• If you ever spot Spam (either in the forums, or received via forum direct message) please use the Report button at the bottom of each post to make sure a Moderator can handle it quickly. Thanks for your help in keeping things running smoothly!

Can anyone help me understand amplifier input sensitivity?

inbox4

Well-known member
Aug 27, 2007
32
0
18,540
I've been reading about Chord's 2Qute DAC which appears to have a higher than 'normal?' output level.

Users of some older Naim amplifiers (with high input sensitivity) were suggesting this could be problematic in their systems.

I dont really understand any of the above. Why would Chord opt for a higher than 'standard?' output and why would it be a problem? Is it not just be a case of running the volume lower?

Most important to me is knowing whether this higher output is compatible with my own Arcam A39's input sensitivity.

If someone could let me know whether the DAC is compatibile with my own amplifer as well as explaining the subject, I would be very grateful.

Any comments on this DAC would also be useful, I'm yet to hear it.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
898
435
5,270
Chord does this as their DACs will sound more impressive in A/B comparisons. Higher voltage means higher volume. I've recently had a mate of mine who came in with his Chord Mojo. We tried it on both my Naim and Roksan amps. Only on Roksan he set it to full 3V output. Signal was distorted.

From memory 2Qute is line level so these concerns are valid. If you can get it to work with your amp I'm sure it'll sound great as Mojo did sound superb.
 

inbox4

Well-known member
Aug 27, 2007
32
0
18,540
Thanks for your comments.

The spec for my amp states a maximum input of 4.6v so the 3v 2Qute should be ok?

I dont understand this sufficently to be confident about what I'm reading. I'd like someone to give me a sense of whether my amp has a high or low overall input sensitivity.

Specs are: http://www.arcam.co.uk/products,FMJ,Integrated-Amplifier,a39.htm#downloads

Inputs:[/b]
Nominal sensitivity: 1VInput impedance: 10kΩMaximum input: 4.6VFrequency response: 20Hz—20kHz ± 0.2dBSignal/noise ratio (Awtd) 50W, ref. 1V input: 105dB[/list]
 

inbox4

Well-known member
Aug 27, 2007
32
0
18,540
Thanks for the explanation.

Are you able to comment on the specs of my specific amplifer and its compatibility with the 2Qute's 3v output?
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
1
0
To keep things very simple
And non technical

Just think of it like this
The higher the input sensitivity the louder it will go on the volume dial compared to a lower input sensitivity componant.

As others pointed out can sound more impressive on a demo but in the long run is not ideal as sound quality can be affected.

Good matching componant would have normal listening level between 11 and 3 o'clock on the volume dial.

Most high input sensitivity items sound almost full blast at 11 to 12 o'clock.

Most well designed products will have an output gain or studio monitors will have an input sensitivity switch to match well with preamplifier.

A good example of a well designed integrated amplifier will be Hegel - usable Volume goes all the way to 99 and half power is half on the Volume. Was a pleasure to operate.
The Hegel had its own dac and was connected directly to laptop
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,233
5
19,195
So the loudness wars have now hit supposedly reputable companies like Chord?

It really sucks that they rely on these tactics just to win an a/b demo.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
635
392
19,270
inbox4 said:
Thanks for the explanation.

Are you able to comment on the specs of my specific amplifer and its compatibility with the 2Qute's 3v output?
The amp is less sensitive than average - see the HiFi World article - and the DAC higher output than average. So they potentially match well. The maximum input is sufficiently in excess to ensure no distortion. You may nevertheless find the volume unhelpfully high, meaning you have less control than ideal. The attenuators mentioned will help there.

I suggest getting the DAC on the basis you can return it if it doesn't suit.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
635
392
19,270

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
898
435
5,270
nopiano said:
insider9 said:
Gray said:
The Chord and your amp are compatible.

These can be useful to attenuate the signal for better matching between your sources.

You'll see that they describe the issue of volume control positioning for normal listening level.

http://www.rothwellaudioproducts.co.uk/html/attenuators.html
Would it not also affect the frequency response? 
No, these will attenuate all audio frequencies uniformly. 
Thanks Nopiano. Must admit haven't read the link :)
 

inbox4

Well-known member
Aug 27, 2007
32
0
18,540
Thanks everyone for your input.

nopiano, that was just the sort of response I was hoping for.

I need to arrange a demo with my amp to be sure. I dont like the idea of buying attenuators to control something I dont even have yet. I might as well find something more suitable instead.
 

Native_bon

Well-known member
Nov 26, 2008
180
2
18,595
I got the 2qute dac and it's excellent. This is my best source till date. All this talk about loudness is rubbish.

It's sounds Dynamic clean and a reduction is noise floor that beat Audiolad M dac I used before it hands down.

