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Compatibility question regarding a Chord 2Qute and a PS Audio Perfectwave Transport


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After much deliberation I've decided on a 2Qute DAC and have located a used one in good shape.

My transport is a PS Audio Perfectwave. I didn't think much about the compatibility of these two units until just now, when I'm about to buy the 2Qute.

....Here's the issue:

The PS Audio transport output options are (in order of quality according to the company), I2S, S/PDIF via balanced XLR, Coax via RCA and the optical.

The 2Qute's inputs options are: USB, BNC Coax and TOSLink optical.

 

Here's my question: From my reading it seems the 2Qute does much better with a USB input. Some go so far as to say if they had to use only the coax input on the 2Qute, they wouldn't want this DAC.

While separately the PS Audio transport and 2Qute are great, combining them forces you to use the coax connections which, on both units, are sub optimal.

....So you have two units that are pretty descent on their own and them combine them and have to use the least SQ optimal output/input.

Am I looking at this correctly?

Is this combination self defeating?

Kind of bummed as I was getting myself pretty sold on the 2Qute.

Thanks.

--My speakers, amp and preamp are Magnepan 1.7's, Butler TDB 2250 and a Modwright.

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There is hope.

 

Why don't you used a PC / Laptop / Mac to drive the Chord via USB. This will solved everything.

 

You then ripped all your CD that you intended to play on your transport into your PC...and playback from there. In this way, you utilised the BEST input on your 2Qute DAC. As a bonus, you will be able to playback DSD and DSD X2 which have higher resolution in sound quality. The PS-Audio transport can only play CD at 44.1KHz and at best DVD-A...nowhere near DSD.

 

And when everything goes well....you can just sell off your PS Audio Transport..... :)

 

(Audio)

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So the difference between USB and non-USB inputs of modern Chord DACs are minimal because of DPLL and jitter immunity of the Pulse Array DAC. The reason why coaxial input can sound worse is because that input is not galvanically isolated so if you have a very noisy coaxial source, the high/radio frequency noise would get injected into 2Qute and affect the sound quality. But this is very source dependent. Assuming this is a problem with your transport (which I doubt), you can use Toslink instead. I'd say modern Chord DACs are one of the few DACs where optical input is as good as and sometimes better than coaxial because of the DAC's jitter immunity. If I were in OP's shoes, I would just compare coaxial vs optical and pick the one I like the most. Or I might just use optical and be done with it.

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Thanks for your help. As I'm coming from a two channel environment that's only involved CD players (nothing stored on a computer), I'm a neophyte to some of the concepts you probably take for granted.

So let me ask what may be some extremely rudimentary questions.

 

My premise in getting the PS Audio memory transport was to 1) provide a better transport and better way to accurately pull data off the CD and 2) use a dedicated DAC instead of the one built into the CP player.

....So what your suggesting is use the PS Audio memory transport to rip the CD's, store the info on a PC and then play them back via a USB connection from the PC to the 2Qute?

 

This seems quite do-able but my question is will the above process involving a PC provide a data stream "as clean" as the one that would come in real time from the PS Audio memory transport, delivered directly to the DAC?

The PS Audio site seems to imply their memory transport is the "uber" device that provides the most accurate way to read CD's and that the additional manipulation involved in storing that CD data somewhere else (ie a PC) and the then reading the data at a later time will inject a slight amount of degradation that wouldn't be present if a DAC was directly connected to the PS Audio transport?

 

 

There is hope.

 

Why don't you used a PC / Laptop / Mac to drive the Chord via USB. This will solved everything.

 

You then ripped all your CD that you intended to play on your transport into your PC...and playback from there. In this way, you utilised the BEST input on your 2Qute DAC. As a bonus, you will be able to playback DSD and DSD X2 which have higher resolution in sound quality. The PS-Audio transport can only play CD at 44.1KHz and at best DVD-A...nowhere near DSD.

 

And when everything goes well....you can just sell off your PS Audio Transport..... :)

 

(Audio)

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After much deliberation I've decided on a 2Qute DAC and have located a used one in good shape.

My transport is a PS Audio Perfectwave. I didn't think much about the compatibility of these two units until just now, when I'm about to buy the 2Qute.

....Here's the issue:

The PS Audio transport output options are (in order of quality according to the company), I2S, S/PDIF via balanced XLR, Coax via RCA and the optical.

The 2Qute's inputs options are: USB, BNC Coax and TOSLink optical.

 

Here's my question: From my reading it seems the 2Qute does much better with a USB input. Some go so far as to say if they had to use only the coax input on the 2Qute, they wouldn't want this DAC.

While separately the PS Audio transport and 2Qute are great, combining them forces you to use the coax connections which, on both units, are sub optimal.

....So you have two units that are pretty descent on their own and them combine them and have to use the least SQ optimal output/input.

Am I looking at this correctly?

