Beyond Chord TT2/mScaler

Looking to see if there is a next level dac/pre-amp beyond Chord TT2 or Dave. Things like Weiss D501, T+A Dac 200, DCS Lina,

Your thoughts???

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As the owner of a Dave I have looked far and wide. The Weiss doesn’t improve on the Dave to me. The DCS Lina is widely touted so if I was starting from scratch it would probably be my first look.

I’ve heard both the Dave and the Bartok/Lina in passing, and they are hardly comparable - apples vs oranges. Dave hones in with laser focus on transient attack while DCS’s superpower is ease of presentation and soundstage. Chord puts your right onstage in the middle of the musicians (so to speak) while DCS puts you in the audience comfortably 5 rows back, centerstage, with the best acoustics in the house.

If you’re looking for something to “beat” Dave on its own merits I don’t think you’re going to find it. At the summit-fi level you have different versions of greatness, but no ONE version that beats the others. I suspect the closest analog you’ll find is the Rockna Wavedream Signature, but even that is going to excel at something other than what Dave is best at.

As for what sets Dave apart? I don’t think there is anything better at that.

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oh man, this thread title reminds me of @Torq 's Life after Yggdrasil post that became a monster of a source impressions/review thread.
Original: Life after Yggdrasil? | Headphone Reviews and Discussion -
Part 2: Life after Yggdrasil: Watering the Ash | Super Best Audio Friends

You may actually find this useful, as Torq spent a lot of time going through a lot of different sources over the years and documented it all.


A few things to bear in mind if reading those threads …

  1. I do not read or post to either of them, anymore. Haven’t in, oh, has to be on the verge of five years now. So, if you do post on them you’re not going to see any response from me.

  2. Since I last did anything of that nature, my tastes, and gear, and hearing have all changed.

  3. I’m spending most of my time with speaker systems these days.

And it’s probably worth noting that the last time I did a “Top 10” post here, was more than three years ago, and most of that has changed since then too.

I still have my Blu-Mk2 (M-Scaler) and DAVE, but I don’t really use them anymore. I’ve just been too lazy to list them, and the other Chord pieces that go with them, for sale.

My primary DACs, as cost-no-object choices, for both my headphone and speaker rigs, are the Next-Ggen Linn Klimax DSM (Organik) units. I also have the latest Selekt Edition DSM w/ Dual Mono Organik DACs … which sounds as good, for half the price, if you JUST want the streaming and DAC functionality (otherwise the Klimax is better).


As I understand it, and in my (somewhat limited) experience of summit-fi digital front ends, you start getting more into “different” than “better in almost every way”. I am a DAVE + MScaler owner, and I have pretty much stopped looking or thinking about anything else. I feel very settled there.

I personally don’t feel that the Bartok compares favorably to the DAVE + MScaler. I was also not super blown away by the T+A stack, but that listening was extremely limited.

In any case, you have many many options at virtually any price point. @Torq is an amazing reference for that level of gear, but you’ll want to read through his past musings and see if your tastes align with his.

Probably depends on what you’re after, there are a lot of dacs to choose from, and some of them demand a quality digital source otherwise, you’ll likely be left unimpressed. I know someone that thinks the totaldac d1 unity is about on par or surpassing the dave, resolution-wise, at the price point. But, again, it will depend on what you’re after and the rest of your chain as well.

Fwiw there are some dac articles on here that I’d suggest looking through.

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IMO definitely yes.

The two best ones I’ve tried thus far have been the Holo May (With HQP or PGGB) and the Rockna Wavedream Signature Balanced.

What particular characteristics/sound aspects are most important to you?
There is no truly ‘perfect’ DAC and it becomes more and more a game of tradeoffs or preference the higher up you go


I have friend who has an MScaler and we hooked hooked it up to my RMI ADI DAC 2 FS. To me the end result was a different sound but not necessarily a better sound. I would not invest any money for so little effect. Then I read about HQPlayer and I installed a trial version on my PC to tinker with it. After a week of trials I found an upscaling setting where my ears thought ‘Wow, this sound really better’. Total investment.215 € as I had the PC already.


I definitely think that the M-Scaler is a bigger upgrade for Chord DACs, as they’re the only ones (to my knowledge) that can take advantage of the full upsampling all the way to 768kHz, via dual-BNC.

The route you went makes a whole lot of sense, as you can output the higher sample via USB from your PC, and as you mentioned, at much lower cost.

Where independent scalers become more appealing is if/when you decide to decouple your rig from a PC. By no means is this something one must do, but there are are very real benefits, especially in terms of background noise that can creep in via PCs’ inherently noisy operation (both physically, e.g. from fans, and electrically). A DDC can go a long way here as well.

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I did extensive comparisons with the M-Scaler and various DACs. In most cases it was a wash, in some it was fractionally “better”, and in a few more it was WORSE.

TINY improvement with the RME stuff. A bit more if you go down the DSD path (though then the RME effectively becomes a pure DAC - you can’t use its volume control etc.). Worse with Yggdrasil. Better with Holo Audio Spring models.

The same was true with HQPlayer, but the DACs that it improved were different. And, used with a true 1-bit DSD DACs, at its highest settings for upsampling, noise-shaping and filtering, is hard to beat. But said DACs are uncommon (the RME line is not one), aren’t particularly inexpensive, and the difference is still in the “last 1%” arena.

For the most part, even given state of the art gear, I don’t find HQPlayer “worth it”. Too much overhead, won’t work with everything I want to feed to my DAC, and the difference is only audible in intense, audition-style, listening and isn’t remotely compatible with how I “listen for pleasure”.

The M-Scaler did, at least, have a zero-hassle existence. Connect it up, turn it on, forget it’s there.

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Ian says this about his women too.

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Oh … there’s no possible way I could forget “my” woman …

She’s FAR too distracting (in all the best ways) …

You cheeky devil you

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Hmm, my woman is definitely trying to ‘oversample’ me a lot most of the time😄

Since I have a hearing loss I prefer as much resolution and imaging as i can get. I’d rather very transparent and neutral even if the the treble region is a ittle bright.

Hi I would say that the T&A dac or the Holo May are superior to the Dave and Mscaler.If you have them sell, and use the cash for either one of these 2 items. Dave & Mscaler was found to be wanting equalled or bettered by dacs costing an absolute fraction. Use the money or gain some from the sale and happy days my friend.Chord DAVE Review (DAC & HP Amp) | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum

Honestly man, measurements just aren’t everything (there is a reason 90%+ of the very best gear has tubes in it). Im not a particular fan of chord products (and agree they cost more than they should performance wise) but may and t+a sound wildly different. If you are after the chord house sound you can’t realy beat the Dave without maybe going dcs (rossini will keep the chord magic for many, but not all since it doesn’t have quote as forced of seperation)


If you’re looking at measurements and/or using ASR as a benchmark … you’re going to be REALLY unhappy if they ever test the T&A DAC 200 (which measures >5x worse than DAVE for THD+N, or ~100dB SINAD vs. DAVEs ~112dB).

The T&A DAC 200 sounds great, for half the price of a DAVE (and at a point where personal preference is usually the principal factor), but if you’re using objective measures then it’s half the price for a 5x worse objective performance.


Chord Products are overrated and the Mscaler was absolutely useless,incredible that you spen 10,000 on a mediocre DAC than have to spend anothether £4k to get the best out of the 10k you have spent on the Dave.Personally avoid Chord period,loads of other great dacs to enjoy…CHORD M-Scaler Review (Upsampler) | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum