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I still use my Qutest pretty much standard, except for the iPower X PS. I haven't compared it recently to the stock PS but when I first bought it I was satisfied it's slightly better. I choose to not send it back, after all. Aside from that, I'm feeding my Qutest through its USB drive via an OpticalRendu. The Qutest in turn feeds my Belles Aria, and then my Kudos Super 20's. It's a decent level of performance, but some recordings can occasionally sound slightly bright.

So I'm intrigued by the possibility of taking my Qutest to the next level with (a) an SBooster / Ultra PS and (b) Audiowise SRC DX Bridge, enabling double-BNC connection with my OpticalRendu. From all the various reports, this should be a nice upgrade for around $1000. But that begs the question....My Qutest becomes a $2700 DAC....should I sell and simply buy a new DAC such as a Denafrips Venus?

Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> Supra 8-->EtherRegen --> Fiber--> opticalRendu / CI Audio LPS --> Curious Evolved Link --> Chord Qutest--> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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1 hour ago, OldBigEars said:

I still use my Qutest pretty much standard, except for the iPower X PS. I haven't compared it recently to the stock PS but when I first bought it I was satisfied it's slightly better. I choose to not send it back, after all. Aside from that, I'm feeding my Qutest through its USB drive via an OpticalRendu. The Qutest in turn feeds my Belles Aria, and then my Kudos Super 20's. It's a decent level of performance, but some recordings can occasionally sound slightly bright.

To me, the challenge with Chord modern DACs is that they're so revealing, despite their USB galvanic isolation, they're as susceptible as other DACs to ground loop leakage current RF noise except the problem is much more audible because of the DACs' transparency. At least that's my experience with Mojo, Hugo 2, DAVE, M-Scaler and my friend's Qutest.

 

I tried minimizing the issue by using an Uptone LPS1 & now LPS1.2 to feed my UltraRendu and grounded my NAS, router, network switch, cable modem. In the end, I just couldn't get the sound to be 100% identical to having my iPad feed the DAC USB. So I ended up using a USB to Toslink adaptor to feed my Chord DAC and voila. I know most DACs don't perform as well via Toslink because of the extra jitter but I do think that Chord DAC's pulse array DAC is extra jitter immune by comparison.

 

As for the stock switching power supply vs iPower X PS, I believe Rob Watts the designer specifically design the internal Qutest RF filters to match the RF issues of the stock switching power supply. So I'm slightly surprised you prefer iPower X PS.

 

If you have a spare/cheap USB to Toslink converter around, I'd strongly recommend you try it with the Qutest. I think the Qutest comes with a cheap Tosink cable and you can just use that cable. I know some people tell me that they don't like the sound of Toslink from Chord DACs. There is always that. But to me, Toslink sounds identical to battery-powered USB from my iPad or newer laptop which I presumed to be the reference sound.

Roon (convolution filter using Acourate) > ultraRendu > Peachtree X1 (Toslink) > Chord Hugo M-Scaler > Chord DAVE > Chord Etude > Dynaudio Confidence C1 Signature

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2 minutes ago, ecwl said:

To me, the challenge with Chord modern DACs is that they're so revealing, despite their USB galvanic isolation, they're as susceptible as other DACs to ground loop leakage current RF noise except the problem is much more audible because of the DACs' transparency. At least that's my experience with Mojo, Hugo 2, DAVE, M-Scaler and my friend's Qutest.

 

I tried minimizing the issue by using an Uptone LPS1 & now LPS1.2 to feed my UltraRendu and grounded my NAS, router, network switch, cable modem. In the end, I just couldn't get the sound to be 100% identical to having my iPad feed the DAC USB. So I ended up using a USB to Toslink adaptor to feed my Chord DAC and voila. I know most DACs don't perform as well via Toslink because of the extra jitter but I do think that Chord DAC's pulse array DAC is extra jitter immune by comparison.

