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Chord Electronics Owners & Discussion Thread

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Hey guys. Long post incoming.

 

I went to a couple of dealers today and tried the mscaler and I brought my Dave along to listen to it as a few dealers don't stock the Dave. I listened to it on sennheiser hd820s which I now  plan to get. 

 

I tried it with Dave alone as a baseline. I then tried the mscaler paired with the Dave. 

 

I have to say, compared to a lot of reviews I have read, I was struggling to see the distinct difference between 44 kHz and 706khz upscaled.

 

I guess the upscaled versions had a bit more body to it on the headphones. I then had to go to another dealer to test on loudspeakers. My main application for the mscaler will be with my home system with speakers with occasional use of the senn hd 820s.

 

The problem I had is the system in the store was not as good as what I listen to at home and it wasn't the best set up either in terms of where the system was positioned. I found it easier to hear on speakers, that the m scaler had a wider open soundstage and clarity, but to be honest, I feel I have recieved better uplifts on certain interconnect and speaker cables I have bought previously. Namely from the well know Mike lenehan in qld (Shameless plug:top shelf stuff he makes, check him out:) 

 

Yes, the mscaler was better upscaled then with it unupscaled. However, I am trying to justify the price to myself with the moderate uplift I heard. 

 

The second dealer even commented that it did sound better but was even saying himself, the justification for the extra expense for that improvement he heard was debatable. He seemed impressed with the Dave, as they don't stock the Dave's and he had never heard one. I was impressed  with him sharing with me his candid opinion, which can be rare in a sales environment with such an item.  I agreed with him and shared his conclusion. 

 

I am really confused. Ever since I read about the blu 2 mscaler I have wanted it and have bought the Dave in preparation to pair it with the mscaler since its announcement. 

 

I find listening to stuff at dealers really difficult, as the set-ups are so different, and you are not as comfortable there as at home, which feel makes a huge difference in emotionally connecting with the music.  I remember reading a comment on here, that some people didn't like the mscaler at the shop but loved it at home and now can't live without it. I would love to hear more rom you now with more explanation about your experiences :) Sell me! :)

 

The problem is, it seems no dealer local to me or even interstate will allow a demo trial without a large return fee. In fact, I find a lot of dealers in general these days, are hesitant to lend out gear for a demo. 

 

The issue is, I would probably be happy with it, if I got to try it out in my home setting and would end up keeping it. However, based on my initial and very limited impressions today, I am nervous to risk the purchase price of the mscaler, for effectively a demo trial. I was expecting to hear it and instantly want/need it and am disappointed in myself I didn't have that feeling. 

 

Don't get me wrong, the mscaler seemed better on both headphone and speakers but it still sounded pretty good on the bypass at 44. 

 

I am wondering if the mscaler even improves the dac in bypass mode? It's hard to test back to back as you need to switch out cords, rather than instant switching the sample rates. I got the feeling the mscaler was better than the Dave alone even in 44 mode, but it was hard to tell, due to the time it took to switch out the cords. Audio memory is hard sometimes and unreliable at most times as well. 

 

Both dealers were fantastic to me today and very accommodating. If either one allowed a risk free trial I would have probably bought it on the spot. 

 

On a side note, As far as I am concerned, I have never heard headphones sound as good as with the Dave and m scaler. For night time listening I am going to buy the closed back sennheiser hd820s as it pairs really well With the Dave and better than the open hd800s, or so I have heard. Either way, closed back is what I need so I was happy with it and look forward to it with my Dave. 

 

Come on guys, I need to hear more stories about the mscaler, and especially from people who weren't impressed with the mscaler at the dealers and ended up loving it at home.

 

It's so hard getting a baseline at the dealers due to different setups. I'm not knocking chord,after all I own a Dave, but i am really questioning the value proposition for the mscaler, which even to me sounds crazy because so many people say it's the best audio purchase they have ever made, not even including all the great reviews even in this thread alone! 

 

I assume you have to live with it for a while and then you will miss it when it's gone. I really wish dealers would lend this gear out, but I can also understand the risk and costs of doing so, and some people would not treat the heat right. So either way, I dont blame them for that policy, but it is stopping me pulling the trigger. 

