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Chord Qutest: Experience with a battery as a power source?


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Has anyone tried a battery as a power source for a Qutest DAC? There was some harshness to the sound with the standard Qutest switch mode power supply so I decided to try a car jumpstart battery that puts out 5 volts. Yes, I made VERY sure that the voltage was right.

 

The results were not only good; they were eye-openingly good versus the standard power supply. Audible improvements were smoother tones (less harshness), better flow to music. better pace, clearer and fuller tonal color. Dynamics of the music are better as well. The sound retained the same character as with the standard power supply, but more refined.

 

The first thing that I noticed was that some tracks that I found difficult to listen to with the standard power supply such as Jimmy Hendrix's Voodoo Child were both less harsh and more detailed (perhaps with a lower noise floor) with a battery powering the Qutest. 

 

WARNING: Using a 3rd party charger or battery does void the Chord warranty.

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13 minutes ago, Calvin & Hobbes said:

Has anyone tried a battery as a power source for a Qutest DAC? There was some harshness to the sound with the standard Qutest switch mode power supply so I decided to try a car jumpstart battery that puts out 5 volts. Yes, I made VERY sure that the voltage was right.

 

Rob Watts himself has said the best PSU is battery since it's 100% disconnected from mains RF.

 

A few pro audio engineers say the same and many interfaces include 12Vdc power input, allowing the use of connecting 12V car batteries. In studios this can be helpful for eliminating a ground loop path, if that is an issue.

 

For really critical listening I do run my DACs off battery. Haven't done any blind testing (maybe I would fail) but it cost peanuts to do and takes seconds to do too.

 

Which battery model btw? Is it just a powerbank with USB port for charging phones as well as seperate 12Vdc output for jump starting?

 

 

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2 hours ago, asdf1000 said:

 

Which battery model btw? Is it just a powerbank with USB port for charging phones as well as seperate 12Vdc output for jump starting?

 

 

 Had one of these from Costco sitting around: https://typesauto.com/products/type-s-10000mah-jump-starter-and-portable-power-bank-ac56789

 

I had been listening to a new Qutest for a day and it sounded a bit harsh on some tracks. This was sitting around. I verified that the output was 5 volts & decided to try using it to power the Qutest. Music was instantly smoother but without rounding off leading and trailing edges of notes with a lower noise floor (perceived as less noise around the music). The benefits are most apparent to me from the perspective of a lack of listening fatigue with the battery in versus with the standard switch mode power supply.

 

I am going to see if longer break-in with the standard power supply might make a difference as having to recharge the battery is a bit of pain.

 

I do wonder if the battery is the reason why some people report that the Hugo (that does run off a capacitor bank) still sounds noticeably better than the Qutest.

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Here is a recommendation for a device to be put between power bank and Qutest which I became aware of from the great "extreme" articles of @ray-dude posted here on this page. He seems to be using this between a power bank and his Chord TT2:

 

DXP-1A5DSC unit from Impex Technology

 

Currently I am powering my OpticalModule and OpticalRendu from power banks each with a DXP-1A5DSC unit in between. Both power banks are set to 9V output. Each DXP-1A5DSC unit takes 9V and brings it down to 7V via an intermediate 8V stage. They seem to be quite beneficial for SQ here in my system.

 

For the Qutest you will most likely need other values. For the way @ray-dude is using it, you may want to take a look at his geat articles:

 

Apple Powerbook G4 15\", iTunes, Metric Halo LIO-8, active speakers

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