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Chord Electronics Qutest DAC - Official Thread

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  1. jwbrent
    The Lifatech toslink is a great optical cable with good customer support, I’ve owned two different versions. The only issue I had is it won’t pass 24/192 or DSD 64. For that, I had to use a Sys Concept toslink.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
  2. Joe-Siow
    I had the opportunity to try both some years ago. The Lifatech is significantly superior in all aspects, but yes, due to its glass construction, the Sysconcept is a more practical option
     
  3. Deftone
    OctavianH and Paul Bjernklo like this.
  4. x RELIC x Contributor
    You mean audibly superior? If you say so. I was offering an alternative as the OP asked for suggestions. I’ve been very happy with the Sysconcept. Not trying to start a debate between glass and plastic.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
  5. Joe-Siow
    Yup, I meant audibly superior. No worries on the debate, I'm not starting anything either. Just stating my personal observation having heard both. Different people have different needs, some want the ultimate sound quality while others are prepared to settle balance of sound quality and durability, etc.
     
  6. miketlse
    To me it sounds like someone gently striking a triangle.
     
  7. hikaru12
    Did you ever find the pairing of the Qutest and MK2 bright? The reason I ask is because the Qutest is neutral/bright while I've heard the MK2 is bright on it's own so that really sounds fatiguing. I'm looking to get its smaller brother the MK2 Mini but waiting for impressions as it has not been released yet.
     
  8. JM1979
    As a long time Hugo 2 owner, I've made an somewhat unintentional transition to a full time desktop set up and a separate mobile setup (iems, DFR). As I've made this change, the Hugo 2 has been mildly frustrating as the desktop mode and placements of inputs/outputs isn't ideal. Although I don't fault chord for this as Hugo 2 is a powerhouse that is very flexible, this just comes down to my personal use case. I've always loved Chord DACs (owned Hugo 2, Mojo and listened to Dave many times). The love of Chord DACs and desire for a more desktop suitable set up lead me to Qutest. I figured I'd basically being getting a Hugo 2 with a better form factor for desktop use and that would have been fine with me. I picked up my Qutest today, and my initial impressions have blown me away. Some of my thoughts:

    -Hugo 2 is amazing when used with the headphone amp.
    -In comparing the Qutest, there is a significant different in Qutest->Headphone Amp (Liquid Platinum) and Hugo 2 (line level out) -> Liquid Platinum
    -I haven't played around with the Qutest variable output yet. I'm assuming the initial set up is 2V output, and that is what my impressions are made from
    -Several additional variables changes in my Hugo 2 for Qutest swap: Source USB chord (USB B connect versus USB Micro connect). Stock power supply of Qutest versus stock power supply of Hugo 2. Meenova Lightening to USB micro vs. Qutest Stock USB A to ASB B cord.
    -Qutest is significantly smoother in sound quality, and the sound has a more solid/grounded/heavy feel. I loved Hugo 2's details; those are still there with Qutest, but everything sounds more musical.
    -Clarity, transparency is identical
    -I have a lot more play in my amp (Liquid Platinum) volume knob. I like this, as Hugo 2 didn't give me as much variation. However, perhaps I haven't set the Qutest to the right output stage yet or perhapds Hugo 2 RCA output setting is higher than Qutest. Regardless, the difference with Qutest is meaningful and positive.
    -I would never critique the Hugo 2 for this, but listening to the Qutest brought it out: The smoothness of the Qutest could be do to the loss of some potentially overly crisp treble in Hugo 2. Hugo 2 was never piercing, but in listening to Qutest, the smoothness is undeniable.
    -Qutest brings an even more realistic presentation to live recordings. I listen to a lot of recorded live music and the difference in Qutest and Hugo 2 is pretty distinct.

    I was never unhappy with Hugo 2, and still think it's one od the best DACs around, and the best DAC/Amp around; However for my set up Qutest is already paying dividends. I was not expecting such a significant improvement in sound. I basically wanted a desktop only Hugo 2.
     
  9. JM1979
    One more thought - for whatever reason, the Qutest is a little more forgiving on 16/44 kHz recordings in a good way.
     
  10. Deftone
    @JM1979 I wonder if this is due to the Qutest having the same output stage as Mojo.
     
    x RELIC x and JM1979 like this.
  11. Qute Beats
    Interesting, I thought Toslink cables were basically all the same in terms of SQ as pure digital. I've just ordered a new one, but just because I was using an adaptor on the end so it fit the smaller (headphone size) socket. Price was £2.50.. If SQ gains are truly achieved I will look to upgrade in future.
     
  12. JM1979
    Listening to Qutest more and am in full mouth on the floor enjoyment. It’s subtle but for a desktop set up, it crushes Hugo 2. I was not expecting this at all.


    I was already planning on an M Scaler purchase later this year. Might need to sell some organs to escalate that purchase time frame.
     
  13. hornytoad
    Give it some more time, it will get better.
     
    JM1979 likes this.
  14. Qute Beats
    I recently got the chance to listen and compare Hugo TT2/M-Scaler to Qutest for a weekend, so got in some serious listening time. That combo rocks no question, detail retrial is superb and the music simply flows so well, if money were easy to come by then no hesitation in buying them. Also tried the M-scaler into Qutest, yes benefits were there, but less pronounced I thought without the TT there. Now of course a lot depends on the amp and 'phones you have to compare, the TT amp is superbly good, better than my Arcam RHead without a doubt (my 'phones are HD650s). But, and its a big one for me, I was still very happy listening to Qutest via the RHead. I know I'm missing some of the action, but it's still great and makes me happy! I now have even more respect for the Qutest, esp. given it's modest price point. One day I hope to move up, but for now all is good
     
  15. Qute Beats
    Got some Audioquest Nighthawks on the way at a good 2nd hand price, interested to see how they'll compare to the Hd650s given Rob likes them.
     
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