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About OldBigEars

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  1. Blake, sounds like lots of us are super-fascinated by your experience of various DAC/DDC combinations. I certainly am, so thank you for your time and energy (and investment...). One last question from my side....assuming I add a DDC (Iris or Hermes) to my humble Qutest, how d'ya think that would stack up versus your impressive-sounding Venus 11, by itself?
  2. @Blake Sounds like you may have replaced your Qutest with the new Venus 11. How are you finding the differences? You seemed to be very pleased with your Qutest / Gaia combination.
  3. So....in short....you're saying a "renderer" like, for example a Sonore product or this Auralic, produces better sound quality than a streamer? Just making sure I got that....
  4. It's an awkward situation for publishers. Comparative reviews always have losers....meaning unhappy sponsors and advertisers. It's a commercial predicament all reviewers face - Chris is no different. One common practice is that some reviewers compare products with outlier brands, often products that would not realistically be main competitor(s) for the tested product. It's a facade, but it at least gives some kind of reference point. Another one is to basically rank all the products in more or less in the same order as their prices - we can call this the "everyone wins" review.
  5. The Iris sounds very tempting. Thanks for doing the comparison.
  6. @jazzman Point about upsampling well understood. Not an issue for me 'cause I use 96 or redbook almost all the time (Qobuz streaming). Very occasional 192 files, although the difference I truly cannot hear. For some reason, I thought Qutest allows up to 192 by Toslink but in any case this would be a minor consideration for me. I'll also be cogitating about this through the holiday season...meanwhile enjoying some fine jazz/blues/soul with straight USB feed (Curious Evolved).
  7. I have a very similar set up and have been wondering the exact same question. As you probably know, the Qutest designer has stated that the Optical input is its best - with the galvanized USB "almost as good" - whatever this means. Perhaps the Iris is all we need? I'll probably mull over this for a while and wait for the Hermes. Looking forward to your report if you decide to go ahead with either Gaia or Iris.
  8. was he talking specifically about Qutest? Or just generalizing?
  9. @Barrows I think you misunderstood...let me put it another way - we don't need to guess or wonder what Rob Watts recommends. He writes plainly about his products and the various associated pieces of equipment that he finds work best with them. This is something we don't need to speculate about. I hope this is clear now? Your point is that Rob Watts is not always right. Many people have certainly disagreed with his recommendations - such as, that a battery charger is the purest (and, by implication, ultimate) way to power the Qutest. Your theory that Watts limited his testing to
  10. If you read his many comments on Head-Fi, clearly he recommends Toslink as the benchmark, unless you are connecting an upscaler. The Chord Qutest thread is over 350 pages so you’ll have to do your own reading, but he posts there quite regularly. His views are not really a question of speculation, though you argue he doesn’t know his own product as well as others do, I guess.
  11. He has written extensively about Qutest on Head-fi and from my recollection he has stated that Toslink is the best input. USB almost as good. I haven’t noted whether he has tested usb with audiophile grade equipment. You would expect that he would have thought of that. But I’ve been thinking about trying oR for some time and may do that to compare in my system vs my mR 1.4.
  12. @ Blake - your experience looks extremely valid, thanks for your advice. From other posts I thought you had tried (and highly recommend) the much more expensive Denafrips Gaia? That looks like a terrific combination but I don't need all those connection options the Gaia provides. I'm curious as to what benefits the Iris can deliver through the Toslink and you've given me much to think about. There's nothing notably missing or wrong with the USB connection but Rob Watts has clearly stated Toslink is the benchmark.
  13. I had high hopes for my Topping D90, based on the many positive reviews it has received. Tried hard to love it and configured it various different ways, including the highly recommended DSD 256. USB, Coax - played with all the settings etc. The sound detail was impressive - especially using DSD mode - but the music sounded soul-less. I never found it enjoyable listening for long periods and sent it back after 30 days. Replaced it with a Qutest and it was instant joy.
  14. My Chord Qutest is fed by a microRendu 1.4 via a Curious link and it sounds great. I should probably leave it and just enjoy it. But being exactly like the rest of you I’m curious about what could be gained from a moderate upgrade for Christmas. I’ve got two ideas in mind: 1) Simply replace the mR 1.4 for an OpticalRendu, and feed it from my Etherregen. OR (2) Feed the mR 1.4 via the Curious into a Denafrips Iris DDC, and the optical to the Qutest. The Optical input is said to be the best of its inputs. There are no trial periods for Denafrips, so you just have to take a chance wi
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