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MHDT Pagoda vs Denafrips Pontus vs BorderPatrol SE-i vs Audio Mirror TUBADOUR III

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4 hours ago, Calvin & Hobbes said:

100% agreement about power quality on the Qutest as well.  I suspected that the Qutest could sound better with cleaner power and heard that right away by sticking a car battery jump start pack with a 5V output on the Qutest. The improvements that were immediately apparent to me were a lower noise floor and reduction of a slight bit of harshness.


I am less sure that I am able to get the Qutest to put out the type of sound quality that I prefer. The Qutest is exceptionally detailed in its sound. But, the Qutest conveyed that detail in a way that seemed artificially Technicolor. Meaning that there was a lot of detail, but either conveyed to a degree or conveyed in a way that didn't feel natural or lifelike to me. It sounded slightly, and again I do mean slightly, more "audiophile" than musical in sound.


In contrast, the sound from the Pontus just sounded surprisingly real to me straight out of the box. Music seemed to flow more easily to my ears as well. Listening to the Qutest feels like a more intellectual, analytical exercise to me, while listening to the Pontus is more engaging in an emotional way.


It's true that the Qutest has an analytical presentation.  I suspect it really depends on the synergy with the rest of your system, as well as your preferred music genres.  It probably works best with a warmish amp and/or speakers.  I'm curious to hear a Pontus but unfortunately the only way to do that is to take a big leap and buy the product (or one of the other Denafrips models). I can't bring myself to splash out and go through the buy/test/sell process based purely on forum reports. But many are doing what you did and are delighted with Denafrips.

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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