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CHORD M-Scaler Review (Upsampler)

Rate this product:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 334 89.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 11 2.9%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 7 1.9%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 22 5.9%

  • Total voters
    374

AudioSceptic

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Honestly we respect your opinion man. We cannot claim it’s accurate in our objective world. Nor is it bad, unless you factor in the cost.

Please consider for one, you cannot provide a realistic and precise benefit of the M scaler. Let’s say for example it made your system 10% better. If paying almost 10,000 dollars more for that than more power to you.

I’ll sacrifice that 10% in heart beat and it’s definitely not a price factor. I got money but absolutely hate getting ripped off.

Lastly, to your revealing system I’ve heard both units. The TT2 alone I will not say anything bad about, subjectively and definitely passes objectively. However in my experience the M scaler makes everything sound like crap to my ears. It literally feels like it downgraded the Dave, TT, and Qutest.

These feelings are sincerely way before these measurements, and when these measurements came out it basically think to myself this is why.

But yet again, not everyone likes everything to be exactly the same. If you are happy enjoy and thanks for sharing your opinion
The M-Scaler doesn't measure as well as one would expect but I'm surprised that it makes Chord DACs actually sound worse. Is that because you *expected*, and failed to get, an improvement in line with the cost which, of course, is unlikely? IOW do you think you would hear this degradation in a blind test?
 

Jimbob54

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Because you are satisfied with mere fidelity. Not getting the incredible perception defying effects of "color, character, and mojo" from an overly clean presentation.

/sarc off
Overly clean = GLARE!
 

Widell

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I just bought an MScaler for my Hugo2 and as a professional composer and musician who's played, sung and recorded for decades in thousands of situations, I can report that the MScaler makes the attack/front end of audio events sound far more like they do in real life than the Hugo2 alone does. The result is an audio signal closer to what musicians were hearing in the room.
Fully agree with you, but please prepare and embrace yourself for a bashing as in this forum you should not have any subjective comments on any equipment, only measurements count........head over to HeadFi if you want subjectiveness ;)
 

BDWoody

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Scanning reviews, the ratio of people who think the MScaler makes Chord DACs sound worse rather than better is at most 1:20. This is probably similar to the ratio of people who think Covid vaccines don't work or that Europe is a country.

Oh boy...not off to a good start when you start insulting the membership on your second post.

Not sure what you are hoping to accomplish, but if you are planning to be here as a member in good faith, you can quit with that kind of stuff.
 

BDWoody

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Fully agree with you, but please prepare and embrace yourself for a bashing as in this forum you should not have any subjective comments on any equipment, only measurements count........head over to HeadFi if you want subjectiveness ;)

That is completely untrue, but a common accusation from those who believe claims should be equal to evidence and don't read far enough to understand what we are about. We welcome subjective reports when done with some basic controls. Without them, they tend to follow the storyline being told by the marketing folks.

I agree though, if you want to discuss veil removals and PRaT scores and plankton, there are better places to do that.
 

BDWoody

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I simply stated a scientifically-verifiable data point. I thought that's what this forum values.

So, the 1:20 posit on the ratio of the reviews has support, since you have chosen to respond with this 'verifiable data point' road? Can you provide the data that supports that? Oh, you were just being snarky? That's what I was talking about. Glad you like your box, but there is nothing anywhere that suggests it improves anything, including a complete lack of actual evidence. Lots of claims like yours, but we're used to that when people buy expensive stuff that doesn't get the praise they want it to.

I'll ask again to put away the six-guns and maybe join in the conversation in good faith, otherwise you can head out now.
 

JSmith

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the attack/front end of audio events
That sounds more like a description of a bouncer kicking someone's ass outside a nightclub. ;)
I can report
Sorry, where is this report you speak of? :cool:

Without further substance, I will err on the side of most likely confirmation bias.


JSmith
 

MacCali

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I just want to consider how do you A/B live music and stereo system? Simply off of memory recollection?

Isn’t most live music, besides orchestra and even than sometimes too being amplified by a similar speaker which suffers the same issues.

So you take your headphones and or your stereo speakers to an event, set them up. Listen to it live and then just start to play your own music when it’s quiet to compare how good your m scaler is.

If you like it man, I can respect that. I really hope you would, but the question is you are not even a 100% sure and there’s no way to test it for certain

Next, was that really worth all that money to get better attack? Plus, as results show degradation of sound quality, even RW said yes that’s true from his own mouth
 

voodooless

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So, another one of those: Guy buys the M-Scaler based on rave reviews, notices it does not sound any different than before, finds ASR, and needs to vent some frustration by claiming it's the best thing since sliced bread :facepalm:
 

MacCali

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So, another one of those: Guy buys the M-Scaler based on rave reviews, notices it does not sound any different than before, finds ASR, and needs to vent some frustration by claiming it's the best thing since sliced bread :facepalm:
I’m not too bothered by that, it’s just like oh this one thing about it is great. But when you look at the matter the rest of it is creating more harm than benefit.

