  5. flyte3333
    Hi Rob, in this example though, while you've removed one loop by removing the USB reclocker, let's say you are left with 3 x SMPS's and the USB source is earthed and integrated amplifier is earthed...

    The USB galvanic isolation of Qutest can still be defeated here right, as the ground currents / leakage currents can see go through Qutest and amp?

    Sometimes when I think about the different paths these currents can go I wonder how important galvanic isolation is in the big scheme? Sure you may block these currents on USB input but they still have a pathway via PSU's (including Qutest's?)?

    Especially if the system has bad grounding overall, i.e. multiple earthed SMPS's?
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
  6. STR-1
    Yes. The moment you switch off 5V, tne Chord DAC will stop working.
  7. Nik74
    What RCA interconnects are you people using from your Qutest to your amplifier? I have the same cables that I bought 20 plus years ago and I m ready for something new.I m sure cable technology can't have moved on all that much since then but with how my rig is shaping up I will need an extra pair of analogue cables anyway I have the Chord Shawline in mind and I m thinking about something that wouldn't be over £200, any suggestions will be appreciated.
  8. OctavianH
    I use here Chord Clearway and they are quite good. At least for my taste.
    Nik74 likes this.
  9. betula
    I use very short QED Qunex 2 White RCAs. Under £20 secondhand and I am perfectly happy.
    Nik74 and Baten like this.
  10. Ragnar-BY
    I`ve tried different interconnects and ended up with AudioQuest Water. Expensive, but definitely worth it.
    Nik74 and SoundeScapes like this.
  11. nick77
    I am using this one. :)

  12. SoundeScapes
    I use AQ Water too. I don’t know if it’s because of their DBS system but it was a clear step up compared to their cables without it.
    And also a clear step up from other cables I tried at the time: QED, Eichmann and a few others.
    To me the musical presentation became calmer and more natural. Some of the digital harshness that is so difficult to get completely rid of were removed.
    Nik74 likes this.
  13. Staxaphone
    Thanks! I'll order one today. The Qutest sounds so good now that can't imagine much improvement using a LPS but my curiosity must be satisfied! FYI my computer headphone system consists of: HP PC running JRMC 22.0.108 - USB to Qutest ('red' filter) - Audience RCA to Questyle 600i - Phono out to Focal Utopia.
  14. Staxaphone
    One other question. I am currently using the ASIO Chord 1.5 driver because I have DSD iso files that I listen to often. But I have many times more PCM flac files in my music library. While the flac albums sound great using the ASIO driver, I can select from three other drivers:

    Digital Output (Chord Async USB 44.1kHz - 768kHz [WASAPI]

    Chord Electronics Ltd. Streaming [Kernal Streaming]

    Digital Output (Chord Async USB 44.1kHz - 768kHz) [Direct Sound]

    I have listened a bit with the Direct Sound driver option but really did not notice a difference in sound character. Is there actually any difference between these drivers with regard to sound quality or theoretical digital performance? Thanks.
  15. Rob Watts
    Yes the USB VBUS powers the USB decoder and the source side of the galvanic isolator. The benefit of this approach is the USB device whilst decoding creates RF noise and correlated and distorted noise, so keeping that device away from the DACs ground plane is key here. As far as the FPGA is concerned it merely sees I2S type data, where the data clock comes from the FPGA, so the FPGA has the minimum amount of processing to do and being (almost completely) immune from source noise.

    Galvanic isolation is absolutely crucial in the scheme of things; what we are talking here are second order or more accurately third order effects. My job is to make the quality of the source (with bit perfect data of course) become irrelevant to ensure maximum overall performance; and I am not quite there yet as sources still do make a difference. So given that source jitter certainly is irrelevant, then the only thing that can make a difference is RF and correlated noise being injected into the DACs ground plane. The only way this can happen with the galvanic isolation and the RF filtering built is is via external ground loops and currents being induced into the ground and mains. What I am trying to get over is adding extra complexity to the source will actually make matters worse, as you are creating ground loops that didn't exist; the resultant performance may be easily mistaken for an improvement - increased perceived width because the depth has collapsed, a brighter more analytical SQ due to more noise floor modulation - but of course degraded timbre variation, more listening fatigue and things being perceived to be louder.
    Chord Electronics Stay updated on Chord Electronics at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
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    nwavesailor, jeremya, Deftone and 4 others like this.
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