Advice for a native DSD Dac instead of chord Qutest

Hi folks,
The Chord Qutest is my second Chord Dac, I liked these Dacs for many reasons: sound, the way they look, etc…
But currently after many evolutions on my system, I am wondering if an upgrade of the Dac would be interesting, as I am beginning to have a nice DSD library. One of my concern is that there is no native DSD on Qutest without ASIO which is frustrating for several reasons, especially if you use a linux streamer as I do (I can only DoP) .
So I was wondering if some of you may kindly recommend performing native DSD 512 Dacs? That work fine with Linux streamers (ex: usbridge)?based on their experience?
Thanks, enjoy

Nothing wrong with DOP. It’s just a different form of transmission. Qutest can do 768kHz PCM, meaning it supports max DSD256 DOP. Do you have that many DSD 512 tracks?
I know, not answering your question, just an idea…

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If you like Chord, then move up to the DAVE. It does native DSD.

I’ve been thinking abou the T&A DSD DAC 8 (not linux), Holo Spring DAC, RME ADI-2 Pro, Teac UD-503.

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Thank you both for your answers.
Thats true I have mainly dsd128. But time will tell how my library will evolve.
The Dave is out of budget unfortunately. I will have a look at the others.

Denafrips might be worth a look too

As mentioned before, there’s nothing wrong with DoP. The only downside I can think of is that is uses more bandwidth then native.

And, as another Chord owner, I think it’s gonna cost you to find something better than the Chord :wink:

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  • T+A DAC8 DSD plays native DSD 512 under Linux (Amanero FW update required)
    no glitches
  • RME ADI 2 limited to DSD 256 , DoP only

Denafrips Terminator can do DSD1024 and the new Ares II as well

I use a Chord Hugo 2, which is not much different from Qutest

I think several different things are being adressed here:

DSD direct vs. DoP: The signal arrives at the D/A part of the DAC in exactly the same form. DoP simply carries the DSD data encapsulated in PCM frames. No deterioration of quality through this. The only limitation of DoP is that it maxes out at DSD256, while DSD Direct goes to DSD512 on the Qutest

Linux Kernels vs. Windows ASIO. In the latest Linux Kernels, DSD direct is supported for a number of DACs. I have managed to get DSD512 to work on my Hugo 2, but not reliably. Chord would need to register their DACs in the Linux Kernel for seamless DSD direct operation. I have emailed Chord about this, but did not get any committment back from them.

This lack of enthusiasm from Chord is consitent with Rob Watt’s dislike of DSD. His designs do not convert DSD in native form to analogue, but convert to multibit PCM as an interim stage. In doing quite an exhaustive comparison session between DAVE and dCS Purcell / Delius, we found DAVE’s PCM sublime, but the DSD conversion lacklustre.

So if you are really after the best (most pure) DSD to analogue conversion, you probably need to took at T+A’s DACs (DAC8 DSD and SDV3100HV) which both have a conversion engine specifically designed for 1 bit / DSD conversion. Whether you will prefer the result to Qutest is a different question.

If you want to go the HQ Player “convert everything to DSD512” route, you almost have to go for the T+A DACs, as almost everything else will convert back and forth several times, which definitely does not help fidelity.

BTW, the T+A DAC8 has a DSD512 issue with Linux streamers which requires a firmare upgrade of the Amanero component.

My advice is to first think about what exactly you want to achieve. I find the Hugo 2 quite an exceptional DAC for the price and the Qutest should sound the same in theory. If you do not venture beyond DSD256 for the time being, there’s no harm in using DoP.


Thanks for such a valuable contribution!

Has this Amanero FW been approved by T+A to be 100% glitch free?

Or just user feedback so far (which is still valid of course).

Just curious if T+A Engineering have commented and if they now ship with the mentioned firmware…

You may ask T+A for the latest status here:

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I don’t think T+A officially supports the Amanero FW update. Their official stance is still DSD 512 via Windows and ASIO drivers.

Noted. I’ve asked T+A directly for current/latest info. I know the status of 6 months ago but wanted to check current status.

Well, I’ve updated DAC8 DSD USB receiver FW to 2006be10:

Using it daily since more than 6 months from LINUX (HQP NAA / RoonBridge) to play “native” DSD512: No issues !

If T+A does not “officially” supports this new firmware (still “beta”), it may be that, conversely under WiN / ASIO, it is not yet fully stable. I only use it under LINUX and i’m fully satisfied.

Or most likely, they are not happy about users opening up the devices and making the live connection to erase the current firmware. That move, considering the tech level of many users is just asking for people to brick their DAC; and certainly void warranty.

If you upgrade DAC8 DSD firmware to 2.7.0 (to do so a WIN “service tool” and a specific cable is required) then no more needs to open DAC case to erase current USB FW and upgrade Amanero.

It is feasible with some key press on DAC front panel. Obviously still a small risk to brick the DAC during USB or DAC FW upgrade process. I presume DACs currently delivered already contains 2.7 FW.

Did you need to flash CPLD_1081, CPLD_1081_SWAPPEDDSD, or neither?

If i remember correctly i’ve flashed CPLD_1081, not 100% sure, sorry …
Better to ask T+A support (@OE333 on AS is very helpful)

I’ve just caught up with this thread.
Why is the OP so fixated on DSD? With a Chord DAC, Rob Watts’ WTA filters make PCM sound just as good as native DSD, if not better.
If I were in the OP’s position, I would look seriously at the Chord MScaler.
I have a TT2, and am very close to pulling the trigger on HMS.

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