Interconnect choice

Hi all,

Firstly I just like to say that for the most part I absolutely love my system.  I have a 202/200/napsc/HiCap and Credo's. My Source is a MacBook Pro into a Chord 2qute dac.

The reason for my post is that even though the sound is fantastic from the MacBook and dac I am getting a slight harshness in the high frequencies that I didn't get with my previous dac, the Qute Ex. I have read that a few other people have commented on the 2qutes harsh highs, noting that the Hugo is slightly smoother.

I don't really want to change anything major on the system at the moment because as I said before, the sound is mostly superb. The bass is tight and full, and the detail that is extracted from the music is incredible, but I'd love to be able to tone down the slight sibilance that I have in certain tracks.

I'm using Chord Cobra 3 interconnects at the moment, and wondered whether if I used something better like to Tellurium Q black or Chord Chorus etc, it might smooth out some of the higher frequencies.  I have read that the Cobra can exaggerate the higher frequencies sometimes. It might be asking too much, but does anyone have any experience in this area?  I actually bought a standard grey Naim interconnect a few months ago and it sounded worse than the Cobra.

Any ideas?

Thanks!

James

 

Original Post

The TQ cables are worth an audition. I use them throughout my system. You'll get 30 days to try them out too. If you want to smooth out high frequencies you might want to try the Blue. From what I've read they are 'warm' sounding. Not heard them myself though. I have heard the black, ultra black, graphite and black diamond interconnects. The more you spend, the smoother the sound. Black diamonds are awesome 

Have you considered SuperLumia?   Probably a cable you could borrow from your dealer?

OK, they're a little more expensove than the Cobra, but then if they were to deliver that ultimate sound you're seeking, what matter the cost !

(This probably doesn't help, but I thought I'd mention it... you just never know what's around the next corner)

Agree with Finkfan, I have the Graphite interconnects at the moment but after borrowing the black diamond for the last couple of weeks ( ps many thanks Finkfan) , theirs no going back, although the Graphites are very good they do translate a little harshness at the high end, which you don't get with the black diamond,  which is  far smoother and warmer in comparison , so would recommend you give them an audition ...

 

Hi James like you I have a 202/200/Napsc/HiCap and am pretty happy with it I do have a Naim streamer as well and would suggest maybe you try one on demo if possible I have an ND5XS but there is also the more expensive NDX  I can honestly say no slight harshness ever.                                        

I'm not familiar with the 2Qute, but I had Hugo/202/200/Napsc/HiCap with MAC/A+ into 20.23s.

In the case of the Hugo instead of using the fixed volume I used the volume in turquoise. I tried different interconnects and the best results I obtained were with a RCA to DIN HiLine.

I don't know the 2Qute (or the Qute EX), but I understand it has galvanic isolation and at least some RF filtering and so in that regard is better than  the Hugo, otherwise I would be asking what you use as an isolator, which is definitely needed between a computer source and the Hugo. Assuming the 2Qute has adequate isolation, then the cable between Mac and DAC shouldn't make much if any difference. Given the popularity of Hugo here, rated by many as better than most if not all Naim DACs, maybe what you're hearing is the oft-vaunted difference between 2Qute and Hugo, even though according to Chord they should sound much the same.

other than suggesting that you try the Hugo with an isolator, or the Hugo TT which doesn't need an isolator and is a step up in sound quality (though doesn't suit everyone)  you might indeed want to try different interconnects on the analog side as long as any pricey ones can be  tried before buying.

once you have read the 2qute is harsh then you are likely to think its harsh. i dont think it is. i suspect if there is anything harsh then its coming from somewhere else in the system. what software are you using to playback? audirvana integer mode 2 sounds nice. are your speakers toed in and pointing at directly at you? if so then point them so they are firing more straight or to a position behind you as the tweeters maybe best listened to off axis. this helped a lot with my pmc 20.23 speakers brightness. do you have anything in your room to tame reflections such as soft furnishings, carpets, curtains, etc. make sure your cables are not touching each other to reduce noise\harshness. you really dont want anything like a laptop power cable touching your rca to rca interconnect. as a last resort try an inexpensive copper cable such as chord c line rca to rca rather than silver plated - you might be finding the silver a bit 'fast'. stick to the std recommended naim interconnects for naim kit. what speaker cable r u using?

Hungryhalibut posted:

Here's another thought: sell the Qute, 202, Hicap and napsc and get a 272. That will get you a much better preamp as well as a source that doesn't frighten cats. It's a thought at least. I've never found using cables as tone controls to be in any way effective. 

"Much better preamp" eh? That's pretty subjective when talking about a nicely maxed out 202.

