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Chord Electronics Qutest DAC - Official Thread

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  1. azabu
    I have the JS-2 (two) and LPS 1.2, also SR4 incoming this month.

    The LPS 1.2 is quieter, with more detail retrieval and nuance than JS-2 when powering the Qutest. The JS-2 powers the SOtM ultra components.
  2. azabu
    LPS 1.2 powers the Qutest without any issues.
  3. Nik74
  4. Tobes
    Thanks for finding that. Good to know.
  5. Rob Watts
    Hmm. Yes your right this subject can get complex! Ok firstly there is no ground with the supplied Qutest PSU; and that is done on purpose, as it eliminates the possibility of ground loops. So no worries it's not a problem then?

    Not quite. On my posts back to you earlier I kept saying ground/mains loops; and for sure ground loops are the major issue, as it's a low impedance direct connection. The problem with a non ground connected PSU is much smaller again, as it is capacitively coupled to the mains and then to ground via the PSU transformer; so here we have the possibility of another loop; but it's capacitive, so only applies with RF signals, not leakage currents in the audio bandwidth. Clearly having as low as possible mains coupling capacitance will be good; so we need a PSU that has a low interwinding transformer capacitance - and guess what, the lowest capacitance are found on those awful SMPS - those pesky small mickey mouse things that audiophiles think are poor.

    Also - the capacitive problem only applies at RF, and guess what - you can use RF filters to further isolate the effects of the coupling capacitance - I have proven this via SPICE modelling, an RF PSU filter can be made to isolate the capacitive coupling to ensure that the mains loop is broken - no RF current can flow via this loop. and Qutest is full of RF filters to isolate the RF and capacitive coupling from the mains.

    And guess what - those awful SMPS that audiophiles say are poor have RF filters built in - audiophile linear PSUs do not.

    But if you are worried about the mains loop then a simple way is to use a USB battery power pack. That will completely eliminate the issue, as it's totally isolated from the mains. My own listening tests revealed tiny differences by replacing the Qutest PSU with a battery - but that was with my setup so YMMV.
    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/
    Zzt231gr, x RELIC x, Em2016 and 3 others like this.
  6. Em2016
    Cheers Rob! I know it must feel like a drag to type out these long explanations but I can promise you these explanations are greatly appreciated by many here.
    Deftone likes this.
  7. Rob Watts
    No worries; trying to explain things as simply as I can often focuses one's mind on the problem at hand.

    And most of my waking time (and some sleeping time too) is about thinking about designing audio, and enjoying the musical benefits, so I do enjoy posting and attending CanJams.
    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/
    Em2016, Deftone, maxh22 and 2 others like this.
  8. domho7
    Hi Rob.
    I am not sure whether to go for a qutest or Hugo2.
    Presently I am playing mainly with iems and headphones.
    I also have a Aroma amp + psu.
    As I have Ltd space at home I can't go for those desk top sizes dac or amps.
    Tks for reading.
  9. Focux
    hey all,

    could anyone shed light as to how this setup might work out?

    Macbook to Qutest to JDS Atom to headphones

    using mojo to atom now and would like even more detail going forward but would like to spend less than what a hugo 2 would cost

    i read that the qutest has the same chip as hugo 2?
  10. x RELIC x Contributor
    I haven’t heard the Qutest, but do have the Hugo2 and the Mojo. The FPGA is the same in the Qutest as Hugo2, as well as the 10e Pulse Array DAC. The analogue output is based on the Mojo so, in my mind, I imagine it might sound like a combination of the Mojo and Hugo2.

    I know, not very helpful for your decision making but thought you should know where the hardware similarities are since you mentioned the same chip (it’s a lot more complicated than a chip by the way).
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
    Focux likes this.
  11. betula
    Qutest has the same chip as Hugo2. Qutest is a big upgrade compared to Mojo.
    Focux likes this.
  12. Focux
    thank you both

    yes i noticed the chip was the same but did not realise other differences/similarities, thank you for pointing that out

    i was following darko's most bang for buck recommendation of AFO and Hugo 2

    since i just bought the atom and wanted more detail, i tot perhaps upgrading my mojo might be a good idea

    instead of spending a 3k+ on a hugo 2 which kinda would be too weak for 650?

    i really did enjoy the 650 much more only after adding the atom

    previously 650 was so veiled with mojo alone

    Edit: if there’s a similar alternative to Qutest or Hugo 2 but cheaper, I’d be happy to take a look!
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
  13. x RELIC x Contributor
    Have you considered different headphones?

    Personally, I find the HD650 veiled. I know, many will say just add the right amp but I never really got along with them. Regarding the Qutest it likely will be better sounding to you but the Atom amp will also add it’s own flavour which might mask some of the differences between the Mojo and the Qutest so there’s that to consider. That’s why I’m thinking different headphones, just as an idea. Of course I’m not debating your Atom amp’s quality or your personal preference, but just adding an alternative.

    Regarding the Hugo2 it easily has more than enough power for the HD650. Honestly, I find Chord DACs don’t hide the signature of a headphone even though the typical easy excuse is not enough power.
    Deftone and Focux like this.
  14. Focux
    I definitely did consider different headphones and am doing so atm!

    Would prefer to spend more on headphones than source as the real world impact seems more substantial?

    My list:

    Z1R (from reviews, signature appears to be what I like, found a good deal for it as well)
    AFO (demo-ed the AFC and really enjoyed it ; needs more low end kick hence the AFO)
    LCD 2C (seems to be rivaling the AFO & of exactly the same price where I am)
    Utopia (simply because I found a good deal)
    Aeolus (“Super HD650, highly recommended by a friend who sold his Clear for it and compliments his LCD X)
    800S (sounds v organic but somewhat boring? Shortlisted because of a good deal)

    Would be nice if the headphone had decent resale value :)
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
  15. Baten
    AFO seems like good idea, AFC with more low end thump. Competition with Aeolus...
    Aeolus is heavier, Aeon are very lightweight and comfortable.
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