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The Chord DAC bandwagon

Discussion in 'audio' started by beammeup, Jan 29, 2021.

  1. beammeup

    beammeup pfm Member

    Is it me, or are the Chord range of DACs just getting incredible respect from audiophiles everywhere? I can't find a bad word said against their products - only excellent reviews from magazines, YouTube videos, forums, they are very well liked!

    I've been interested in some of the DACs overseas like Lampizator or from Mojo Audio (used examples mind you - they are quite expensive).

    Should I just stick with home grown Chord, like, well most other audiophile nowadays it seems :p

    I know - audition audition audition - it's a tad hard to audition some of these DACs - so your experiences would be interesting.
     
    AndyU likes this.
  2. AndyU

    AndyU pfm Member

    Having been of the opinion that “all well-engineered DACs sound the same blah blah” I went Chord Hugo, Chord Hugo TT, Chord DAVE then added an M Scaler. Music has never sounded so solid, convincing, tangible and involving, sometimes shockingly so. I guess some well-engineered DACs are more well-engineereder than others. Fanthorpes audio were good to deal with, I am sure if you asked them nicely you could get one to try.
     
    camverton and Suffolk Tony like this.
  3. uncl_nigel

    uncl_nigel pfm Member

    Those I have heard are very good. But when I replaced my late production Chord DAC64 mk2, I went for dCS (also UK) before the post Brexit price rises hit France :)

    Just because they get good reviews doesn't mean they are in a crowd of one... Chocolate flavored ice-cream sells very well, I happen to dislike it and never buy that flavour!
     
    H20GNA and Snufkin like this.
  4. Suffolk Tony

    Suffolk Tony Aim low, achieve your goals, avoid disappointment.

    There's a very good reason why Chord DACs are so popular!
     
    Tim Jones likes this.
  5. beammeup

    beammeup pfm Member

    ....because of the pretty lights .. ?
     
    Paul McDonough likes this.
  6. AndyU

    AndyU pfm Member

    No! The lights are utterly appalling! The physical design of just about all Chord DACs is dreadful. My DAVE has neither marked top panel controls or marked sockets. I end up poking buttons at random to see what they do, and it is unusable by anyone else in the family. The MScaler has clunky, unintelligible lights. Every time I need to know what they do I have to go online for the manual, which is itself poor. You definitely do not buy Chord because you like a good UI. And who knows how much metal is wasted and machining time consumed with all that machined from the solid nonsense. And then some spend a grand or more on a stand that makes the cables stick up at the back! Hopeless. But they do sound great, which is just as well.
     
    w00fer, Nodder, maccar and 8 others like this.
  7. John_73

    John_73 pfm Member

    Yep. I think Rob Watts is a genius as a DAC designer, but John Franks is an appalling ‘function follows form’ product designer!
     
    julifriend, AndyU and Amber Audio like this.
  8. Amber Audio

    Amber Audio This is the Day

    Borrow one or buy used, Hugo2 or Qutest and you’ll shift it on for no/small loss if you buy carefully. I liked the sound but hated the day to day operation.
     
  9. monya

    monya pfm Member

    I’ve tried hard to like Chord gear on a number of occasions over the years but always found something else I preferred. Guess I’m the odd one out.....
     
    FireMoon and eastone like this.
  10. Amber Audio

    Amber Audio This is the Day

    Likewise tried a few but ended up moving them on each time, had Auralic G2 for a good while and now dCS. Surprised Chord don’t have a cutting edge streamer on offer to match the TT2 or built into Dave.
     
    John_73 likes this.
  11. John_73

    John_73 pfm Member

    I really loved the (sound, not the design of the) original Hugo, and the pimped Hugo, the TT. After that the Hugo 2 and the TT2 both left me feeling like the music was being ‘processed’ in some way, subjectively. Went through two TT2s to crystallise my feelings. Using a lesser Quad Artera Play+ for the time being, and no it doesn’t gave the uncanny inner detail of the Chords, but it seems more even handed over a greater variety of good to badly mastered albums. I’ll likely pick up a used TT again later in the year, and would be curious by a Hugo 3 if they made the batteries easier to remove and sorted out some of the questionable industrial design quirks. They’ve kind of backed themselves into corners with their line-up and the whole taps business. Update one of the models now, and it then impinges on the next level up now.
     
    Cambs12 likes this.
  12. ryder

    ryder pfm Member

    If you can find a used Chord QBD76, give it a try. I never thought music could sound so organic and real through a DAC. It sounds more like vinyl than digital with the Chord. The QBD76 made my Musical Fidelity M1 DAC sound broken, no joke. I immediately sold the MF M1 DAC once I experienced the 'Chord sound'.

    It has been 3 or 4 years since i got the Chord into the system. I have now upgraded my entire system(amp, speakers and cabling) and the Chord DAC still remains. The power cord that's connected to the Chord DAC now costs more than the DAC itself, but I'm still keeping the Chord. Although it's not a DAVE/MScaler, it's a keeper in my system.
     
    Cambs12, Suffolk Tony and John_73 like this.
  13. ryder

    ryder pfm Member

    DCS is very expensive. I think it's costlier than the Chord equivalent?
     
  14. Amber Audio

    Amber Audio This is the Day

    Similar Target Market £ wise

    Dave + Scaler = £12K (No Streamer)

    Bartok = £10K now bumped to £11.5K (No Headphone)

    Auralic G2 Aries/Vega/Sirius = £15K​
     
  15. ryder

    ryder pfm Member

    Thanks for the information. As I'm not familiar with DCS models, I did a quick check and found the dCS Rossini DAC/ Rossini Master Clock review on Whathifi and the cost is a whopping £22,610. I guess this is the TOTL while the Bartok is the lower model.
     
  16. Amber Audio

    Amber Audio This is the Day

    Middle the Vivaldi Stack is TOTL. The ONE combines the lot, dunno what RRP is.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. markharro

    markharro pfm Member

    I borrowed a Hugo2 once and could hear no SQ difference over my existing and much cheaper Arcam rDAC.
     
    Brian S and mr sneff like this.
  18. uncl_nigel

    uncl_nigel pfm Member

    Even on the quite simple to use DAC64 the ergonomics were hopeless - switches hidden on the back, toslink socket accepting only the slimmest of connectors. Great sound for its time, nonetheless.
     
    Amber Audio and John_73 like this.
  19. Suffolk Tony

    Suffolk Tony Aim low, achieve your goals, avoid disappointment.

    We've discussed how good the QBD76 is in the past Mr Ryder. My introduction to Chord DACs, and having borrowed it from my friendly dealer out of curiosity, I ended up replacing my Naim 555 with one.

    I do agree the lack of labels on inputs and buttons is a bit of a nuisance, but once it's all set up I only ever touch my Dave/MScaler to turn them on & off.
     
    Clay B and ryder like this.
  20. uncl_nigel

    uncl_nigel pfm Member

    As AmberAudio said, the dCS Bartok (like the Rossini) includes the streamer. He forgot to mention that the ergonomics are in a different class with an informative screen instead of a set of refer-to-the-manual colours, none of the sockets are recessed into the case work so will take whatever choice of cable you like... Oh, and the internal firmware can be updated via internet.
     

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