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Questyle CMA Twelve Master Loaner Program

Discussion in 'Sponsor Announcements and Deals' started by Todd, Jan 15, 2019.
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  1. Todd Contributor
    HI All,

    We now have the Questyle CMA Twelve and CMA Twelve Master in stock and are offering a loaner program for the Master version! We are very impressed with the CMA Twelve and think you will be too!

    I will be doing 2 loaner programs with this unit. The first one which starts now will be for those interested in purchasing a CMA Twelve or Twelve Master. After all, we are in business to sell:>) So, if you are considering buying a CMA Twelve Master or the CMA Twelve but want to hear it first, sign up and if you like we can get you one! The unit will ship out tomorrow to the first loaner recipient to sign up!

    We will do a follow up program after the first is done for those who are curious and someday may want to step up or just want to compare it to what you already have.

    questylecmatwelve1.png

    The Loaner program rules: Please read them carefully and send all the requested info! Don't forget to include your Head-Fi User Name please!

    Send your name and address, telephone number and your Head-Fi user name to me (Todd) at todd@ttvjaudio.com. Do NOT PM me as you will not be included in the program without an email.

    You will get the loaner for 1 week to use in your home with your system. After your one week is up, you must send it to the next loaner participant. Email me (todd@ttvjaudio.com) the tracking info so I can pass it on to the recipient.

    You MUST write a review and post it in this loaner thread. It must be posted in the same thread as this announcement for the loaner program. Please post the review here first and feel free to post it anywhere else you like!

    Once you have received the loaner, email me to let me know you have it and I will send the address for the next person within a few days.

    Our loaner programs are USA only. We are restricted from shipping/selling outside the USA on most products.

    questylecmatwelve3.jpg

    I look forward to hearing from you and reading all your impressins of this new headphone amp.DAC from Questyle!
     
    TTVJ Stay updated on TTVJ at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    http://www.ttvjaudio.com/
    elira likes this.
  2. PeteSTRADAMUS
    Email sent.
     
  3. ngoshawk
    Cool! thanks, Todd.
     
  4. Deftone
    UK and Europe used to get tours as well, not as many but still something. The past few years we seem to have been forgotten, now USA only.

    Enjoy guys it sounds good.
     
    alota likes this.
  5. Todd Contributor
    Hi All,

    The Questyle Twelve Master is on its way to Soundman414. The list below is complete - I will add one or two more participants if someone wants to hear it before they purchase one. We have the CMA Twelve and CMA Twelve Master in stock!

    Questyle CMA Twelve Master Loaner Program List



    Soundman414

    Petestradamus

    Ngoshawk

    aaron811

    Shenanbay

    Sweetben


    Enjoy the tour and I look forward to the reviews!

    Todd
     
    TTVJ Stay updated on TTVJ at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    http://www.ttvjaudio.com/
  6. PeteSTRADAMUS
    Sweet! Thanks Todd. Look forward to hearing this. Hopefully it's what I was looking for.
     
  7. Todd Contributor
    You are welcome,PeteSTRADAMUS! I too hope it is just what you are looking for. Your wait should not be long as we shipped the CMA Twelve out on Tuesday and you are second in line!

    Todd
     
    TTVJ Stay updated on TTVJ at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    http://www.ttvjaudio.com/
    PeteSTRADAMUS likes this.
  8. Slim1970
    Email sent, I hope it’s not to late to get in on the first tour
     
  9. Schwibbles
    Just sent an email as well. Fingers crossed!
     
  10. soundman414
    Here is my review:

    After spending several days with the CMA Twelve Master, I am impressed with what it can do and how it delivers sound.

    First, with its capabilities. I had several use cases for it; as a desktop unit for both headphone and monitor control, and in my TV setup for loudspeaker tv/movie listening and music streaming from my Node 2i. My favorite use was for my living room, as the remote control made it very easy to switch inputs and control volume — the two biggest requirements for a non-desktop application. My desktop setup was as follows, iMac with Spotify and local FLAC files and I use True-Fi with my LCD-2C headphones > Schiit Wyrd > Questyle CMA Twelve Master > Audeze LCD-2C and Mackie MR524 monitors. Normally I have the Schiit Jotunheim in place of the CMA Twelve. My living room setup was as follows, Bluesound Node 2i via coax SPDIF and Roku Ultra through the optical of my Samsung TV into the CMA Twelve Master > Audeze LCD-2C and Adam Audio T7V monitors.