 

I would Love to hear any feedback :)

Edited by sandrews888

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14 minutes ago, sandrews888 said:

I was expecting to hear it and instantly want/need it and am disappointed in myself I didn't have that feeling. 

 

Mate don't be disappointed in yourself, you can only hear what you hear.  You have to be true to yourself and go with what you're hearing.  I heard clear and distinct improvement in one system, and no improvement in another (better quality) system.  It's always best to listen in your own system, albeit this is often difficult, but that's the best way - otherwise you're relying on reviews, both professional and amateur (positives and negatives with both!). 

 

IMHO a piece of gear priced at $7K+ should have an instant positive impact, and if you have to live with it for a while then it isn't worth seven grand (because obviously the difference is far too subtle)!  And having said that, don't forget system synergy, I've never found something that works perfectly with everything.

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edit

Edited by Sime V2

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8 hours ago, sandrews888 said:

Hey guys. Long post incoming.

 

I went to a couple of dealers today and tried the mscaler and I brought my Dave along to listen to it as a few dealers don't stock the Dave. I listened to it on sennheiser hd820s which I now  plan to get. 

 

I tried it with Dave alone as a baseline. I then tried the mscaler paired with the Dave. 

 

I have to say, compared to a lot of reviews I have read, I was struggling to see the distinct difference between 44 kHz and 706khz upscaled.

 

I guess the upscaled versions had a bit more body to it on the headphones. I then had to go to another dealer to test on loudspeakers. My main application for the mscaler will be with my home system with speakers with occasional use of the senn hd 820s.

 

The problem I had is the system in the store was not as good as what I listen to at home and it wasn't the best set up either in terms of where the system was positioned. I found it easier to hear on speakers, that the m scaler had a wider open soundstage and clarity, but to be honest, I feel I have recieved better uplifts on certain interconnect and speaker cables I have bought previously. Namely from the well know Mike lenehan in qld (Shameless plug:top shelf stuff he makes, check him out:) 

 

Yes, the mscaler was better upscaled then with it unupscaled. However, I am trying to justify the price to myself with the moderate uplift I heard. 

 

The second dealer even commented that it did sound better but was even saying himself, the justification for the extra expense for that improvement he heard was debatable. He seemed impressed with the Dave, as they don't stock the Dave's and he had never heard one. I was impressed  with him sharing with me his candid opinion, which can be rare in a sales environment with such an item.  I agreed with him and shared his conclusion. 

 

I am really confused. Ever since I read about the blu 2 mscaler I have wanted it and have bought the Dave in preparation to pair it with the mscaler since its announcement. 

 

I find listening to stuff at dealers really difficult, as the set-ups are so different, and you are not as comfortable there as at home, which feel makes a huge difference in emotionally connecting with the music.  I remember reading a comment on here, that some people didn't like the mscaler at the shop but loved it at home and now can't live without it. I would love to hear more rom you now with more explanation about your experiences :) Sell me! :)

 

The problem is, it seems no dealer local to me or even interstate will allow a demo trial without a large return fee. In fact, I find a lot of dealers in general these days, are hesitant to lend out gear for a demo. 

 

The issue is, I would probably be happy with it, if I got to try it out in my home setting and would end up keeping it. However, based on my initial and very limited impressions today, I am nervous to risk the purchase price of the mscaler, for effectively a demo trial. I was expecting to hear it and instantly want/need it and am disappointed in myself I didn't have that feeling. 

 

Don't get me wrong, the mscaler seemed better on both headphone and speakers but it still sounded pretty good on the bypass at 44. 

 

I am wondering if the mscaler even improves the dac in bypass mode? It's hard to test back to back as you need to switch out cords, rather than instant switching the sample rates. I got the feeling the mscaler was better than the Dave alone even in 44 mode, but it was hard to tell, due to the time it took to switch out the cords. Audio memory is hard sometimes and unreliable at most times as well. 

 

Both dealers were fantastic to me today and very accommodating. If either one allowed a risk free trial I would have probably bought it on the spot. 