 

As for the stock switching power supply vs iPower X PS, I believe Rob Watts the designer specifically design the internal Qutest RF filters to match the RF issues of the stock switching power supply. So I'm slightly surprised you prefer iPower X PS.

 

If you have a spare/cheap USB to Toslink converter around, I'd strongly recommend you try it with the Qutest. I think the Qutest comes with a cheap Tosink cable and you can just use that cable. I know some people tell me that they don't like the sound of Toslink from Chord DACs. There is always that. But to me, Toslink sounds identical to battery-powered USB from my iPad or newer laptop which I presumed to be the reference sound.

Fully support this - also of note, yes there is a slight difference using ‘audiophile’ toslink cables, but it’s only a small difference - the cheap plastic toslink cable included with the qutest is fine.  The main improvement occurs by moving away from USB to toslink/bnc.

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2 hours ago, OldBigEars said:

But that begs the question....My Qutest becomes a $2700 DAC....should I sell and simply buy a new DAC such as a Denafrips Venus?

 

I recently spent a couple weeks with the Qutest, Denafrips Pontus II, and Schiit Yggdrasil A2 in my home system. 

 

YMMV: In relative terms, the Qutest has distinctive qualities that present sound with a consistently propulsive drive and tonal detail without being lush or warm, per se. The Pontus II (and by extrapolation, the Venus and Terminator, based on Hans B's videos) presents sound with a more "human" musical pace, and with a less incisive, less-fast rising sonic attack that is more like natural sound, to my ears. Detail is also there but less in-your-face, calling attention to itself like it can with Qutest.

I like them both, but they are not interchangeable components, they are apples and oranges to my ears, and system/room matching would be (should be) very important. 

 

I would also say the Yggy is not between them on a linear scale, but via AES input the Yggy is a nice blend of the two, leaning more towards the Qutest in terms of propulsion and sonic attack.

 

YMMV–buy what you like. Between these three units, price is not a determining factor of your sound. Your preferences and the style of music you like and your ears are.

Sum>Frankenstein: Schiit Yggdrasil A2+Shunyata Venom/PS Audio P3 Regenerator+AVOptions Tibia, W4S Remedy/Uptone LPS-1.2, Linn LP12/Hercules II/Ittok/Denon DL-103R, Naim 72/HiCap/250 DR, Tellurium Black II, Monitor Audio Silver 500, Epos, Uptone Audio ISO & EtherREGENs, Witch Hat/Audience/Silnote/ZenWave/Mapleshade/Shunyata/Transparent Audio cables/cords, and nice room w/treatment.

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1 hour ago, Gavin1977 said:
1 hour ago, ecwl said:

 

 

As for the stock switching power supply vs iPower X PS, I believe Rob Watts the designer specifically design the internal Qutest RF filters to match the RF issues of the stock switching power supply. So I'm slightly surprised you prefer iPower X PS.

 

.

But then, Watts has clearly stated that benchmark performance for Qutest is obtained with a battery pack - yet a great many owners have found they prefer a good LPS.  I must dig out and retry my stock Qutest PS just to see how it sounds to me, these days, compared to my iPower X.

 

Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> Supra 8-->EtherRegen --> Fiber--> opticalRendu / CI Audio LPS --> Curious Evolved Link --> Chord Qutest--> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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I wasn't keen on the Toshlinks and could clearly hear the differences with a .... well Rob mentioned it £8 cheap thing to try..

The Canadian High spec plastic and a Japanese corning glass.

 

Bypassing the Amanero USB is an instant win and  makes it a Qutest Plus+ or the real Qutest. The most obvious change I've had so far as a one off event.

 

Barrows gives good advise 👌 changing the PSU gave more subtle refinement.  

 

The EMI rfi tweaks come off Rob's suggestions, a heated debate about dark matter/ Barrows and the DX designers core principles.. I really can't state it enough how pre an post Qutest the sound now is above anything I could envisage... hearing people moving the Mscalers away from their Daves/ TT2s. With RF issues.

