Chord Qutest Home Demo

One big advantage the Qutest has over the older Chord DACs,is ALL of its inputs are galvanically isolated,so no need for ferrites or external isolators.Even the Dave benefits from ferrites apparently when using the blu2 with it.I suspect that those that found Chord products tiring after a few songs may of needed ferrites around the cables,because I had a bunch around the cable when I demo’d the H2,and I could listen all day long with no trouble.I really think Rob Watts became aware of these issues with his DACs as people started experimenting,and addressed the issue with his latest DAC (Qutest)

I have a 2Qute and NDAC. I've been back and forth for months on end ultimately sticking with the NDAC. It's just smoother. Yes the 2Qute is amazing for its price compared to the NDAC and is very detailed and musical but a little grating I think due to the output voltage mismatch with my 282. My source is an NDX. My Joseph Audio Perspectives speakers are extremely revealing and probably exacerbate the 2Qute's sharpness to a degree. The newest version with the ability to regulate output voltage should go a long way in matching the Naim preamps. Lastly the NDAC versatility in switching is nice. As always system synergy is very important.

I’ve owned Mojo for 2 years and listen to it for couple of hours every day.

I never find it boring. On the contrary it’s one of the most involving sources I’ve heard.

I have found it works best with audioquest jitterbug and also vertere interconnects.

the chord clearway interconnect is good but the vertere Dfi simply another league in musicality and dynamics.

 

 

 

No quarter posted:

One big advantage the Qutest has over the older Chord DACs,is ALL of its inputs are galvanically isolated,so no need for ferrites or external isolators.Even the Dave benefits from ferrites apparently when using the blu2 with it.I suspect that those that found Chord products tiring after a few songs may of needed ferrites around the cables,because I had a bunch around the cable when I demo’d the H2,and I could listen all day long with no trouble.I really think Rob Watts became aware of these issues with his DACs as people started experimenting,and addressed the issue with his latest DAC (Qutest)

I think this may be mixing things up. Galvanic isolation is different from RF suppression with ferrites - an RF signal superimposed on the digital signal will not be stopped by galvanic isolation alone.  My understanding is that even with galvanic isolation  ferrites may still help improve things where RF is present. 

@Simon-in-Suffolk has more technical knowledge here than I, with both his knowledge of digital and radio, so may be able to give a more definitive assessment.

Frank Yang posted:

Rob Watts may be right when he said optical was the best for the Chord DACs, I have actually experimented with all kinds of cables, and external isolators. and finally I have personally concluded that the simple optical spdif gives me the best SQ.

Actually, whilst he said that of Hugo,  with both TT and Dave he  said that usb is better than optical. I’m not aware of whethervhe has propnounced in respect of Qutest.

After various experiments, I've discovered that the USB inputs of both my old QBD76HDSD and DAVE are best for sound quality, input from a Melco N1-Z. If anyone wants to achieve excellent galvanic isolation I can heartily recommend the iFi USB3 isolator.

I've always thought the USB input on the DAC-V1 bettered the SPDIF inputs, but then again the transports were always different too, so not really a fair comparison.  Certainly the Qutest sounds remarkably happy via the USB input, so I've no reason to suspect that it's a weak link.

tonym posted:

After various experiments, I've discovered that the USB inputs of both my old QBD76HDSD and DAVE are best for sound quality, input from a Melco N1-Z. If anyone wants to achieve excellent galvanic isolation I can heartily recommend the iFi USB3 isolator.

Hi Tony congratulations on Dave. I'm glad you finally bought one.

How did you make it work in your system (as it didn't sound great before?)

Also keen to get your impressions on QBD76 VS Dave.

 

Frank Yang posted:

Rob Watts may be right when he said optical was the best for the Chord DACs, I have actually experimented with all kinds of cables, and external isolators. and finally I have personally concluded that the simple optical spdif gives me the best SQ.

I recently came to the same conclusion. More “analogue sounding” if you like.

analogmusic posted:

the chord clearway interconnect is good but the vertere Dfi simply another league in musicality and dynamics.

 

 

 

As are Tellurium Q Ultra Black inteconnect. RCA sounds just fine and there’s always DIN adapters.  TQ is, as familiar, particularly good in removing any digital glare or sharpness.

