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Review and Measurements of CHORD Qutest DAC

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So out of interest what cheaper Dacs compete with the Qutest?
3 people in a room: me, a friend and friend's wife.
System: Dali Oberon 7 powered by Atoll IN200 Signature, Van den Hul cables.
We all agreed Topping D90 MQA sounds a little better than Qutest (we tested them side by side), even though it was hard to choose from. When price also comes into play, the Topping wins.
So he kept the D90 and sent the Qutest back. We also tested Denafrips Ares II and Atoll MS120 (it's actually a streamer). I kept the Atoll because I like the sound of class A output. Denafrips wasn't bad either, I just liked rock on the MS120 better.
 

BDWoody

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3 people in a room: me, a friend and friend's wife.
System: Dali Oberon 7 powered by Atoll IN200 Signature, Van den Hul cables.
We all agreed Topping D90 MQA sounds a little better than Qutest (we tested them side by side), even though it was hard to choose from. When price also comes into play, the Topping wins.
So he kept the D90 and sent the Qutest back. We also tested Denafrips Ares II and Atoll MS120 (it's actually a streamer). I kept the Atoll because I like the sound of class A output. Denafrips wasn't bad either, I just liked rock on the MS120 better.
Did you use controls on this listening session?

Level match? Blind test and switcher?

Without those basics, it's going to be hard to make much out of that.
 

smallricey

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Thank you for

Thank you for your comment. It would be interesting if amir made a comparison of Chord's input power supply with a Chord tt2 dac, with one, or everything I mentioned in my first Post. It is certainly no coincidence that many serious manufacturers choose linear rather than intermittent power supply. And in fact two !! (https://us.auralic.com/products/aries-g2-1?variant=34539988615336. Please read the section referring to the dc power supply of the device.

Surely they know more than us and Amir ...
Just like expensive dish would add gold leaf to raise up it's value. It doesn't taste better, so why do they do it?
 
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This excerpt from https://www.techradar.com/reviews/chord-qutest.

A site that also does the "observation" part of science by listening to audio equipment.

Performance
The only reason to invest in a high calibre DAC like this is to extract more detail from your digital recordings - and there’s no question that the Qutest succeeds in that regard as it lifted a veil on David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs (a Japanese SHM-CD release).
During the opening of Future Legend, just before the band crash in the album’s title track, we found ourselves able to isolate hubbub in the faux crowd that we’ve not pinpointed before in umpteen listens. Similarly, the lilting piano refrain in Sweet Thing found itself elevated above that track’s improvised chaos. Using the Qutest was like hearing the song again for the first time.
 
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I demoed the Mojo today with my DT 990 (600 ohm) and boy I was very impressed. It sounded like a portable Topping set-up lol. Powerful and neutral/clean. At one point we accidentally set the volume too high but there was no distortion whatsoever.

Chord builds their stuff really well too. I am glad that a highly regarded audiophile company also cares about measurements and they don't have to measure the best to be good. Build/design and user experience are important too.
 
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This excerpt from https://www.techradar.com/reviews/chord-qutest.

A site that also does the "observation" part of science by listening to audio equipment.

Performance
The only reason to invest in a high calibre DAC like this is to extract more detail from your digital recordings - and there’s no question that the Qutest succeeds in that regard as it lifted a veil on David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs (a Japanese SHM-CD release).
During the opening of Future Legend, just before the band crash in the album’s title track, we found ourselves able to isolate hubbub in the faux crowd that we’ve not pinpointed before in umpteen listens. Similarly, the lilting piano refrain in Sweet Thing found itself elevated above that track’s improvised chaos. Using the Qutest was like hearing the song again for the first time.
I love my chord Qutest. In combination with the sparko aries and audeze LCD4 it could be the best consumer product combo ive ever heard. And ive sold top end hifi.

Of course thats all subjective. I dont have the gear or skills to measure it.

I think it shades my burson conductor 3x for SQ. But the burson has a remote and functionality/connectivity the qutest/aries combo doesnt so the burson is in my main music/AV system while the qutest/aries is on my home office desktop.
 
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I love my chord Qutest. In combination with the sparko aries and audeze LCD4 it could be the best consumer product combo ive ever heard. And ive sold top end hifi.

Of course thats all subjective. I dont have the gear or skills to measure it.

I think it shades my burson conductor 3x for SQ. But the burson has a remote and functionality/connectivity the qutest/aries combo doesnt so the burson is in my main music/AV system while the qutest/aries is on my home office desktop.
I'd like the LCD-4 myself if they didn't replace the upper mids with the Grand Canyon. The newest version has almost zero ear gain and they sound muffled by neutral standards. That's not acceptable for $4K even if the rest of the response is decent.