The EMI absorbing tape at each part of the chain but especially the Qutest is now superb. Even my 2 LPS1.0s.

No giant EMC tent required

 

My TT2 itch /Dave dream has gone for good. I now have what I hoped the Qutest would be.. as seemed to me another marginal improvement changing DACs better but not wow, I was all hyped out. Begging for just one MOD anything, now I have..I still feel it would scale on other Chords and DACs but it works on mine quite well.

 I don't know what I have now but it's miles ahead of by base Qutest.. 

If I heard it just now I'd pick any other DAC but mine.

I can only think that EMI RFI is an issue...tamed can give a well designed circuits room to breath.

There's more mileage to be had, the SRC DX and £10 of 3M AB5010/luck got me far down that road. 

 

Sorry for being over bearing but I dying for someone to benefit from this.. its just so easy to do..

 

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6 hours ago, Gavin1977 said:

Fully support this - also of note, yes there is a slight difference using ‘audiophile’ toslink cables, but it’s only a small difference - the cheap plastic toslink cable included with the qutest is fine.  The main improvement occurs by moving away from USB to toslink/bnc.

I partly agree.  The Wireworld glass fiber cable blew the doors off a plastic fiber cable made by Kimber.  The improvement was as large as any I had heard from any cable up to that point.  I think glass had everything to do with it and not the brand names, but never confirmed that.  But if I were to use toslink again, there would be no way I’d choose a cable with plastic fibers.  For $35, this looks like a good candidate to audition.

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Chord Hugo TT2 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps

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One thing I couldn't find was industry guidance on cleaning... You can use Fibre optic cassettes for cables but nothing for the ports. Very little real information about Toslink, just the standard it doesn't make a difference arguments...and the years old PS audio thread...

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13 hours ago, OldBigEars said:

 

Yes. But I think using Toslink as source is to reduce source noise

Using battery to power Qutest is to primarily reduce PSU noise interactions between Qutest and the amplifier. Some amplifiers and Qutest can have more RF noise but other amplifiers work totally fine with Qutest. I think people’s mileage varies. I think Rob Watts tested Qutest’s stock switching power supply with amplifiers he has access to, he can hear no difference compared to batteries but since Qutest was released, he was aware that with some amplifiers, Qutest sounds better with batteries.

Roon (convolution filter using Acourate) > ultraRendu > Peachtree X1 (Toslink) > Chord Hugo M-Scaler > Chord DAVE > Chord Etude > Dynaudio Confidence C1 Signature

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I used ordinary quality Toslink for the first time in my latest setup - and I have been pleasantly impressed. So far, it hasn't shown itself to be a weakness in the chain, in spite of it being only a budget implementation of the link - something I took care with was to stabilise the physical orientation of the cable; and to improve the stability of the plug into socket point - the sloppy, cheap plastic nature of this area is certainly not going to do SQ any favours; so it most likely will help to tweak here - note, I haven't done any rigorous testing of this, yet.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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Sometimes we just really dunno whether we're supposed to take them seriously or not

 

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/chord-electronics-dave.766517/page-735#post-14204373

Quote

The Toslink cable supplied with the Dave goes from the convertor to the Dave. All upsampling is turned off, so it’s just plain vanilla Red Book into the Dave. It sounds glorious and much better than BNC Blu 2 to Dave. I’m afraid the interface between the RFI generated by the BLU 2 and Dave’s ground plane is a major issue for me.

 

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/hugo-m-scaler-by-chord-electronics-the-official-thread.885042/page-505#post-15078744

Quote

Its all due to RFI radiated from the CCA impinging on the DAC. I have several weeks of testing with RF isolation chambers that prove when a digital chain is prevented from radiating to a DAC, all the problems associated with digital sources / transports / cables / psu's / etc go away. As you would expect: toslink from CCA or the most expensive streamer is the exact same. It sounds different / worse / thinner because the CCA radiates more/different RFI. Yes, this effect makes its way across the two meter distance to your DAC and gets inside it via the connectors and chassis edges that act like antennae. This fact may shock many on this forum. Welcome to high end digital audio.