Whether it’s audible or not doesn’t really matter, the harm portion. But at that price and the idea the unit puts forth that this will make your system more amazing is out right crazy lol

Also worse than that is a 200 dollar pi hat out performs it by insane numbers and the unit itself is excellent audibility wise
 
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Hey, be kind to each other, it's almost Christmas.

I am the fool that doesn't know and I bought a TT2 and M Scaler AFTER reading Amir's devastating review/measurement. Measurements are an absolute truth and I will not debate them. Conclusions, however, are biased by personal opinions and maybe even subject to the quantum mechanics of observation. The review starts with no faith whatsoever in the abilities of the machine and the bad exterior/UI design choices. So in this review, the Schrodinger Cat is always dead and - just maybe - a device measures badly when you hate it. I love the TT2, simply because it's my first 'not state of the art but good' DAC compared to my $200 Scarlett audio interface. What's not to love. And I love Star Trek so the design appeals to me. Also, you can't read any DAC review without seeing Chord showing up with five stars in a wide price range. I have a simple rule that says, 'If I can't remember the difference without an A/B, it doesn't matter'. Without naming brands or prices, you can easily remember the difference between a cheap Focusrite Scarlett and a bloody expensive Chord TT2.

M Scaler is a different story. For the first five days, it felt like a rip off. I did not hear any difference in sound quality and the USB windows driver sucks. But I have to admit my Schrodinger Cat was also dead regardless of the observation. I think I bought it because I wanted to hear it myself instead of relying on bad measurements vs near religious praise. I don't want to follow blindly, I want to find out myself. So I did some more research and found out the M Scaler is intended for CD 44.1K/16 bit music as a source. It doesn't do anything for better sources like Tidal Masters. It is claimed (not by me!) that our ears can register transients much faster than CD does (like 4 microseconds vs 20 on CD). I don't know if that's true, but M Scaler tries to fix those timing problems by upsampling and reconstructing the 'rise of the original transient'. So if you're looking for improved sound quality, nothing registers. However, I noticed that music had a better flow with the Chord set. I credited Hugo TT2 for it, but it actually was the M Scaler at work. It grooves and captures you. If you can't dance, you will never hear it. Also, the depth changes from a postcard into a scene. This difference is not subtle at all. Depth perception is closely related to timing differences between the left/right ear. I am aware that depth is often used in audio sales crap, but with good monitors (Neumann) you can get a serious increase in depth perception which you can easily remember. You will not miss it when it's gone unless you're an audio engineer that prefers dynamics and details over loudness. So it's all about timing and it's easy to spot in any blind A/B once you know what to focus on. A week ago I wanted to return M Scaler and keep the TT 2. Now I am super happy I kept it.

Have a great Chrismas and a great 2023!
Robert
 

DavidEdwinAston

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Hey, be kind to each other, it's almost Christmas.

I am the fool that doesn't know and I bought a TT2 and M Scaler AFTER reading Amir's devastating review/measurement. Measurements are an absolute truth and I will not debate them. Conclusions, however, are biased by personal opinions and maybe even subject to the quantum mechanics of observation. The review starts with no faith whatsoever in the abilities of the machine and the bad exterior/UI design choices. So in this review, the Schrodinger Cat is always dead and - just maybe - a device measures badly when you hate it. I love the TT2, simply because it's my first 'not state of the art but good' DAC compared to my $200 Scarlett audio interface. What's not to love. And I love Star Trek so the design appeals to me. Also, you can't read any DAC review without seeing Chord showing up with five stars in a wide price range. I have a simple rule that says, 'If I can't remember the difference without an A/B, it doesn't matter'. Without naming brands or prices, you can easily remember the difference between a cheap Focusrite Scarlett and a bloody expensive Chord TT2.

