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Chord Chordette QuteHD DAC (Read 2252 times)
stone_of_tone
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Chord Chordette QuteHD DAC
08/16/14 at 20:47:41
 
FedEx came early!

Hey, this DAC has no business sounding this good (Redbook), right out of the box with the wall wart that came with it......($1395. delivered) . I look forward to putting 100 hours + on it.

Obviously, LR & Palomino have commented on it too...in the PS Audio thread. Palomino is using the upgraded PSU this weekend. I figured with my initial impressions too...it deserves its own thread... .  
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« Last Edit: 08/16/14 at 20:53:18 by stone_of_tone »  

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beowulf
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Re: Chord Chordette QuteHD DAC
Reply #1 - 08/17/14 at 23:50:46
 
I think Palomino has the Hugo (which is their portable DAC) and also their latest technology.  Is your Chordette the EX version?  If so, this may be very similar to the Hugo, but I believe that the Hugo (even though not as expensive and in a so-so chassis) is considered their best DAC.

I believe Chord will be making a new DAC based on Hugo FPGA coding/tech except in a better chassis, better analog section, better input terminals and upgraded coding.  This is the one that I'm holding out for.  

There is actually two DACs on my radar the new Chord and Tranquility is also coming out with a new one that can do DSD and hi-res files.

Keep us posted on your experiences, I'm interested to know the comparisons of your beloved AA stuff for sure!
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« Last Edit: 08/17/14 at 23:51:35 by beowulf »  
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Palomino
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Re: Chord Chordette QuteHD DAC
Reply #2 - 08/18/14 at 14:01:56
 
I'll post my impressions vs the Direct Stream on the PS Audio thread, but I'll just say here that the Chord QueteHD (and the EX) benefits greatly from a linear Power Supply.  It's not subtle.  MUCH tighter bass and huge soundstage are the first comments I would have.

I did not invest much in the LPSU given I have so little (relatively speaking) invested in the DAC.  I just bought a cheap $150 Chi-fi unit I had some experience with in a 5V version.  My son burned it in over the weekend while I was gone.  I could tell on the first song I put on that it was a significant improvement.

I'll likely buy a USB to SPDIF converter to see what that does for it after I have a baseline with the LPSU.
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Mac Mini with Adirvana, Onkyo ND-S1 Digital Transport (modified) with linear power supply, iPod Classic, Chord QuteHD with Linear Power Supply, Signal Cable Digital Coax, Decware ICs, SE34I.32, PS Audio Power Plant Premier, PS Audio Power Cords, DIY Speakers
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Palomino
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Re: Chord Chordette QuteHD DAC
Reply #3 - 08/18/14 at 15:37:52
 
Beowulf,

I intend to check out the Hugo once the store that I bought the QuteHD from gets another one in.  Their first one got damaged in transit.

It is supposed to top the QuteHD/EX so I'd like to hear it.  Its more than $1K more than what I paid for the Qute, so it would really need to be special before I traded for it (store gives you your original price on trades).
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Mac Mini with Adirvana, Onkyo ND-S1 Digital Transport (modified) with linear power supply, iPod Classic, Chord QuteHD with Linear Power Supply, Signal Cable Digital Coax, Decware ICs, SE34I.32, PS Audio Power Plant Premier, PS Audio Power Cords, DIY Speakers
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Chord Chordette QuteHD DAC
Reply #4 - 08/18/14 at 18:04:31
 
http://www.audiostream.com/content/chord-electronics-chordette-qutehd-dsd-dac

I am surprised you need the upgraded power supply. With my cables an Speakers...not needed. I agree with Mike here above,...and not just because he is a Minnesota resident brethren  ;D.

This QuteHD DAC, gets gate array right! With the extra volt of output needed... . Funny, how that works?  

Mike L, has a nice equipment an cable line up in his main room too.
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« Last Edit: 08/18/14 at 18:06:22 by stone_of_tone »  

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Lonely Raven
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Re: Chord Chordette QuteHD DAC
Reply #5 - 08/18/14 at 18:09:38
 
Quote:
This QuteHD DAC, gets gate array right! With the extra volt of output needed... . Funny, how that works?  