 

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/hugo-m-scaler-by-chord-electronics-the-official-thread.885042/page-681#post-15486222

Quote

I’ve used the TOSLINK output of HMS (max 192/176) into my Esoteric K-01X with great results.

 

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/hugo-m-scaler-by-chord-electronics-the-official-thread.885042/page-847#post-16189804

Quote

Listening now to new Lifatec Optical Toslink cable with my Utopia headphones with the TT2/ M-Scaler. I don’t think it’s premature to say it’s better than my Nordost Blue Heaven USB with jitterbug. More clarity, definitely “smoother” and total blackness between songs; I thought I’d. need some time to compare but it’s that obvious. I’m really a fan now!

 

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/hugo-m-scaler-by-chord-electronics-the-official-thread.885042/page-857#post-16206374

Quote

I’ve also since moved to a Toslink connection which has added yet another level of smoothness and musicality. My Romanian friend also added an M-Scaler and optical and is confidently claiming it is an end game combination, so I STILL get mocked, but hey, I’m happy! IMHO the TT2/M-Scaler with the adjustments I’ve made is my version of “end game” for now.

 

Esoteric K-01X should cost $20,000 back then, go figure.

 

And then they're paying for 16FS-capable BLU MKII / HMS while using its Toslink output @ either 1FS or 4FS, really?

 

OTOH, maybe at most dozens of audiophiles got the opportunity to be stunned by the performance of SAEC OPC-X11 and we just don't realize the true potential of Toslink yet.

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@ecwl I notice you use the Peachtree X1 USB --> Toslink converter to your Chord DAC and appear to be very happy?  Thanks for bringing this to my attention.  I'll think I'll try that before going dual BNC.

Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> Supra 8-->EtherRegen --> Fiber--> opticalRendu / CI Audio LPS --> Curious Evolved Link --> Chord Qutest--> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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i've got a qutest and a dave -- both are being fed by a simaudio moon mind 2.  the mind 2 has coax, aes/ebu, and toslink outputs, so no usb.  for the qutest, the options are coax or toslink.  i find the the toslink to be smoother; the coax to be a bit more grainy.  i'm using a toslink cable i got from sys. concept in canada -- very reasonably priced, yet sounds better than some more expensive cables i've tried.

 

i understand toslink is technically inferior, but with chord dacs it just seems to work.

sources:  intel nuc8i7 (audiolinux, roon core) (server) | simaudio moon mind 2 (renderer)
headphone rig:  chord qutest > bryston bha-1 > audeze lcd-3
main rig:  chord dave > parasound jc5 > kef reference 1
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Have just searched everywhere but sadly the Peachtree X1 converter was discontinued years ago.  I'll have to think about other Toslink options....

Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> Supra 8-->EtherRegen --> Fiber--> opticalRendu / CI Audio LPS --> Curious Evolved Link --> Chord Qutest--> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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1 hour ago, OldBigEars said:

Have just searched everywhere but sadly the Peachtree X1 converter was discontinued years ago.  I'll have to think about other Toslink options....

X1 can’t do 192kHz toslink either. In fact, Rob Watts privately suggested that I get any cheap USB to Toslink converter that can do 192kHz Toslink. I presume he wants the USB converter to be computer USB powered so there is no extra PSU in the system but he actually never specified. I had an old Peachtree X1 lying around so I used that. In fact I’m still debating whether to get a cheap converter that supports 192kHz Toslink from Amazon, just to try. 