M Scaler is a different story. For the first five days, it felt like a rip off. I did not hear any difference in sound quality and the USB windows driver sucks. But I have to admit my Schrodinger Cat was also dead regardless of the observation. I think I bought it because I wanted to hear it myself instead of relying on bad measurements vs near religious praise. I don't want to follow blindly, I want to find out myself. So I did some more research and found out the M Scaler is intended for CD 44.1K/16 bit music as a source. It doesn't do anything for better sources like Tidal Masters. It is claimed (not by me!) that our ears can register transients much faster than CD does (like 4 microseconds vs 20 on CD). I don't know if that's true, but M Scaler tries to fix those timing problems by upsampling and reconstructing the 'rise of the original transient'. So if you're looking for improved sound quality, nothing registers. However, I noticed that music had a better flow with the Chord set. I credited Hugo TT2 for it, but it actually was the M Scaler at work. It grooves and captures you. If you can't dance, you will never hear it. Also, the depth changes from a postcard into a scene. This difference is not subtle at all. Depth perception is closely related to timing differences between the left/right ear. I am aware that depth is often used in audio sales crap, but with good monitors (Neumann) you can get a serious increase in depth perception which you can easily remember. You will not miss it when it's gone unless you're an audio engineer that prefers dynamics and details over loudness. So it's all about timing and it's easy to spot in any blind A/B once you know what to focus on. A week ago I wanted to return M Scaler and keep the TT 2. Now I am super happy I kept it.

Have a great Chrismas and a great 2023!
Robert
Love your opening statement. Reminds me of Burr in Hamilton." I'm the Goddamn fool who shot him!"
Pleased you like your expensive purchases, while being puzzled you went ahead after Amirms review.
Best seasonal wishes.
 

charleski

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It is claimed (not by me!) that our ears can register transients much faster than CD does (like 4 microseconds vs 20 on CD).
Just so we're absolutely clear. Anyone who claims the temporal resolution of digital audio is simply 1/fs (which is where the 20usec number comes from) is ignorant, simple as that. It's actually function of both the sampling frequency and bit depth. See
 

MacCali

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Hey, be kind to each other, it's almost Christmas.

I am the fool that doesn't know and I bought a TT2 and M Scaler AFTER reading Amir's devastating review/measurement. Measurements are an absolute truth and I will not debate them. Conclusions, however, are biased by personal opinions and maybe even subject to the quantum mechanics of observation. The review starts with no faith whatsoever in the abilities of the machine and the bad exterior/UI design choices. So in this review, the Schrodinger Cat is always dead and - just maybe - a device measures badly when you hate it. I love the TT2, simply because it's my first 'not state of the art but good' DAC compared to my $200 Scarlett audio interface. What's not to love. And I love Star Trek so the design appeals to me. Also, you can't read any DAC review without seeing Chord showing up with five stars in a wide price range. I have a simple rule that says, 'If I can't remember the difference without an A/B, it doesn't matter'. Without naming brands or prices, you can easily remember the difference between a cheap Focusrite Scarlett and a bloody expensive Chord TT2.

M Scaler is a different story. For the first five days, it felt like a rip off. I did not hear any difference in sound quality and the USB windows driver sucks. But I have to admit my Schrodinger Cat was also dead regardless of the observation. I think I bought it because I wanted to hear it myself instead of relying on bad measurements vs near religious praise. I don't want to follow blindly, I want to find out myself. So I did some more research and found out the M Scaler is intended for CD 44.1K/16 bit music as a source. It doesn't do anything for better sources like Tidal Masters. It is claimed (not by me!) that our ears can register transients much faster than CD does (like 4 microseconds vs 20 on CD). I don't know if that's true, but M Scaler tries to fix those timing problems by upsampling and reconstructing the 'rise of the original transient'. So if you're looking for improved sound quality, nothing registers. However, I noticed that music had a better flow with the Chord set. I credited Hugo TT2 for it, but it actually was the M Scaler at work. It grooves and captures you. If you can't dance, you will never hear it. Also, the depth changes from a postcard into a scene. This difference is not subtle at all. Depth perception is closely related to timing differences between the left/right ear. I am aware that depth is often used in audio sales crap, but with good monitors (Neumann) you can get a serious increase in depth perception which you can easily remember. You will not miss it when it's gone unless you're an audio engineer that prefers dynamics and details over loudness. So it's all about timing and it's easy to spot in any blind A/B once you know what to focus on. A week ago I wanted to return M Scaler and keep the TT 2. Now I am super happy I kept it.

Have a great Chrismas and a great 2023!
Robert
The review started with poor faith as the results were already conclusive. Amir doesn’t do a part by part review. He will complete the measurements and then, if time permits, do a listening test which will require fiddling with the unit and making judgments on looks and ease of use. Second part being fairly subjective.

If you bought a car that says 300 horsepower and put it on a dyno to test and get 200, what type of review could you produce on that car. For example

Second, price to performance is something else which is factored in and in my opinion that’s totally fair.

Did you see his review on the TT2? Price to performance may have been the only issue.

Also what you are stating is most likely accurate, we live in the streaming age. Your point basically means this is even more of a niche product which is even worse. This makes the value proposition of the M scaler fall even further down the pit.

I mean reality wise physical media is definitely slowly disappearing and even discussion of CD players no longer being produced is a topic at hand.

