Thoughts on the Chord Qutest

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Am curious about this dac, anyone using one and with what?

Would it offer a worthwhile upgrade to internal dacs in streamers?

I have a Naim 272 streaming pre amp.

Or maybe need to go up to the Hugo2TT?

All I’ve read and seen via YouTube are all positive.

 
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newlash09

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Am curious about this dac, anyone using one and with what?

Would it offer a worthwhile upgrade to internal dacs in streamers?

I have a Naim 272 streaming pre amp.

Or maybe need to go up to the Hugo2TT?

All I’ve read and seen via YouTube are all positive.
Hello sir :)

I've had the previous gen chord2qute for almost a year. It did everything as expected, but to my ears sounded lean. And pairing with very fast sounding but lean speakers like PMC didn't help. I was missing the flesh on the bones. I don't know if the lean signature was because of the chord or the speakers themselves.

So I would suggest to take a call depending on your speakers. If your speakers are kudos, or Neat or Pmc, then naim always works best. It is a PRAT thing they have going down the entire chain, which is bewitching if you are among the rare head bangers like me around here  :D

 
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ziggy

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I have had the Qutest for nearly four years and it is my end game DAC.  On its own it is a good DAC, but it is capable of a lot more.  I added the Mscaler nearly three years ago and this took it to a completely different level, as the small print in the Qutest manual says.  The dual BNC input allows the maximum 765kHz upsampling.  Power supplies also bring about significant improvements.  I found the Sbooster to be a lot better than the MCRU.  This is through my NVA amps speakers and analogue cables.  When I auditioned the Mscaler through a Qutest at a dealer through a less transparant system I could not detect much difference.

 

Miller-8

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I think at the same price you can get the Gustard X26 Pro which is might be a better option for some.

 
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Fourlegs

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I have had the Qutest for nearly four years and it is my end game DAC.  On its own it is a good DAC, but it is capable of a lot more.  I added the Mscaler nearly three years ago and this took it to a completely different level, as the small print in the Qutest manual says.  The dual BNC input allows the maximum 765kHz upsampling.  Power supplies also bring about significant improvements.  I found the Sbooster to be a lot better than the MCRU.  This is through my NVA amps speakers and analogue cables.  When I auditioned the Mscaler through a Qutest at a dealer through a less transparant system I could not detect much difference.
Just to say that what you say is about spot on. I had the qutest for a couple of years and really liked it. I used it by itself rather than with an mscaler (i have an mscaler but use it with my Dave in another system).

Before the Qutest i had an RME dac but i found it got a bit course on some tracks and i preferred the qutest..

i used to use an SBooster to power the Qutest but eventually changed that to a Farad Super3 although both were good.

I see that whilst i was typing someone has posted a link to a Golden Sound video but i would caution that anything he says needs to be taken with a huge pinch of salt (he is an unreliable witness in my eyes as demonstrated by the recent Bartok review). 
 

I bought my Qutest second hand and would suggest anyone thinking of the Qutest to do the same. 

 

Miller-8

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Just to say that what you say is about spot on. I had the qutest for a couple of years and really liked it. I used it by itself rather than with an mscaler (i have an mscaler but use it with my Dave in another system).

Before the Qutest i had an RME dac but i found it got a bit course on some tracks and i preferred the qutest..

i used to use an SBooster to power the Qutest but eventually changed that to a Farad Super3 although both were good.

I see that whilst i was typing someone has posted a link to a Golden Sound video but i would caution that anything he says needs to be taken with a huge pinch of salt (he is an unreliable witness in my eyes as demonstrated by the recent Bartok review). 
 

I bought my Qutest second hand and would suggest anyone thinking of the Qutest to do the same. 
He is not an unreliable witness at all. I think he notices things many reviewers miss, and he is also better at describing the sound of components than most.

