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About DavidFaik

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  1. @barrows thanks for the suggestions to try using the forced upsampling power of 2. After a great deal of time I established that I had to make some quite extreme changes to the default "advanced settings" for Izoptope in Audirvana but THEN I was able to hit a complete sweet spot for the Chord Qutest. Now the upsampling power of 2 sounds better than the 2X, very wide sound stage remains (breadth of left to right beyond the speakers in case I got the audio vocab wrong), the "redbook" or 16 bit CD level files sound very much closer to high res 24 bit files and MP3s are much easier on the ear. Keeps the Chord signature but just "better". Especially with music where there is a lot going on at once. I've yet to research more on what the Nyquest Cuttoff Freq means / does and so have left that as the default (from reading I think I could perhaps damage speakers if I screw that around?) As I could find no one posting ideal Chord Qutest Audirvana settings online, I will add mine below in case it saves others the marathon fiddling, tweaking and listening that I did until the early hours (!) WRT to Chord comments on "native DSD playback", that remains a complete fib in my eyes. In a job interview if I state that I can "communicate with a native Dutch speaker" it means something totally different to saying "I can speak native Dutch". DSD is marketed as a "higher / better" music format than PCM. If the Qutest takes DSD and downsamples it to PCM that's not playing it "natively". Had I not met a smart person like yourself on this forum, I could well have wasted days trying to get DSD playback to sound better than the default settings. So THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!, I am really most grateful. Caveat to the above comment: I remain completely blown away by this Qutest DAC, one of the best audio purchases that I have ever made (along with the discontinued Chord Prime pre-amp that I scored 2nd hand). Serving Qobuz high rez / 24 bit files to it was a revelation. Very modest priced tweaks have then upped the DAC to levels that I think years ago may have been in the realms of exotica hifi costing the equivalent of a car: namely a €50 usb cable (viablue), some isolation feet (€20), a second hand sbooster linear PSU that was being used for Squeezebox (€70) and now a music player that will upscale 2 million taps (2X taps of a hugo m scaler) for €74. Most things in audio are incremental and very few things in audio are really game changing. This IMHO is truly the latter :-))))) Best Chord Qutest Audirvana Audio Filter Settings (that I have found) Converter: Izotope 64 bit (note- didn't try the rest very long after reading the fora comments) Forced upsampling: power of 2 only (second on drop down. after advice I only played with this and the X2. maybe the "max" option can also be configured well. dsd options messed up SQ) Advanced Parameters Steepness 0db (slider totally left) Filter Max Length 2 million (slider totally right. my mac mini 8gb ram Intel i5 2012 does not break a sweat with this) Cutoff Freq 1.00 x nyquest (I left this as default as I didn't understand it, so maybe changes improve further) Anti-Aliasing 50 (slider totally right) Pre-ringing 0 (slider totally left / min phase side)
  2. @barrows Thanks, I'm very happy with the Qutest but that doesn't detract from my dissatisfaction at Chord playing loose with the truth and claiming native playback. If the DAC is down sampling (more difficult than upsampling I'm told) then it is no wonder that PCM sounds far better than feeding DSD. On Audirvana the "full throttle" upsampling sounds worse than the "only do 2X upsampling". 2X does sound darned good, mind. I will try some other players to see if they have better upsampling capabilities, but if not will probably buy the Audirvana license. I find the interface a little basic, but could live with it.
  3. @barrows ... that's a bit of a shocker! When I researched the Qutest I relied on Chord's features statement: "DSD support: Native playback supported. DSD64 (Single) to DSD512 (Octa-DSD)". I cannot see how one can interpret the English word "native" to mean that the DAC down-samples DSD. While I am HIGHLY impressed with the sonic qualities of the DAC and most likely would have bought it any way, I feel that if this is the case it is very underhand. Would you mind sharing with me where you read this? On your system would you how would you describe the DSD versus FLAC on the same track then?
  4. Silly question, but why are you running High Sierra? I'd upgrade your Mac to the most current OS (Mojave) at no cost and just see if that fixes your issue.
  5. Would love to hear more about the subjective or experienced side of DSD to compliment the technical comparisons in this thread. In order to get an idea of what others are finding. I'm new to high res music, having enjoyed Qobuz for about two months on their high rez subscription. I have a Chord Qutest DAC that is DSD capable, so wanted to try some DSD content top evaluate if there are sonic differences that I can perceive. I have downloaded a trial of Audirvana. I then found via search engine that Blue Coast Music offers a free download of a well recorded track in multiple formats for evaluation, and I hope I am not breaking forum rules by including that link ( https://bluecoastmusic.com/free-downloads#.XC31CPx7mmk ). I did not do blind testing, but I found it hard to tell much difference between the high rez FLAC file and the WAV file, but think that the WAV may have been a little more airy, that said I'd happily accept that this could be placebo as I know that WAV isn't compressed. I would say categorically that that the two DSD formats did *NOT* sound better at all. After playing with all the PCM upsampling in Audivarna I found in my system and with my ears that all degraded the sound quality with the exception of the setting 2X upsampling Izo filter (note not power of 2, but flat 2X). Upsampling PCM to DSD that my DAC is most capable of receiving made the sound quality worse IMHO. For straight DSD file playback I tried both the 1.0 and 1.1 DSD transfer setting, but not the ones converting DSD to PCM. To expand on what I mean by stating "did *NOT* sound better" with DSD: 1. There was less width 2. There was less volume difference between the peaks and the lows 3. Oddly enough, my volume control on the pre-amp had less apparent effect (I did check that my Mac volume was at Max and that Audirvana was at 0db) My full main system details are in my profile. While far from the last word in audiophile I think the rig is OK, and IMHO musically revealing. If any have time to conduct a similar subjective test then I'd be grateful to read about your findings. Likewise any thoughts very welcome on whether this might be the limitations of the Audirvana player. Further suggestions of other music tracks in multiple formats that could be used to test in a similar fashion, preferably samplers / free.