 

On a side note, As far as I am concerned, I have never heard headphones sound as good as with the Dave and m scaler. For night time listening I am going to buy the closed back sennheiser hd820s as it pairs really well With the Dave and better than the open hd800s, or so I have heard. Either way, closed back is what I need so I was happy with it and look forward to it with my Dave. 

 

Come on guys, I need to hear more stories about the mscaler, and especially from people who weren't impressed with the mscaler at the dealers and ended up loving it at home.

 

It's so hard getting a baseline at the dealers due to different setups. I'm not knocking chord,after all I own a Dave, but i am really questioning the value proposition for the mscaler, which even to me sounds crazy because so many people say it's the best audio purchase they have ever made, not even including all the great reviews even in this thread alone! 

 

I assume you have to live with it for a while and then you will miss it when it's gone. I really wish dealers would lend this gear out, but I can also understand the risk and costs of doing so, and some people would not treat the heat right. So either way, I dont blame them for that policy, but it is stopping me pulling the trigger. 

 

I would Love to hear any feedback :)

As explained in the sibling forum  https://www.stereo.net.au/forums/topic/261591-extreme-filtering-software-upscaling/  over the past couple of days, I have decided to buy an M-Scaler.  As you say it is a hard decision because of the cost - but my passive system is now at such an advanced state that I have found no other way I can improve the front end significantly by other means and I need it to better track improvements in my passive speaker designs.  I also agree with you that the results may be system dependent - the audio reproduction chain is only as strong as its weakest link. It will be a couple of weeks before the M-Scaler arrives and I will give my further impressions then - unfortunately I had only time to listen to Simon's briefly but was smitten.

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On 17/03/2019 at 6:11 AM, Sime V2 said:

edit

Hi @Sime V2 I didn't get to see your original reply. I have a feeling I will like the mscaler in my home setting and actually still considering pulling the trigger. I would be interested to hear your thoughts

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@sandrews888 my thoughts on this machine are already well documented 😉

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Well im happy to say again, that the M Scaler is the most important component I have ever bought

It makes everything better and when I disconnect it everything seems unreal

Digital never ever sounded so analogue

I may swap other components around in the future but I can guarantee the M Scaler is not going anywhere unless Mr watts designs a better one lol

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I would not be buying the mscaler on the strength of what i heard at the dealers. When i got it home on loan it was a different matter. In my better system the improvement was significant and i have really missed it.. Hope I will not have to wait for one much longer.

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I’ve had my M Scaler for a few weeks now, along with my TT2, and I had the Blu 2 for my DAVE for a year before I sold them.

 

I never really questioned the benefits of the Blu 2 when I used it with the DAVE - once installed I never compared it critically with or without the Blu 2, although did do some comparisons from time to time.

 

But since getting the M Scaler I have decided to pay more attention to what it is doing. I have spent a lot of time switching between the native file and the fully upsampled 768 file. I have also compared the two versions against a “live” reference - an LP from which I have made a digital recording.

 

My conclusions are still preliminary... but I think I prefer the non-upscaled, native file. In other words, I think the M Scaler makes music sound worse. Not only that, when compared to a reference, I think the M Scaled, upsampled version sounds less accurate than the native file.

 

The differences which the M Scaler produces are readily apparent, but I think this is a case where difference does not necessarily imply improvement. 

 

The M Scaler appears to lower the noise floor; low level detail appears to be improved, and the image appears to be more holographic, with an ability to “see” to the four corners of the recording venue.

 

But the tonal balance is lighter, instruments sound lean and slightly bleached of colour, and there is a kind of illuminated background similar to that produced by cheap tube amps. There is less weight to sounds, and spatial cues - the sense of air around instruments and voices - seem to have been reduced. There is less impact, less body, less weight, less tone and less colour.  I don’t hear any improvements in transient speed with the M Scaler. To be fair, it does sound more focussed, smoother and with better delineation of the outside edges of instruments. But the rendering is skeletal, forensic.

 

I suspect that this may have something to do with why I ultimately became dissatisfied with the DAVE and Blu 2 (although no doubt an outstanding dac). I should add that I also have a Qutest and get a similar result using the M Scaler with the Qutest.

 

I’m hoping I have some sort of revelation where I suddenly hear the benefits of the M Scaler, but so far it is not happening. I’m interested in other views on this but clearly I need to keep experimenting.