    The CMA Twelve, which I received the master version for review, has a ton of functionality and thus many use cases. This makes for a versatile unit that allows you to enjoy music, movies and tv in a variety of ways and not have to worry about inconveniences. The remote control is made for both the CMA Twelve and the Super Hub SHB2. Many of the functions on the remote are solely for the Super Hub SHB2, but everything you'd most likely want to remote control on the Twelve is there; input switching and volume. On the front of the unit, there is a power switch, an input button with indicators for input and sample rate, a switch for dac/preamp mode or dac/headphone amp mode, a bias switch (more on that later), a 4.4mm balanced headphone jack, a 6.3mm 1/4 inch single ended jack and a 4 pin XLR balanced jack. On the back there is a power plug, Questyle’s 5GHz module that works with the Super Hub SHB2, balanced and unbalanced preamp outputs, switches for fixed or variable preamp output and studio or normal voltage for the preamp output, as well as several digital inputs; AES/EBU, SPDIF coaxial, Toslink optical and USB. There are also several switches underneath the unit for gain control, which I left on normal.

    There are a number of oddities with the CMA Twelve's capabilities. Missing from the CMA Twelve are any analog inputs. This is particularly unusual given its price point and that this is a flagship headphone amplifier first and foremost. Most people willing to consider a $2000 headphone amp will also be considering an accompanying top of the line DAC as well. I also struggled to find out particular information regarding the architecture of this unit; e.g. is the AK4490 DAC balanced or not, as well as the headphone amplifier/preamp circuit and volume control? One last oddity I found was that I couldn't really demonstrate what the bias switch on the front actually does, as there was no discernible difference in sound or volume switching between the positions both listening to headphones or on two different pairs of studio monitors from a variety of digital sources.

    With that out of the way, let’s get down to the listening experience. Some of my go-to tracks for testing out equipment are From The Beginning by Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Do You Feel Like I Do by Peter Frampton from his Acoustic Classics album, Moondance by Van Morrison, Blue Jean Blues by ZZ Top, Can’t Buy A Thrill album by Steely Dan, and several soundtrack albums by Hanz Zimmer, Alan Silvestri, John Williams and Henry Jackman. First and foremost is the clarity and neutrality that the CMA Twelve exudes. Compared to my Schiit Jotunheim, it delivers details better, in a smooth manner that allows you to enjoy the nuance of your music, without being fatiguing. I will note that the LCD-2C, silk dome tweeters in the Mackies and the ribbon tweeters in the Adams are not known for being harsh, so your mileage may vary. Guitars sounded natural and lifelike, as well as vocals. It packs enough punch and clarity that even the really chaotic parts of soundtrack scores allow you to hear the separate instruments without them getting muddied or distorted. Overall, I feel this is a fairly powerful and neutral amp that delivers clarity at any volume level. Speaking of volume, I didn’t hear any channel imbalances as I changed volume, nor did I hear any pops/distortion or noise from the motor when the remote control was changing the volume. Another thing to note, is that I didn’t have a balanced cable yet for my LCD-2Cs, so I needed to turn the volume up to almost 3 o’clock to really drive the Audezes hard in the SE output.

    In conclusion, I think this is a very well made and engineered product that deserve a lot of praise for what it is; a top tier remote controlled headphone amplifier/preamp. Neutrality and convenience/features are its best attributes, and it’s what gives it a competitive advantage over other offerings. It’s hard to ask for much more, but I feel with a few changes, this could be an end game headphone amp. More specifically, an analog in for those that want to use their own DAC. Perhaps Questyle can make a headphone amp/preamp version of this and sell it as their reference line, but not as monoblocs like they have in the past.