  6. Hi Panelhead! Thanks for the reply. I discovered a few things in my stumbling along journey: 1. that I had to change midi settings to the upsample rate as well 2. that the spdif output on the Mac mini doesn’t seem to go higher than 88mhz 3. that - when all else is correct - the upsampling in Pure Audio doesn’t improve 44khz tracks, best left in my case to the DAC to upsample. Maybe as the DACs upsample to 192 and it’s better to do all the upsampling once / in one place? 4. my Musical Fidelity DAC in this system completely wipes the floor with my Audiolab MDAC, despite the rave reviews when it was out and the higher specs (it can do 96khz on usb vs 48khz). The MF DAC sounds nearly high end and the Audiolab sounds hifi I think based on the above I’ll be sticking to 44khz high res like Apple Lossless. Changing the midi and rebooting the computer to play a few tracks at a higher kHz doesn’t cut it for me in terms of practicality. I may look at a streamer and a high Rez music service to see if there is anything to be had from tracks at higher kHz, as these seem easier in use (no midi settings to keep fiddling about with) Curious if your 384k DAC is upsampling or if you have found an easy way to play high res files that are not 44k?
  7. Scratching around various sources I have established that a Mac Mini 2012 will put out max 88khz (thus for most people 2x the 44,.1 khz of most music flies) from it's built in SPDIF. Also max 16bit. I will check this over the weekend. Models 2010 and before max at 48Khz and some later models hit the heady heights of 96Khz. Also then saw that my pure music was set at 44.1 Khz, so when I swapped to SPDIF it probably wasn't doubling the KHz in upsample. That said, I'm still completely scratching my head as to why selecting "upsample" did actually audibly improve the sound quality, since it clearly wasn't upsampling ? So, I think this means that I either need a good USB to coax/ spdif adapter to allow me to upsample in Pure Music to higher levels. Or to buy a new DAC with 32bit 384khz DSD and such wonders built in. Ralf11, thanks for your comments!!! I'm in no rush to part with hard earned cash, but think this means I need to figure the relative value of a USB->coax (or balanced) that would allow me to upsample and deliver an easy processing load to my fairly decent DACs (namely 192Mhz / 24 bit) OR buy a new DAC. I think the latter would be my choice if the USB->coax started costing round half the new DAC. I'm wondering if said converters also help with regards to jitter, isolation and reclocking? Also if the clocking in PureMusic isn't pretty good anyway? Ideally I'd like any such converter to power from USB and certainly not to have a noisy wall wart plug (I invested in good power cables and interconnects to adding noise with a crappy psu would hurt LOL). The gadget that I was aware of was the now discontinued Musical Fidelity V-Link 192, which seems suitably small and self powered. Don't see many popping up 2nd hand though. Would be very open to any advice or experience said gadgets? For a new DAC if that was the path, I'm now seeing some discounting of prices on the Audiolab MDAC Plus, guessing as they are now aging a little (2016 model). USB does 32-bit/384kHz, handles DSD (that I don't currently own) and generally seems up there with the higher specified DACs. Or maybe would want to see if I could hear the older version of the Hugo TT (as the small RCA connectors on the Hugo seem to be a show stopper). I'd really need to do more research as I'm hopelessly out of date DAC wise. I'd not look to change the speakers, as I think that they are one of the stronger elements in my set, so am focused on bettering the source.
  8. I'm running a Mac Mini into a Musical Fidelity M1 DAC (first version). The USB maxes at just 16 bit 48hz. Question: So why does it sound much better in Pure Music when I turn on oversampling? I tried using the SPDIF but the DAC also indicates that it is only receiving the native 44KHz. Question: Does that mean that the software oversampling only works with USB and not with the SPDIF? I have a more modern Audiolab MDAC (on another system) that I will be testing with this system over the weekend. Maybe that will be even better. USB on that is up to 24-bit/96kHz. Both DACs rate 24-bit/192kHz on coax. Question: Do wise members of this community think that I should invest in some kind of USB to Coax anti-jitter thing, or save that money and get a better USB DAC? I'm in general happy with both my DACs but haven't heard new kit in a long while. The remainder of my system is two Musical Fidelity XT-100's bi amplifying a pair of B&W 705s. I think that tweaking my source (mac-mini / DAC etc) should be able to reap big sonic benefits, so that's what I'm poking around on this forum to learn more about. Thanks :-)
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