 
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newlash09

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He is not an unreliable witness at all. I think he notices things many reviewers miss, and he is also better at describing the sound of components than most.
Hello sir:)

As with all things audio sir, please may I beg that we stick to the subject at hand please. The OP had requested meaningful advise to upgrade from his inbuilt naim dac, with the chord being a possible contender. And I posted my first hand experience with a chord. So if anyone else has varying first hand experience , then it's fine. But quoting others reviews,  without trying out a chord dac  yourselves is pointless in my opinion, It is called as blind bad mouthing in my books :D

 

Miller-8

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Hello sir:)

As with all things audio sir, please may I beg that we stick to the subject at hand please. The OP had requested meaningful advise to upgrade from his inbuilt naim dac, with the chord being a possible contender. And I posted my first hand experience with a chord. So if anyone else has varying first hand experience , then it's fine. But quoting others reviews,  without trying out a chord dac  yourselves is pointless in my opinion, It is called as blind bad mouthing in my books :D
I own a Chord Mojo (and I feel the Mojo displays many of the characteristics GoldenSound attributes to the Qutest). And I wasn't the person to criticise someone's opinion - that was Fourlegs.

 

orbscure

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I see that whilst i was typing someone has posted a link to a Golden Sound video but i would caution that anything he says needs to be taken with a huge pinch of salt (he is an unreliable witness in my eyes as demonstrated by the recent Bartok review). 
Hmmm.... so what makes your opinion any more valid that somebody else Nick? Also, why are comments which differ from yours classed as noise or thread spoiling?

Just to add before anybody asks, I've owned the Qutest and RME-ADI2 DAC's and preferred the latter... but that doesn't mean I don't take onboard comments/experiences of those with different opinions to mine. I certainly wouldn't class a difference of opinion as noise which should be taken with a pinch of salt or claim it to be unreliable..

 
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I have a Qutest and am using it in my workroom system. I think it’s an excellent DAC and, unlike some of my other DACs, doesn’t sound at all unnatural. I can keep listening to it all night without any sense that there is something not quite right about the sound; it let’s the music through without any audible irritations. I’m a bit puzzled by reports of it sounding lean. It is neutral and does reproduce detail very well which might be in contrast to softer sounding equipment which could take attention away from the higher frequencies. In that respect it might not be the best match with speakers that err on the bright side unless they have the very finest tweeters. 

It has the advantage over the 2Qute that you can adjust the output voltage, useful if feeding into older preamps or integrated. For three or four times as much money you can get a TT2 with very neutral sounding preamp built in and headphones sockets. I’m not sure that I found much improvement in sound quality over the Qutest, so if you don’t need the preamp, with a rather nice volume control, it could be best to save the money and put it to an m-scaler. 

 
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I have had a couple of Chord DACs in different systems - the 2Qute and Qutest.

Never got on with them personally. We are all different I guess. 

As for Goldensound and his thoughts on the Bartok a friend of mine had one on his system for a couple of weeks. Could not warm to it at all. I’ve heard several DAC’s in his system and we have always come to the same conclusion so from my perspective his ears aren’t broken.

I doubt that there is anything in high end audio that could be universally loved. Even a Bartok. 

 

HectorHughMunro

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Hello sir :)

I've had the previous gen chord2qute for almost a year. It did everything as expected, but to my ears sounded lean. And pairing with very fast sounding but lean speakers like PMC didn't help. I was missing the flesh on the bones. I don't know if the lean signature was because of the chord or the speakers themselves.

So I would suggest to take a call depending on your speakers. If your speakers are kudos, or Neat or Pmc, then naim always works best. It is a PRAT thing they have going down the entire chain, which is bewitching if you are among the rare head bangers like me around here  :D
You’re right.  The current generation is lean (haven’t heard the Dave). I’ve often wondered what caused that as the DAC64 was warm and the QBD wasn’t lean.  Perhaps a change in taste on behalf of the designer?  Perhaps prioritising measurements?  I would be really like to know what happened.

