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  1. #1

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    Default Chord QuteHD dac + Empirical Off Ramp 4

    I've been listening to the Chord QuteHD and Off Ramp 4 for the past 3 days and wanted to share my impressions about it. The QuteHD retails for $1795. It is kinda small and doesn't have many features (no volume, no switching). It switches by itself based on a hiearchy. The USB has 1st priority, then spidf, then optical. I'd much prefer a switch. It goes up to 24/196 and does DSD files too. I don't have any DSD files yet, so I can't comment about that. Here's a review I found on it, here.

    The OR4 I bought used. It is fully loaded with all the extra options (dual Turbo Clock option, the USB Hynes Regulator option, and the upgraded RCA SPDIF output). Before the purchase I asked Steve Nugent which would sound better, a fully loaded OR4 or a stock OR5 and he said it was close. So with that I pulled the trigger on the OR4.

    The Chord by itself sounds just awesome. It sounds very full bodied, organic, with a nice big sound stage and very three dimensional. With the OR4, everything just increases. Voices and instruments sound more clear and distinct with more natural decay to them. The sound stage went from big to HUGE! There is a nice warmth I'm hearing too. Now it sounds like a great vinyl rig. I've never heard computer audio sound this good before. Very natural sounding. With my Empirical Overdrive SE dac, the music sounded great, but it still sounded like a digital rig. This new combo makes me forget I'm listening to digital. The imaging provides a very realistic texture.

    My only compliant is that on some recordings with female vocals, there is a slight brightness on the top end. This seems to be lessening as it breaks in, but I'm thinking that's part of it's character. It has extended highs and lows.

    The stock power supply on the Chord is really cheap. It's basically a wall wart. I ordered a profession linear power supply from MCRU, here. Other users indicated that this is a significant improvement and helps with the hot treble. We'll see.

    Of course I tried the OR4 paired with the Overdrive SE and Wow! It took it to a new level of clarity, depth and improved the sound stage. With both dacs paired with the OR4, they are like neck in neck with each other. They both excel in different ways. This is a huge compliment to Chord to be able to produce a dac at a third of the cost of the Overdrive. Once the new external power cord arrives for the QuteHD, my guess (and hope) is that it will pull ahead. I'll report my findings about that here.

  2. #2

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    Default

    Congrats man, I knew you would like the OD unit especially since you have their dac. Nothing but high regards everywhere for that puppy. I know I said it before but your rig is outstanding and only gets better. I can only dream of owning empirical gear.....well maybe used.

    Keep the reviews and comparisons coming, you certainly have my attention.

  3. #3

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    I finally got the external linear MCRU power supply. I bought it new from the UK. It is a two box unit and the main box is actually bigger than the dac. Bottom line is how it sounds. This took about 2 seconds to know that it was a night/day improvement. The music now has more weight to it which makes it sound more believable. Everything sounds fuller and it has more oomph to it. I think it is even fair to say that adding the linear power supply produced more improvement than adding the OR4 did. Both together unlock the QuteHD's potential and makes it sound like a killer vinyl rig.

  4. #4

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    Question which way connecting a dac for best sound quality

    quality of the clocking is greatly associated with power supply and ground plane currents, not to mention internal em/rfi.
    ,spdif cable ,
    fire wire to usb,
    halide design bridge ,
    thunderbolt,
    OR5,
    MCRU linear power supply.

    bottom line am not tech but just practical terms step by step ,how do i set up my dac to my laptop or CDP for up-most results in sound quality ?

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by starstern View Post
    quality of the clocking is greatly associated with power supply and ground plane currents, not to mention internal em/rfi.
    ,spdif cable ,
    fire wire to usb,
    halide design bridge ,
    thunderbolt,
    OR5,
    MCRU linear power supply.

    bottom line am not tech but just practical terms step by step ,how do i set up my dac to my laptop or CDP for up-most results in sound quality ?
    You'll have better luck starting a new thread. This thread is about a dac review.

  6. #6

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    Nice write up Ern & congrats on your new set up. That Chord DAC sounds like it really floats your boat & with the addition of the hot-rodded OR4 & the aftermarket PS it is a force to be reckoned with. I can just picture you smiling ear to ear when you're listening to your favorite tunes. On a side note I ordered Steve's Synchro-Mesh & hopefully it'll be hear before Christmas. I'm anxious to see if my results are similar to yours.
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "
    Panny 65" 3D Plasma
    Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A3010 AVR
    D>SONIC M2-600M mono's / mains
    Rotel RMB-1095 / 5 channel amp
    Rotel RMB-1075 / 5 channel amp
    TEAC UD - 501 DAC
    Oppo BDP-93
    SONOS System
    KEF Q900 / mains
    KEF Q600 / center
    KEF Q800 / surrounds
    KEF Q100 / rear surr.
    Def Tech ProMonitor 1000 / front & rear presence
    Velodyne SPL-1200R subs / dual pair
    DSPeaker Anti-Mode 8033 sub EQ
    Equitech Balanced Power Son of Q 1.5R
    Extensive room treatments

  7. #7

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    Thanks Phil. I did this review back in April and now have a whole different source. I'm using a Salk Stream Player, which is a stripped down Linux based computer. It's only function is playing music files. I use an ipad to control it. For a dac I'm using an MHDT Stockholm tube dac. I had to sell the OR4 in order to finance this new direction. It sounds pretty dang good.

    I know that the Sychromesh will take the Sonos to a whole new level. Excellent Christmas gift- hope it arrives ASAP.

  8. #8

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    Talking

    can one explain difference between mcru power supply and pwx power ?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by starstern View Post
    can one explain difference between mcru power supply and pwx power ?
    I've never heard the pwx power supply and cannot explain the difference.

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