Linear Power supply question, does it matter if streaming?

I have a Nucleus that I had connected by USB directly to my DAC. I added a LPS to power the DAC and noticed no difference. I then changed my output configuration to include a RPi running Ropieee and noticed no difference. I added an LPS to the DAC and noticed no difference. YMMV. Two things that did make a noticeable difference was changing to a 300B tube amp and adding a better DAC.


I’ve seen posts here about black magic. People are superstitious about things they don’t understand, I think.



Yes, it should.


The guy who designed the Qutest is called Rob Watts. He recommends connecting to the Qutest using optical rather than USB, and/or using a low power source. (Ie probably not a Nucleus). He has posted at length on this issue on the Qutest thread on head-fi.

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Short answer; no it doesn’t matter.


Thanks, I’ve actually found a used Hugo 2, that I plan to possibly use in my rack. Should sound the same as Qutest (I think) add portability and also potentially work better from USB at least according to that thread. Also accoridng to that thread, it sounds like optical is only slightly better than USB with a low power source. So I think with my Ras Pi 4 and USB it will probably sound just fine. Though if I do get the Hugo 2 I may pick up a 2go- I’m curious how much if any the sq imporvement on that is over a Pi?

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I’ve had a Hugo, a TT and now own an MScaler/DAVE and have been very happy with how they sound. If you can get a Hugo2 I am sure you will enjoy your music. My take away reading all the Chord threads in headfi is that you if you want to squeeze the last drop of performance out of their DACs it’s safest/best to use a low power, or even battery powered, source that is doing as little as possible for the DAC. So a Raspberry Pi would fit that strategy, as would a 2Go, But if I were you I would read the huge 2Go thread on HeadFi first - the product has given rise to tales of woe and frustration that would put me off, although maybe they have solved the many problems by now. An alternative might be something like the iFi Zen Stream - there is a thread about it on here.

2Go: Chord 2Go & 2Yu Wired/Wireless Network streamer and S/PDIF adaptor - Official thread | Headphone Reviews and Discussion -

IFi Zen Stream: New iFi Zen Stream device - #222 by Louis_Butwin

Optical is a good approach to avoid common problems.

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Huh! I would say that optical is an almost certainly unnecessary contortion to avoid mythically unlikely problems.


And if the guy that actually designed the DAC in question thinks otherwise …?

I’m realizing that you can get a NUC with a Toslink out. May try setting that up going either to the Hugo 2 or the Qutest. Keeps it simple to my have server wired right in, though I guess then consideration of Power supply may be neccesary.

I’d like to just set up a Ras Pi with a SPDIF or optical out but it seems like that would limit to 24/192, less than what the USB can do.

Personally, I’d get a DAC designed by someone else, if that were the case.

Look, you probably know my prejudices by now. I think commercial production and component reduction of successful approaches are the surest route to a carefree musical existence. I believe in high-end team engineering. I do not think of audio components as nifty lifestyle accessories.

Small boutique audio shops with low volume production often are constrained by the limits of their people’s experience and expertise, and by their need to find some kind of product differentiation. The first constraint means that while part of their components is really great, other parts may be complete crap, because they don’t have all the expertise they need. Particularly with DACs, as they require both digital and analog expertise. The second constraint is also really tough, because it makes it hard for them to profit from the proceeds of inevitable technological progress. How do they justify slapping in a $25 chip from ESS, AKM, or TI and then selling their product for thousands of dollars?

And sure, if for some inconceivable-to-me reason you are buying these often uneven components, you may need to provide extra “stuff” to ameliorate their shortcomings. But my advice would be not to acquire them in the first place. Then you won’t need the exotic scaffolding.


My understanding from reading that thread is that the person who made the DAC- Rob Watts- suggests that optical has a slight advantage to usb on the qutest but on the Hugo they would sound the same. So it’s not like something that completely won’t work or something.

Which DAC would you recommend? I wanted the Chord qutest or Hugo 2 because I like the way my Chord Mojo sounds. I also own a Schiit Modi and the Chord Mojo sounds better. My understanding is chord uses an FPGA chip and programs it themselves. I like the sound so that’s what my plan was but I’m open to suggestions on a great dac to ideally just power by a rasberry pi.


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Why would you want that? Do you really believe they know better somehow about how to build a chip for D/A conversion than the folks who make the mass-market chips and improve them every year? I don’t. Use of an FPGA is a sign of a small product run, and a warning flag about the product.

Well, that’s great, but bear in mind that the human senses, including hearing, are some of the most erratic and unreliable sensors around.

If I wanted “a great dac to ideally just power by a raspberry pi”, I’d be tempted to go get one of those D10s DACs from Topping reviewed last week by @Archimago. Simple, built from 3 chips, measures well, powered over the USB connection, small investment so you can junk it if you don’t like the sound.


I have Chord Qutest and have connected it in various configurations. Directly to Roon Core (fanless windows 10 PC with Matrix Audio Element X USB card), directly over motherboard USB, Raspi 4 streamer via USB and with HiFiBerry Digi + Pro. I’ve powered the Qutest with battery and the Matrix Audio USB card with external battery. All of those signal paths sounded exactly the same to me. My current configuration uses a RaspI 4b as a streamer using Ropieee XL with raspi display. I use that configuration for convenience. For me there’s no difference in sound quality with any of the possible configurations and with any powering options. For me there’s no reason to invest in any special power supplies.


My setup is a NUC 10i7 silent casing connected via usb to a CH2 and to a Benchmark ahb2 to quad esl2905 and it sound fantastic, I have compared side by side with a Nose2i and cannot hear any difference using thee Node2i as streamer only vs the NUC, DAC is ofc better with the CH2 without a doubt, qutest is propably better and cheaper than CH2 unless you listen to headphones like myself, both Chord and Benchmark recommend not to use any other power supply except their own so adding one for the NUC I think is money better spent elsewhere. Suggest you slow start and get the DAC that suits you and usb direct from NUC and upgrade later , the 2go looks perfect on paper but was a pita to use, had 2 and have sold and moved in and will never look back again…ymmv…just my 2cents

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Which silent case do you use? Thanks

I use the ”Akasa Turing FX Compact Fanless 10th Gen NUC Chassis”

Installed myself which means anyone can do it….yes I am that bad :man_facepalming:t3:


Is there a way to buy a nuc without the stock case or do you have to order it as is and then take it out and put it in a fanless case?

I’ve switched to optical from my streamer and noticed a definite improvement with more complex music - symphonies, rock music etc. I didn’t notice much of a difference with jazz.

I’ve also disconnected the coax connection from the streamer which is apparently necessary to ensure galvanic isolation (although there is still a home theatre connection to the amp).

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I think RME and some other manufacturers of professional audio interfaces would take exception to that comment.