• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Chord DAVE Review (DAC & HP Amp)

Rate this DAC & HP Amp

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 299 60.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 121 24.6%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 46 9.4%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 25 5.1%

  • Total voters
    491
My brain isn't able to detect differences beyond 20kHz or below -100dB, there is no need to try.;)

I somehow get the feeling that the number of TAPs might be nothing but this manufacturers scheme to part people from their money.:eek:
I'm not disagreeing at all and I doubt I can naturally hear much above 10kHz now (standard audiology tests don't go up that far although my prime hearing deficiency is the 4 - 6kHz region). It's just that *subjectively,* some systems seem to reproduce more clearly the room or venue a good recording was made in better than others do. The Chord 'systems' I heard didn't, where the (here) well known Kii Three on another occasion in the same room seemed to do it rather well as did the Dynaudio Focus 50's which are largely unknown and regarded with some suspicion I think, as the wireless active concept seems to be too much for a trad domestic high end dealer to take - currently.

In a typical music mastering, where's the 'reverb tail' in level? Around forty to sixty dB down, or am Ii I being too kind and it's actually twenty to thirty dB below mean levels?
 
This can be enlightening :


From a signal processing perspective, I do not understand what those long FIRs are really for (unless some oversampling and interpolation is involved). The digital source signal is, presumably, already bandwidth-limited to below the Nyquist frequency (if it were not, it would contain aliasing, which even the longest FIR would not be able to remove). Thus, the focus should rather be on the quality of the analog reconstruction filter after the DAC, not the digital filter in front of it. But, I guess, with modern DSPs and FPGAs coupled with large and fast RAM, the MAC operation is cheap enough to implement that the number of filter taps can be absurdly high.
 
From a signal processing perspective, I do not understand what those long FIRs are really for (unless some oversampling and interpolation is involved). The digital source signal is, presumably, already bandwidth-limited to below the Nyquist frequency (if it were not, it would contain aliasing, which even the longest FIR would not be able to remove). Thus, the focus should rather be on the quality of the analog reconstruction filter after the DAC, not the digital filter in front of it. But, I guess, with modern DSPs and FPGAs coupled with large and fast RAM, the MAC operation is cheap enough to implement that the number of filter taps can be absurdly high.
And they can charge more for it!
 
Performance is one thing, what I wonder though who is the target group of this product, as it is rather small and looks toyish which is not what a typical audiophile looks for at a five digit price.
getting good results with measurement is an art, as is selling it. hats off to that
 
Dollar per Kilotap is the new pricing unit for it.

For those interested in technical details, there is an application note by Analog Devices that explains the basics of sigma-delta DACs starting on PDF page 28. It shows the function of the digital interpolation filter (where, presumably, having millions as opposed to only hundreds of taps adds a lot of value) and the analog output filter (see Fig. 14.34 on PDF page 30).
 
Hello. I am newly registered to this forum, although I have read many threads around here. I want to share my experience.. I started this hobby with a Topping E30 DAC, having a limited budget. I was disappointed with it, coupled with B&W speakers and a cheap amp, I had bright setup. My room didn't helped either.. Moving forward, I told myself that I would never ever pick a chi-fi product again. I bought a good english integrated amplifier with a decent DAC that I used for a while with LS50 Meta. Then, the what-abouter in me had this idea "Hey, I have a good english integrated, what about having a great english DAC? I am quit sure that should be an improvement, right? "
What english DAC manufacturer is well known for their devices? The hype was real, (almost) everyone recommended their devices.
Yea, I bought a Chord Qutest, and I was disappointed. It's not to say that it sounds bad, but it's almost equally good as my integrated DAC (In my room, with my amp, with my speakers)
After two days, as my Hi Fi dealer has a return policy, I said what the hell, let's try one more time a ice cream Topping.. flagship, of course.. D90SE. And let's do some tests..
It WHIPED the flour with Qutest.. some details in music are missing with Qutest and with D90se are there. I didn't expect that, taking into account that I ran Qutest with a LPS, together costing 3x the price of D90se.
Fast base, very "technic", fast, music never sounded better in my system.
So, the moral is, test for yourself and decide what is best. Or, instead, you could check Amir lists.
I might order the Dave next :D
 
I hate to say it, but did you try it blind and level-matched? I would bet you couldn’t tell the difference.
 
