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Chord Electronics Qutest DAC - Official Thread

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  1. betula
    The 600i is a great amp for the price when used in balanced mode, but compared to the Taurus MKII it is not a contest. The Taurus has much more energy, it is cleaner, tighter, much more spacious and more detailed. The 600i sounds hazy and two dimensional in comparison especially in the bass and treble region. The bass control the Taurus offers leaves the 600i in the dust.
    I do prefer the 600i to some other amps like the LP or even the Pro iCan but the Taurus for me is next level and pretty much end-game performance in solid state amps.
  2. Staxaphone
    Thanks for the feedback. I might just try the Taurus based on your impressions/comparison. I too had the iCan pro for a while but felt that it was much too analytical and sharp for my tastes. But I am also beginning to look for some tube headphone amps for mating with the Qutest. I had the Woo WA22 for many years and liked its euphonic presentation a lot, especially on string/piano recordings.. But mine always had a very low transformer hum that Woo investigated in shop and said was within spec and normal. So that sort of aggravated me and I sold it. I don't believe they were totally upfront with me as i purchased a used GES for my Stax 009s that also had a persistant hum issue. I sent it back to Woo and they replaced an IC board which they said had a crack in it. It came back DEAD quiet and has been so ever since. So I am gun shy of tube units with transformers as IMO it's a crap shoot on inherent noise level no matter what the mfg. says. But if a SS amp like the Taurus (or maybe the Pass Labs HPA-1) can improvement enjoyment of the Qutest I will probably go for it. Thanks again.
  3. betula
    I think it all comes down to preferred sound signature and the genre of music one listens to. I listen to a lot of electronic ambient where clarity, 3D spaciousness and bass layering/control are essential. If someone mostly listens to acoustic instruments, then it might be better to go with some more 'romantic' tube sound. Tube amps can be more noisy though than SS amps, so you have to choose carefully. I am not that interested in tubes atm partly for the above mentioned preference reasons, and partly because I have got no time/budget for tube rolling which is pretty much unavoidable if you go down the tube way.
    With my music and my sonic preferences I am very happy with my choice at the moment. I am also enjoying the pitch black background of the Taurus. I also found the Pro iCan too analytical and a bit soul-less tbh. Even though in technicalities it is better than the 600i. I find the Taurus to be an improved version of the 600i.
    (The Pass Labs amp looks lovely, if you can afford it.)
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
  4. turbomustang84
    When using the Qutest how do you hook it up ?
    Does it allow you to use the balanced Xlr Headphone output with unbalanced input ?
  5. Roybenz
    I use the moon 430had with qutest. I think its amazing. A Little warmth from the moon and lcd 4 sound makes it amazing.
  6. snatex
    Yes. I am using the balanced XLR output. The V280 outputs a fully balanced signal regardless of the input.
    turbomustang84 likes this.
  7. Qute Beats
    After messing with USB from laptop now running optical from Intel NUC. The NUC is completely silent running (Celeron processor, low power so doesn't need fans) and to my ears sounds better than the laptop via USB.
    Deftone likes this.
  8. GradoSound
    Likewise. I was using MicroRendu USB out and I decided to try out my second system's Cambridge Audio CXN v2 network player's optical out. I normally use CXN as a Transport+DAC+PreAmp to a Rotel power amp.

    My expectation was minimal change (if any at all) but, to my big surprise, CXN sounded more detailed; specifically highs and lows were better defined. MicroRendu over USB sounded warmer and lost some detail in comparison.My first thought was a volumes mismatch. When I checked they turned out to be the same.


    PS. Tidal --> Ethernet --> CXN --> optical --> Qutest
    Deftone and Qute Beats like this.
  9. Qute Beats
    I plugged USB cable into the NUC, maybe better than from laptop due to quieter environment inside (no moving parts, SSHD) but still think optical sounds better. Laptop has no optical out. NUC is just a music server, no other software installed except Musicbee and all Microsoft Win10 bloatware removed as well as all disabling all unnecessary services,so as light as possible.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
  10. Joe-Siow
    Very interesting observations on the optical input
    I have an Opus #1 lying around with my Lifatec glass optical cable. Maybe I should plug them in and do an AB against USB to see what my ears tell me
    Qute Beats and Deftone like this.
  11. FredQc
    To me, Lifatec glass out of the Bluesound Node2i + Roon sounds better than Audioquest Carbon out of the SoTM sMS-200ultra + sP-500 + Roon to the Qutest ...
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
    Deftone likes this.
  12. +1 on the lifatec glass. Went to it a week or two ago.
  13. snatex
    I switched to Lifatec glass optical last week too.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
  14. dac64
    Mine is 2m lifatech
  15. x RELIC x Contributor
    An alternative is the multi microscopic strand plastic optical cables from Sysconcept. They withstand extreme bends, unlike glass, and they have incredible throughput.
    Paul Bjernklo likes this.
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