I'm still grumbling about that with the DS. The QuteHD had the push the ZMA likes, and on the RCA side to boot!
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Palomino
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Re: Chord Chordette QuteHD DAC
Reply #6 - 08/18/14 at 18:31:13
 
I saw that review and a lot of others before I bought the QuteHD.  Plus I read this one that mentioned the use of a LPSU:

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/561-chord-electronics-qutehd-review/

And then I started doing web research on using an upgraded power supply and found it's quite common to upgrade the power supply on the QuteHD.  I contacted ted_b (the computer audiophile reviewer) and he suggested strongly that I do it.

For $150 and a couple week's wait, I have found it to be a no-brainer, a slam dunk, a (insert audio or other cliché here).

I'm also thinking about trying the Matrix USB to SPDIF converter he talks about in the article.
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Mac Mini with Adirvana, Onkyo ND-S1 Digital Transport (modified) with linear power supply, iPod Classic, Chord QuteHD with Linear Power Supply, Signal Cable Digital Coax, Decware ICs, SE34I.32, PS Audio Power Plant Premier, PS Audio Power Cords, DIY Speakers
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beowulf
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Re: Chord Chordette QuteHD DAC
Reply #7 - 08/19/14 at 01:01:17
 
@ Palomino ~ can you give us a brand name or link to the LPSU?  THanks.

Also iFi makes a really good USB/SPDIF converter.  I use a Musical Fidelity V-Link 192 (I'm not sure if this is still in production) and preferred it to the USB input on my DAC, but my Rega DAC USB implementation can't go over 24/96 so my main purpose was just to have to the headroom for hi-res files, but it turned out that the SPDIF sounded quite a bit better to me.  My DAC does not have the latest USB asynchronous data transfer mode so in my case SPDIF made a huge difference, however I'm thinking in newer DAC its not going to be as drastic.

Here is a review from a guy who's had both come through his listening environment and gives a comparison of the QuteEX vs. Hugo.  The Hugo seems to have a little more finesse in most categories and I would say that the upcoming DAC is going to rock.
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« Last Edit: 08/19/14 at 01:01:57 by beowulf »  
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Palomino
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Re: Chord Chordette QuteHD DAC
Reply #8 - 08/19/14 at 01:35:46
 
Tera Dak.  Probably not as good as the $500 units but I just didn't want to spend that kind of money.  Definite lift for sure for $150 (listening now).  I bought a 5v version for my digital transport a few years ago and it worked pretty well so I thought I would give them another try.

I have been looking at USB to spdif units under $250.  The current technology seems to be the XMOS chip.  If seen that chip in units as low as $130.  The matrix seems to have two crystals.  As far as I know that is the only difference.  It also seems to work pretty seemlessly with the Mac.  You can spend a lot more but again, I got this DAC relatively cheap so I don't want to spend more on upgrades than the DAC itself.
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Mac Mini with Adirvana, Onkyo ND-S1 Digital Transport (modified) with linear power supply, iPod Classic, Chord QuteHD with Linear Power Supply, Signal Cable Digital Coax, Decware ICs, SE34I.32, PS Audio Power Plant Premier, PS Audio Power Cords, DIY Speakers
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Palomino
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Re: Chord Chordette QuteHD DAC
Reply #9 - 08/19/14 at 01:40:16
 
Also I have not read a review yet that felt the qute measured up to the Hugo.  However, I have yet to read a comparison where the psu and USB/spdif were used on the qute.  Not saying it will but I'd like to hear from someone who has.  Ted_b has and has also spent time with the direct stream so I am waiting on the comparisons.
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Mac Mini with Adirvana, Onkyo ND-S1 Digital Transport (modified) with linear power supply, iPod Classic, Chord QuteHD with Linear Power Supply, Signal Cable Digital Coax, Decware ICs, SE34I.32, PS Audio Power Plant Premier, PS Audio Power Cords, DIY Speakers
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Chord Chordette QuteHD DAC
Reply #10 - 08/19/14 at 18:59:12
 
Yes LR, it is nice to have that extra volt as you have witnessed. I thought I would need to turn the voltage down on my CSP3? However, it is perfect right where it is at with the QuteHD.

I hear you on the PSU Palomino. I feel I don't need it with the articulate gate array bass I'm getting with my Rig. But, don't knock it...till I try it.  I will get one.

