Chord Electronics Qutest DAC - Official Thread
Feb 14, 2021 at 2:09 PM Post #5,401 of 5,424
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
Posts
87
Likes
115
Location
Philadelphia
Quick question. Sorry if this is a silly one. If I use USB connection from PC to Qutest, I get the Qutest as a sound device on my Windows sound options. If I do optical from my soundcard to the Qutest optical, then the Qutest as a device disappears. I'm still sending the signal through the Qutest, though.

My question is does this at all interfere with the sound quality? Am I still getting the sound from the Qutest DAC? I would use optical on my motherboard, but it does not work.

I'm just curious if running the optical from my soundcard to the Qutest makes a difference in sound quality. I can't really hear a difference versus USB. I want to make sure that the signal isn't tainted by the soundcard. I assume it isn't because if I go into the soundcard control panel, nothing I do affects the actual sound of the audio such as EQ or even flipping the out signal from headphones to speakers, etc.

Thanks, everyone.
 
Last edited:
Feb 14, 2021 at 4:50 PM Post #5,402 of 5,424

strider1007

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 21, 2018
Posts
117
Likes
238
Location
Drachten, Netherlands
You should see the sound-card's name (with something like SPDIF or Optical in your windows sound menu)..

I see SPDIF-out ( Sound Blaster Z ) in mine.

Optical sounds a little better than USB in my setup, but as they say YMMV..
 
Last edited:
Feb 14, 2021 at 5:31 PM Post #5,403 of 5,424
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
Posts
87
Likes
115
Location
Philadelphia
You should see the sound-card's name (with something like SPDIF or Optical in your windows sound menu)..

I see SPDIF-out ( Sound Blaster Z ) in mine.

Optical sounds a little better than USB in my setup, but as they say YMMV..

I see that in the setup and it works. Just wanted to make sure that running SPDIF out to Qutest wouldn't degrade audio quality. I'm assuming not?
 
Feb 15, 2021 at 1:58 AM Post #5,404 of 5,424

strider1007

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 21, 2018
Posts
117
Likes
238
Location
Drachten, Netherlands
Like I said, in my case optical even sounded a little better than USB. I used a 5 m. Audioquest Cinnamon USB A>B cable and a 3 m. $10 optical plastic fiber. The optical sounded less rough, less grainy. Than a friend brought a real glass optical, and we did a blind test. Across the board the real glass cable won. More definition, more instrument separation, voices more focussed.. Not night and day, more night and ehh.. later that night...

So now I'm waiting for a 3m QED Reference Optical Quartz cable, should be here early next month.
 
Last edited:
Feb 15, 2021 at 7:19 AM Post #5,405 of 5,424
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
Posts
87
Likes
115
Location
Philadelphia
Like I said, in my case optical even sounded a little better than USB. I used a 5 m. Audioquest Cinnamon USB A>B cable and a 3 m. $10 optical plastic fiber. The optical sounded less rough, less grainy. Than a friend brought a real glass optical, and we did a blind test. Across the board the real glass cable won. More definition, more instrument separation, voices more focussed.. Not night and day, more night and ehh.. later that night...

So now I'm waiting for a 3m QED Reference Optical Quartz cable, should be here early next month.

Nice, thank you!
 
Feb 15, 2021 at 4:22 PM Post #5,406 of 5,424

hikaru12

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 15, 2014
Posts
691
Likes
297
While Qutest/A90 combo will sound great, if I had A90, I would be looking at DAC's that have true balanced XLR outputs since A90 is often reported to sound best run balanced.
Chord DAC's are inherently single-ended, and note that Qutest only has RCA outputs, which is part of the reason I chose Qutest because I planned on tube amps that are single-ended only and did not want to pay for balanced outputs I will not use.

I'm in this boat now - I'm trying to upgrade from the BiFrost 2 and most DACs (at least from Schiits offerings) run better balanced and they gimp the SE outputs. The D90 and Qutest are the strongest contenders. The Qutest I've heard is a little bass shy compared to something like the Gumby/Yggy though which is a bummer.
 
Feb 22, 2021 at 1:58 PM Post #5,407 of 5,424

zeitlos

New Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 5, 2020
Posts
8
Likes
5
Location
Germany
I’m currently looking for a replacement for my Cambridge Audio 851N. The problem is that it’s to long for my rack.

A dealer recommended the Auralic Altair G1 and the Chord QUTEST in combination with the a streamer.

Now I have some questions which I cannot answer myself:

1. Can I use an iPad to connect to the Chord DAC or do I have to use a PC/MAC?

2. In a review I read that only PCs can manage 512 DSD. Is this still true?

3. How can I make use of the Chord DAC when using Qobuz on an iPad?

Final question:

4. Is the Chord QUTEST superior to the Auralic Altair G1 and also the Auralic Vega 1 in terms of its sound quality?

5. Oh, one more question (sorry, I am really lost): I would like to use the original Qobuz software to listen to music, but so far I had to use the manufacturer’s (in my case now Cambridge Audio) App instead of the Qobuz App when I wanted to listen in best quality. Qobuz only worked via Airplay and then the quality was restricted.

Maybe someone could answer (so of) my question(s). I highly appreciate every response!
 
