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M Scaler vs. HQPlayer


M Scaler vs. HQPlayer Poll  

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For those who’ve tried both with a Chord TT2 or DAVE, did you prefer M Scaler or HQPlayer for upsampling music streamed from Tidal/Qobuz?

 

Please respond to the poll and feel free to add further color to comments below. Thank you!

 

(Note: this question is specific to streaming. For owned music I’ve trialed PGGB and its fantastic!)

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From a purely number crunching perspective of Sinc filters and noise shapers, both MScaler and HQPlayer are very close ...with HQPlayer's SINC-L PCM filter at 2M taps (vs MScaler 1M taps) and LNS-15 15th order noise shaper (vs MScaler 11th order) being able to retrieve more details at 16fs upsampling, IMO.

However that is not the entire story. If you are using USB to get the bitstream to your DAC, any RF noise accompanying the digital signal gets into the DACs clocking and small-signal processing. So a comparison of PC+HQP->DAC vs PC->MScaler->DAC also includes the variation in RF emissions from the PC doing the heavy lifting vs the MScaler. 

If you want a revelation in sound quality from your Chord DX DAC, your chain should be: PC+HQP->SCR-DX->DAC or, if you have the funds, PC+HQP->SRC-DX->OPTO-DX->DAC with OPTO-DX on battery power. Yes, its a chain of black boxes and wires that needs to be tucked away ... but it gets you a pragmatic solution to the elimination of RF noise (at least in the signal!).

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22 minutes ago, dmance said:

From a purely number crunching perspective of Sinc filters and noise shapers, both MScaler and HQPlayer are very close ...with HQPlayer's SINC-L PCM filter at 2M taps (vs MScaler 1M taps) and LNS-15 15th order noise shaper (vs MScaler 11th order) being able to retrieve more details at 16fs upsampling, IMO.

However that is not the entire story. If you are using USB to get the bitstream to your DAC, any RF noise accompanying the digital signal gets into the DACs clocking and small-signal processing. So a comparison of PC+HQP->DAC vs PC->MScaler->DAC also includes the variation in RF emissions from the PC doing the heavy lifting vs the MScaler. 

If you want a revelation in sound quality from your Chord DX DAC, your chain should be: PC+HQP->SCR-DX->DAC or, if you have the funds, PC+HQP->SRC-DX->OPTO-DX->DAC with OPTO-DX on battery power. Yes, its a chain of black boxes and wires that needs to be tucked away ... but it gets you a pragmatic solution to the elimination of RF noise (at least in the signal!).

Thanks for the reply! What does "SCR-DX" refer to?

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1 hour ago, kennyb123 said:

M-Scaler brings a greater improvement to my TT2.  Despite that I have moved to HQPlayer as I found that the music server matters even more.  My M-Scaler is up for sale now to help fund my music server upgrade.

 

Passing PGGB-processed files through M-Scaler degrades sound quality - even in bypass.  That’s another reason I no longer use M-Scaler.

That's cool of you to be transparent and share knowledge on this, even though you're currently selling your MScaler. 

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I've got a DAVE and an MScaler, but don't prefer the MScaler or HQPlayer

 

I've moved from Roon+HQPlayer to Jplay femto connected to the DAVE with a JCAT reference USB

I'm also using a CEC TL5 belt drive CD transport connected to the DAVE with a Blackcat TRON BNC

 

 

Source: Diskless fanless PC Win Server19, fed from a linear supply and 19v pico

All SSDs on JCat battery supplies - JPlay femto - JCat femto USB - JCAT reference USB - Chord DAVE

Plus CEC TL 5 Cd transport - Blackcat Tron BNC - Chord DAVE

Amps: Merill Audio Veritas

Speakers: Trenner and Friedel RA

Cables : Kubula-Sosna Elation I/C and speaker

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On 4/30/2021 at 7:28 PM, kennyb123 said:

I’d imagine there’s a good chance HQPlayer is better than the M-Scaler used with the BNC cables Chord provides.  

...IMO, the BNC cables provided by Chord for the HMS were ill-fitting junk. I knew this from other users, so I tried them for a very brief time and immediately swapped over to a good Straightwire pair.
 

I soon upgraded to the Wave cables, where I have been for a good while now. I have used Dave with and without HMS: I prefer it with HMS. No plan to add the Opto boxes. No plan for HQP upsampling. 

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5 hours ago, MarkusBarkus said:

...IMO, the BNC cables provided by Chord for the HMS were ill-fitting junk. I knew this from other users, so I tried them for a very brief time and immediately swapped over to a good Straightwire pair.
 

I soon upgraded to the Wave cables, where I have been for a good while now. I have used Dave with and without HMS: I prefer it with HMS. No plan to add the Opto boxes. No plan for HQP upsampling. 

Somewhere else on this forum I mentioned that the BNC cables provided by Chord need to stay in the box.  Nice of them to include cables but one need not spend much money to beat them.  

 

While I haven't heard the WAVE cables, I'm sure you are in a great place.

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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  • 3 weeks later...

I had the MScaler for about a year. I remember trying HQplayer back before I got the MScaler and didn't really like the sound. I was connecting the laptop directly to the DAC at the time.

 

Anyway, upgraded my streamer to the OpticalRendu and intended to use it as a Roon endpoint. After a while noticed the option to set it up as a HQPlayer NAA and had a bit player around with it for a few weeks comparing the two.

 

As before, I didn't much like HQP when it was connected directly via USB but when I used it over the optical network it sounded a lot better. Deeper soundstage, excellent bass with great texture and wasn't as bright in the upper mids/highs as the MScaler.

 

I think you have to tinker more with HQPlayer compared to the M Scaler but if you do, the benefits are well worth it. I was using power banks etc to control the RF generated by the MScaler so that wasn't a straightforward solution either. All my network and music servers etc are in a separate room on the other side of the house to music room.

 

In the end I just enjoyed the sound from HQP more and the MScaler was just sat on the shelf. I was and still am using Closed-Form-M with NS9 at 384k sample rate. I also enjoy Sinc-M NS9 at 768k. Both systems give that beautifully smooth realism in terms of transients etc. I felt the HQP had deeper sound stage with those settings and in the end, I just sold the MScaler. 

 

Both systems are great and do similar things, HQP is not an also ran, it's just as good and can be better than the Mscaler. Don't under estimate the importance of the network and hardware used on the network to feed your chosen streamer.

 

System

Roon Fanless NUC & Headless HQPlayer on an Optical network (Ubiquiti UDM Pro and US-16-150w Switch with a Cisco Meraki switch + LPS just for audio) - OpticalRendu + LPS - Chord TT2 with TQ Silver Diamond USB - Chord Etude with TQ Ultra Silver XLR. PMC 25.22 speakers and Meze Empyrean headphones.

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