Thank you for the review.
As a general comment, I believe that you should sometimes provide more info regarding the way you test. For example, you say that you preferred the coaxial output. Was a usb-to-spdif converter or a CD/SACD Player the source? In the second case, did QuteHD improve on the original CD Player sound?
On a personal note, I have around 1200 euro to spend on a modern CD Player, or buy the QuteHD and connect it to my mid-range CD/Blu-ray Player. For CD listening, I cannot decide on which choice would give me the better sound quality.
We usually test the coax inputs of DACs with either the digital output of our reference Naim NDS/555ps streamer or a Cyrus CD transport. On occasion a Audiolab 8200CD player is called into action too.
I can't answer the CD player question. It would depend on the quality of the transport you used with the DAC, the ability of the CD player and the compatibility of your system. Also, whether the additional digital inputs of the Chord are important. It's best to have a listen and then decide.
I saw one of these at my Hi-Fi dealier, actually held it in my hand.
It is tiny, absolutely tiny, seems almost hollow ... and costs £990 !!
My dealer purrs on endlessly about Chord being an electronic genius company. But where's the substance in the product? Presumambly 50% must be in the software / proprietry conversion.
They sell this DAC like hot cakes.
If possible I'd like to put this DAC up against the Naim DAC V1. At least with the Naim you get substance, multiple connectivity, a pre-amp / headphone, on board power, a display ... I could go on.
As for DSD, my dealer reckons it just won't catch on commercially. Only classical / obscure stuff (to me), the files are massive to download and store etc.
I never felt the need to move for SACD vs CD. I view DSD vs FLAC in the same way. Time will tell.
It's true the Naim has more features, and the Chord is a small unit. But size and weight are generally unreliable indicators of quality, and the extra features are only important if you need them. If you do, then the Chord isn't for you anyway. In that case, Audiolab's considerably cheaper M-DAC makes a great buy. As for the Naim, we should be formally testing that soon.
DSD replay seems to increasingly important to a certain group of readers. That's why we now highlight it when a DAC has this feature.
I like the ESS Sabre DAC, I have it in two pieces of kit. But as I'm looking to put a new DAC between Cyrus sources and the analogue inputs of a Cyrus pre-amp / dual mono power, I know from experience the ESS Sabre DAC is too energetic sounding for insertion in a Cyrus system, particularly extended listening periods. So that's a no-go to the M-DAC.
The review of the DAC XP+ also puts me off getting the DAC X+ or getting my 8xpdQX upgraded, unless Cyrus have something new in the pipeline.
I'll look forward to the review of the DAC V1.
Maybe you can get the TEAC UD-501 in the frame for a three way shoot out with the DAC V1 and the QuteHD?
I actually take great stock from this site when purchasing, and my Audiolab 8200CD, PMC twenty22, Monitor Audio GX50, and twin Cyrus Mono X have all been selected after receiving their 5 star results.
I'd agree. Ideally they'll follow up with a DSD DAC shoot out - red book CD versus hires PCM versus DSD.
There are other negatives to consider: no XLR or headphones outputs
No date on the review ?
Considering that a number of DSD tracks are freely available for download from 2L and Bluecoast it is more than a little dissapointing that the reviewer didn't sample the DAC's DSD performance.
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