Is the Chord Qutest A Worthwhile Purchase?

Hi All
This is my first question/topic on here, so please excuse any numpty questions.
As per title would it be a worthwhile upgrade?
Current brief setup is as follows:-
Innuos Mk2 Mini Server as roon core
Usb out to HiFace Two SPDIF to Coaxial Converter
Denon AVCA1 AMP ( KAVCA1SE upgraded fitted, its an Old School AV Amp :blush: :grin:)
4 Zone Sonos system
Q Acoustics Concept 40 floorstanding speakers for 2 channel output.
My suspicion is that the Hiface is the weak link in the chain, your thoughts please



I guess you’re using the DAC in the Denon?

If so, connecting a Qutest won’t do anything.

Hi Slim
Thanks for the reply.
I was thinking of taking the hiface out of the equation. Connecting the Qutest directly to the innuos then out using the analogue outputs from the Qutest to the 2 stereo rca channel inputs on the Denon. Not sure how much better the sound would be compared to my current set up.

I haven’t got a chord dac myself but having heard a predecessor to the Qutest in a friends system I would say that you are likely to get a large improvement over the dac in your Denon. A good dealer should be able to let you try in your own system before you commit to a purchase.

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Yeah, as long as there is no internal DAC on the Denon being involved then GTG.

I have been auditioning a Qutest for the past two weeks. It was used in place of a Marantz HD-1 DAC. I have a Mojo/Poly now which introduced me to the Chord sound, and the Qutest is more of that. Hard to describe, things sound clearer, the speakers seem to be less present and bigger at the same time if that makes sense.

Long story short I bought it!

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AFAIK all the Chord DACs use Rob Watts’ WTA filter in custom programmed FPGA chips (as distinct from off the shelf chips from ESS, TI, AKM etc etc) which gives them a ‘house sound’

As you move up the range from Qutest via Hugo to Dave you get a longer Tap Length (an index of processing power of the FPGA). According to Rob once you reach a Tap Length a little over 1m you can perfectly reconstruct an analogue signal from the digital source as per Nyquist-Shannon (in other words you get a real world engineered solution to a mathematical theorem)

My experience of the Hugo and Dave/Blu2 is that the timing is spot on, imaging is amazing (such that the way the mix is laid out becomes clear) and your bass is strong and tuneful

Although the Qutest has ‘only’ about 50k tap length (so some way off ‘ideal’) the concept is the same and I would wholeheartedly recommend an audition

I recently purchased a Chord Qutest and its a great DAC. I use it in my office headphone amp system. The DAC receives signal from my imac (Roon core and Audirvana) via USB cable. It also receives signal from my Bryston BDP-1 media player via BNC cable. Chord Qutest analog out to a Stellar Gain Cell DAC functioning as a preamp. Makes very good music. The Chord Qutest is Roon Ready and recognized as a Roon zone via USB.

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Qutest and Hugo2 will sound about the same. The difference is Hugo2 has a headphone amp and battery.

Hugo TT 2 being a clear jump up from the Qutest/Hugo2 and Dave another one yet. I’ve actually been gawking at the MScaler, but probably wont buy one. The Roon upsampling does a good job, although the MScalers should be more refined.

Thanks everyone for the replies.
I have a Qutest on the way, on try before you buy basis.
Will let you know my thoughts…
Cheers J

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Was thinking of getting one of these but not sure whether it would be a worthwhile upgrade from an Audiolab M-DAC?.

Not sure Terry, but Audiolab make some very good dacs, try before you buy is the way forward, anyway…

I now have the Qutest connected and working :grin: it arrived yesterday…
Some questions for Chord/Roon users will no doubt follow…

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First impressions?

Hello there :grinning:
Did you keep the Qutest? What were your impression?

I love my Qutest. It’s much more detailed yet less “digital” sounding than the DAC in my McIntosh MA9000 or previous DACS, including Mytek Brooklyn +, RME ADA, and iFi DSD Pro.


I had (still have) the Chord Hugo as my portable DAC/headphone Amp and really liked the Chord sound; so much so I got my self a Quetest(sp) to fit in to my main system.

I have nothing but praise for both.

I would have to agree with @Glimmer, my slide down the Chord slope started with a Mojo though. I remember marveling at how great the music sounded out of the Mojo, which led to a TT2 and MScaler combo.

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I’m using my Qutest with the M-Scaler for my main system. Very happy with the sound quality. I chose the Qutest because I didn’t need the headphone capability or the XLR interconnects even though my Preamp accepts them (.5 meter Audioquest Wind RCA’s carry the signal).

Qutest as a stand-alone is a fine DAC. With the M-Scaler it’s capable of 768 upscaling, which I use with Silver Dragon BNC cables, and creates a sound-stage that reaches out to you and goes wide and deep when the recording allows.

Qutest is definitely a build-on-system quality component that I’m keeping. Happy listening, all.

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The same jorney here.
TT2/HMS driving my speakers now and Mojo got Poly for mobile headphone duties.