Chord Electronics Qutest DAC - Official Thread
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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 :)
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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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)
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.
 
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AFO seems like good idea, AFC with more low end thump. Competition with Aeolus...
Aeolus is heavier, Aeon are very lightweight and comfortable.
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
 
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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.
I managed to “test” with Mojo:

LCD3
Elear
AFC
MX4
800S
Sundara

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

Mr. Speakers Aeon are exceptionally good; more transparent (much more accurate sound-stage with better depth), and certainly leaner than the Nighthawks, but don't lose out in terms of musicality (which of course is the Nighthawks strength). The Aeons being closed back are excellent in 'planes too, with very good 8 hour comfort.
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! :)
 
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instead of spending a 3k+ on a hugo 2 which kinda would be too weak for 650?
Are you having a laugh?
I use my Hugo 2 to direct drive floorstanding speakers, with no problems.
 
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I managed to “test” with Mojo:

LCD3
Elear
AFC
MX4
800S
Sundara

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..??
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!
 
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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!
Or simply get periapt/ursine cable and save $300...
 
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I managed to “test” with Mojo:

LCD3
Elear
AFC
MX4
800S
Sundara

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..??
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.
 
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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 :)
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
LCD3
LCD2
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.
 
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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
LCD3
LCD2
Sennheiser HD 650
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.
I also use a Qutest/CMA600i combo. I can confirm it is a great pairing. :)
 
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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!
 
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i really did enjoy the 650 much more only after adding the atom

previously 650 was so veiled with mojo alone
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.
 
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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!
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 ?

.......660S
 
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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 ?

.......660S
yes,

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)
 
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