I hate to say it, but did you try it blind and level-matched? I would bet you couldn’t tell the difference.
Chord is known to have huge voltage output. I would bet it was too much for his Amp and caused distortion...
 
Hello. I am newly registered to this forum, although I have read many threads around here. I want to share my experience.. I started this hobby with a Topping E30 DAC, having a limited budget. I was disappointed with it, coupled with B&W speakers and a cheap amp, I had bright setup. My room didn't helped either.. Moving forward, I told myself that I would never ever pick a chi-fi product again. I bought a good english integrated amplifier with a decent DAC that I used for a while with LS50 Meta. Then, the what-abouter in me had this idea "Hey, I have a good english integrated, what about having a great english DAC? I am quit sure that should be an improvement, right? "
What english DAC manufacturer is well known for their devices? The hype was real, (almost) everyone recommended their devices.
Yea, I bought a Chord Qutest, and I was disappointed. It's not to say that it sounds bad, but it's almost equally good as my integrated DAC (In my room, with my amp, with my speakers)
After two days, as my Hi Fi dealer has a return policy, I said what the hell, let's try one more time a ice cream Topping.. flagship, of course.. D90SE. And let's do some tests..
It WHIPED the flour with Qutest.. some details in music are missing with Qutest and with D90se are there. I didn't expect that, taking into account that I ran Qutest with a LPS, together costing 3x the price of D90se.
Fast base, very "technic", fast, music never sounded better in my system.
So, the moral is, test for yourself and decide what is best. Or, instead, you could check Amir lists.
I might order the Dave next :D
DOH! [facepalm]
 
Thank you, ASR. I now have a Topping DAC, pre amp and heaphone amp. Would I swap them for a DAVE? Hell no, they are impeccable in every way, they do not take up much space, they do not draw attention to themselves in the looks department, they have worked perfectly over many years and as far as sound is concerened they are excellent.

DAVE may have been cutting edge when it was introduced but in terms of price, performance and styling it has been left for dead.
 
Thank you, ASR. I now have a Topping DAC, pre amp and heaphone amp. Would I swap them for a DAVE? Hell no, they are impeccable in every way, they do not take up much space, they do not draw attention to themselves in the looks department, they have worked perfectly over many years and as far as sound is concerened they are excellent.

DAVE may have been cutting edge when it was introduced but in terms of price, performance and styling it has been left for dead.
After 52 pages on the DAVE, I think it’s been well established that perhaps the only things about it that were “cutting edge” were its looks and its price.
 
Hello. I am newly registered to this forum, although I have read many threads around here. I want to share my experience.. I started this hobby with a Topping E30 DAC, having a limited budget. I was disappointed with it, coupled with B&W speakers and a cheap amp, I had bright setup. My room didn't helped either.. Moving forward, I told myself that I would never ever pick a chi-fi product again. I bought a good english integrated amplifier with a decent DAC that I used for a while with LS50 Meta. Then, the what-abouter in me had this idea "Hey, I have a good english integrated, what about having a great english DAC? I am quit sure that should be an improvement, right? "
What english DAC manufacturer is well known for their devices? The hype was real, (almost) everyone recommended their devices.
Yea, I bought a Chord Qutest, and I was disappointed. It's not to say that it sounds bad, but it's almost equally good as my integrated DAC (In my room, with my amp, with my speakers)
After two days, as my Hi Fi dealer has a return policy, I said what the hell, let's try one more time a ice cream Topping.. flagship, of course.. D90SE. And let's do some tests..
It WHIPED the flour with Qutest.. some details in music are missing with Qutest and with D90se are there. I didn't expect that, taking into account that I ran Qutest with a LPS, together costing 3x the price of D90se.
Fast base, very "technic", fast, music never sounded better in my system.
So, the moral is, test for yourself and decide what is best. Or, instead, you could check Amir lists.
I might order the Dave next :D
Try and compare something that you can really hear a difference in instead. Attached pictures, I switch between two speakers, JPW Mini Monitors and Qln One via the A-B speaker outputs on a HK 670 amp. Absolutely I hear a difference.I am absolutely 100% sure I would spot them in a blind test. I bet $1000 on it. I don't think anyone dares to bet against it. The level of the bass, for example, is revealing.