Haven’t listen to Qutest yet, but pair 2Qute with the right interconnects, USB or optical and it’s absolutely smashing in every sense.

Innocent Bystander posted:
Mayor West posted:

Nice write up Songstream. I moved from Dac-V1 to Hugo a while back and it was a major upgrade for me in every sense. Without wanting to incite hyperbole, the first track I played on Hugo literally blew my head off with the additional information I could hear. In general though I found Hugo to provide a much more analogue sound (whatever that means!) and a generally easier yet more involving listen with detail and insight in spades. 2Qute didn't hit the spot for me so the idea of the Qutest certainly appeals as I don't need the headphone amp or portability of Hugo. Your review has given me the incentive to at least give it a go at some point

Erm, if it literally blew your head off, the surgeons have done a remarkable job sewing it back on (someone less kind might come to some other conclusion as to where your voice now comes from........

 

Sorry, coundn’t help pick up on your desired avoidance of hyperbole!

Haha, well you got me there

A fair point, an additional optical would have been convenient for me too, but I can live without it.  The second optical on my DAC-V1 has been used for the TV, but I don't think I've watched TV, well, not live broadcast anyway, for about 2 years, so decided it didn't really matter that much.

No quarter posted:

One big advantage the Qutest has over the older Chord DACs,is ALL of its inputs are galvanically isolated,so no need for ferrites or external isolators.Even the Dave benefits from ferrites apparently when using the blu2 with it.I suspect that those that found Chord products tiring after a few songs may of needed ferrites around the cables,because I had a bunch around the cable when I demo’d the H2,and I could listen all day long with no trouble.I really think Rob Watts became aware of these issues with his DACs as people started experimenting,and addressed the issue with his latest DAC (Qutest)

NQ,  I think you might be confused here... galvanic isolation is to stop earth loops, ... it s designed not to prevent high frequency AC (otherwise the signal would not pass through or be severely distorted), they are  not effective for impeding high frequency noise which ferrite chokes address. Galvanic isolation might reduce the effects of a dirty ground plane.. ie low frequency noise from a computer, phone etc, and so might be of benefit to help isolate ground plane noise from low quality transports.

The Chord Hugo and it’s detivatives work best in my opinion with a high precision clocked transport, and Mr Watts and I discussed this observation and the probable reasons why a few  months back. So SPDIF and Toslink is largely moot, although a more reliable  clocked waveform  will generally be received via a quality SPDIF source, and async USB generally the noisiest ... with the unbalanced signalling.

Hi Simon

Thanks for clearing that up,I just posted what I read about galvanic isolated inputs,but do not have clue really what that meant,but it seems to be a good thing anyway.So it appears that ferrites are still needed then with the Chord DACs.Could you clarify what you meant by the SPDIF and Toslink are moot,since that is my source from the Core.You are a great asset to the forum with your knowledge for sure,I try to understand what I read,but have no background with these things personally,just a machinist with a love of audio,and Naim.

Halloween Main, other than galvanic isolation and ferrite beads address completely different and unrelated things.... I must admit the conversation I had at some depth with Mr Watts didn’t suggest what you are describing... and we did end up talking around the issue of ground plane modulation and DAVE.

Hi Simon, yes, in a chord Dave forum elsewhere he specifically says he has had moderate results with digital coax and ferrites but not usb and ferrites with dave. Whether or not this has anything to do with his implementation of galvanic isolation, rf filtering, or just the nature of usb cables or protocols, I have no idea. The high frequency noise you mention Simon must not be present or be more or less inaudible from battery powered USB as Rob Watts has stated he cannot hear any difference between that and optical. I've tested this myself and cannot accurately pick out one from the other in blind listening tests switching between USB and optical inputs on Hugo TT.

I don't think the digital coax input of qutest is galvanically isolated, this will need a high quality source with a quiet/well isolated digital coax output (Naim aplenty, I believe Naim Core has galvanically isolated digital coax BNC output) and decent digital coax cable, ferrites may help a little. Of course optical does not need to be galvanically isolated as it's not an electrical signal. According to Mr Watts source jitter is eliminated by his DACS regardless of input so no worries there.

