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Chord Electronics Qutest DAC - Official Thread

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  1. x RELIC x Contributor
    The path I’ve always taken was as I upgrade my source gear (DAC/amp) I find that I also eventually upgrade my headphones, and vice versa. The HD650 is a classic and it has it’s qualities that many people love but if you’re looking for the biggest upgrade for your tastes then the headphone would be the first thing to consider. Going down the rabbit hole of compensating for a headphone can be tedious and expensive.

    Have you heard any other headphone with the Mojo? If so, how did you like the pairing?

    It looks like a wide range of options you’ve got there. I haven’t heard the Z1R but many report big bass from them and a bit V shaped signature. I haven’t heard the AFO but I love the ETHER Flow open and others I trust have said they don’t sound too different (Rob Watts loves AFC with Mojo by the way). I have the LCD-2.2 (2013) but it’s no longer used much as I find the ETHER Flow a much better headphone. I LOVE the Utopia because it has a lot of dynamic punch but it is very forward (I don’t find mine bright though). I haven’t heard or read anything about the Aeolus. I can’t stand the brightness of the HD800S.

    But those are my opinions so they’re not really going to apply to your tastes.
    Focux likes this.
  2. Focux
    At 300g+ I was pleasantly surprised with how much nicer they felt on my head than the 650

    As for other models in my list; well there’s no way I can demo any of the above cans apart from a small handful at my local audio store which I do not intend to return due to subpar CS and unattractive pricing

    Read many good things abt Aeolus but hey it costs 1.5 times the price of AFO

    Lifetime warranty for drivers and the artisanal handmade touch is v nice tho
  3. Focux
    I managed to “test” with Mojo:


    All those I benchmarked against 650

    To be honest after I bought the Atom, detail retrieval on 650 improved so much that it’s actually on par with AFC (from memory)

    If anyone has the 650 and AFC/AFO pls do chime in on that aspect

    With the new warranty update from Focal, the Utopia does seem compelling. Even though I found what I tot is a reasonable deal, it’s still the most expensive on the list at abt USD2700

    Didn’t know Rob himself loves AFC w Mojo! Always thought he liked the NightHawk since he used that to tune Mojo..??
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
  4. x RELIC x Contributor
    The Nighthawk is very smooth with very low distortion, and that’s why I have a pair, but they do come across as dark.

    If the Atom is turning your crank with the HD650 then you may just want to give the Qutest a try anyway. I’m sure others can chime in who have more direct experience. There’s more than just one path and as the old Head Fi saying goes... sorry about your wallet! :)
    Focux likes this.
  5. miketlse
    Are you having a laugh?
    I use my Hugo 2 to direct drive floorstanding speakers, with no problems.
    Deftone likes this.
  6. nick77
    I felt the 650's were horribly veiled, I picked up Wywire Red cable and solved the problem. That 650 cable is definitely a bottleneck!
    Focux likes this.
  7. Baten
    Or simply get periapt/ursine cable and save $300...
  8. kumar402
    If you are in range of $2700, why not try Meze Empyrean. They are easier to drive and will perform well with atom I guess.
    I have z1r and it performs well with Mojo and so does Empyrean but Empyrean performs or rather scale better with desktop rig. Once you hear it on desktop rig you may not listen to it directly from Mojo.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
    Focux likes this.
  9. Staxaphone
    I have owned the Utopia in my PC-based system for about 3 weeks. Together with my Qutest - Questyle 600i, I have finally found a system that I feel is equal in sound satisfaction to my main MBPro - DS DAC - Woo GES - Stax009 system. I have tried many headphones and amp/dac combos. The Utopia system has the edge in bass impact though equal in low freq extension to 009. Stax system still has an arier presentation with a tad more pristine nature to upper frquencies that I like. Biggest difference is that the 009 gives a better out-of-head sound stage, so good with select recordings that it presents the illusion that the orchestra is out in front of me. On comfort are almost equal although the 009 wide headband can make my head warm with extended wear - never had that yet with the Utopia.

    Regarding other headphones on your list that I own/owned or haved tried on long-term "loan" from my son the only near match is the LCD2. I loved the bass impact on many recordings but could not wear them very long due to excessive head clamping pressure especially when wearing reading glasses. Tried the LCD3 but same effect. Until they redesign to be long-term comfortable, Audeze phones are not for me as comfort is paramount in headphone consideration.

    In order of decreasing enjoyment (with comfort a major consideration) with my PC system (irrespective of amp/dac config):

    Stax 009
    Focal Utopia
    Beyerdynamics T5P 2nd G
    Focal Elear
    Sennheiser HD 650
    Beyerdynamics DT770 Pro 80 ohm
    Grado SR80e
    Sennheiser Momentum 2
    Logitech UE6000
    Audioquest Nighthawk

    The Qutest/600i pairing using PAD Aureus Aqueous ICs is a great sounding combo and might have altered the above sequence had all listening been done with it.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
    Focux likes this.
  10. betula
    I also use a Qutest/CMA600i combo. I can confirm it is a great pairing. :)
    Focux likes this.
  11. Focux
    Let me check out the diff between CMA400i..

    Would it matter if I just bought a XLR cable for headphones and plugged it into balanced output on CMA even though my DAC isn’t balanced?

    The balanced output is so much more..

    Edit: CH650 cable from Sennheiser worth the price..??

    Scrap that, I will buy the Periapt cable, berg reasonably priced even after shipping!
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
  12. Deftone
    650 is supposed to sound "veiled" lol thats its charm sounding warm, romantic, seductive etc...

    with more powerful amps in balanced mode the bass becomes a bit tighter and cleaner but also some amps add glare/ sizzle in the treble making 650 appear to have better clarity but it just becomes fatiguing in the long run.
  13. Deftone
    There is no need to spend $350 on mywires red, the stock cable is not a bottle neck. You could put that money in to a better transducer.

    Do you love the 650 sound signature but want better speed, detail, clarity, imaging ?

  14. Focux

    i do like the tone of 650 and Aeon Flow,

    better speed, clarity and detail would be a plus for 650

    wywires is expensive compared to periapt

    do u run your 660S balanced?

    i shortlisted CMA400i since it's balanced and has a dac as well (v curious if mojo's dac is better than the one in CMA400i)
  15. Deftone
    No i run 660S single ended straight from Mojo, no amp needed, plenty of power and the same goes for HD800S and Hugo2.

    I owned the 650 running balanced out of CMATwelve, it did not come close to 660S and Mojo.
    Focux likes this.
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