Last edited:
Feb 22, 2021 at 7:28 PM Post #5,408 of 5,424

JazzAudioDog

New Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 22, 2021
Posts
5
Likes
2
Location
SoCal
Hi everyone! I just joined because the forum is great! I’ve lurked for quite a while while doing audio research so I thought it was time because I bought a Qutest 3 weeks ago and have been listening/burning it in. It only has 95 hrs on it so far, so it’s decent but I’ve not experienced the Qutest magic yet except for one night, a Saturday night about 6pm, it was awesome until I turned the system off for the night (Qutest stays on 24x7).

I’ve experienced this in the past with other DACs and other sources so I know my mains power is likely crap despite having dedicated lines, good power cables, and a power conditioner. So I’ve been following the LPS discussion with great interest.

One key question at this time:

I thought I’ve read that the Qutest has been sold for several years. I just bought mine new from a retailer and the serial number is quite low, approximately #150. Do you think it’s possible I was sold new old stock that may not have had all updates (if any) and that could be why the Qutest magic hasn’t locked in ? By that I mean the sound is thin, bass shy, soundstage depth and width are mediocre, timbre is definitely off for the first hour of play, e.g., tenor sax sounds like alto and occasionally even soprano. Music has no body. And then there’s the power supply impact on the sound. It seems to be very large for my unit rather than minor as described many times in this thread.

I realize that I need to let additional burn in occur before I decide but I wanted your opinions. Thanks!

EDIT: I realized tonight I can’t just listen to old jazz and classic rock. I tried some much more recent albums and the Qutest displayed a very wide and fairly deep soundstage and decent bass, and good imaging. More time, more burn-in will tell but for now it’s sounding pretty damn nice! I got spoiled listening to old music with tube DACs — they’re a good fit for each other.

EDIT 2: An update. Chord responded that my Qutest is brand new. My unit was manufactured late last fall. They reinitialized serial numbers on Qutest in October 2020 so they wouldn’t run into serial numbers for a different product of theirs. Great rapid response from Chord! I received an answer the same morning I sent the request even though it must have been about 7pm there.
 
Last edited:
Feb 23, 2021 at 3:22 AM Post #5,409 of 5,424

strider1007

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 21, 2018
Posts
117
Likes
238
Location
Drachten, Netherlands
@JazzAudioDog
Welcome, welcome..

I bought my Qutest in December, serial number 00645.

If you have doubts about your unit, I think an email to Chord will get you the production date.
 
Feb 23, 2021 at 12:07 PM Post #5,410 of 5,424

JazzAudioDog

New Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 22, 2021
Posts
5
Likes
2
Location
SoCal
strider1007, Thank you! I’m glad to be here! This thread was most important to my purchase research and key to my buy of the Qutest. It’s great that Qutest owners are so willing to share their experiences and ideas. And Rob also!
 
Feb 23, 2021 at 6:38 PM Post #5,411 of 5,424

Jgeffen

New Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 18, 2018
Posts
41
Likes
12
Location
Netherlands
And my understanding is that Chord have changed their blurb to now say the limit for optical is 96khz and not 192khz as previously stated even in the Qutest manual.
Correct, but if I play a 192khz song over my Yamaha streamer with the 192khz optical out, the Qutest is indicating with the correct color that there is a 192khz song playing. I’m using the newest QED reference cable. So, I don’t think 🤔 Chord is correct.
 
Feb 23, 2021 at 6:58 PM Post #5,412 of 5,424

JazzAudioDog

New Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 22, 2021
Posts
5
Likes
2
Location
SoCal
Correct, but if I play a 192khz song over my Yamaha streamer with the 192khz optical out, the Qutest is indicating with the correct color that there is a 192khz song playing. I’m using the newest QED reference cable. So, I don’t think 🤔 Chord is correct.
Perhaps it’s because the S/PDIF optical spec is 96kHz but optical can achieve 192khz if both the sending and receiving S/PDIF boards are capable and compatible and also the cable as well. There’s no way for Chord to assure the capabilities of the sending equipment (e.g., the streamer S/PDIF board and the optical cable).
 
Feb 24, 2021 at 4:23 AM Post #5,413 of 5,424

Jgeffen

New Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 18, 2018
Posts
41
Likes
12
Location
Netherlands
Perhaps it’s because the S/PDIF optical spec is 96kHz but optical can achieve 192khz if both the sending and receiving S/PDIF boards are capable and compatible and also the cable as well. There’s no way for Chord to assure the capabilities of the sending equipment (e.g., the streamer S/PDIF board and the optical cable).
Thanks for your reaction. I think you are right. In my Yamaha specs they say the optical out it is limited to 192khz. So, I’m happy to see that the Chord Qutest is receiving the same amount. The files in my library are also limited to 192khz too.
 
Feb 24, 2021 at 4:25 AM Post #5,414 of 5,424

Jgeffen

New Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 18, 2018
Posts
41
Likes
12
Location
Netherlands
Perhaps it’s because the S/PDIF optical spec is 96kHz but optical can achieve 192khz if both the sending and receiving S/PDIF boards are capable and compatible and also the cable as well. There’s no way for Chord to assure the capabilities of the sending equipment (e.g., the streamer S/PDIF board and the optical cable).
Btw, on their website they say the Qutest it is limited to 96khz.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top