Chord Electronics Qutest DAC - Official Thread
Nov 10, 2021 at 2:00 PM Post #5,851 of 5,943

Semper HiFi

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I own a Bifrost 2 and Qutest together. Qutest sounds like a delta sigma dac with more rounded edges in the transients, also better transient timing, removing the harshness of traditional Delta Sigma / general haziness + it digs out more details + clarity (traditional strengths of D/S). It doesn't sound like an R2R or D/S but somewhere in between with the benefits of both, but if I had to say it does sound closer to Delta Sigma (which it is). Bifrost 2 sounds thick / musical / analog but a bit veiled compared to the Qutest, still nice level of details/clarity of course. Also In My Humble Experience the Qutest really benefits from burn-in and upgrading the power adapter / power supply / USB cable. I also use a small USB dongle to mitigate jitter/noise. Before these small adjustment the Qutest sounded even more D/S but it is now closer to R2R sounding than before to my ears and a beautiful thing of art. I wish Schiit would license their Unison USB tech to Chord. That mating would sound amazing.
Thanks, that's exactly what I wanted to hear. I'm hoping to get rid of some of the veiling that you describe without loosing too much of the warmth or richness that the Bifrost has.
 
Nov 10, 2021 at 4:03 PM Post #5,852 of 5,943

x RELIC x

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Has anyone upgraded to the Qutest from a Multibit DAC such as the Bifrost or Gungnir? I'm hesitant to stray from the R2R\ladder\Multibit family of DACs but it sounds like the FPGA technology in the Chord makes it quite different than other delta sigma DACs.
Don’t forget about the actual Pulse Array DAC Rob invented. The FPGA is half the equation, handling the digital filter. The DAC is the Pulse Array.
 
Dec 1, 2021 at 9:57 AM Post #5,854 of 5,943

Womaz

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The Qutest has really surprised me. I am in the process of building a separates set up for my 1266TC

I have ordered the Niimbus US5 Pro and it will arrive soon I hope. Currently I have the Burson Conductor 3X Reference which will be traded in or sold. So I had to find a DAC to use.

I got the Qutest on trial from a dealer and as the Niimbus is taking a while to get hold of I tried the Qutest with the Burson. I was not expecting much of a change as the Burson sounded very good to me anyway , but the Qutest is a big improvement on the DAC in the Burson. I was not expecting this level of improvement at this price point.

It has convinced me that separates are the way to go. The bass is tighter and less bloated and overpowering. It is a much cleaner sounds and this lets me hear all of the different instruments a lot more clearly.

I was also considering other DACs with the Niimbus , the Pontus 2, Sonnet Morpheus or maybe even a Holo Audio DAC….but after hearing the Qutest I am not sure I need to do this.

I am not sure what I would gain, so the Qutest may not be a temporary addition after all, it may stay in my set up.
 
Dec 1, 2021 at 10:39 AM Post #5,855 of 5,943

MatW

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The Qutest has really surprised me. I am in the process of building a separates set up for my 1266TC

I have ordered the Niimbus US5 Pro and it will arrive soon I hope. Currently I have the Burson Conductor 3X Reference which will be traded in or sold. So I had to find a DAC to use.

I got the Qutest on trial from a dealer and as the Niimbus is taking a while to get hold of I tried the Qutest with the Burson. I was not expecting much of a change as the Burson sounded very good to me anyway , but the Qutest is a big improvement on the DAC in the Burson. I was not expecting this level of improvement at this price point.

It has convinced me that separates are the way to go. The bass is tighter and less bloated and overpowering. It is a much cleaner sounds and this lets me hear all of the different instruments a lot more clearly.

I was also considering other DACs with the Niimbus , the Pontus 2, Sonnet Morpheus or maybe even a Holo Audio DAC….but after hearing the Qutest I am not sure I need to do this.

I am not sure what I would gain, so the Qutest may not be a temporary addition after all, it may stay in my set up.
I agree, the Qutest is an excellent DAC, very happy with it.
 
Dec 1, 2021 at 3:35 PM Post #5,856 of 5,943

Womaz

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So assuming the Qutest is purchased, is the M Scaler the next step up. Or is the TT2 a better option as a DAC?
So Qutest and Mscaler v Hugo TT2.
Not a lot of difference in cost but I am assuming the Qutest and MScaler would be the way to go
 
Dec 1, 2021 at 3:56 PM Post #5,857 of 5,943

alekc

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So assuming the Qutest is purchased, is the M Scaler the next step up. Or is the TT2 a better option as a DAC?
So Qutest and Mscaler v Hugo TT2.
Not a lot of difference in cost but I am assuming the Qutest and MScaler would be the way to go
Depends how much you like Qutest sound signature. HTT2 has different tunning. While I have never heard mscaled Qutest considering what M Scaler gives to HTT2, adding M Scaler to Qutest will not bring you HTT2 level. So we are coming back to main question: do you like Qutest tunning. If yes, than adding M Scaler makes maybe some sense. If not, switching to HTT2 first makes more sense IMHO.
 