 
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rdale

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Hello sir :)

I've had the previous gen chord2qute for almost a year. It did everything as expected, but to my ears sounded lean. And pairing with very fast sounding but lean speakers like PMC didn't help. I was missing the flesh on the bones. I don't know if the lean signature was because of the chord or the speakers themselves.

So I would suggest to take a call depending on your speakers. If your speakers are kudos, or Neat or Pmc, then naim always works best. It is a PRAT thing they have going down the entire chain, which is bewitching if you are among the rare head bangers like me around here  :D
I’ve had a 2Qute for a few years and I’ve never found it ‘lean’, and in my system it has a similar balance to my vinyl front end. I think it is quite sensitive to what streamer, cable and PSU you use perhaps, and maybe the Qutest is the same. I feel it does PRAT in my system with my Klipsch speakers.

 
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Fourlegs

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You’re right.  The current generation is lean (haven’t heard the Dave). I’ve often wondered what caused that as the DAC64 was warm and the QBD wasn’t lean.  Perhaps a change in taste on behalf of the designer?  Perhaps prioritising measurements?  I would be really like to know what happened.
I guess everything has to be assessed within the context of each persons system. I have owned and used in my system in chronological order

1) the original Hugo, to be honest I have forgotten the exact nature of its sound but it was a huge improvement on my old Audio Alchemy DAC.

2) Mojo, this always sounded warm to me. I have since read that the warm sound signature is deliberate, perhaps for the intended mobile use?

3) Original TT, I remember this being a good step up from the original Hugo with firmer bass and a well rounded sound. I would recommend a second hand TT as being a good buy but be prepared to change the batteries or get them changed as they might be getting tired. This is not difficult or expensive either DIY or at a dealer.

4) Dave, this replaced a Bricasti M1 SE in my system and I found the Dave to be a large step up in sound quality compared to the Bricasti which always seemed to me to be inclined to smear the sound and lose definition in large orchestral works.

5) Adding the Blu Mk2 and then later the Mscaler to the Dave, what I noticed first about this was the better bass and then soon after I noticed the better detailed and more musical top end.

6) TT2, this was a bit of an experiment for me as many people were suggesting that the TT2 + Mscaler was better than solo Dave. Also I wondered whether the rave claims of the TT2 direct driving speakers without any other amp could be true. My initial listening to the  TT2 revealed a somewhat overly warm bass / lower mids which at first seemed to give the impression of good bass which after longer listening was more wooly and less detailed bass (and not as deep) as the Dave. Also compared to the Dave I found the TT2 to be somewhat less transparent. Comparing the TT2 + Mscaler I preferred the Dave by itself. I know that many will disagree with me about the TT2 and they love it, indeed some prefer it to Dave.

7) Qutest, this replaced the TT2 in my second system and I preferred it to the TT2 especially when paired with a good power supply. At first I used the Sbooster but then changed to the Farad Super3 which I slightly preferred. In a moment of madness I did try powering the Qutest with a Sean Jacobs DC4 and whilst that is stupidly expensive it also made the Qutest sound just amazing and getting closer to a Dave than it had any right to do. When I was considering the Qutest I compared it to the RME dac but I found the RME to be slightly fatiguing which was only cured by selecting a filter with top end roll off but this was not satisfactory because it removed some top end detail. I sold the RME after a few weeks and kept the Qutest.

To the OP I would say that the Qutest is not the only DAC to consider but it is worth putting on a list to try. Second hand it is something of a bargain (I bought mine second hand).

 

Steveh

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I bought my Qutest 8 months ago and am delighted with it .I had a Marantz CD17 mark 2, which is/was considered to have a "high-end" DAC  It was smooth, detailed, and had a good soundstage. 

The Qutest is better in every aspect, and the differences are not subtle, they ae huge. Resolution of detail, soundstage depth/width/height are superb. 

I use it with a Chord power amplifier(the heart of my system) which is transparent and has no character of it's own, simply "tells the truth". An ideal match for a DAC that aspires to do the same? 

It might be still possible to buy a Qutest on "sale or return" in which case, what have you to lose?