    Thanks to Todd at Todd The Vinyl Junkie for lending me the CMA Twelve for review.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
    PeteSTRADAMUS, purk and mrhero like this.
  11. ngoshawk
    Sigh...alas the 12 Master has been sent along to the next lucky person. Here are my thoughts, which will become a formal review over the weekend. The Questyle deserves it.

    Questyle CMA Twelve Master-$2000. A headphone amp, which is so much more.



    Todd the Vinyl Junkie: https://www.ttvjaudio.com/Questyle_CMA_Twelve_Headphone_Amp_and_DAC_p/que0000013.htm

    This makes the fifth or sixth audition tour of Todd’s that I have been lucky enough to participate in. Ranging from the Grado GH-2 Limited (bought one…) to the Apex Pinnacle II (didn’t have a spare $12,000 sitting around…) I have been privy to some of the best portable audio gear around. As this was my second Questyle product (besides the QP2R…bought it…), I was anticipating typical brilliant Questyle build, quality, sound and all in between.

    As luck would have it, I have the iFi Pro iDSD also on hand, so naturally a comparison is in order. That said, I would caution that while both are a “headphone amp,” both are MUCH more and approach this thing we call sound differently and with different options. Needless to say, I was quite giddy upon receiving the Master.

    I thank Todd for the yet again tremendous opportunity. The Questyle is stunning at which to look and has the credentials to back those looks up.

    Unfortunately, due to constraints of holding a 1350+ student Science Olympiad meet during my time, I was limited to utilizing this fine piece as a headphone amp in various iterations. I would point you to other reviews for more on the additional functions. That said, this is a stellar headphone dac/amp, period.


    Specs:

    Whole Device:

    · Finish:Black | Golden
    · Chassis Materials: special CNC tooled Aluminum
    · Dimension: 12.99”(330mm)[ W ]×7.87”(200mm)[ D ]×1.38”(55mm)[ H ]

    · Working Status: Pure Class A
    · Voltage:100-120V or 220-240V,the voltage is switchable.
    · Power Consumption: 17W


    DAC+Headphone Amplifier Section:

    - Outputs:
    4.4 mm balanced headphone jack
    4PIN balanced headphone jack
    6.35mm headphone jack
    - Max Output Power(Po):
    247mW @ 300Ω; 900mW @ 32Ω(6.35mm headphone jack)
    825mW @ 300Ω; 2W @ 32Ω (balanced headphone jack)
    - THD + N:
    0.00070% @Po=100mW, 300Ω
    0.00167% @ Po=50mW, 32Ω
    - Frequency Response:
    DC-20kHz(+0, -0.4dB)@0dBFS, 24Bit, 192kHz
    DC-80kHz(+0, -3dB)@0dBFS, 24Bit, 192kHz
    - SNR: 112dB, non-weighting


    DAC+Pre-Amp Output Section:

    - UCB Type B Input:
    Support 44.1kHz-384kHz/16Bit-32Bit PCM and DSD Native DSD64, DSD128, DSD256, as well as DSD64, DSD128, DSD256 of DoP format
    (Note: support Win XP, Vista, Win7, Win8, Win10 and Mac OS)
    - Digital Input & Output:
    SPDIF input and output, Optical input, AES/EBU input
    Support 44.1kHz-192kHz/16Bit-24Bit PCM
    - Pre-Amp & DAC Section:
    Balanced XLR x1 pair, unbalanced RCA x1 pair
    STANDARD 14dBu: XLR: 5.084V RCA: 2.549V
    STUDIO 20dBu: XLR: 8.887V RCA: 4.475V
    THD+N@STUDIO 20dBu: XLR: minimum at 0.00085% RCA: minimum at 0.00115%
    SNR: XLR:>112dB RCA:> 109dB (non-weighting)
    (Note: FIX/ADJ: Fixed Output Mode or Adjustable Output Mode of the pre-amp.)



