MScaler comes out on top, but HQ Player is a great option for far less money.
I want this separate from my Mac or iPad - wouldn’t that disqualify HQ Player?
You would need something to run HQPlayer that has computing power. I use a MAC desktop and a Sonore microrendu in NAA mode…
There are some server solutions using HQ Player embedded, but I haven’t tried those. Andrew from Small Green Computer would be the one to check with for a suitable appliance.
There’s even devices that do USB to Dual-BNC so you can use HQPlayer using the same connection you’d use from an M Scaler. SRC•DX usb to dual bnc convertor — Wave High Fidelity
No idea if the sound quality improvement is worth the cost but interesting to say the least.
Well, I pulled the trigger on the M-Scaler today. I have never felt as insecure and unsure about a big audio purchase as I do about this, but I figure the only way to see if this is worth it is to try and buy. I have 60-days under my dealer’s return policy, which is the only way I would’ve gone on an essentially blind buy (deaf buy?).
Can’t wait to see…….
I think you’ll like it. It’ll be really noticeable when it’s not being used. Like something is missing. At least that’s how I feel when using HQplayer. Congrats!
Congratulations on picking it up, 60 days is a generous return policy!
As @Rhodey stated it will be more noticeable when not being used, I have yet to try without the HMS for more than an hour despite much effort to do so. Why not? It’s sitting there giving me the stink eye with its glowing eye balls
Sorry for the late response, but I see a few have responded with excellent suggestions. And congratulations on the M Scaler!
I haven’t heard any Chord DACs with the M Scaler yet (or HQPlayer), but I look forward to trying it out. Also looking forward to your impressions.
Try it with a DAVE, and I hope it blows yer mind as much as it did mine when I got it last week! Aural crack…
I haven’t heard it with at TT2, but it was a meaningful upgrade w/ DAVE. Triangulating from various reviews, it seems like the HMS makes a more meaningful difference with every step up in the Chord line. As always, individual preferences and sensitivities vary, but I’d be very bummed to go back to “just” the DAVE (as absurd as that seems). It just focused that aural lens that much more - every sound precisely in its place, and increasing width and depth of sound stage.
I agree - now I can’t listen to ‘just’ DAVE anymore! As if DAVE was chopped liver before HMS came along! Totally agree with your descriptions, too. DAVE + HMS + ZMF VO or Focal Utopia = “Not half-bad sound”!
Does anyone have a sense of when Chord will produce a new, flagship DAC? I believe the Dave is at least 5 or 6 years old. I’m tempted to try one out, but I’m also wondering if a new model isn’t not so far in the pipeline? I know none of us have the answer, but I wonder what those with more experience of this industry project based on their knowledge of Chord and other DAC makers.
Not sure, but I also wanna caveat that even if they do, it might be more expensive, you might not like it better, it might not pair better with your chain. I think just because a new model comes out, doesn’t mean that the current model is bad or not the better pairing with your setup.
Just something to think about.
Rob Watts (the designer of Chord’s DACs) is a regular on Head-fi. He has indicated that his current project is actually an A to D converter (DAVINA). Many people have asked about an “all in one” HMS + DAVE type unit, and he has also generally commented that this would be very difficult from an engineering perspective, and that he hasn’t been focusing on it. To be clear, I have no insight beyond what Rob posts to the rest of the public, but you can find his main thread here:
He also regularly comments on the primary DAVE, Hugo TT2, and HMS threads.
@andris beat me to it …
Everytime this question has come up on Head-Fi, Rob Watts (DAVE’s designer) has said that he’s got two other projects he wants to finish before he works on a revision to DAVE.
Those are DAVINA, which I believe is an ADC system, and his DX “Digital Amps”.
As I understand things (which is not necessarily correct) what the DX stuff is supposed to be may mean there isn’t a separate “DAC” as such in a DX system. At least one discussion I read suggested that they could be driven directly off an M-Scaler without needing a specific “DAC” in the chain.
If that’s the case, there may not be a “DAVE 2” in the normal sense of things but instead it might be a “DX” unit. And in theory you could have one optimized for headphone output, and another for speaker-drive or, of course, one that did both.
Knowing full well Chord doesn’t think their DACs need a linear power supply, has anyone tried one (or an ifi).
Thinking about one for the Qutest. 5v.
I think @ValentineLuke has one.
The first thing the output of an LPS into a Chord Qutest would find … is more (internal) switching power supplies. No measurable difference at the output of the DAC. No audible difference either (to me). Even when I’ve tried it with a state of the art lab-supply that cost more than a new BMW.
Same was true of the Hugo TT2.
I’ve heard a DAVE that was modified with a big, external, PSU that cost half as much as the DAC itself and was in an ugly plain box at least twice the size of it. This actually bypasses DAVEs internal main SMPS (though not all the internal ones). Couldn’t tell it apart from a regular DAVE in a synchronized, level matched, back to back comparison. Didn’t measure any different at the output of the DAC either.
Personally, the cases I’ve found where an LPS did make a difference, it was mostly with analog hardware (amplifiers), that didn’t then have their other SMPS or level-shifters internally. That usually required measurements to see … audibility was basically zero unless either nothing was playing, or it was so quiet a passage as to be subject to other noise issues anyway.
Your mileage may vary.
Yes indeed about analog - most of the LPS’s I see go with phono preamps…