Chord Electronics - Official Thread

no, ha! T4 with TT2 DAC is my daily listening setup :wink: T4 is BAE! ha!

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Yeah you had me worried there for a bit. LOL

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Is it worthwhile sonically to use a linear power supply with a Chord DAC, the Qutest in particular?

The rest of the chain will be an A&S Mogwai SE and Verite Closed. I’m wondering if using a certain caliber LPS might make sense.

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I’ve tried this … including using extremely precise, ultra-low-noise, instrument-grade PSUs (that cost more than a nice BMW, and just the calibration for which costs more than the Qutest), and there was no audible, nor measurable, change in the output from the DAC.

I’ve done the same thing with a number of other DACs and gotten similar (non) results.

I expect this is mostly because so many DACs take their power input and pass through a number of internal switching PSUs anyway (for level shifting and so on). On some, the FIRST thing the power-input hits is a switch-mode PSU.

Where there are audible effects, that are not accompanied by any measurable change in the analog output from the DAC, it’s invariably due to a linear PSU not feeding a lot of hash/noise back to the mains (where it can pollute other devices, such as the amplifier, if it is not properly isolated/regulated).

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Thanks Torq. I was hoping/thinking you may have already investigated into this (a nice BMW, yikes). Taking and passing through internal PSUs anyway seem to make using a LPS a bit futile.

I also see some other people saying they get better performance by situating the DAC on IsoAcoustics pucks.

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Oh, there are all manner of tweaks proposed for all manner of components. You can find die-hard adherents/proponents for almost all of them. Most of them don’t result in measurable changes, and the ones that do usually aren’t for the reasons “commonly” believed.

There ARE cases where an LPS will audibly and measurably alter the behavior of a component. Sometimes enough for it to be useful. One such case is the Massdrop Cavalli Tube Hybrid. Up to a 10 dB reduction in noise was managed there. Though the LPS cost more than the amp and the combined cost of the two meant you could just buy a better amp in the first place …

A common misconception is that LPS are always superior to switch-mode supplies. This isn’t the case. It all depends on usage and implementation.

But things like putting coils of unshielded copper wire around three out of four legs/feet of every piece of furniture in the room with the gear in it was “all the rage” at one point. As was putting green marker around the edges of CDs. Or putting heavy doorstops on top of components.

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True, that seems to be case. One must proceed with skepticism or be led astray.

An LPS costing more than the amp doesn’t make much sense even if effective.

The above should be a bumper sticker:

Part of the audiophile challenge may be sorting through the noise and finding that sensible area somewhere in the middle of “specifications driven only” and “yielding to audio voodoo.”

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From the threads on head-fi, it sounds like using anything other than the stock power supply voids the warranty so there’s that too.

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Good point. Interestingly, that wasn’t mentioned in any of the videos I watched. “Affiliate links below.”

That is mainly because a lot of people don’t match amperage / voltage output properly. An example would be if I bought a 12V LPS I’d fry the Qutest’ circuitry. The Qutest takes very little power to operate. You’d only need a 5V power supply.

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New thought. Has anyone tried the M Scaler with both the Hugo tt vs the Hugo 2? I like the portability of the Hugo 2. Most of my music will come from cd’s ripped to computer. I thought from every thing I have read it will enhance the music very well, however, I am afraid the Hugo 2 does not have the right connections to utilize the M Scaler properly. Any thoughts

The Hugo 2 can fully utilize the output from the M-Scaler. You need a dual-BNC to 3.5mm cable, which must be sourced from a 3rd party (Moon Audio sell one, I built my own).

Hugo TT2 on its own sounds better than an M-Scaler → Hugo 2 combination, to me.

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Thank you. Do you think the Hugo2 sounds better than a combination Hugo2/Scaler?

No.

Based on currently owning all of Chord’s DACs except the Mojo, and having both a Blu Mk2 (which has a built-in M-Scaler) and the actual Chord Hugo M-Scaler, I would say that in all cases each unit is improved by the addition of the M-Scaler to the chain.

Some people claim that the Qutest or Hugo 2 paired with the M-Scaler beats the Hugo TT2 or DAVE when they are used without an M-Scaler. I would definitely disagree with that, again based on currently owning all of them.

From best to worst, it’s a simple progression:

  1. M-Scaler → DAVE
  2. DAVE
  3. M-Scaler → Hugo TT2
  4. Hugo TT2
  5. M-Scaler → Hugo 2
  6. Hugo 2

I would not personally bother with an M-Scaler with the Hugo 2 or the Qutest, unless the DAC was going to be upgraded next, as I find the Hugo TT2 on it’s own outperforms both Hugo 2 and Qutest when they’re paired with an M-Scaler, and costs less doing so.

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Thank you so much for all your help. Very interesting.

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I’ve had my eye on a Qutest for some time … I’d been deliberating over the possibility of a Holo Spring, Denafrips Ares II, or possibly a tube DAC. The Qutest doesn’t sit squarely within the aforementioned bunch but I very much enjoy the Mojo and recall really enjoying the original Hugo many years ago.

I really wanted something with different qualities to my Naim DAC-V1, which is very enjoyable in its own right but isn’t the last word in terms of detail retrieval and can, at times, be a tad glaring, digital and etched in presentation. The qualities of the Naim can work very well for well-produced EDM and rock, but I’ve never been overly happy with female vocal, acoustic styles, or more subtle classical pieces (particularly strings). So, I was looking for a DAC that might contrast to the somewhat brutish nature of the Naim but without introducing an overly smoothed-out or laid-back presentation.

I’ll report back once the Qutest has settled in.

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I think the Qutest is absolutely amazing. I’ve had it for 3 years now. No plans on getting rid of it. You won’t be sorry. It is incredible for 2 G’s. You get the whole deal.

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congrats. im also a new Qutest owner and really like it a lot. Also pairs well with HQPlayer!

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The last time I looked at HQPlayer was over a decade ago (back when the M2Tech HiFace was all the rage). You’re the second person to mention it in recent weeks. I should probably go and take a look. I’m currently running two rigs; MacOS/Roon (USB) and Windows/Audirvana (Coax via a dedicated sound card). I’ll grab myself a HQPlayer trial.

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To get HQPlayer to be fully effective with it, its best to use USB and 705/768 upscaling. But YMMV. Loving it with Sinc-L filter.

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