    Gear used:

    DaVinci X
    Mr. Speakers Ether-C Flow
    Campfire Audio Cascade
    Campfire Audio Atlas
    Hidizs MS4 (pre-production)

    MacBook Pro
    iPhone X (through Lightning)
    Shanling M3s (through micro-USB)


    Songs used:

    Too bloody many to list all, but you want songs, so there you go:

    Coldplay-All I Can think About Is You
    Coldplay-A Message
    Coldplay-White Shadows
    Dona Onete-Sonos de Adolescente
    Los Lonely Boys- Heaven (en Espanol)
    twenty one pilots-Trees
    twenty one pilots-Car Radio
    twenty one pilots-Heathens
    Damian Marley-Everybody Wants To Be Somebody
    Damian Marley-So A Child May Follow
    Damian Marley-The Struggle Discontinues
    Ziggy Marley-Lighthouse
    Ziggy Marely-See Dem Fake Leaders
    Mark Knopfler-Laughs And Jokes And Drinks And Smokes
    Santana w/ Mana- Corazon Espinado

    The new twenty one pilots album, Trench


    More intro:

    Named the CMA 12 Master since it has been 12 years since the excellent Current Mode Amplification sound came about, the architecture of the Questyle is well, typical Questyle. Superb. I do wish Questyle had a larger following as it tends to eschew trends while focusing on their detail-laden big picture. As such, they have produced some superb items. I own one, and audition another. Lucky, I am!

    Upon seeing another audition/tour option from Todd, I quickly did the math…I would have on hand the iFi Pro iDSD at the same time and be able to compare. Lying at roughly the same price point the two approach listening from a bit different perspective. The Questyle is true solid state, automatically choosing format response. The iFi comes with tubes, adjustability in frequency response (tailoring your sound) and oh my that goodness oozes so very nicely. You need not worry, as this is not a slam against the Master. Just purporting my love of tube sound.

    A nice conundrum with which to have.

    So, I read what I could find (not much other than the official stuff), and the 1-2 two reviews posted on Head-Fi. I will openly admit that some of the features go well beyond what I have, and I would never need them. And since time did not afford, I could not insert the 12 into my TV set up. Not to worry, for those who value the use strictly as an amp or DAC this is a very good critter.


    Unboxing:

    Coming in a rectangular Questyle box, you open to find another rectangular Questyle box…in white. It is inside here the goodies lie. Protected in its own soft cloth-like bag, I undid the Velcro pulling the black box out. There seems to be a dearth of silver, so I was hoping for the black. It does not disappoint. The unit looks stunning. Also included would be the owner’s manual, the power cord and a very nice remote, which can change all of the features and even substitute for your TV remote, when thrown into the mix.

    Across the front lie the yellow connectivity lights, a toggle, which switches between headphone amp and DAC, another which switches between standard and high gain (it allows you to switch between pure Class A (high bias) for sonic purity and Class A/AB (standard bias) for greater power output), the headphone inputs and the volume knob.

    I will openly admit that I still find it cool that the volume knob moves when you use the remote. It’s like a ghost hand, and I do enjoy that!


    [​IMG]

    The headphone inputs number three: one 4.4bal, one 6.3mm standard, and one 4-pin XLR bal. That is the route, which Questyle chose and most of us have numerous adaptors on hand. Low-slung, sleek and stylish the front looks like any fine home audio kit.

    The back is home to numerous connectivity options not the least of which is USB-out. Able to run 3-pin digital as well as SP/DIF and optical; you also get left and right 3-pin stereo out, if one desires to use this in a studio set up. RCA out can also be used. Again, I failed to use more than the USB, but the performance was stunning to say the least. You can also go wireless with WIFI and BT options. So, as you can see connectivity is not a problem. Unless you want to simply hook your DAP up through a 3.5mm cable. This cannot be done. There are no analog inputs. But since many work through their USB-C you need not worry too much.


    Testing/Sound:

    Most of my time was spent hooked to my MacBook Pro. For the last bits, I ran the Shanling M3S and iPhone X for connectivity purposes. Running Tidal Premium and Pine Player (on the MBP) provided my source music with decent quality.