Dec 1, 2021 at 6:11 PM Post #5,858 of 5,943

Womaz

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Depends how much you like Qutest sound signature. HTT2 has different tunning. While I have never heard mscaled Qutest considering what M Scaler gives to HTT2, adding M Scaler to Qutest will not bring you HTT2 level. So we are coming back to main question: do you like Qutest tunning. If yes, than adding M Scaler makes maybe some sense. If not, switching to HTT2 first makes more sense IMHO.
Well this is my first standalone DAC that I have tried so I do not have a lot of experience, but yes the Qutest has me very impressed indeed, compared to my current all in one Burson Conductor 3XReference.
I was not expecting the differences to be that great. So I have no idea what the Hugo TT brings to the table compared to the Qutest. As I have the Niimbus on the way I thought the Qutest-MScaler would make more sense as I do not need the HP Amp section of the TT2
 
Dec 4, 2021 at 2:38 AM Post #5,859 of 5,943

The Jester

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That’s why I chose the Qutest/MScaler route, already have pre/power speaker amps and a headphone amp I’m more than happy with as far as “tuning” goes, so all I wanted was a quality D/A system with simple single ended outputs to sit alongside my turntable and phono preamp, I can understand that TT2 and Dave are high end digital components but they are still missing at least one analogue Input to make them useful as a full featured preamp instead of a digital volume control … for the $$ I’m more than happy …..
 
Dec 5, 2021 at 7:56 AM Post #5,860 of 5,943

schnesim

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So assuming the Qutest is purchased, is the M Scaler the next step up. Or is the TT2 a better option as a DAC?
So Qutest and Mscaler v Hugo TT2.
Not a lot of difference in cost but I am assuming the Qutest and MScaler would be the way to go
To see if the MScaler is worth it for you, I'd suggest upsampling a couple of tracks/albums yourself with sox or HQPlayer and see how much you like the improvement.

Here you can find a custom sox version (works only with macos or Linux) which supports up to 6mio tabs, if you're curious: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/hqplayer-vs-sox.11286/page-2#post-366373
 
Dec 5, 2021 at 10:47 AM Post #5,862 of 5,943

Womaz

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To see if the MScaler is worth it for you, I'd suggest upsampling a couple of tracks/albums yourself with sox or HQPlayer and see how much you like the improvement.

Here you can find a custom sox version (works only with macos or Linux) which supports up to 6mio tabs, if you're curious: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/hqplayer-vs-sox.11286/page-2#post-366373
This is way above my technical abilities I am afraid. :relaxed: Thanks for the post though.
 
Dec 5, 2021 at 2:34 PM Post #5,864 of 5,943

TheMiddleSky

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Well this is my first standalone DAC that I have tried so I do not have a lot of experience, but yes the Qutest has me very impressed indeed, compared to my current all in one Burson Conductor 3XReference.
I was not expecting the differences to be that great. So I have no idea what the Hugo TT brings to the table compared to the Qutest. As I have the Niimbus on the way I thought the Qutest-MScaler would make more sense as I do not need the HP Amp section of the TT2

Back when I was in a quest to searching amp for abyss diana phi, I tried qutest with many type of desktop amps, and best result was formula s. However, none of that set up I tried being better than TT2 straight from headphone out. So I sell the qutest and move up to TT2. I feel like the higher end we move our chain, the most important the dac quality.
 
Dec 6, 2021 at 3:22 AM Post #5,865 of 5,943

Rob Watts

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To see if the MScaler is worth it for you, I'd suggest upsampling a couple of tracks/albums yourself with sox or HQPlayer and see how much you like the improvement.

Here you can find a custom sox version (works only with macos or Linux) which supports up to 6mio tabs, if you're curious: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/hqplayer-vs-sox.11286/page-2#post-366373
Using software up-sampling like HQPlayer and PGGB will give you no idea at all of the performance of the M scaler. Millions, or billions of taps using the wrong algorithm simply gives you the wrong result. The WTA algorithm is the only one that is designed (from theory and optimised with thousands of listening tests) to reconstruct the timing of transients with the minimum error. And the SQ and musicality of a filter is all down to the successful reconstruction of the timing of transients.
 

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