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Chord 2qute competitors @ £600

Discussion in 'audio' started by raysablade, May 10, 2019.

  1. raysablade

    raysablade pfm Member

    When I bought my Auralic Aires Mini last year the only DAC in my price range that seemed to make an significant improvement to the sound was the Chord 2qute. At the time they were being discontinued and were available for £600 new.

    I decided to get one when funds allowed but it has taken rather longer than I anticipated and they are now available for a similar price but only secondhand. I’m still happy to take a punt one but wonder if there are any competitors I should be listening to at around £600 or less before I do. Iirc the competitors it beat at the time were; Arcam, Linn and Naim but I don’t remember the models. I don’t need a headphone amp just a DAC, It needs to be black ( stupid, I know), I’d prefer something we a decent power supply on board, size is relatively unimportant.

    Any ideas would be appreciated.
  2. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    I understand you’re not interested in headphone functionality but s/h Hugo 1s go for that or less and in black. I don’t think anything at the price will beat it and others will fall short of it- if bought new for that amount.
  3. owl

    owl pfm Member

    totally agree mk1 hugo is awesome, the balance of detail and analogue smoothness is hard to beat. I'm a chord qutest user and I would be more than happy to use a hugo instead.
  4. raysablade

    raysablade pfm Member

    The Hugo seems to offer all I could want and the opportunity to try a decent headphone amp for travel.

    I guess battery power removes any possibility of power supply angst.

    I’ll keep my eyes peeled for one.
  5. Whatsisnaim

    Whatsisnaim pfm Member

    Another vote for Hugo 1 here, although I would say that this is, as always, very subjective, and there are plenty who would disagree.
    One thing I would say about the 2Qute is that its 3V fixed out put is way too high for some systems. Of course it will vary with different amps, speakers and listening volumes, but for me, even a commonly used 2V source is a bit too high. A Hugo allows you to reduce the level to suit your system, and the Qutest has selectable 1, 2 or 3V options. For that reason alone, I would avoid a 2Qute.
    Last edited: May 11, 2019
  6. Philim

    Philim pfm Member

    M6s DAC from mf goes for about that price at moment.
    Just had a good review in hifi news.
  7. owl

    owl pfm Member

    variable 1,2,3 v output on the qutest allows for enough variation for most amps. Not found it an issue. mk1 hugos are great value now.
  8. SamS

    SamS pfm Member

  9. raysablade

    raysablade pfm Member

    That's interesting, am i right in thinking that this accommodates only usb? Thats not necessarily a problem but i'd need to think about the limits it places on additional devices.
  10. Enfield boy

    Enfield boy pfm Member

    I believe it does but it's tiny as is the matching USB-SPDIF converter. I've had an original version, the ISO version and I'm looking forward to trying the Supercapacitor version, you could say I rather like them.
  11. SamS

    SamS pfm Member

    Yes, USB only. Brilliant for the price. Maybe not fair comparing value to Hugo simply on SQ terms as the Hugo is also a headphone amp and digital pre. And damn goood it is too.
    But if you are not after those things then very worthwhile.
  12. joe9407

    joe9407 actress/activist

    i've had the 2Qute, a Hugo 2, and an RME ADI-2. the differences among them aren't blindingly obvious, but long-term I've been happiest with the RME. as others mentioned, the 3V output of the 2Qute is less than awesome and intersected poorly with my Naim 282 preamp, which has a channel imbalance at low volume levels.

    i also have a Topping D10, which at $80 new has to be the best VFM DAC out there. i swapped it in for the Hugo 2 and i can't say i really missed the Chord. HiFi is a disease that tells you that an $80 DAC can't possibly be any good (hence my getting the RME), but in my heart of hearts i know: the Topping's all the DAC that anyone really needs.
    dtd, raysablade, lazycat and 3 others like this.
  13. raysablade

    raysablade pfm Member

    That’s food for thought. I remember thinking that whilst the 2Qute made a difference the DAC in the Aires Mini was very pleasing in itself. That’s why I didn’t make the stretch at the time.

    Another aspect of the disease is that if I did go for a “dac only” dac I’d worry about power supply. I’m satisfied that the Sbooster I have going into the Aires can’t be improved on.

    That in turn makes a battery powered swiss army knife Hugo attractive.
  14. hifinutt

    hifinutt hifinutt

  15. dtd

    dtd pfm Member

    Yep my "backup" SMSL D1 left me in a daze for over a week - I mean, how can a $900 (actual) device see off a $3k+ "reputable" DAC?

    Funny enough its currently available , should leave the 2qute for dead quite frankly. Even the remote control units are better (with the D1 at least, lovely solid alu unit).
  16. dtd

    dtd pfm Member

    And if your not feeling that brave, there's the SMSL SU-8 which is <£200 with XLR outputs, using dual 9038 mobiles. Even available on Amazon if you need a safe return window.

    Yes I wrote sub £200 with XLRs in the same sentence ;-)
  17. raysablade

    raysablade pfm Member

    That is strangely tempting £750 delivered, a reassuring 5kg, linear power supply built in and in black. It's won a big pile of plus points before i've even switched it on;)
  18. dtd

    dtd pfm Member

    I'll admit my first unit did suddenly "go quiet", sounded like a relay failed, but SMSL came to the rescue at considerable cost to themselves may I add (paid for express HK -> UK and covered all duty costs due to no stock remaining in UK at time).

    Oh and that seller confirmed they would extend the warranty on behalf, and ofcourse give you 30 day return window. Give it at least 1 week before being critical with it, mind.
  19. john-boy

    john-boy New Member

  20. john-boy

    john-boy New Member

    I have a chord 2qute you could have for £480 posted if your interested.

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