Chord Electronics Qutest DAC Review

September 17, 2019 § Leave a comment

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I connected the Qutest to said auxiliary battery supply figuring that, now the Qutest is being powered exactly like the Hugo 2. So if it’s in some way the pure DC from a battery that’s accounting for the difference in sound performance I was experiencing, this should level the playing field. Again, I noticed no difference between the Qutest on battery power and the Qutest on mains-derived 5 V USB power. There has to be some other reason why these two supposedly identical D-to-A circuits sounded so different. All other things being equal the difference would almost have to be in each unit’s analog output stage. I have no way of knowing how the two line-level output stages differ, but clearly they do. The web-site spec sheets are no help as the Qutest shows the specs for the line-level output and the Hugo 2 spec sheet shows the specs for the headphone driver amp – which when listening through the line-level outputs has no relevance to to the Qutest output.”


dCS Bartok DAC $13,500 Review

September 11, 2019 § Leave a comment


Returning to our original conversation, you don’t have to be an aristocrat to have a dCS Bartok of your very own. If you love music, and you want a top-quality digital front end that will offer enough performance to stay put, the Bartok is a winner. The performance that it provides more than justifies the price asked. dCS has put a considerable helping of their top technology in a package that outperforms many far more expensive boutique DACs.”

Ciúnas Audio ISO DAC

August 13, 2019 § Leave a comment

AudioQuest’s DragonFly Cobalt Review

August 5, 2019 § Leave a comment

Schiit Audio’s Modi Multibit DAC Review

July 31, 2019 § Leave a comment


July 12, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Every manufactured chip has limitations and generally made to a price point and design criteria. The chip cannot be auditioned before production, and although it is logically and mathematically sound, you have to wonder if they’re designed with the utmost sound quality in mind?

At Chord Electronics, things are done a little differently. Rob Watts’ FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Arrays) approach allows him to design digital circuits with total control over the hardware. So by designing a DAC using FPGA and discrete analog components, it is possible to have increased flexibility over the rigid performance aspects compared to typical off-the-shelf DAC chips.

Watts’ considered approach to ultimate DAC design is to utilise far more complex calculations than was ever thought to be needed, with unheard of long interpolation filters which he designs using what’s known as a windowed-sinc technique. He calculated that a 1,000,000 tap filter (with the number of taps being the indicator of how complex the FIR filter is) is needed to guarantee 16-bit performance from the interpolation filter, a number that was so inconceivably high that many thought that it would be impossible to build. ”

Primare Prisma I15 Integrated Amplifier/Dac $1,999 Review

July 9, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Leaving to one side the late French maître’s insistent and occasionally heavy-handed Catholic mysticism and bird- song obsessions, Messiaen’s cornucopia of colorful sonic delights is nearly boundless. Listening to a performance of Eclairs sur l’Au Delà (Lightning over the Hereafter) , a late orchestral work, I was stunned by its ninth section, an astonishing, rhythmically free representation of forest birdsong that may well be the best musical representation of a naturalistic soundscape ever composed. The tumbling, teetering jumble of high woodwinds—flutes, piccolos, clarinets—demanded clarity, treble finesse, and top-octave air in great quantities, and the Prisma I15’s digital-to-analog and amplifying processes delivered these unrestricted for one of those literally hair-raising listening moments.

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