Same results here, in the past I've tried Ifi Micro iUSB 3.0 with Hugo 2 and DAVE, it made both of them sound exactly like you are describing. And sure usb cables make a difference, but even with better cables it was still horrible. With other DAC's the micro iUSB 3.0 is amazing, but not with Chord, at least not in my system. Also not all battery power banks sound the same powering Qutest, tried with a Asus one, while amazing for charging devices, for Qutest it sounded worse then stock psu, sound was so much brighter. So I've got another brand, Promate, and sound was closer to stock psu, but still too bright for my taste. Right now I'm using USB port from PC to power the Qutest, and optical for audio, wondering if going to a galvanic solution, like Intona, or maybe a PCI express card like Matrix Element H will improve sound. After trying several optical sources to Qutest found that all of them sound different, no clue how thats even possible, maybe the optical connector, or extra jitter added. Will test further once Diamond Optical arrives, but with the cables I have atm I prefer the smsl x-usb xmos u208 to xmos u8 (much brighter) and pc optical port last.