If your point is legitimate I can give some credit to the M scaler only if it’s going to make a sub 500 dollar CD player sound like one that’s a couple grand. But we are unclear if that’s possible for certain and if you must buy a 1-3k player, Qutest, and an m scaler this is a rip and waste of your hard earned money. And that’s the cheap route and you are edging towards 10 grand or more.

Personally, if you bought a singxer SU-6 and decent dac sub 1000 and streamed from your pc the difference in an A/B test would probably be indistinguishable. That’s 2k vs 8k, and that 2k would include 2 years of “free” streaming included in the price. You could probably throw in a 50 dollar pi streamer and get even better performance, if you don’t own a pc
 

mansr

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Just so we're absolutely clear. Anyone who claims the temporal resolution of digital audio is simply 1/fs (which is where the 20usec number comes from) is ignorant, simple as that. It's actually function of both the sampling frequency and bit depth. See
Correction: it's a function of the signal frequency and bit depth (or noise level, whichever is limiting). Maybe I should update the article to make that clearer.
 

charleski

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Correction: it's a function of the signal frequency and bit depth (or noise level, whichever is limiting). Maybe I should update the article to make that clearer.
Yes, but if we’re comparing the resolution to studies looking at maximal auditory temporal discrimination then we’re really talking about the full bandwidth (I should perhaps have said bandwidth rather than sampling frequency, though these are obviously related). Studies using pure tones only produce a best-case discrimination threshold of around 2msec at 1kHz. But the temporal resolution limit is a lot lower (around 10-20usec) in studies that look at more subtle effects using iterated rippled noise, which is a full-bandwidth signal.

You’re absolutely correct, though, that temporal resolution is related to signal frequency. But this is a more general aspect of signal processing that applies in both analog and digital domains.
 
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MacCali

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Correction: it's a function of the signal frequency and bit depth (or noise level, whichever is limiting). Maybe I should update the article to make that clearer.
That's some deep doo doo. Very interesting, having trouble wrapping my mind around the concept after reading the article even though I see what the topic is about. o.o
 

Guettel

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Hey, be kind to each other, it's almost Christmas.

I am the fool that doesn't know and I bought a TT2 and M Scaler AFTER reading Amir's devastating review/measurement. Measurements are an absolute truth and I will not debate them. Conclusions, however, are biased by personal opinions and maybe even subject to the quantum mechanics of observation. The review starts with no faith whatsoever in the abilities of the machine and the bad exterior/UI design choices. So in this review, the Schrodinger Cat is always dead and - just maybe - a device measures badly when you hate it. I love the TT2, simply because it's my first 'not state of the art but good' DAC compared to my $200 Scarlett audio interface. What's not to love. And I love Star Trek so the design appeals to me. Also, you can't read any DAC review without seeing Chord showing up with five stars in a wide price range. I have a simple rule that says, 'If I can't remember the difference without an A/B, it doesn't matter'. Without naming brands or prices, you can easily remember the difference between a cheap Focusrite Scarlett and a bloody expensive Chord TT2.

M Scaler is a different story. For the first five days, it felt like a rip off. I did not hear any difference in sound quality and the USB windows driver sucks. But I have to admit my Schrodinger Cat was also dead regardless of the observation. I think I bought it because I wanted to hear it myself instead of relying on bad measurements vs near religious praise. I don't want to follow blindly, I want to find out myself. So I did some more research and found out the M Scaler is intended for CD 44.1K/16 bit music as a source. It doesn't do anything for better sources like Tidal Masters. It is claimed (not by me!) that our ears can register transients much faster than CD does (like 4 microseconds vs 20 on CD). I don't know if that's true, but M Scaler tries to fix those timing problems by upsampling and reconstructing the 'rise of the original transient'. So if you're looking for improved sound quality, nothing registers. However, I noticed that music had a better flow with the Chord set. I credited Hugo TT2 for it, but it actually was the M Scaler at work. It grooves and captures you. If you can't dance, you will never hear it. Also, the depth changes from a postcard into a scene. This difference is not subtle at all. Depth perception is closely related to timing differences between the left/right ear. I am aware that depth is often used in audio sales crap, but with good monitors (Neumann) you can get a serious increase in depth perception which you can easily remember. You will not miss it when it's gone unless you're an audio engineer that prefers dynamics and details over loudness. So it's all about timing and it's easy to spot in any blind A/B once you know what to focus on. A week ago I wanted to return M Scaler and keep the TT 2. Now I am super happy I kept it.

Have a great Chrismas and a great 2023!
Robert
I'd highly recommend Qobuz instead of Tidal. Tidal is infecting all their files with MQA, even ones they claim to be "lossless". There's a great video on Youtube where someone did a ton of measurements on it.
 
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