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Chord Electronics Qutest DAC - Official Thread

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  1. Zzt231gr
    Mr. Rob,
    I have my cd transport connected via optical at my Qutest.I am thinking of adding my PS4 through an optical adapter to one of the BNC inputs.Will this connection deteriorate the sound I hear from my transport?

    I mean,will this connection add noise or distortion to the unit when it is not selected?

    Thank you in advance!
  2. Rob Watts
    If it locks you are good to go. I have used optical switchers before and they work well. I can't see it degrading the sound, but you can always do an AB listening test to make sure.
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  3. Zzt231gr
    Thank you,but I think I didn't explain correctly.

    The Playstation will be connected via BNC to Qutest.Will this connection affect the sound from my CD transport when I listen to it(connected through optical)?I mean,will it add grounding noise to my optical input?
  4. jwbrent
    I wouldn’t think so since optical is immune from such disturbances.
    Zzt231gr likes this.
  5. Rob Watts
    It depends upon the optical to coax adaptor - if it's battery powered, I wouldn't worry. A mains powered device will set-up ground loops via the PSU and so could have an influence on your overall RF noise levels, thus making it brighter than it should be.
    Chord Electronics Stay updated on Chord Electronics at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
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    onsionsi and Zzt231gr like this.
  6. Zzt231gr
    Thank you,sir!

    I imagined something like this...It is mains powered.I will disconnect it when I won't be using it for the peace of mind and all will be well!
  7. Paul Bjernklo
    Deleted previous comment, yes I think you are correct that if you disconnect the converter from the mains then there will be no ground loop, but others can confirm or clarify.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
    Zzt231gr likes this.
  8. jwbrent
    I know there’s a battery pack that Rob recommends, but has anyone tried others such as Anker, and if so, how did you like the sound?
    Zzt231gr likes this.
  9. linearly
    Hello, long time forum lurker here, decided to break the ice and make my first post.

    In the past I've owned Mojo, Hugo 2 and DAVE, now recently got Qutest. I'm very happy with it, but was wondering on what would be the best input, USB or Optical. I see most prefer optical and maybe someone has experience with more expensive USB cables. I have a Audioquest Diamond USB from DAVE days and comparing it with the optical cable from Hugo 2 there is no contest really. Sure optical sounds darker, but the magic from the music is gone. With the AQ cable you can 'feel' the music, its like you are there, everything is more tangible, with no hint of harshness or digital glare. So the question is will a better optical cable surpass the AQ USB? Was thinking about Audioquest Diamond Optical, has anyone tried it against other glass optical? With Hugo 2 I've tried a glass cable and it was so much worse then stock optical, with a lot of harshness added, no clue how that's even possible.

    Also I see many prefer to power the Qutest with a battery. I guess it depends, but for me doing that was so much worse then stock psu. It sounded so much brighter, really couldn't even listen more then 10 minutes. Someone here in this thread said that batteries would be worse since they are made to charge our devices not power high end audio gear and will introduce more noise, I guess he was on to something. For me Qutest sounds best now directly powered from PC's USB 3.0 port.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  10. GreenBow
    Please does anyone know how many amps the Qutest requires at 5V. The supplied charger is the same as the Hugo 2 charger and provides 2.1A. (Cover charging and playing.) Would the charger that I used with Mojo at 1A be enough. Just in case one day, if the Qutest charger failed.
    Zzt231gr likes this.
  11. GreenBow
    On USB Chord DACs send for data asynchronously, with an accurate clock. Then when all the samples arrive at the DAC they are clocked, which negates an jitter caused by cables. How jitter-free samples are, played with Chord DACs is therefore down to how accurate their clock is. There is no induced jitter in playback, due to data transference. The system is called iso-asynchronous. (Coaxial and optical are simply clocked.)
  12. GreenBow
    I just measured current use of the Qutest.

    In idle state it uses just over half an amp. (Something like 0.52A.) When playing music and a 192KHz file it pushed towards 0.6A. Similarly with 44.1KHz files. I found it also used more current when the music got louder. However the current increase was only small. In the few tests I ran, I never saw 0.6A fully; it was only as much as 0.59 etc amps. I drove it with a bit of 44.1KHz Def Leppard to get some peak power usage.

    5V x 0.6A = 3W

    (Side Note. Needing more current when music gets louder is the purpose of the supercaps in the TT2. When peaks currents are needed there is fast access power on tap. Hence why TT series would be more dynamic. Everyone probably already knows this, but I am just thinking out loud.)

    I recall now that Rob Watts at some point mentioned that it's OK to leave the Qutest on. That being based on the minimal amount of power it uses. I am sure he mentioned figures of only 3W, but best check that. (I am going by vague memory here.) Personally I prefer to turn off Qutest over night. (Fire precaution. Although I doubt the Qutest could cause a fire.)

    I do wish there was an off button though. I wonder about how it affects components when pulling power. Going by PCs can get damaged doing that. Although I am fully sure that it's safe to power Qutest like this. When I think how the Hugo 2 powers off, it's pretty much the same. Hold power button, and after a couple of seconds Hugo 2 shuts straight off.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
    linearly and Zzt231gr like this.
  13. Deftone
    I am going to be doing some more testing with optical vs usb, keeping it simple, both cables cost under £7.

    Whether it is fake detail and transparency from noise or not some people seem to quite like it with usb.
    linearly likes this.
  14. linearly

    I really like the convenience of powering Qutest from PC's USB 3.0 port, less clutter and don't have to worry about powering it on/off. For me it doesn't really sound different vs. stock psu, also have a Jitterbug added to the power cable.

    Thank you for the measurments, was a bit worried it will affect the sound somehow since the psu is 5v 2amps and pc usb is rated 5v 0.9amps.
  15. linearly
    I've found another optical cable in my unused cables bin and did further testing. Its a Wireworld Nova Toslink and compared with stock optical from Hugo2 there are big differences. Not sure why, since both are acrylic, maybe the polished ends or number of strands who knows, but with the WW the veil lifted and the sound is so much better.

    Now comparing WW optical with AQ Diamond USB, the differences are still there, but its hard to decide what cable I like more. Optical is more laid back, USB is more energetic, the details are about the same, the voices are more lifelike on the optical. I think I prefer the Nova optical vs usb for now. Can't imagine what a good glass toslink will do, if it sounds tiny bit better vs usb with a plastic one.

    Will get the AQ Diamond Optical in the future, I'm sure it will surpass usb. As always my findings don't have to be the same for everyone, it depends on the system, how noisy the PC is, the house's power, the optical source etc. So what works for me doesn't have to work for everybody.
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