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Jake123

PS AUDIO DIRECTSTREAM DAC V CHORD ELECTRONICS QUTEST OR DAVE

PS AUDIO DIRECTSTREAM DAC V CHORD DAVE   

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Hi All,

 

Would like to know the experiences you may have had with:

 

1. PS Audio Directstream DAC (with or without a bridge); 

https://www.psaudio.com/directstream-dac/

 

2. Chord Qutest; and

https://chordelectronics.co.uk/product/dave/

 

3. Chord Dave.

https://chordelectronics.co.uk/product/qutest/

 

 

Using these devices with headphones and also with speakers. Perhaps a short outline of what the equipment these have been used with.

 

I note that Chord Qutest generally is not used with headphones but can be with some additions as I understand it. 

 

I also note when including such a significant addition to ones system, that one should take the time to experience the device in the said system, as each system may provide differing results

 

Which do you believe is more appropriate to you and why?

 

I'm grateful for you sharing your experiences. 


 

 

Regards

 

 

Edited by Jake123
Update

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Obviously, everyone will suggest you listen to them yourself as everyone's experience will differ, and synergy with your system may be the deciding factor. At that price point you really owe it to yourself to listen to them in your system. I didn't vote because I personally didn't like either of them that much, but their presentations are very different and may be to your liking. They're almost two ends of the spectrum. I'd describe the PS audio sound as a soft pleasant warm easy listening sound but it lacks the low level detail retrieval and microdynamics that other DACs offer and expected more at that price point. The Dave I describe as a big bold brash incredibly detailed dynamic but found it hard, glary and fatiguing. 

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Thanks ittaku for contributing.  
 

Totally agree that when looking at purchasing any significant device, that one should test it in ones own system. I also accept that the characteristics of each system is different and thus the inclusion of a device will result in variable outcomes dependent upon the components in the said system. 100% agree.

 

At this stage I’m approaching it from a research perspective.  I would be grateful if you could advise whether you use a dac, the type of dac your using and why you like it. Again, I’m most gradual for your contribution.

 

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2 hours ago, Jake123 said:

At this stage I’m approaching it from a research perspective.  I would be grateful if you could advise whether you use a dac, the type of dac your using and why you like it. Again, I’m most gradual for your contribution.

I have two DACs, one cheapish one for my headphone system because I don't listen to it much - a Topping DXS7, because it's just a clean neutral no-nonsense sound and the headphones are very revealing of anything that isn't (Stax SR-009 with a separate headphone amp), and an MSB Reference DAC for my main Hi-Fi which I listen to for 8 hours a day so it deserves the best. The MSB had incredible low level detail, micro and macrodynamics, massive soundstage, fully fleshed out rich natural sounding harmonics, but most importantly, had that quality that would change recordings to sound like the instruments were in the room and real. The MSB premier DAC was the sweet spot in the range I found (more expensive than the Dave, but far better in every way in my opinion) with most of those qualities already but I couldn't resist going for the Reference when a demo one was offered up at a price I couldn't refuse.

Edited by Ittaku

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Having owned all of the Chord DACs - and I mean all of them - I would never go back there. I've overdosed on the Chord kool aid and now find the sound thin, grainy and, as Ittaku has said, hard and fatiguing.

 

I haven't heard the PS Audio dac but from reports it does sound like the polar opposite of the Chord sound.

 

DACs I have really liked recently include the Ayre QX5 Twenty and the Mytek Manhattan II (as well as the cheaper Brooklyn+), both based on the latest ESS chip, which I have found much better than the previous generation. I like both of these much better than t he DAVE, with or without M Scaler - more enjoyable, richer sounding, less fatiguing. I am also about to receive a Lumin X1 (also based on the ESS chip) of which I have high expectations.

 

For headphones, the Ayre has  the best internal headphone amp, but the Mytek is also very good for headphones depending on how critical you are. You can always use a separate headphone amplifier.

 

The DCS Bartok is also worth considering.

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I’m probably a bit biased because I own a DirectStream dac, and I know it has been copping a bit of a bagging lately from some, but it is an awesome dac. The latest software update to Windom has elevated it to the another level. Most of my equipment is also from PSA so the synergy would be quiet good. Certainly worth an audition. IMO

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I love Chord in my system (a fellow member brought a qutest/mscaler over for a listen)... But I also had Electrocompaniet at the time which loved clinical sounding sources.

 

The mScaler did ‘warm’ it up (as well as the amazing red book improvement).

Edited by furtherpale

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Thanks Ittaku, rossb, awayward & futherpale for your contribution. 

 

I have set out below some links to the DACs and headphones you have mentioned. 