Halloween Man posted:

Hi Simon, yes, in a chord Dave forum elsewhere he specifically says he has had moderate results with digital coax and ferrites but not usb and ferrites with dave. Whether or not this has anything to do with his implementation of galvanic isolation, rf filtering, or just the nature of usb cables or protocols, I have no idea.

I don't think the digital coax input of qutest is galvanically isolated, this will need a high quality source with a quiet/well isolated digital coax output (Naim aplenty, I believe Naim Core has galvanically isolated digital coax BNC output) and decent digital coax cable, ferrites may help a little. Of course optical does not need to be galvanically isolated as it's not an electrical signal. According to Mr Watts source jitter is eliminated by his DACS regardless of input so no worries there.

I don’t think Mr Watts is being genuine when he says he prefers optical on the MoJo. It’s sound quality is consistently good, whereas other inputs are inconsistent, either better or worse than optical, depending on a number of factors.

 

I have to disagree ib. My Macbook is optimised for usb data transfer and meets or exceeds the standards and protocols necessary for data transfer via usb, unlike a lot of dedicated hifi gear. It doesn't necessarily matter if it's optimised for audio or not, any issues caused by usb should be resolved by the DAC - one area where chord dacs shine.

I wager anyone to tell the difference in a blind listening test between usb and optical with my battery powered Macbook and Hugo TT.

Halloween Man posted:

I have to disagree ib. My Macbook is optimised for usb data transfer and meets or exceeds the standards and protocols necessary for data transfer via usb, unlike a lot of dedicated hifi gear. It doesn't necessarily matter if it's optimised for audio or not, any issues caused by usb should be resolved by the DAC - one area where chord dacs shine.

I wager anyone to tell the difference in a blind listening test between usb and optical with my battery powered Macbook and Hugo TT.

Depends on the Chord DAC. Hugo1 without galvanic isolation (i don’t know about RF filtering) certainly is well known for being adversely affected by USB.

And some people, including Rob Watts himself claim to hear a difference between USB and optical, on the higher Chord DACs  - in respect pf which differences in the Mac itself could well be the cause, as I postulated.

No quarter posted:
analogmusic posted:

1) Dave is not harsh. 

2) Dave is not the benchmark to beat anymore.

3) Blu2 + Dave - that is possibly the very best digital source on the planet.

I have to agree Analog,I have heard the blu2/Dave combo several times at my local dealers home...never heard digital sound more lifelike/Analog.He just picked up a pair of Dynaudio Contour C20s in walnut,which are replacing Focal Sopra 1s,and I plan to go listen to the Blu2/Dave/Contour combo very soon,and this is when I will pressure him to lend me the Dave for my own home demo.

Not to divert the thread too much, but I am interested to hear views on why the Klimax is so seldom referred to in this forum, when Dave/Hugo are often cited as the benchmark (if one is not otherwise referencing the NDS)?

The one box solution has some attraction if it can really compare with something like the Dave.

And in fact RW has stated that USB sounds better than (not just as good as) optical on TT and Dave. Which comes back to my point, optical may be limited by the source, depending on how good the source’s optical driver may be, which with machines not designed/optimised for audio could be an explanation for the difference. Of course it always also depends on the rest of the system, including the room which can muddle the sound, and on the individual’s ears. For anyone, if they can’t hear a difference, whichever is easier/cheaper is best (and that is good!).

Gavin L posted:
No quarter posted:
analogmusic posted:

1) Dave is not harsh. 

2) Dave is not the benchmark to beat anymore.

3) Blu2 + Dave - that is possibly the very best digital source on the planet.

I have to agree Analog,I have heard the blu2/Dave combo several times at my local dealers home...never heard digital sound more lifelike/Analog.He just picked up a pair of Dynaudio Contour C20s in walnut,which are replacing Focal Sopra 1s,and I plan to go listen to the Blu2/Dave/Contour combo very soon,and this is when I will pressure him to lend me the Dave for my own home demo.

Not to divert the thread too much, but I am interested to hear views on why the Klimax is so seldom referred to in this forum, when Dave/Hugo are often cited as the benchmark (if one is not otherwise referencing the NDS)?

The one box solution has some attraction if it can really compare with something like the Dave.

I find it a little strange as well. 