Anyway, 37 hours in on the QuteHD. It is doing what my DS did without the reticent laid back sound...(even with the Firmware upgrade)...witnessed by Art Dudley an yours truly. The DS was to overly smooth for me too. The QuteHD puts the color back in with better detail an with the attributes gate array does!

The QuteHD begs the question? How much better is the Chord Hugo or even their best DAC for this matter? Especially, for my tastes, having owned the PS Audio DS DAC... . Splitting hairs...law of diminishing returns an all that... .

The QuteHD is clearly a canabalizer! If I may create and coin a word here!  Kudos to Chord Engineer's!

Having said all this... . I also agree with Art, the DS is fairly priced because (my words) you are paying for a preamp with it an firmware updates.
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« Last Edit: 08/19/14 at 19:32:48 by stone_of_tone »  

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beowulf
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Re: Chord Chordette QuteHD DAC
Reply #11 - 08/19/14 at 19:47:55
 
Nice posts guys, I'm really enjoying this thread so far and the Chord sounds like a great piece of kit for the money.

@ Stone, I think you would be right in your assessment of splitting hairs between the Qute and Hugo.  

However I do think the new DAC will be a nice step in improvement upon the Qute/Hugo FPGA coding and fix the other issues related to Hugo's chassis, etc.  I'm thinking it's going to be a Hugo on steroids.  I hope they can keep the costs reasonable. Cool
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Palomino
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Re: Chord Chordette QuteHD DAC
Reply #12 - 08/19/14 at 20:21:49
 
I'd send you the power supply to play with but I am enjoying it too much.  I got up this morning again to listen and I had to ask myself, how much better than this do I realy need?

I still hope to give the Hugo a listen though.  Just for the fun of it.

I am going to buy a USB to SPDIF converter for the Qute to see what that does for it.  Running off the mini is just too convenient.
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Palomino
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Re: Chord Chordette QuteHD DAC
Reply #13 - 08/21/14 at 14:26:36
 
Well, last night I think I finally heard what the reviewers have been talking about.  It was pretty impressive.  I've said since day one that this is a good DAC.  I think last night I heard a great DAC.

The combo was the Chord with a LPSU fed via SPDIF from my iPod digital transport.  The iPod digital transport might not sound that impressive, but I had my Onkyo ND-S1 modified a few years ago to make it low(er) noise and added a LPSU.  At the time, the guy who did the mods swore that it rivaled $2K CD transports.  I don't think I had a system (or at least a DAC) to show what it could do before now, but I think I believe him.

Anyway, what I heard was truly impressive.  I did A/B comparisons to the Mac mini using USB output, but it wasn't that close.  Especially my first try which was using what I think was a lower priority USB port on the mini.  It sounded absolutely muddy compared to the transport via SPDIF.  I read on line about some mini-tweaks and one of them was to switch USB ports.  I did and this brought it closer to the transport but was noticeably thinner.

I'll spare you a lot of the superlatives, but it was more musical in every way.  Bass hits hard.  So hard in fact that I have to chase down a couple of new vibrations in my room that weren't there before.

My little Rachael still does not have the punch of the ZMA, but it's much closer than it was.

I am going to experiment with a USB to SPDIF converter because the transport will only do redbook and is generally more of a hassle to use (no volume control, no iphone remote, etc.)

So Stone, I think you have been running off a CDP via SPDIF all along, which may explain partially why you didn't feel the need for a LPSU.  I think you will still get a lift, but maybe not as much as I experienced.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Chord Chordette QuteHD DAC
Reply #14 - 08/21/14 at 16:47:01
 
It just goes to show how much more USB still needs to be perfected. However, it is a noble pursuit for convenience/access of a music library. I will continue to wait an be a late adopter.

I think I'm still going to try the LPSU. But, this FPGA DAC, as you know with your Transport to SPDIF input,...it is hitting it with no thinness.

Well, it should not make further improvements with the QuteHD....? However, I am going to put my AA DTI-Pro 32 in the chain. I just need to find my two other COAX into BNC connectors for my 2nd Illuminati D-60 RCA that is needed in the chain (.5 meter). In a box somewhere.

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« Last Edit: 08/21/14 at 19:16:06 by stone_of_tone »  

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