Why isn't HQPlayer improving anything for me?
Oct 11, 2021 at 1:57 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

Atriya

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So I've been trialing HQPlayer up-sampling with my Chord Qutest. Virtually every review I've read says that up-sampling improves things (e.g. soundstage) vastly, and there are even reviews comparing the effect (even favorably) to the $5k Chord M-Scaler. For example @GoldenOne prefers HQPlayer to the M-Scaler.

And yet, I seem to be hearing no difference at all (with Sinc-M or Sinc-L and LNS15, which are known good choices), vs. the internal upsampling of the Qutest.

I'm in my 30s, so I doubt my ears or brain are the bottleneck. Could it be something else in my chain? I'm playing out of Roon (with Qobuz) with the Qutest's USB cable, and going from the Qutest with Topping RCA cables into a Topping A90 amp, and then to Hifiman HE6SE headphones. Now, these headphones are not necessarily known for great soundstage. Could they be essentially negating the effect of HQPlayer? Not sure if that's how it works.
 
Oct 11, 2021 at 5:06 AM Post #3 of 13

GoldenOne

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So I've been trialing HQPlayer up-sampling with my Chord Qutest. Virtually every review I've read says that up-sampling improves things (e.g. soundstage) vastly, and there are even reviews comparing the effect (even favorably) to the $5k Chord M-Scaler. For example @GoldenOne prefers HQPlayer to the M-Scaler.

And yet, I seem to be hearing no difference at all (with Sinc-M or Sinc-L and LNS15, which are known good choices), vs. the internal upsampling of the Qutest.

I'm in my 30s, so I doubt my ears or brain are the bottleneck. Could it be something else in my chain? I'm playing out of Roon (with Qobuz) with the Qutest's USB cable, and going from the Qutest with Topping RCA cables into a Topping A90 amp, and then to Hifiman HE6SE headphones. Now, these headphones are not necessarily known for great soundstage. Could they be essentially negating the effect of HQPlayer? Not sure if that's how it works.
What settings are you using? (can you send a screenshot?)

Hqplayer has a variety of options and filters. Some of which will be no better than what your dac is using internally and some which will be a big improvement.
 
Oct 11, 2021 at 5:25 AM Post #4 of 13

Atriya

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What settings are you using? (can you send a screenshot?)

Hqplayer has a variety of options and filters. Some of which will be no better than what your dac is using internally and some which will be a big improvement.
Thanks for replying! I find your reviews and videos to be of extremely high quality, and greatly appreciate your work. Now if I could only hear what you hear. :relaxed: I was just watching your video on DDCs (looking to get an Audiowise SRC-DX for my Qutest).

My HQP settings and Roon signal path are shown in the screenshots. Among other tracks, I used the same track you used in your Qutest review to test soundstage with the M-Scaler: Eye for an Eye by Bob Moses.

Screenshot 2021-10-11 145135.png


Screenshot 2021-10-11 145339.png
 
Oct 11, 2021 at 12:18 PM Post #5 of 13

technobear

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I heartily recommend the iPurifier3 as the necessary medicine here. It will make as big or bigger difference than HQ-Player vs Qutest.
 
Oct 11, 2021 at 1:36 PM Post #6 of 13

Atriya

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I heartily recommend the iPurifier3 as the necessary medicine here. It will make as big or bigger difference than HQ-Player vs Qutest.
Hmm, interesting. The custom-FPGA architecture of the Chord Qutest is supposed to be immune to jitter though, or so the designer claims. And additionally, there is galvanic isolation built in.
 
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Oct 12, 2021 at 11:02 AM Post #7 of 13

manueljenkin

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Have you tried the warm filter on the chord quest (afaik there are two filter choices) - and see if you can hear differences. I haven’t found hqplayer filters to improve anything on my ess dacs (in fact I find them worser).
 
Oct 12, 2021 at 12:49 PM Post #8 of 13

Atriya

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Have you tried the warm filter on the chord quest (afaik there are two filter choices) - and see if you can hear differences. I haven’t found hqplayer filters to improve anything on my ess dacs (in fact I find them worser).
Actually, when inputting 768Khz from HQPlayer, the internal filters of the Qutest are bypassed, so warm vs. incisive becomes irrelevant.
 
Oct 12, 2021 at 3:59 PM Post #9 of 13

manueljenkin

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Actually, when inputting 768Khz from HQPlayer, the internal filters of the Qutest are bypassed, so warm vs. incisive becomes irrelevant.
I meant about sending normal music to Qutest (without Hqplayer) and comparing it’s warm filter and incisive filter, if you can notice differences there. The filter structure is quite different (intentionally done so)
 
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Oct 13, 2021 at 5:22 AM Post #10 of 13

Roseval

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Actually, when inputting 768Khz from HQPlayer, the internal filters of the Qutest are bypassed
Very interesting. How does one know this to be the case?

To the best of my knowledge, there is no direct relation between the sample rate as send by the source and the clock speed of the actual conversion.
Most of the time one sees specs like 24/192 for SPDIF.
Modern USB receivers do 32/768 without a problem.
But what happen after the receiver?
My veteran Benchmark DAC 1 runs the conversion at 126 kHz, no matter the sample rate of the input.
The DAC 3 at 256 .
This makes me think if one has a up/oversamling DAC, no matter what you feed it, internally all will be resampled and filtered.
Makes one wonder if the upsampling/filters by HQ makes any sense.

Maybe using a NOS DAC without filters will do HQ justice
 
Oct 13, 2021 at 8:53 AM Post #11 of 13

Atriya

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Very interesting. How does one know this to be the case?

To the best of my knowledge, there is no direct relation between the sample rate as send by the source and the clock speed of the actual conversion.
Most of the time one sees specs like 24/192 for SPDIF.
Modern USB receivers do 32/768 without a problem.
But what happen after the receiver?
My veteran Benchmark DAC 1 runs the conversion at 126 kHz, no matter the sample rate of the input.
The DAC 3 at 256 .
This makes me think if one has a up/oversamling DAC, no matter what you feed it, internally all will be resampled and filtered.
Makes one wonder if the upsampling/filters by HQ makes any sense.

Maybe using a NOS DAC without filters will do HQ justice
Fair point. I don't really understand the technical details. I just read this on the official Qutest thread on head-fi, and there was some discussion about it there. Yes, the Qutest is not a true NOS DAC.
 
Oct 13, 2021 at 1:41 PM Post #12 of 13

jiiteepee

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I don't know how it would even keep the original quality when you go from 44.1kHz (source) --> 705.6kHz (player) to 768kHz (hardware) (768/705.6=1.08843537415).
Using 48kHz sources probably would keep the original quality when outputted at 768kHz (16*48=768).
 
Oct 14, 2021 at 2:40 AM Post #13 of 13

technobear

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I don't know how it would even keep the original quality when you go from 44.1kHz (source) --> 705.6kHz (player) to 768kHz (hardware) (768/705.6=1.08843537415).
Using 48kHz sources probably would keep the original quality when outputted at 768kHz (16*48=768).
Just as well then that Chord DACs don't do that last bit. They use integer upsampling only.
 

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