Is this combination self defeating?

Kind of bummed as I was getting myself pretty sold on the 2Qute.

Thanks.

--My speakers, amp and preamp are Magnepan 1.7's, Butler TDB 2250 and a Modwright.

 

I've got a 2Qute which I drive with a Raspberry Pi/iFi USB3.0Nano combination and it sounds really good. I've also got a Chord Hugo which I drive with a Bel Canto uLink USB to SPDI/F converter which also sounds really good. Just because 'someone on the internet' says that 'USB is better than SPDI/F' for driving the 2Qute doesn't make it always true IMHO. How good the USB or SPDI/F implementation quality is will probably make more difference than which particular digital connection type is being used.

 

i would expect the sound quality of the PS Audio transport to be pretty good, given their excellent reputation, and so I would just get the 2Qute and try it with the PS Audio transport. If it sounds good to you, then that is the only thing that matters. You can always borrow a high quality USB based transport to compare in the future, and use your own ears to judge whether it sounds better or not.

System (i): (Stack Audio Link/MoOde > 2Qute+MCRU psu; Gyrodec/SME V/Ortofon 2M Black/EAT E-Glo Petit/Magnum Dynalab FT101A) > Glow Amp One > Klipsch RP-600M

System (ii): iUSB3.0 Nano/Allo USB Signature/MoOde > Bel Canto uLink+AQVOX psu > Chord Hugo > (Tandy LX5; JBL LSR305 ; Audeze LCD-3)

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After much deliberation I've decided on a 2Qute DAC and have located a used one in good shape.

My transport is a PS Audio Perfectwave. I didn't think much about the compatibility of these two units until just now, when I'm about to buy the 2Qute.

....Here's the issue:

The PS Audio transport output options are (in order of quality according to the company), I2S, S/PDIF via balanced XLR, Coax via RCA and the optical.

The 2Qute's inputs options are: USB, BNC Coax and TOSLink optical.

 

Here's my question: From my reading it seems the 2Qute does much better with a USB input. Some go so far as to say if they had to use only the coax input on the 2Qute, they wouldn't want this DAC.

While separately the PS Audio transport and 2Qute are great, combining them forces you to use the coax connections which, on both units, are sub optimal.

....So you have two units that are pretty descent on their own and them combine them and have to use the least SQ optimal output/input.

Am I looking at this correctly?

Is this combination self defeating?

Kind of bummed as I was getting myself pretty sold on the 2Qute.

Thanks.

--My speakers, amp and preamp are Magnepan 1.7's, Butler TDB 2250 and a Modwright.

 

I've had a PS Audio Perfect Wave transport for 7 years and it is the best I've heard. With my previous DAC (Bel Canto) I used a BNC cable with a SPDIF-to-BNC adaptor at the transport end. This gave very good sound quality. You might like to try this approach with the 2Qute.

 

I have a Hugo DAC in a second system and can confirm that the TOSlink connection gives good sound quality.

ALAC iTunes library on Synology DS412+ running MinimServer with Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablet running BubbleUPnP for control >

Hi-Fi 1: Airport Extreme bridge > Netgear switch > TP-Link optical isolation > dCS Network Bridge AND PS Audio PerfectWave Transport > PS Audio DirectStream DAC with Bridge Mk.II > Primare A60 > Harbeth SHL5plus Anniversary Edition .

Hi-Fi 2: Sonore Rendu > Chord Hugo DAC/preamp > LFD integrated > Harbeth P3ESRs and > Sennheiser HD800

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So I'm pretty new to some of these things so let me ask about the cable connector adapter you mention below.

You went from the PS Audio S/PDIF (balanced XLR) to the DAC's BNC connector using an adapter on the transport end.

Is adapting dissimilar connectors via these cable end adapters a common practice? Does it involve a decrease in signal quality? And if we're talking using a cable end adapter (which I'm completely unfamiliar with), can you go from the PS Audio S/PDIF (balanced XLR) output to the USB input on the Chord 2Qute? Is there an adapter for that?

 

I've had a PS Audio Perfect Wave transport for 7 years and it is the best I've heard. With my previous DAC (Bel Canto) I used a BNC cable with a SPDIF-to-BNC adaptor at the transport end. This gave very good sound quality. You might like to try this approach with the 2Qute.

 

I have a Hugo DAC in a second system and can confirm that the TOSlink connection gives good sound quality.

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So I'm pretty new to some of these things so let me ask about the cable connector adapter you mention below.

You went from the PS Audio S/PDIF (balanced XLR) to the DAC's BNC connector using an adapter on the transport end.

Is adapting dissimilar connectors via these cable end adapters a common practice? Does it involve a decrease in signal quality? And if we're talking using a cable end adapter (which I'm completely unfamiliar with), can you go from the PS Audio S/PDIF (balanced XLR) output to the USB input on the Chord 2Qute? Is there an adapter for that?