Sean Olive measured them recently:
EufL7FlUUAErEhj.jpg


EvFr6pdVkAIdyT2.jpg
 
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I'd like the LCD-4 myself if they didn't replace the upper mids with the Grand Canyon. The newest version has almost zero ear gain and they sound muffled by neutral standards. That's not acceptable for $4K even if the rest of the response is decent.
It only needs one or two bands of PEQ depending on your bass preferences. Headphones always need signal processing anyway, so I'd call that a success, overall.

Not the best value proposition compared to the 2 and 2C though.
 
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I'd like the LCD-4 myself if they didn't replace the upper mids with the Grand Canyon. The newest version has almost zero ear gain and they sound muffled by neutral standards. That's not acceptable for $4K even if the rest of the response is decent.

Sean Olive measured them recently:
View attachment 116011

View attachment 116012
What about the other LCD VARIANTS like the mx4 and 4z?
 
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I'd like the LCD-4 myself if they didn't replace the upper mids with the Grand Canyon. The newest version has almost zero ear gain and they sound muffled by neutral standards. That's not acceptable for $4K even if the rest of the response is decent.

Sean Olive measured them recently:
View attachment 116011

View attachment 116012
I'm all for measurement Dealux, but I'm always at gigs and in the end music is an emotional experience to me. How close does my equipment bring me to the emotional experience of a live performance?

The problem here is while the LCD4s are VERY expensive and have measured flaws, with the right front end they bring me emotionally closer than anything else out there I've tried. I don't feel the upper mids are "muffled", or if they are, well the trade offs are worth it. I've never heard the LCD2s but I also have the LCD3s (practically mint and going on sale) and the LCDxc (essential for many situations where I have sound leakage problems both in and out)

I'm not in the golden ear brigade, far from it, I'm an audiofool sceptic and don't trust their fairy dust.

But the measurement fanatics I don't agree with either, even though I think measurements are really interesting and really important. I'm a double blind randomised trial kind of guy, from my science background. After all, this is about auditory perception and emotional response.

You know what i'd really like to see, and it might be out there already, but i'd like to see trials that determine which measurements are the most important for delivering emotional satisfaction. Please point me to a thread on that if there is one here.

Worshipping measurements without context is a fools game. The context is what do the measurements deliver in a correlation with emotional satisfaction. Please anyone don't take that personally, that's not my intent at all. I really like and value this site and what I learn from it, and I respect the measurement exponents.

It's not an easy question to answer and different measurements will equate to different people's emotional satifaction. Beats by Dre and Bose are two products I avoid like the plague. But when I sold hifi 30 years ago I sold so much Bose and it made so many people so happy. That says a lot. I trained a lot of ears too, it was a journey for many people.
 
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It only needs one or two bands of PEQ depending on your bass preferences. Headphones always need signal processing anyway, so I'd call that a success, overall.

Not the best value proposition compared to the 2 and 2C though.
The LCD-2F I had was similar and EQ didn't really help all that much. They were super honky at 700-900 Hz, the kind even EQ can't adequately remove, and the LCD-4 seems to have a similar issue given the measurements and identical pads.
I'm all for measurement Dealux, but I'm always at gigs and in the end music is an emotional experience to me. How close does my equipment bring me to the emotional experience of a live performance?

The problem here is while the LCD4s are VERY expensive and have measured flaws, with the right front end they bring me emotionally closer than anything else out there I've tried. I don't feel the upper mids are "muffled", or if they are, well the trade offs are worth it. I've never heard the LCD2s but I also have the LCD3s (practically mint and going on sale) and the LCDxc (essential for many situations where I have sound leakage problems both in and out)

I'm not in the golden ear brigade, far from it, I'm an audiofool sceptic and don't trust their fairy dust.

But the measurement fanatics I don't agree with either, even though I think measurements are really interesting and really important. I'm a double blind randomised trial kind of guy, from my science background. After all, this is about auditory perception and emotional response.

You know what i'd really like to see, and it might be out there already, but i'd like to see trials that determine which measurements are the most important for delivering emotional satisfaction. Please point me to a thread on that if there is one here.

Worshipping measurements without context is a fools game. The context is what do the measurements deliver in a correlation with emotional satisfaction. Please anyone don't take that personally, that's not my intent at all. I really like and value this site and what I learn from it, and I respect the measurement exponents.

It's not an easy question to answer and different measurements will equate to different people's emotional satifaction. Beats by Dre and Bose are two products I avoid like the plague. But when I sold hifi 30 years ago I sold so much Bose and it made so many people so happy. That says a lot. I trained a lot of ears too, it was a journey for many people.
Your LCD-4 might be older though. The newest models don't sound that good allegedly.
 
