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Calvin & Hobbes

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  1. I've not been notified that I am receiving Spotify Lossless so I don't think my Spotify stream has changed at all. I'd be curious to test it for sure. Even if Spotify Lossless is good, I would probably still continue my Qobuz subscription to support an alternative streaming choice to Spotify. I appreciate the substantial steps that Qobuz has done to improve streaming sound quality. I say this with Tidal in mind. I didn't like how Tidal purported to improve streaming sound quality, but that actually was a front to try to get a scheme in place to be able to extract royalties.
  2. I haven't tried YouTube Music. Is YouTube Music available via a network streamer instead of just via a computer? I find Spotify's shortcomings are "errors of omission" for which there could be some level of detail, presence or air around instruments and voices missing, but what's there is enjoyable. And, I agree 100% that those qualities may actually be beneficial for systems that sound overly bright.
  3. There certainly is an element of warmth, but perhaps the bigger difference that I hear between the Pontus and the Qutest is the Pontus' ability to convey either ease or pace depending on what music is being played. The Qutest sounds perhaps more insistent all of the time given the way it portrays detail. I'm sure in about six months, there will be people selling their Pontus due to either "upgrading" to a more expensive Denafrips DAC (which I've seen already) or trading in to get the new "flavor of the month" DAC. You'll be able to buy a Pontus, try it out, and be able to resell i
  4. 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. Meani
  5. I tell you. It was a strange feeling and one that I've rarely had with digital audio equipment. Usually when I'm first exposed to equipment, I do listen critically and I do listen to the equipment...but I didn't with the Pontus. The music coming out felt just right. Even beyond the sound...it was the feeling of the music. When I turned on the Pontus...no break-in (they do get 100 hours of break in before final QA testing at the factory)..not warmed up...etc....etc., my first thought was 'Wow, that music sounds really good.' That was how I knew right away that the Pontus DAC was r
  6. Thank you for your kind words. Listening and writing down my impressions gives me a nice break from all of the business writing I do, as well as allowing me to relive the excitement and remember my initial impressions of a new piece of audio gear. I bought the Pontus new and the Qutest used to be able to do exactly what you suggested for those two DACs. I do have to say that after first hearing the Qutest, I knew that I was looking for something "more" from a DAC. With the Pontus in place, I'm totally happy to forget about gear and just listen to music.
  7. Here are my impressions of the Pontus II DAC that's been in my system for about 3 weeks now: I've had a Chord Qutest in my system for the past 2 months with the intention of comparing it to the Denafrips Pontus II. Background on the Qutest as a reference point: The Qutest sounded really good with notably a high level of detail retrieval. There were two shortcomings that stood out for me about the Qutest. With the stock power supply, there was a slight, and I do mean slight, degree of harshness. I found that using a pretty common Anker phone/laptop backup battery
  8. I agree that the Ares 2 had a little harshness which is missing from the Pontus 2. Adding a Synergistic Research UEF Blue power cord cut out the harshness, but that cord is almost the same price as the Ares 2 DAC.
  9. I do remember my initial impressions of the Qutest. It sounded good for sure compared to the Ares, but one key difference between my initial impressions of the Qutest versus my initial impressions of the Pontus is the nature of my reaction to the Qutest versus that of the Pontus. My reaction to the Qutest seems in hindsight to have been very intellectual and analytical. There was a level of harshness that I sought to address with using a battery as a power source. I listened to all of the detail that the Qutest produced and thought about that detail. In contrast, my exp
  10. Yes, the Ares II was decently smooth in sound, but I did notice some listening fatigue after listening for more than say 90 minutes. That was with a Shunyata Venom power cable. That listening fatigue seemed to be resolved by switching out the Shunyata Venom power cable for a Synergistic Research UEF Blue power cable. (which unfortunately costs almost as much as the Ares DAC) In comparison, I don't seem to experience any listening fatigue at all with the Pontus. I liked the tonal qualities of the Ares, but found that it wasn't particularly engaging on music that I didn'
  11. I've got an AmazonBasics Cat 6 cable on hand. I'll switch out the Supra Cat 8 cable for the AmazonBasics Cat 6 cable into the Qutest DAC today and report back on what I hear.
  12. Hi Matt, I'm streaming from the following source: TP-Link RE230 Wi-Fi Extender > Supra Cat 8 Ethernet cable > Pro-ject Stream Box Ultra S2 (Wi-Fi & HDMI outputs turned off) > Audioquest Jitterbug noise filter > Phasure Lush USB cable > Pontus II DAC Music sources are WAV & FLAC files on a memory stick connected to the Pro-ject & streaming via Qobuz So far I seem to prefer the Pontus in the OS - Slow filter mode. The OS mode seems smoother than the NOS mode. The Slow filter mode seems to add a touch of warmth versus the Fast filter
  13. 100%. I was quite surprised to hear that the Pontus not only sounded more natural and fuller, but also had better resolution to boot.
  14. Sharing some initial listening impressions of the Pontus from the last several days: I've had a Chord Qutest in my system for the past 2 months (as well as Denafrips Ares II for the previous four months) with the intention of comparing it to the Denafrips Pontus II. I received my Pontus this past Monday so have had several days of listening to the Pontus after giving it 24 hours of break-in on top of the 100 hours that it received at the factory. Background on the Qutest as a reference point: The Qutest sounded really good with notably a high level of detail retrieval. T
  15. For all of the talk about Qobuz having a smaller catalog than Spotify and Tidal, I have to say that there is very little that I can't find on Qobuz. For that, I can always go to Spotify for which I have a Family plan.
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