Hungryhalibut posted:

Here's another thought: sell the Qute, 202, Hicap and napsc and get a 272. That will get you a much better preamp as well as a source that doesn't frighten cats. It's a thought at least. I've never found using cables as tone controls to be in any way effective. 

Halloween Man posted:

hh thinking out of the box

Just so long as the frightened cat doesn't think 'outside the box' (it's not pleasant cleaning that up).

feeling_zen posted:
Hungryhalibut posted:

Here's another thought: sell the Qute, 202, Hicap and napsc and get a 272. That will get you a much better preamp as well as a source that doesn't frighten cats. It's a thought at least. I've never found using cables as tone controls to be in any way effective. 

"Much better preamp" eh? That's pretty subjective when talking about a nicely maxed out 202.

here we go again  

i think we should organise a jury of 5 and make blind test 202/272/282 naked and powered by reasonable matched PSs

A large and good dealer can organise this somewhere in UK, i might fly from Istanbul just to watch it, i don't consider my self a jury member status.... but i can bring Turkish delight and Raki! 

 but then what are we going to argue about here

My " not counted " vote is for 272!

Emre posted:
feeling_zen posted:
Hungryhalibut posted:

Here's another thought: sell the Qute, 202, Hicap and napsc and get a 272. That will get you a much better preamp as well as a source that doesn't frighten cats. It's a thought at least. I've never found using cables as tone controls to be in any way effective. 

"Much better preamp" eh? That's pretty subjective when talking about a nicely maxed out 202.

here we go again  

i think we should organise a jury of 5 and make blind test 202/272/282 naked and powered by reasonable matched PSs

A large and good dealer can organise this somewhere in UK, i might fly from Istanbul just to watch it, i don't consider my self a jury member status.... but i can bring Turkish delight and Raki! 

 but then what are we going to argue about here

My " not counted " vote is for 272!

One thing worries me though a bit - why do we have to do it naked? 

@ Emre: I know, I know... English is not my native language either.

Good idea re: test.

Sorry, I didn't mean to restart this tedious debate, I was simply suggesting an alternative to the OP. I've never heard a Chord DAC, and it might be marvellous, but something's not right and playing around with expensive wires is rarely successful. Use them to optimise a well balanced and functioning system yes, but don't use them to fix problems. 

Hungryhalibut posted:

Sorry, I didn't mean to restart this tedious debate, I was simply suggesting an alternative to the OP. I've never heard a Chord DAC, and it might be marvellous, but something's not right and playing around with expensive wires is rarely successful. Use them to optimise a well balanced and functioning system yes, but don't use them to fix problems. 

Might be an idea to read the OP.

I don't really want to change anything major on the system at the moment because as I said before, the sound is mostly superb.

I'd love to be able to tone down the slight sibilance that I have in certain tracks.

Looks to me like he's only got an eeny weeny teeny tiny problem. Tweaking the sound with a different cable seems a sensible option.

Hello James,

I just recently bought a Chord Chorus Reference. I put it between my 01 and 282 and immediately noticed a difference. Definitely the highs were tamed but the added detail and warmth in the midrange was a very pleasant surprise and improvement. It is known to be a bit warm but that should be okay with Naim. It replaced a Hiline and is definitely staying.

However, I will add that cables can be very subjective. You should try as many options as you can at home. WIth your system, the Hiline might sound better. I initially bought Hilines when I had 202/200 and they added a lot to the sound - better imaging, soundstage, and more air around the notes. But in my current system, which is much more resolving than the 202/200 I had, the Chorus Reference is quite a nice introduction to Chord cables for me. I will be investigating their higher offerings for sure.

Of course optimal system setup is key. A dedicated line, if you don't have this already, should be first on your list.

Arun

Emre posted:
feeling_zen posted:
Hungryhalibut posted:

Here's another thought: sell the Qute, 202, Hicap and napsc and get a 272. That will get you a much better preamp as well as a source that doesn't frighten cats. It's a thought at least. I've never found using cables as tone controls to be in any way effective. 

"Much better preamp" eh? That's pretty subjective when talking about a nicely maxed out 202.

here we go again  

i think we should organise a jury of 5 and make blind test 202/272/282 naked and powered by reasonable matched PSs

A large and good dealer can organise this somewhere in UK, i might fly from Istanbul just to watch it, i don't consider my self a jury member status.... but i can bring Turkish delight and Raki! 

 but then what are we going to argue about here

My " not counted " vote is for 272!

If you are bringing Raki can I come and watch too please?

Rob T posted:
Adam Zielinski posted:

I would suggest you actually work on your source first. As Chris wrote - you can start with a Naim DAC or even a NAIM streamer.