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The LCD-2F I had was similar and EQ didn't really help all that much. They were super honky at 700-900 Hz, the kind even EQ can't adequately remove, and the LCD-4 seems to have a similar issue given the measurements and identical pads.
Do they still sell the "vegan" pads? Ditching the leather usually helps with those kind of things.
 

Frank Dernie

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You know what i'd really like to see, and it might be out there already, but i'd like to see trials that determine which measurements are the most important for delivering emotional satisfaction. Please point me to a thread on that if there is one here.
PMFJI but I find the emotional content to be in the recording and not the equipment, myself.
I find the most emotionally exciting and enjoyable recordings I own sound emotional on even modest equipment, including the standard car stereo.
I need good equipment for wide frequency response and dynamics but, IME, not at all for the emotional side of music.
In fact an emotion free audiophile quality recording such as those usually used at demos and shows on super quality equipment doesn't give the emotional satisfaction of some of my old historic recordings did on my mother's radiogram.

Emotion comes from the musician, not the equipment.
If you search for emotion from the kit you are in for a long, expensive, fruitless journey IMO.
 
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PMFJI but I find the emotional content to be in the recording and not the equipment, myself.
I find the most emotionally exciting and enjoyable recordings I own sound emotional on even modest equipment, including the standard car stereo.
I need good equipment for wide frequency response and dynamics but, IME, not at all for the emotional side of music.
In fact an emotion free audiophile quality recording such as those usually used at demos and shows on super quality equipment doesn't give the emotional satisfaction of some of my old historic recordings did on my mother's radiogram.

Emotion comes from the musician, not the equipment.
If you search for emotion from the kit you are in for a long, expensive, fruitless journey IMO.
You are right Frank the recording or performance is the most important for emotional response.

but the PA and sound desk and mixer at a gig, or the home hifi equipment, are the delivery system. If they fail the content suffers. it's a chain where every link is important.
 
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The LCD-2F I had was similar and EQ didn't really help all that much. They were super honky at 700-900 Hz, the kind even EQ can't adequately remove, and the LCD-4 seems to have a similar issue given the measurements and identical pads.

Your LCD-4 might be older though. The newest models don't sound that good allegedly.
they are 6 months old. I've been working my way up the chain. I'll try and find some older ones to compare. All I can say is that these put a massive smile on my face and are better than my LCD3 and LCDxc. That doesn't mean they don't have flaws. We're far from perfection in music reproduction.

I'm not a musician either so I don't have a trained ear. Or a sound engineer. But I know that there may be some things others consider flaws that I don't notice.

I do know that there are lots of recordings of music I like where the mix annoys me. And lots of gigs where the sound desk got it wrong.

There was one memorable gig where Jeff Lang, an Australian guitarist singer/songwriter stopped the gig and gave the sound desk an extensive lecture about exactly what he wanted.
 

Frank Dernie

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You are right Frank the recording or performance is the most important for emotional response.

but the PA and sound desk and mixer at a gig, or the home hifi equipment, are the delivery system. If they fail the content suffers. it's a chain where every link is important.
Well yes, they can ruin it!
Hoping to get more emotion from more accurate reproduction isn't going to happen though, IME.
In fact, it is the recording that makes most difference - to sound quality and emotional musicianship - than the hardware we play it on.
Mind you I understand equipment enthusiasm :) having indulged in it for over 50 years.
Just don't expect more from it than it is capable of giving.
 
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Hoping to get more emotion from more accurate reproduction isn't going to happen though, IME.
You are 100% right and somewhat wrong. What are the measurements that count? What gives us our emotional bang for our buck? It might be out there and I haven't come across it, but the right psycho acoustic research could tell us which measurements are most important.

Valves are less accurate, more distortion, but it's good distortion according to some.

https://www.kenrockwell.com/audio/why-tubes-sound-better.htm
 

Frank Dernie

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oh another when ricky lee jones walked off stage half way through cos she had feedback
I am an old bloke, back when I was regularly going to gigs there was no sound desk. The musicians and roadies sorted out the microphones and amps then twiddled a bit during the performance.
It was amusing that it got steadily louder through the concert as each one turned themselves up a bit.
The SQ was very variable and the "technology" used too. Pink Floyd were using loads of tapes even from late 1960s. Mind you there weren't the massive stacks of speakers and amps we see today.
A lot of folk music was acoustic with either no, at small venues like "The Troubadour", sound amplification or a single microphone and amp with the balance achieved by the musician moving, or moving the mike (still my preferred way to get a balance, both for performance and recording but I am old school and ignorant in the ways of multi track recording and why it often f&cks things up so comprehensively).
It is impressive to watch an old video of a folk group performing on stage together and moving to and from a single mike depending on who had the lead.
 
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