 

OK, I should have been more precise.

 

1. I didn't use the USB connection on the Bel Canto DAC as received opinion was that it was not as good as the BNC SPDIF.

2. I used the RCA SPDIF output on the Perfect Wave transport with an RCA-to-BNC adaptor like this:

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/31X5ENDjFmL.jpg

3. I used a BNC-to-BNC cable (i.e. 75ohm ) from the adaptor out to the DAC BNC input.

 

I chose this approach after some research showed that BNC was preferred for wired digital connection by some manufacturers (e.g. Bel Canto).

ALAC iTunes library on Synology DS412+ running MinimServer with Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablet running BubbleUPnP for control >

Hi-Fi 1: Airport Extreme bridge > Netgear switch > TP-Link optical isolation > dCS Network Bridge AND PS Audio PerfectWave Transport > PS Audio DirectStream DAC with Bridge Mk.II > Primare A60 > Harbeth SHL5plus Anniversary Edition .

Hi-Fi 2: Sonore Rendu > Chord Hugo DAC/preamp > LFD integrated > Harbeth P3ESRs and > Sennheiser HD800

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Thanks for your help. As I'm coming from a two channel environment that's only involved CD players (nothing stored on a computer), I'm a neophyte to some of the concepts you probably take for granted.

So let me ask what may be some extremely rudimentary questions.

My premise in getting the PS Audio memory transport was to 1) provide a better transport and better way to accurately pull data off the CD and 2) use a dedicated DAC instead of the one built into the CP player.

....So what your suggesting is use the PS Audio memory transport to rip the CD's, store the info on a PC and then play them back via a USB connection from the PC to the 2Qute?

This seems quite do-able but my question is will the above process involving a PC provide a data stream "as clean" as the one that would come in real time from the PS Audio memory transport, delivered directly to the DAC?

The PS Audio site seems to imply their memory transport is the "uber" device that provides the most accurate way to read CD's and that the additional manipulation involved in storing that CD data somewhere else (ie a PC) and the then reading the data at a later time will inject a slight amount of degradation that wouldn't be present if a DAC was directly connected to the PS Audio transport?

I was doing CD too and the real improvement comes with I did a Bel Canto trial from my dealer. It was a CD2, DAC3.5 with VBS-1. I bought them and upgrade it with the RefLink for the USB input. At that time, I tried computer playback, no one beats CD playback. Even so when I bought an EMM Labs CDSA.

 

Then things change when I upgrade my computer playback from a Mac Mini to a PC server....both CD and computer playback were getting closer. I think, for me, the threshold was buying the Lumin A1 and using ethernet for playback. Then adding Jriver + Audiophile Optimizer to the server, computer playback has been consistently better than CD playback.....yes, even better than SACD with I playback DSD file of the same title. I have since upgrade to the Lumin S-1 and use PS Audio Directstream DAC as my second DAC and then I add the companion PS Audio Perfect wave transport to complete the PS Audio combo. Yes, playback from the PS Audio transport is very good but still, the computer playback is still superior.

 

PS Audio transport is remarkable because it read from the CD and playback from Ram....which is precisely what you do when you do computer playback. The only difference is that you don't have to read off from the disc "on the fly"...you can get it from your hard drive or your SSD, you get the idea.

 

My suggestion involve you doing your own ripping off the PC / Mac. A good CD ripping software is Dbpoweramp ripper. You can edit the titles and insert your CD cover using mp3tag if dbpoweramp failed to provide you the data off a rare CD.

 

Will the data be as clean as the PS Transport? I would believe so, it is less demanding to read data off a SSD or a hard disk than reading it from a CD and pushing it onto ram to be read at their own playback rate. In fact, most DACs are doing it like that, you disconnect the ethernet or the USB and you can hear the music go on for a few seconds.

 

As with your question on whether storing the CD data in a computer and playback as a file would degrade the sound, I will let you be the judge. I have not play more than 5 CDs on my transport since I bought it for about a year. Neither have I touch the EMM Labs at all. Bel Canto CD2 together with the DAC3.5 MKII had been sold, 2 years ago because they don't want to do DSD. I just gotten the new Ayre QX-5, surely, it will be my reference DAC from now on.

 

(Audio)

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I purchased a refurbished MacBook from 2012. It was the last model with built-in CD player. I ripped al my CD's into iTunes and then play them with Audirvana. The output of Audirvana goes to Dirac Audioprocessor that compensates for room acoustics. The output of Dirac goes to the 2Qute DAC. Music is stored on the Mac SSD and I disconnect the Mac from the mains when I play music. I think this set up is very clean and gives you maximum flexibility. A refurbished MacBook is as expensive as a good CD transport. I can play all formats including DSD.

My amps are Hegel and speakers Sonus Faber Olympica III.

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