A bit more difficult. When I plug in two Yamaha subwoofers that have built-in HP-LP filters and then switch between the speakers. Even more difficult (something I haven't done), measure the FR of both speakers and set similar (if possible) FR for them. Even MUCH more difficult same speakers but different DACs. Then it really has to be level matched because we are talking about such small differences in FR and distortion/noise. Of course then also tested and performed according to all the rules of art, blindly. Without that, blind test, it is only one's ideas about which one sounds the best that determines which one sounds the best. Most likely an imaginary difference.

Fiddling with DACs, I don't understand the purpose of it? It's the speakers that really make a difference in the sound. Speakers plus to set the EQ and fix the acoustics in the room. Sufficient power on the amp (so it is not driven into clipping) also makes sense.:)

Edit:
Here a blind test between a "Basic (cheap) system (A)" vs "High End system (B)". What do you think the result, the conclusions were?::)

 

Attachments

  • IMG_20230416_083544.jpg
    IMG_20230416_083544.jpg
    107.8 KB · Views: 47
  • IMG_20230416_083600.jpg
    IMG_20230416_083600.jpg
    138.8 KB · Views: 50
  • IMG_20230416_083614.jpg
    IMG_20230416_083614.jpg
    90.8 KB · Views: 48
  • IMG_20230416_083628.jpg
    IMG_20230416_083628.jpg
    203.4 KB · Views: 47
Last edited:
Try and compare something that you can really hear a difference in instead. Attached pictures, I switch between two speakers, JPW Mini Monitors and Qln One via the A-B speaker outputs on a HK 670 amp. Absolutely I hear a difference.I am absolutely 100% sure I would spot them in a blind test. I bet $1000 on it. I don't think anyone dares to bet against it. The level of the bass, for example, is revealing.
JPW mini monitors are one of the worst loudspeakers I have ever owned. And that's saying something. So yes I would not bet against you in the blind test :)

(I gave them to a friend as they were at least marginally better than the speakers that came with his JVC midi system).
 
JPW mini monitors are one of the worst loudspeakers I have ever owned. And that's saying something. So yes I would not bet against you in the blind test :)

(I gave them to a friend as they were at least marginally better than the speakers that came with his JVC midi system).
Let's put it this way, yes I hear a difference.;)

Definitely no "High end" speakers, quite the opposite. Got them basically for free hence my holding them. BUT with that said it's GOOD to have bad stuff to test and compare with. If you let the JPW Mini monitors work from 100 Hz upwards, they get a little better (observe, little).

The Qln one speaker is a more well thought out and solid construction with Vifa drivers. Has since the first version been upgraded quite a few times. Here is the latest model (I think). :) :

qln-one-40-front-wo-grill.jpg

 
Last edited:
Let's put it this way, yes I hear a difference.;)

Definitely no "High end" speakers, quite the opposite. Got them basically for free hence my holding them. BUT with that said it's GOOD to have bad stuff to test and compare with. If you let the JPW Mini monitors work from 100 Hz upwards, they get a little better.
I can believe that, I used mine with a sub but there were no digital crossovers in those days so they still got fed full range.

I still occasionally see people on forums recommending them as a good budget s/h buy. I have to cover my eyes.
 
I can believe that, I used mine with a sub but there were no digital crossovers in those days so they still got fed full range.

I still occasionally see people on forums recommending them as a good budget s/h buy. I have to cover my eyes.
You know, it's the craze for and belief in British HiFi that creates that demand, the price.

Incidentally, the so-called "British HiFi sound" is something that even some English people (on this forum) are skeptical about:


A performance (myth?) which is of course held up by ....guess who....:) :


Edit:
Having said that, yes there is also really good HiFi from England, KEF and Wharfedale for example. :)

Edit 2:
Damn, sorry I missed it. You're from England! Then of course you know everything I wrote in this post.:)
 
Last edited:
You know, it's the craze for and belief in British HiFi that creates that demand, the price.

Incidentally, the so-called "British HiFi sound" is something that even some English people (on this forum) are skeptical about:


A performance (myth?) which is of course held up by ....guess who....:) :


Edit:
Having said that, yes there is also really good HiFi from England, KEF and Wharfedale for example. :)

Edit 2:
Damn, sorry I missed it. You're from England! Then of course you know everything I wrote in this post.:)
Maybe there is a 'British sound' with loudspeakers, I can sort of buy that. On the other hand, concerned as I am about my country's balance of payments, my system is Chinese, Dutch, American and French.
 
Back
Top Bottom