Ive been doing a lot of nightly listening sessions comparing the sound of Chord Electronics Hugo MScaler with HQPlayer filters - both setup as PCM. I have a well tuned DAC-direct loudspeaker setup in a mid-field listening room. I run Audiowise, so I used all my RF isolation kit to maximize transparency.
There is sentiment that the extreme length of the sinc filter used by MScaler is extreme overkill and introduces some false euphonics. Not everyone agrees what sounds best. Still, there is good market success of Chord DACs and credible arguments from Rob Watts that it takes a long sinc filter (and high order noise shaper) to properly recreate the original analog samples and preserve all the depth and staging of the recording. Myself, i can listen to MScaled Chord DACs all day and find great enjoyment in how they sound.
Its been great to have a system that allows me to conveniently switch MScaler/HQP with extreme RF isolation to ensure that all I am listening to is the filtering technology behind each - no conducted or radiated noise to obfuscate transparency.The MScaler is a digital-to-digital device and the internals are just mathematics for a single filter implemented in an FPGA. Jussi’s excellent HQPlayer filter engine has a broad number of variations - all implemented at the utmost precision possible. Moreso, HQPlayer’s technical implementation is so optimized that i’m incredulous how much PCM performance is extracted from ordinary hardware.
Many posts on this thread relate to a choice of HQPlayer PCM filter based on personal preference - and all probably well considered, too. But when it comes down to finding a HQP filter combination that comes closest to the sonic signature of MScaler, it is, IMO, ‘Sinc-M’ filter and ‘LNS15’ noise shaper. Sinc-M’s ultra-long filter may slightly accentuate the ‘recording venue echo’ versus ‘poly-sinc-long-lp’ or ‘poly-sinc-ext2’ (Jussi’s fav) - but i find that Sinc-M energizes the room better and ‘feels’ more effortless. When combined with LNS15 (15th order shaper - thanks Jussi) the depth increases and placement of artists is better. My A/B switch between MScaler and HQP with these settings actually indicates a preference for HQP - and I am being as objective as possible.
Many thanks to Jussi for his great work. I’d be very interested in others who have Chord kit and extremely resolving headphone setups who can corroborate my impressions.