    Once I dug the right adaptors out, connecting was easy. Using my iFi Gemini 2.0 USB cable, most of the time gave a good cable to the mess, err mix. Easily recognized on the MBP, I was able to adjust the format frequency, but I will openly admit that differences might have alluded my hearing.

    Running the Clear Tunes Monitor DaVinci X through the MBP/12 set, the sound was of a crystalline sound the likes of which have been heard in small batches. The X is already airy and fruity (see my review: https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/clear-tune-monitors-da-vinci-x.22890/), with a crystalline sound of its own. The 12 Master simply adds to that sound. Detail retrieval is incredibly top notch. Each snare hit from Josh in Heathen’s is crisp and clear. Without sibilance, either. Bass decay is fast and concise. You get the sense that this would be the model for an analytical sound, but it is more than that.

    Moving to the Campfire Audio Cascade, the bass is almost as prominent as ever, but the overall quality is raised. The Cascade has never quite sounded this clear and crisp. The 12 Master does give a sense of clarity to all that plays. I find this change to the Cascade quite refreshing. On Van Morrison’s Take It Easy Baby, there is an almost reference quality sound as the neutrality of the amp shines. This is not for the bass lover in you. No, this is for the purist.

    That is verified once the Ether-C Flow is played. Already giving a fairly neutral tone (I do wish it had more bass…) the pair are almost too reference in tonality. This would be the baseline by which you judge other to me. And in that regard, the Flow is fabulous. The live version of Clocks comes across in laconic sound. This is like the music teacher who demands precision and perfection. My high school drum instructor demanded that. Practices were brutal, extending an hour each day after the rest of the band had gone home. But he knew the importance for setting the tone. We set the limits by which the rest of the band performed. And we were the best damned drum line in East Texas. That precision is perfectly present in the Flow/12 Master combination. Detail of marvelous proportions. A perfect melding for classical music.

    A new addition, the pre-production Hidizs MS4 was thrown in due to deadlines for their Kickstarter program. Retailing for $350-400 but Kicked at $249 (I think) the MS4 represents Hidizs attempt at going upscale with a single DD and three BA’s. As a hybrid, it just works. So, why not throw it on! And, for the most part it did not disappoint. Not as deep or clear a bass reach as the X (well duh), the Hidizs held its own presenting all of the above songs with a melodic manifestation fitting for its slightly warmer signature. To put that in perspective, the MS4 and my older Shanling M5 are a wonderful combination, even if a bit dark. The sound permeates the dark side, getting down and dirty. Here the Questyle opens that sound up like a the sun coming out after a winter ice storm.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It’s Just My Heart Talkin’ is one of my favorite Los Lonely Boys tracks and an outstanding track for judging detail retrieval and clarity. Along with that, if there is any sibilance in the source/amp/headphone chain…it shows. And the Questyle passes with the self-assurance of a Le Mans 24-hour winner. There really is not anything terse to say about it. It performed admirably in any set up.


    Finished stuff:

    So..in conclusion…OK, too professorial, but the precision fits. Sound stage is quite good, bordering on a square. But the air between notes certainly makes up for any perceived “deficiency.” There are wider, there are narrower; but to combine an adequately big sound stage with that air is truly wonderful. Some might find the sound too analytical, but I say it is the neutrality that is driving that verbiage. This is probably the most neutral amp I have heard (again sample is limited to about 20).

    That said, most often neutral bothers me for to me it lacks any real presence. There is definitely presence here. Throw on Los Lonely Boys Heaven and that song alone dispels any thought of analytical and dry. Bass is rich, vocals crisp like a Grand Forks, North Dakota -35 F morning and a soul, which belies its neutrality. Want more neutrality? Switch the bias toggle up for pure class-A albeit a bit less power. This is one damn fine headphone amp. It really is. But it is so much more than that with all of its capabilities that to simply think of it as an amp would be an egregious error. I just wish I had made time to explore more of its options. Others have, and I invite you towards their reviews, it will be worth the addition. Link to Headphone Guru’s detailed repose: https://headphone.guru/questyle-aud...amplifier-wireless-receiver-look-ma-no-wires/

    I want to thank Todd, AGAIN for running an audition tour on something, which I would most likely never had the opportunity to audition. He has done that quite a bit for me. And I have come home with some pretty cool gear as a result. Whomever gets the CMA Twelve Master will also get a pretty cool amp, which will perform in many other capacities. Thanks, Todd!
     