 

1. Topping DXS7 DAC

https://shenzhenaudio.com/products/topping-dx7s-2-es9038q2m-32bit-768k-dsd512-dsd-usb-full-balanced-dac-headphone-amplifier

 

2. Stax SR-009

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/stax-sr-009-electrostatic-earspeaker-playback-54/

 

3. MSB Reference DAC 

http://www.msbtechnology.com/the-reference-dac/

https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/msb-reference-dac-and-transport/

 

4.Ayre QX5 Twenty

https://www.ayre.com/products/digital/qx-5-twenty/

https://www.stereophile.com/content/ayre-acoustics-qx-5-twenty-da-processor

 

5. Mytek Manhattan II 

https://mytekdigital.com/hifi/products/manhattan-2/

https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/mytek-digital-manhattan-ii-dac/

https://www.stereophile.com/content/mytek-hifi-manhattan-ii-da-preamplifier-headphone-amplifier

 

 

6. Mytek Brooklyn+

https://mytekdigital.com/hifi/products/brooklyn/

https://darko.audio/2018/02/myteks-brooklyn-dac-host-with-most-offers-more/

https://www.stereophile.com/content/mytek-hifi-brooklyn-da-processor–headphone-amplifier-mytek-brooklyn-plus

 

7. PS Audio Directstream

https://www.psaudio.com/products/directstream-dac/

https://darko.audio/2019/10/ps-audio-cooks-up-windom-update-for-directstream-dac/

https://darko.audio/2019/01/chord-dave-vs-ps-audio-directstream/

https://www.stereophile.com/content/ps-audio-perfectwave-directstream-da-processor

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/ps-audio-perfectwave-directstream-dac/

 

8. Chord Dave

https://chordelectronics.co.uk/product/dave/

https://www.stereophile.com/content/chord-electronics-dave-da-processor

https://darko.audio/2019/01/chord-dave-vs-ps-audio-directstream/

https://www.moon-audio.com/chord-dave-dac.html

 

 

9. Chord Qutest

https://chordelectronics.co.uk/product/qutest/

https://www.stereophile.com/content/chord-electronics-qutest-da-processor

https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/chord-electronics-qutest-dac/

https://darko.audio/2018/11/a-short-film-about-the-chord-qutest/

 

 

10. Chord MScaler 

https://chordelectronics.co.uk/product/hugo-mscaler/

https://darko.audio/2018/10/chords-hugo-m-scaler-gives-us-what-hi-fi-shows-do-not/

https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/chord-electronics-hugo-tt-2-dacpreampheadphone-amp-and-hugo-m-scaler/

 

 

 

 

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This is also something to consider - https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/best-dacs-comparison-test-result-my-subjective-opinion.25584/. Obv not first hand from myself by the poster seemed to know what he was talking about. That said - I have come across the Denafrips Terminator and it is epic. Came from a Klein III which I thought was great but the terminator took it to another level (and another price point for that matter).

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Mate I just bought myself a metrum acoustic pavane dac and Ambre Roon endpoint fit a little over 10k and would recommend  a listen - you see, serious so you would be welcome to come have a listen 

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Thanks Warren2503 for your very generous offer.  I’m sorry I haven’t back sooner, been travelling around the countryside. I will post further DAC’s been looking at. I understand your DAC is well regarded. 
Thanks again mate 

 

 

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Check out the Matrix Element X  measures better than anything else out there and sounds very nice ,Especially on DSD and MQA  it also does balanced /single headphones  and  preamp duties

 

Sheafer

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Hi I have added more links to the DACs which have recently been referred to.

 

Matrix Element X 

https://www.matrix-digi.com/en/products/321.html

https://www.hifi-advice.com/blog/review/digital-reviews/spdif-dac-reviews/matrix-element-x/

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-matrix-audio-element-x-dac-streamer-amp.7782/

 

 

Metrum acoustic pavane dac and Ambre Roon endpoint

https://metrumacoustics.com/product/pavane-l3/

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/metrum-acoustics-pavane-dac/?page=3

https://darko.audio/2014/12/metrum-acoustics-announce-pavane-dac/

https://6moons.com/audioreviews2/metrum/1.html

https://www.audiostream.com/content/metrum-acoustics-pavane-0

https://metrumacoustics.com/roon/

 

 

 

 

DCS Bartok 

https://www.dcsltd.co.uk/products/bartok-headphone-dac-amplifier/

https://www.stereophile.com/content/dcs-bartok-da-processorheadphone-amplifier

https://darko.audio/2019/07/a-short-film-about-the-dcs-bartok/

https://www.tonepublications.com/review/the-dcs-bartok-dac/

https://www.absolutesounds.com/pdf/main/press/dCSBartok.pdf

 

 

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Hi Guys,

I started a similar thread and I'll attach for more comments. 

There are some overlaps in our thoughts. Anyone got any experience with Matrix and Aurender?

Cheers.

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The Matrix Element X looks like an interesting unit. solid streaming capabilities with a good DAC implementation. Pretty much aligned to the Auralic a Vega G2 on many fronts/
 

I have yet to see the Element in the flesh but the manual is full of “chinglish” so doesn’t fill me with hope. Room support forums were saying there were a few issues a while back but software updates appear to have fixed these now

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