No sign of hardness to the sound what so ever. If you can buy and try at home I say give it a try.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
635
392
19,270
inbox4 said:
Thanks everyone for your input.

nopiano, that was just the sort of response I was hoping for.

I need to arrange a demo with my amp to be sure. I dont like the idea of buying attenuators to control something I dont even have yet. I might as well find something more suitable instead.
Thanks for the feedback! Don't be put off trying one, because I've never heard any better DACs than Chord, whatever model. They're a bit eccentric but all sound amazing. (Last week I heard a DAVE though not in ideal circumstances, but it looked awesome!)
 

inbox4

Well-known member
Aug 27, 2007
32
0
18,540
I've read many positive comments about the 2Qute and Chord DACs in general. I'm looking forward to hearing it.

Everyone has their personal preferences when it comes to sound so it will be interesting to see. I was a little concerned by Native_bon replacing an M-DAC with the 2Qute. He said the Chord was significantly better but I hope they didn't both appeal to him by having a similar presentation.

I mean no offence to Audiolab or they owners. I know they are very highly rated and enjoyed products. The M-DAC however is far from my sort of sound. I found it to be very detailed, clinical and 'hi-fi' sounding. I much prefer my irDAC2 which I find musical and involving. I hope the Chord is more towards Arcam's end of the scale than Audiolabs.
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
1
0
inbox4 said:
I've read many positive comments about the 2Qute and Chord DACs in general. I'm looking forward to hearing it. 

Everyone has their personal preferences when it comes to sound so it will be interesting to see. I was a little concerned by Native_bon replacing an M-DAC with the 2Qute. He said the Chord was significantly better but I hope they didn't both appeal to him by having a similar presentation. 

I mean no offence to Audiolab or they owners. I know they are very highly rated and enjoyed products. The M-DAC however is far from my sort of sound. I found it to be very detailed, clinical and 'hi-fi' sounding. I much prefer my irDAC2 which I find musical and involving. I hope the Chord is more towards Arcam's end of the scale than Audiolabs. 
This sort of post confuses me as the difference in DACs is so small it's very hard to tell in an a/b test
However the deferences are heard.
Just be careful it's not the input sensitivity making you believe a product is more alive.

I could be confidently happy to chose either of the DACs you mentioned with a pre and active setup and not really hear much difference
It's more of a very small fine tune.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
898
435
5,270
Andrewjvt said:
inbox4 said:
I've read many positive comments about the 2Qute and Chord DACs in general. I'm looking forward to hearing it. 

Everyone has their personal preferences when it comes to sound so it will be interesting to see. I was a little concerned by Native_bon replacing an M-DAC with the 2Qute. He said the Chord was significantly better but I hope they didn't both appeal to him by having a similar presentation. 

I mean no offence to Audiolab or they owners. I know they are very highly rated and enjoyed products. The M-DAC however is far from my sort of sound. I found it to be very detailed, clinical and 'hi-fi' sounding. I much prefer my irDAC2 which I find musical and involving. I hope the Chord is more towards Arcam's end of the scale than Audiolabs. 
This sort of post confuses me as the difference in DACs is so small it's very hard to tell in an a/b test
However the deferences are heard.
Just be careful it's not the input sensitivity making you believe a product is more alive.

I could be confidently happy to chose either of the DACs you mentioned with a pre and active setup and not really hear much difference
It's more of a very small fine tune.
Usually... many DACs I've heard the difference weren't big or none at all. I've heard Chord Dave in a system I didn't know so wouldn't be able to comment how it contributed to overall sound but I did enjoy it a lot.

Recently had a mate coming over with Mojo. Didn't even do comparison as I know my room and components well. Chord is not like anything I've heard before in home environment. Been, thinking how to incorporate a Chord DAC into my diy active setup ever since.
 

Native_bon

Well-known member
Nov 26, 2008
180
2
18,595
If you like music then buy a chord dac. I upgraded the power supply to linear psu. If am honest there is very little differences between the Audiolab M dac and Chord dac at first listen. After a week or so I popped the Audiolab back in and I can tell straight away the musicality of the Chord was gone.

The Chord also has a cleaner and more forgiving top end than the M dac. Like mentioned above the Chord sure sounds different.

Just to be sure it's not all about high volume output from the Chord I reduced the nominal input sensitivity of my Arcam Av amp from 2v to 4v. Now the chord did not sound as dynamic, but till had the much cleaner and musical sound.

This is always system dependant, so always good to try first for yourself.
 

paulkebab

New member
Dec 26, 2014
66
0
0
from Arcam irDAC to the Audiolab MDAC as I found things becoming a bit too dark, but I think that was a result of the valve hybrid sound. I had the MDAC on sale or return but the difference was obvious straight away so audition what you can at home.

Sorry to wander off the OP.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS