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the sound of Tao

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About the sound of Tao

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  1. On the official Head-Fi thread (where most people who own M scalers seem to be) the general consensus of owners also seem to agree on one particular point... that the M scaler only really comes into it’s own at 1 million taps so as a product the M scaler is largely irrelevant to anyone who can’t access its top upsample capability (which is every existing dac owner out there except for the owners of Chord Hugo 2, Qutest, TT2 and Dave). This isn’t an apology for the M scaler but I certainly feel a USB output version would be very relevant to the dac market and I’d be surprised if it doesn’t eventuate. Another point that comes through very clearly in the experiences of M scaler owners (who are in their greatest numbers on the official Chord M Scaler thread at Head-Fi) is that most all of them it seems... and there would be dozens over there... after having used an m scaler for some time wouldn’t then listen without it. I figure that time required is about as long as it takes for someone to stop thinking about what they are hearing and instead just kick back and listening to the music. Notably though a few of these new owners were very clearly unsure about the ultimate benefit after their initial audition of the m scaler. I feel its more about what you are listening for (particularly in a brief audition) as to whether the m scaler hooks in or not straight away. If you are listening specifically for sonic differences (which is what we tend to do for the first couple of hours when first auditioning a bit of gear) you may not appreciate what it may then be actually doing. When the real value/appreciation/addiction seems to come in is when we regularly start to feel more engaged or connected (or even lost in) the experience of listening to the music. If you are listening for differences I’d suggest you that you are only listening in part rather than whole eg. analysing for tone, resolution, quality of bass etc. But when you stop trying to analyse your experience of this component but just plug it in and play for music and just listen without objective other than listening to the music, that is when you give yourself over to the whole of experience which is also where the emotional connection happens... and this for me is where the m scaler creates an easier and deeper point of engagement. Analysing sound doesn’t feed us dopamine... listening to music can. That is where the pleasure comes from when the Music kicks in and for me the M scaler is a bit of a dopaMine mining Machine. I believe this connection in experience and engagement of music is actually where the m scale does deliver rather than just purely in individual sonic attributes. It’s the way the sounds are organised better rather than just the individual sonic traits themselves... more metadata than data. If you are trying to audition and especially to also then discuss with others what you are hearing then reasonably it is likely you may tend to focus on understanding through specific sonic analysis of elements and parts of sound rather than just being relaxed and passively open to listening to and appreciating the music... which is where I feel the M scale is... I think the M just actually stands for Music.
  2. Haven’t gone with Spotify so unfortunately can’t say... tho I do think the magic starts with 16 bit redbook and upsampling the full million taps.
  3. Setup goes Sotm Snh-10g switch > Sotm 200 Ultra > Chord M Scaler > Chord Qutest All of them are up on stillpoint Ultra 5s and all have linear psu (except the m scaler atm) with Shunyata PCs and all are in Shunyata Triton Typhon combo and with wireworld platinum digital and signal cables.
  4. Have had the marvy m scaler here since early November and so I’ve had plenty of time now to get my head around what m scale brings to the system. Essentially for me it’s greatest trick is just to keep things so naturally clear and flowing that connecting deeply to music becomes much less difficult. There are seeming less distractions because timbre sounds so natural that the brain just locks in. The next point might seem a bit more obscure but I’ll do my best... I find myself thinking less about the differences in recordings and now it just more seems like each album is just different instruments present in the soundfield rather than a different recording being played. Also the intelligibility improves. It’s quite a deal easier to listen through to the vocals. Lyrics become more enmeshed in the music experience so meaningfullness is deeper. The difference between a good singer and a great singer also becomes more immediately evident. The timbre and resolution make subtle nuance easy to track. Other benefits include the closing of the gap that existed between streamed audio with sonically better hi-res downloads. When first streaming off tidal I’d do it on the downstairs system because the Harbeth 30.1s were kinder to the signal whereas the Maggie 20.7s upstairs would make the sonic step backwards involved streaming just a bit too obvious. Now I’d not make that distinction now and my Harby 40.2s and the Pap trio horns (very much as revealing as the Maggie 20.7s) both do zero regret streaming. The M scaler turns any good 16 bit track recording almost into something more like a studio master. That’s for me incredibly impressive because now streaming is essentially sonically seamless. No more apologies for slightly less res music streams and that for a music lover is just absolutely fantastic.
  5. Dave, yes, and I do look forward to seeing how this and other competing approaches and hardware develop over the years to come. Up till now there’s always been a bit of a what if wish for me with digital but this one just kind of stops me asking for too much more anymore. I’d only consider improving on the analogue output stages of the dac so only am open to maybe do one final destination step in the next gen of mid to top chord dacs... but I could just as easily stay with what I’ve got in the end as it’s sounding that involving atm. I also just put in a Sotm Snh-10g Ethernet switch in front of my Sotm ultra and this showed me that there’s even more levels of refinement in other parts of the streaming system to be had still but to be honest I’m enjoying the music too much to justify doing too much more at the front end. Great last words ofcourse but might just instead put the dollars into rolling some more tubes and eventually adding Qobuz to Tidal in my streaming subscriptions.
  6. It’s interesting that since the m scaler really best mates up essentially with chord dacs that the buyers of these essentially then come in three clear budgetary tiers. Upmarket upscalers - the Dave buyers: m scaler cost is from a perspective much less of a challenge given they are used to spending at the higher end. Most all the Dave owners I’ve read (who have either a Blu 2 or m scaler) seem to think m scaler is fairly much a no brainer choice as it adds considerably to the Dave and wouldn’t they be without it. The Mid Market upgrade upsamplers - the TT2 buyers: seem to see the mscaler as an expensive but natural partner... most are seemingly loving their m scalers and very happy Budget busting McScalers - the Hugo 2/Qutest crowd for whom the purchase of a mscaler is (relatively) a then super large investment against the cost of their current dacs... Yet still again most everyone I’ve read see their big m scaler outlay as ultimately a great move even if it seems a crazy big dollar upgrade given their dac’s price point. Most common comment here again is that they wouldn’t then go back to a non m scaler system now that they have one in the chain. Rocky’s point that the m scaler owners (post purchase) still all seem to be impressed (I’d add very and include myself to that list) and even tho since the m scaler is really not a cheap investment but that regular super positive feedback is in many ways the best recommendation that Rob Watts’ approach to upsampling in summation really does do the trick here. Having used HQ player software and also heard a few other brands of proprietary upsampler hardware being used over the years I’d say the m scaler is overall the best and most impressive upgrade out of all of these devices and approaches in terms of sonic performance and particularly engagement in the music that I’ve heard yet. Much love here for the McScaler experience!
  7. That’s the way I thought originally but this thing sounds so good upsampled at a million taps that maybe they also cut themselves out of a much larger market if the top level output rate was via a more universal way like USB. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a USB output version m scaler down the track. That said Chord do have their own way of doing things. I’m super happy with how the qutest/m scaler sounds and glad that I held off just going Dave first. I’ll maybe consider the next gen Chord Dave if I can save some $$$... in the meantime this qutest with m scaler suits me just fine.
  8. Congratulations Sime, Glad your enjoying yours as well. I found nice gains with it burning in over the first 5 or 6 weeks but essentially sounded great from the start. The upsample to a million taps is where all the magic is I figure so it really benefits pairing the m scaler with a chord dac to be able to use dual BNC to get it up to full million taps, way past the taps used if just single bnc in on the dac. Just a pity that Chord didn’t ultimately go via USB for the output as then it would have opened up the 1 million tap rate to many more dacs as far as I understand it. Enjoy the m scaler, I certainly won’t be without it now that I’ve gotten used to that standard of resolution and timbre. Loving mine for sure!! Just plays music so much better. Awesome.
  9. Hi Humanmedia, I’m currently burning in two new pairs of speakers (Harbeth 40.2 and Pureaudioproject Pap horns) and also a new SET amp all in a new room so defining exactly what is changing in the system at any point in time is currently something of a challenge. I’m used to having a reasonably stable system (Maggie 20.7s, Magtech and Shindo pre) setup so determining any shifts in associated gear was traditionally much more manageable to identify. I do tend to believe though that I have the m scaler mostly settled in now. Next up is looking to also upgrading the bnc cables. I’ve also got a good level of additional refinement and some extension by putting the m scaler up on Stillpoint ultra 5s. I would say definitely the m scaler is one of the most significant improvements on a source that I have heard. It really makes this a purely musical experience. Prior to this the dacs that I have tried at home that most impressed me where Ch Precision and Aqua Formula. I am now completely happy that I stayed with Chord and got the m scaler instead. That said I really have come to appreciate the Chord house sound so this just takes that into another level. This is closer to a sota level in expressiveness and there is an absolute sense of engagement and a lack of any sense of mechanical artifice. TBH I will likely now just save up for a Dave 2 and then probably call it quits wrt to source. So yes, I really appreciate it every time I push play.
  10. Sime, yes, the mscaler comes stock with 2 x bnc digital cables. Have to say it continues to amaze me and has proven a marvellous thing. While there’s plenty of purely sonic improvements it’s really about how it locks in engagement in the music. It’s very compelling with the mscaler in full 1 million taps flight. The expression of timbre is much more nuanced and natural, the impression of physical presence of the instruments (and their attached players) is quite implicit. The microdynamic shading is really quicksilver so the technical skill and nuance in performance becomes like a weft and weave, super expressive. All these traits come through more and more over the first weeks as the mscaler settles in. It is absolutely addictive in a completely positive sense, it always adds to the richness of the music experience and takes nothing away. Super impressed and absolutey happy at the not inconsiderable investment in the mscaler. It pays every time I play. Love it.
  11. The Qutest now sitting on its super natural partner... a chord m scaler. Exceptional device! its really putting the mmmmmm into the music. A million taps and absolutely loving it!
  12. Am using a 5V Psu left over from a calyx dac... had a 1.5m audioquest USB to USBC cable reterminated to function as the dc cable. End result it’s clearly better sq than the stock psu. I also ran a kingrex 12 volt in my previous Qute and this is providing similar benefits. Better balance, silkier mids and treble. That slight sense of hash (that kind of greyness to the background for want of a better description) that seems to accompany switch mode supplies is gone. I use a good pc and isolation for the psu so that really brings it together for me.
  13. Would a chord qutest plus mscaler be in your budget. That’s the way I’ve gone and general word is that the Mscaled up qutest combo outperforms Dave on its own. Then perhaps later down the track if you feel like an upgrade on the qutest you just keep the mscaler and swap in the next hot chord dac or second hand dave when dave 2 is released. Plus if you run a long bnc cable from mscaler to your headphone you will also get a sizeable lift on the TT in the headphone rig as well.
  14. I’ve had my qutest for a while and love it. Have had output on 2 volt and it sounded great into a shindo pre. I have just moved house and have made the mistake of temporarily plugging the qutest in upstairs with my headphone rig while setting up my new listening space. Not going to be able to go back to the original qute back in the headfi setup now. Also I’ve just ordered an mScaler so excitement has just been switched on up to high. Hopefully it will be here by late October. Really looking forward to switching that into the main rig.
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