    WNBC and PeteSTRADAMUS like this.
  12. PeteSTRADAMUS
    Sweet review! I'm going to dive into it now. Am I that lucky person? lol :)
     
  13. ngoshawk
    Alas, no. Sorry, my meager attempt at reviewing this will have to tide you over. :beers:
     
  14. PeteSTRADAMUS
    Cheers! lol
     
  15. PeteSTRADAMUS
    First off, I would like to thank Todd @Todd from TTVJ for setting up this nice loaner tour for me and the other members in this awesome community, And I would like to thank my friend Alan for sending me a loaner pair of Focal Clear headphones to use with the DAC/amp. Since I am in the process of building a new system for myself I sold off all of my previous gear :frowning2: and starting over fresh.
    During my listening sessions, I had to stop after Canjam NYC because I listened to some really high-end stuff that really messed up my expectations of what a "nice system" is supposed to sound like. Please bear with me.

    BUILD/PACKAGING
    The Questyle CMA - Twelve Master came nicely double boxed and arrived in flawless condition. The unit's chassis is built from a nice solid piece of aluminum. You can tell it's really nice and premium the minute you retrieve it from the packaging. The switch's feel of high-quality metal and nothing feels cheap on this unit. For such a small box it feels solid like a brick.


    Questyle CMA - Twelve Master DAC/amp
    20190220_185830.jpg


    Gear used with the review

    Focal Clear headphones
    20190220_184439.jpg


    The Cure - Lullaby - 16-Bit/44.1KHZ
    Lou Reed - Walk On The Other Side - 24-Bit/96KHZ
    Coldplay - Sparks - 24-Bit/kHz
    Teddybears - Punkrocker - 16-Bit/44.1KHZ
    Black Sabbath - 24-Bit/96KHZ
    Johnny Cash - Hurt - 16-Bit/44.1KHZ
    Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You - 24-Bit/96KHZ
    Marvin Isley - For The Love Of You, pts 1 & 2 - 24-Bit/96KHZ
    Amy Winehouse - Love Is A Losing Game - 24-Bit/96KHZ





    There's many more to add, but that would take me forever to finish. Looks like a lot of love is added to that list "no pun intended" lol.


    Sound quality

    I like this DAC/amp combo quite a lot, It's sound is very smooth and crisp and clear. I honestly feel that It has way too much power for the Focal Clear headphones. I never got past the half-way mark in terms of volume. I wish I had a pair of "planar magnetic" headphones to really test drive this unit to it's potential and to get to my preferred volume level. Vocals come out sounding really alive and totally grab you. The soundstage is probably really nice on this unit but these headphones have a really narrow soundstage to them. It does get behind your head a little. But it never goes wide and the sound never floats on the outside of your head. That is what I'm looking for in my next purchase. Drum's sound alive and dynamic. The piano instrument never really sounds good for me on this setup. It might be the quality of these recordings. Bass sounds pretty nice on this unit, deep and punchy! and tight. I chose the Focal Clear to test out this unit because I heard that they pair well with Questyle DAC/amps. But, to me, it is not the greatest pairing or I don't think these headphones are that good, to begin with. I wish I had a higher rated pair of headphones for this test and I could see what this Questyle is made of. But, it sounds good. Can It get better? I don't know yet.


    Conclusion

    Would I buy this? Yes, If I was still in the midgrade buying area of DAC/amps. My ears have been so spoiled by CANJAM NYC this past weekend that I'm shooting really high to get to the level of sound I'm currently after. But, this is about this unit and I think it's of the highest of quality and If anyone is hesitant on trying it give it a go. You won't be disappointed.

    Screenshot_20190220-205349_Gallery.jpg

    I hope everyone enjoys reading my little impressions of this unit. Thank you :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
    volly and soundman414 like this.
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