 

 

 

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Hi Ross,

Very indepth observation I also have read the same post on headfi,

I have the qutest and M Scaler and disagree with you but that's just my opinion, each to their own

I have a few friends with Chord settups of which one has a Dave & HMS and loves the combination and he is a musician and has never expressed the thoughts you have, he also says that he cannot listen to CDs or hirez files for any longer than 5mins with the HMS in passthrough mode, he says it sounds lifeless

The other is a sound engineer for the BBC and has a TT2 with HMS and loves the timbre, timing and accuracy of his combo and has said he could not live without the HMS

Maybe the Chord dacs and scalers just sound different to some people, everybody has a preference and everybody hears differently

Maybe another dac with upscaling abilities would be better for you

Its ashame because you obviously want these to work for you, because you keep buying chord components

Good luck with your quest [emoji6]

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Thanks, your experiences and those of your friends are certainly consistent with what most people seem to be hearing. I really like the Chord Dacs, and they seem to get closer to reality than any other Dacs I’ve heard. But the M Scaler still sounds problematic to me. It is possible that at  some point I will “get” it, and I certainly won’t be parting with the M Scaler any time soon.

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The less weight has me baffled, it’s the complete opposite here. 

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Thanks, your experiences and those of your friends are certainly consistent with what most people seem to be hearing. I really like the Chord Dacs, and they seem to get closer to reality than any other Dacs I’ve heard. But the M Scaler still sounds problematic to me. It is possible that at  some point I will “get” it, and I certainly won’t be parting with the M Scaler any time soon.
I hate to ask and I'm sure it is!

But are you 100% certain everything is connected properly

I lnow, sorry! but im just a little miffed

Deano

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Fair question, and I have checked all the connections, but it is all connected properly.

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Fair question, and I have checked all the connections, but it is all connected properly.
Sorry. I had to ask [emoji6]

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So we can dig deeper can you tell us what equipment you use and whats the source etc feeding the M Scaler

Cheers

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Just goes to show that no matter the investment components can sound completely different in different systems. No such thing as a silver bullet when it comes to audio given all set-ups and environments are different.

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8 hours ago, Deano_malaysia said:

So we can dig deeper can you tell us what equipment you use and whats the source etc feeding the M Scaler

Cheers

Ultrarendu with MCRU linear PSU, Singxer SU6 USB/spdif converter, Lifatec optical cable (also tried coax with silver star black cat cable), HMS/TT2, Exposure 5010 preamp and monoblocks, Graham LS6 speakers and Cardas Clear Reflection cables. 

 

I’m not sure what that will tell you but if you have any insights I’m happy to hear them. 

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Hi Ross

Unfortunately im not familiar with your digital front end

Have you tried connecting a cd player via optical or spdif to the m scaler to see how it sounds?

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Ultrarendu with MCRU linear PSU, Singxer SU6 USB/spdif converter, Lifatec optical cable (also tried coax with silver star black cat cable), HMS/TT2, Exposure 5010 preamp and monoblocks, Graham LS6 speakers and Cardas Clear Reflection cables. 
 
I’m not sure what that will tell you but if you have any insights I’m happy to hear them. 
Ross can I ask how you connect to the ultrarendu and what is the source signal, ie Tidal, sd card? and what computer are you using if any

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I use Roon or JRMC, with the Ultrarendu connected via ethernet to a high end PC (i7 7790 processor, 32GB high speed RAM).

 

I am listening to M Scaler now. It is definitely lighter in tone than when bypassed, but it is also a lot more resolving. I need to do more listening.

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Interesting!

Maybe its just a sound your not used too?

But I think something is not right from your description of what your hearing

Maybe a setting on your PC or maybe something that you have overlooked

Dont get me wrong, im sure you have everything configured correctly but something seems off



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Do you have a cd transport you can try to see if there is a big difference?

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No, I don't have a CD transport. I did try CD when I had the Blu 2 but it did not sound noticeably different to streaming. Having lived with the Blu 2 for a year and now the M Scaler I don't think it can be described as a sound I am "not used to". But I do need to do some more critical listening to really get a grip on what I am hearing.

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