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Chord Electronics Qutest DAC - Official Thread

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  1. Reactcore
    Leaves the question which is better at the conversion, i bet Chord since theres always timing involved..
  2. Ivodam
    This is not possible, to have some plug-in or something to control volume in the software player with DSD format - this is the nature of DSD - the direct streaming. It is not only Foobar, but no player, JRiver, or HQPlayer, etc. can control the volume of a DSD playback.
    Converting it to PCM I think brings always some quality loss...
    Baten likes this.
  3. Ivodam
    No question about it, if there is a conversion, the internal hardware conversion within Chord will be better.
    But I would expect a straight statement on the part of Chord at this stage, because when the manual says that the DAC accepts native DSD, I expect that this means the DAC's chip is capable of direct reading and decoding and converting the DSD file to analogue signal. If we have to go to PCM first, I prefer to buy high resolution wav files, not DSD. But we have the right to know were we stand.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
  4. Rob Watts
    It would be trivially easy for me to do a native DSD DAC conversion using pulse array - so why don't I? It's because DSD to analogue conversion is horribly sensitive to clock jitter, and requires complex analogue filtering to remove the huge amount of noise above 20 kHz - and to do it efficiently enough so that noise floor modulation is not an issue in amps down chain would require hugely complex analogue filters - all adding distortion and noise, and more importantly the extra analogue complexity would degrade transparency.

    The sensitivity to clock jitter is down to the fact that DSD is switching dependent - that is the effective switching rate changes with signal level. This induces signal dependent glitch noise, which creates large amounts of distortion. Moreover, this jitter errors also creates noise that is dependent upon the DSD modulator, so modulation noise gets decoded and inter-modulated into the audio bandwidth - this creates the well known idle pattern noise (a kind of gurgle sound, particularly noticeable when the music signal stops, and the DSD modulator recovers to zero idle patterns).

    So if you want more distortion and noise, gurgle sounds, increased noise floor modulation and reduced transparency than go for the simple native DSD DAC.

    The confusion here is that there are two types of native DSD. There is the conversion to analogue, where you take the DSD bit-stream and essentially low pass filter it - so called native DSD conversion - with all the SQ and measurement problems this entails as I discussed above.

    The second meaning of native DSD concerns not the method to convert to analogue, but the method to get the data to the DAC - the interface protocol. We have two options - DoP transmission, or native transmission. With DoP you transmit it via regular PCM, with a 8 bit header that tells the DAC that the bottom 16 bits is regular DSD data. With native DSD transmission, the data has no overhead, and is just DSD data transmitted, so the DAC receives a bit clock, DSD data left and DSD data right. Native DSD is more efficient, and you can run up-to DSD 512 - but the downside is that it is only via ASIO. DoP has the header data, so is less efficient, so will work only to DSD 256. The DAC than has to decode the DoP file to extract the DSD data - in an FPGA this decoding is trivial to do.

    Both DoP and native DSD ASIO transmission protocols transmits identical data, and the DAC will receive identical data irrespective of whether it is DoP or native transmission.
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  5. Baten
    Awesome, thank you for the detailed reply!
  6. Reactcore
    So it means true DSD decoders inevitably need passive analog filtering in order to remove unwanted noise with all the degradation that comes with it... hmm
    And conversion to PCM can be done all in the digital domain paving the way for better controlled signal reconstruction with less filter components in the analog stage.

    So if this is true, would a standard PC be capable enough to convert a DSD stream (or file as a whole) without signall loss to PCM and let the D/A recontruction for the dac. Or do we create imperfections in this way?
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
    Zzt231gr likes this.
  7. Reactcore

    But then what would be the best sample rate, i guess highest wouldnt always be the best choice.. it should be original.. but this is comparing apples with pears. Lol

    At least i can control my volume digitally and drive my phones direct out of Qutest with DSD files.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
  8. Ivodam
    Thank you most sincerely, Rob, this is really very interesting information for me.
    I am sure that you at Chord are trying to do the best, but the details, described by you give me a lot of material to think generally about the need for the DSD format...
    Zzt231gr and Baten like this.
  9. nwavesailor
    I would like to feed 2 headphone amps from the Qutest RCA outputs. I would rather not have to change the RCA's to do this. Has anyone used this Audioquest adapter?

    Screen Shot 2019-09-24 at 12.06.38 PM.png
  10. Hooster
    Looks fine, as long as the extra strain does not damage the Qutest output socket.
  11. nwavesailor
    Thanks, Hooster!

    Your right, it may be OK as long as it doesn't put too much stress on the Qutest's RCA's.
    There are short cables that do essentially the same thing, but then there is the adapter cable wire and the RCA IC wire. At least this option doesn't introduce any additional
    wire between the DAC and amp(s).

    I will also look at short 6" - 12" Y splitter cables.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2019
  12. GreenBow
    I would be thinking the same. Weight of the whole connection on the Qutest output socket. It could be fine, but I think I would look of a cable version.
  13. Reactcore
    Also b sure those amps are mains isolated and no earth loops are created.. unless theyre battery operated.
  14. RuiNguyen
    I used to own a Schiit Yggdrasil Analog 2 but it didn't get along well with my previous systems and I decided to sell the Yggy and kept the Qutest. I'm thinking about buying a Dave to replace the Qutest or keep the Qutest and buy a Hugo MScaler. I want to ask if any of you have chance to compare the MScaler + Qutest to the standalone Dave?
  15. Reactcore
    Hey welcome to club headfi
    ..and sorry for your wallet
    :smile:had to say this once lol
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2019
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