+1 spot on advice.

Not really. The OP's Chord DAC source component should not be strident, which points to something else amiss.

dayjay posted:
Emre posted:
feeling_zen posted:
Hungryhalibut posted:

Here's another thought: sell the Qute, 202, Hicap and napsc and get a 272. That will get you a much better preamp as well as a source that doesn't frighten cats. It's a thought at least. I've never found using cables as tone controls to be in any way effective. 

"Much better preamp" eh? That's pretty subjective when talking about a nicely maxed out 202.

here we go again  

i think we should organise a jury of 5 and make blind test 202/272/282 naked and powered by reasonable matched PSs

A large and good dealer can organise this somewhere in UK, i might fly from Istanbul just to watch it, i don't consider my self a jury member status.... but i can bring Turkish delight and Raki! 

 but then what are we going to argue about here

My " not counted " vote is for 272!

If you are bringing Raki can I come and watch too please?

if naked.....  

tonym posted:
Rob T posted:
Adam Zielinski posted:

I would suggest you actually work on your source first. As Chris wrote - you can start with a Naim DAC or even a NAIM streamer.

+1 spot on advice.

Not really. The OP's Chord DAC source component should not be strident, which points to something else amiss.

And if he were to conclude it is the DAC, unlikely though it may seem, and so consider changing the obvious one would be the Hugo (with isolator between Mac and DAC) given that otherwise he likes the 2Qute and given the balance of views on these forums, or even the TT.

Interesting to see others using a Chord Chorus Reference. I was surprised to find that I preferred this to the more expensive Anthem Reference, and the RCA-DIN option improves things further IME.

JamesN, I found that a Chord Chameleon Plus worked well with the 2Qute. However I did feel that it was perhaps not letting through everything that the 2Qute was capable of. I went on to the Chord Chorus Reference which did improve on things but being more revealing it allowed that slight harshness of the 2Qute through. So, like others, I tried a Hugo instead which solved the issue I was having whilst retaining the qualities of the 2Qute. If you don't want to make any major changes then it might be just be worth trialling a Hugo in place of the 2Qute and seeing how you get on.

Hi,

 Sorry for the late reply but I have been away on business. Thanks so much everybody for all of the replies. This forum never ceases to me to amaze me at just how helpful it can be at times. So there's definitely a lot to think about here.

To be honest I don't think I will be going for a Naim dac or streamer,  because as much as I'm sure they are fantastic, the Chord dac's are really superb too, and many people on here use the Hugo to bring improvements to the NDX etc. That couples with the expense of such a change at the moment is a no goer. This is the same with the Nac272 as much as I'd love one!

 Very interesting reading regarding the Chord Chorus and Tellurium Blue,  because these products sound like they do exactly what I want, which is to smooth out the higher freq's a little just to make louder volume levels more easy on the ear.

 As I said in my first post, I am for the most part really pleased with the sound, and it is far better than anything I've ever had before. I used to have a CD5X and it staggers me sometimes how this Mac/dac set up can sound so good, but I do feel just a small tweak might make all the difference, whether it may be in cabling or set up etc.

Adam Zielinski posted:

I would suggest you actually work on your source first. As Chris wrote - you can start with a Naim DAC or even a NAIM streamer.

Absolutely.  Changing cables may improve and no doubt optimise your system but you've identified the problem and it's not the cable. 

2 options:

- Stick with the laptop and try a Naim DAC preferably with a XPS. 

-  or rip your music to a NAS and try a Naim streamer. 

Good luck,

Lindsay

Something like Audioquest's Jitterbug or Uptone Audio's USB Regen device might offer some improvements.  You could also try to use Optical connection from the MacBook to the 2Qute in preference to USB.  An alternative source for the 2Qute such as using a ARM SBC (Beaglebone Black or Cubox) or SotM's SMS200 or Sonore microRendu are other options.

If you need to add goodness knows how many funny little boxes from here today, gone tomorrow companies in order to make the mighty Hugo vaguely usable, it's not that bloody wonderful after all, is it? At least with a manky old Naim streamer you can just plug it in and it works, but of course that's too boring. 

Hungryhalibut posted:

If you need to add goodness knows how many funny little boxes from here today, gone tomorrow companies in order to make the mighty Hugo vaguely usable, it's not that bloody wonderful after all, is it? At least with a manky old Naim streamer you can just plug it in and it works, but of course that's too boring. 

I don't disagree with you HH ... but some people like such things ... at the end of the day if you don't like the sound from your MacBook Pro / 2Qute; then you have the wrong source.

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Davie R
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