Roon (convolution filter using Acourate) > ultraRendu > Peachtree X1 (Toslink) > Chord Hugo M-Scaler > Chord DAVE > Chord Etude > Dynaudio Confidence C1 Signature

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2 hours ago, ecwl said:

X1 can’t do 192kHz toslink either. In fact, Rob Watts privately suggested that I get any cheap USB to Toslink converter that can do 192kHz Toslink. I presume he wants the USB converter to be computer USB powered so there is no extra PSU in the system but he actually never specified. I had an old Peachtree X1 lying around so I used that. In fact I’m still debating whether to get a cheap converter that supports 192kHz Toslink from Amazon, just to try. 

 

I just ordered this converter  https://www.doukaudio.com/products/mini-xmos-xu208-usb-to-coaxial-optical-12s-converter-digital-interface-dsd256

 

Not sure if it can do 192kHz over Toslink but Im interested to find out how it performs with my AQ Cinnamon optical cable.  I'll let you all know my findings once everything has settled in.

Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> Supra 8-->EtherRegen --> Fiber--> opticalRendu / CI Audio LPS --> Curious Evolved Link --> Chord Qutest--> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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21 hours ago, seeteeyou said:

Sometimes we just really dunno whether we're supposed to take them seriously or not

 

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/chord-electronics-dave.766517/page-735#post-14204373

 

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/hugo-m-scaler-by-chord-electronics-the-official-thread.885042/page-505#post-15078744

 

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/hugo-m-scaler-by-chord-electronics-the-official-thread.885042/page-681#post-15486222

 

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/hugo-m-scaler-by-chord-electronics-the-official-thread.885042/page-847#post-16189804

 

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/hugo-m-scaler-by-chord-electronics-the-official-thread.885042/page-857#post-16206374

 

Esoteric K-01X should cost $20,000 back then, go figure.

 

And then they're paying for 16FS-capable BLU MKII / HMS while using its Toslink output @ either 1FS or 4FS, really?

 

OTOH, maybe at most dozens of audiophiles got the opportunity to be stunned by the performance of SAEC OPC-X11 and we just don't realize the true potential of Toslink yet.

Over the years have bought SAEC usb, coax, bnc cables and found them stellar performers. The other day examined them in a cupboard, the metals are as bright as when I bought them, now some 5 years. 

 

Optical is now used for TV interface, a good OPC-X11 would be a waste, but will keep it mind for future implementation.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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On 7/20/2021 at 2:38 PM, OldBigEars said:

I still use my Qutest pretty much standard, except for the iPower X PS. I haven't compared it recently to the stock PS but when I first bought it I was satisfied it's slightly better. I choose to not send it back, after all. Aside from that, I'm feeding my Qutest through its USB drive via an OpticalRendu. The Qutest in turn feeds my Belles Aria, and then my Kudos Super 20's. It's a decent level of performance, but some recordings can occasionally sound slightly bright.

So I'm intrigued by the possibility of taking my Qutest to the next level with (a) an SBooster / Ultra PS and (b) Audiowise SRC DX Bridge, enabling double-BNC connection with my OpticalRendu. From all the various reports, this should be a nice upgrade for around $1000. But that begs the question....My Qutest becomes a $2700 DAC....should I sell and simply buy a new DAC such as a Denafrips Venus?

As far as I know no Denafrips DAC supports the dual BNC DX mode. I believe the Holo May is supporting this but that’s $4k vs $1.7 for Qutest

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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9 hours ago, davide256 said:

As far as I know no Denafrips DAC supports the dual BNC DX mode. I believe the Holo May is supporting this but that’s $4k vs $1.7 for Qutest

 

I don’t think the May does support dual BNC X mode. Happy to be put right though if I am wrong.

Innuos Zenith + Antipodes K50 + PhoenixNET + PhoenixUSB,

Sablon 2020 USB to Mscaler, WAVE Storm BNC to DAVE (Sean Jacobs external DC4 power)

Pass Labs XA60.8 power amps + Spendor SP200 speakers, ATC150 actives.

 

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