I guess most people who own a Klimax DS are a little reluctant to promote such an obvious rival in a Naim forum. Perhaps the original Chord Hugo got such an enthusiastic reception on the forum from a number of very influential contributors that this reluctance to promote a rival was broken in the case of Chord. Of course, the fact that the Chord devices are DACs only and so can be used to upgrade Naim streamers, whereas  the Klimax can not, also contributes to this.

If you were to look at the equivalent Linn forum, you will find that there are fewer references to Chord DACs than there are here. Not many Linn owners appear to make a move away from Linn to Chord.

Now I like my microRendu/Gustard U12/Hugo setup very much, and it's excellent value for money by comparison, but it isn't as good as my Klimax DS/1 to my ears. The latest Klimax DS/3 (Katalyst) is even better, but I haven't had a chance to compare it with the Chord Dave. 

Another thing to consider is that a lot of people seem to love the 'Space Optimisation' features that are available with the Linn DS streamers. I don't, and have switched it off in my system, but then my speakers aren't fully mapped by Linn. If your speakers are fully mapped by Linn, and they have mapped lots of speakers, then this may be another reason to consider going down the Klimax route.   

A Dave / Klimax comparison in the context of an otherwise Naim system would be very interesting.  But maybe that does not happen so often given they are not exactly like for like.

Not sure about Space Optomisation - but I doubt DBLs would be catered for in any case.

Innocent Bystander posted:

And in fact RW has stated that USB sounds better than (not just as good as) optical on TT and Dave. Which comes back to my point, optical may be limited by the source, depending on how good the source’s optical driver may be, which with machines not designed/optimised for audio could be an explanation for the difference. Of course it always also depends on the rest of the system, including the room which can muddle the sound, and on the individual’s ears. For anyone, if they can’t hear a difference, whichever is easier/cheaper is best (and that is good!).

But there is no audible difference, this is Rob Watts latest comment. He previously heard a very tiny (barely audible) difference between mains powered laptop usb (galvanically isolated) and optical and put that slightly brighter sound down to superior timing control of usb but has since changed his mind after discovering it was simply noise from the mains. The difference was eliminated by running laptop on batteries and not connected to earth in any way (such as ethernet cable).

fatcat posted:

Songstream

My advise is, if you buy the chord DAC don’t sell the V1 straight away. After a couple of months using the chord swap in the V1 and decide which you prefer.

I bought a MOjo, ultimately I found it a bit boring, although I must say after I sorted the cables out, with some types of music it sounded superb. I listen to a wide variety of musical genres, and came to the conclusion some pretty old CD players where giving me more musical enjoyment.

 

I also bought a Mojo based on all the rave reviews. Many were stating it was as good as the Hugo.

I think what sold was the ''cute'' form factor and original design. After the novelty wore off I found it fell short in many areas when compared to my old EE Minimax DAC and found the headphone output to be lackluster. In the end I concluded it was good for its size as opposed to good period and sold it on.

The buzz around the Qutest (as with all Chord products) has once again piqued my curiosity but I will take the time for the dust to settle before jumping on the bandwagon.

Chag... posted:

The 272 has, I believe, a S/PDIF output and an analog line input. 🤓

Chag -

But I seem to recall it has been reported on here before that you can’t select an analog input and control the streaming source at the same time - you select either digital, enabling the streaming controls, or analog, or so I understand.

Solid Air posted:

Sorry for the basic question, but what would be the best way to include a Qutest into a 172/200 system? I'm thinking of getting a demo. Thanks in advance!

 

People are right that you can't use the 172 streamer while doing so. But obviously the 172 is an analogue preamp as well. So you certainly can do it.

Simplest/cheapest way is probably to get a Chromecast audio, connected via optical to the Qutest, and thence via analogue into the 172. Something like a Flashback RCA - DIN cable would be good for the analogue bit.

Almost as cheap but I suspect much better quality is to use a Raspberry Pi with a Hifiberry Digi+ hat in place of the Chromecast.

Easiest would probably be to replace the Chromecast/RPi with a proper streamer front end like an Aries mini or Bluesound Node 2. The desirability of that would probably come down to the software (ie their equivalent of the Naim app). This would also be the easiest to demo, if the Qutest dealer has the front end devices too.

It's a bit cumbersome, but it can be done.

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