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Chord Chordette Gem Vs Dacmagic

admin_exported

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Aug 10, 2019
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Right,

How do these to compare in sound quality terms, I am planning on getting a dac to be connected to my pc. I am going to use lossless wma files mostly with one or two in 320kps. I know the chord is twice the money of the dacmagic but is it the better Dac or would I be paying for the fact that it is made by chord and not really worth the £200 extra.

Thanks in advance for any opinions.
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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I doubt you will find anyone who has used both.

WHF has five star reviewed both models and I know the Chordette Gem has received excellent reviews in other mags. (As has the DacMagic too.)

The Chordette Gem has 24bit/96khz capability on it's USB input (I rang them a few weeks ago and asked one of their technical guys to confirm this) whereas the DacMagic USB input is only 16bit and 44.1/48khz.

This is only a concern if you intend (like me) to stick with USB otherwise the DacMagic has optical and coax (24/192) which the Chordette does not.

The Chordette has Bluetooth (A2DP) as well, if you want or need that facility.

I would guess that if you only intend to use USB then the Chordette Gem would be a better performer.
 
A

Anonymous

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I am only going to use the usb so just really depends on how much I want to spend I suppose.
 

Gerrardasnails

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Sep 6, 2007
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m1rfy:I am only going to use the usb so just really depends on how much I want to spend I suppose.

The DacMagic would be better - I'm fairly sure. The Chordette is really a bit one dimensional in that you can only really use it with a pc or bluetooth and it would not be the price it is if it were made by Cambridge Audio.
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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Gerrardasnails:m1rfy:I am only going to use the usb so just really depends on how much I want to spend I suppose.

The DacMagic would be better - I'm fairly sure. The Chordette is really a bit one dimensional in that you can only really use it with a pc or bluetooth and it would not be the price it is if it were made by Cambridge Audio.

Technically a USB that is capable of 24 bit word length (especially with a PC/laptop) is (potentially) going to be better than 16 bit USB. (Some of those bits do get 'robbed' so the advice for USB - on places like the Benchmark support pages for instance - is to set word length for 24 bits regardless and to set the sampling rate to match the source.)

The Chordette's 24/96 capability also allows for 'studio master' quality downloads to be played without down-sampling if that is your 'thing' or indeed something you want to try.

The DacMagic's USB is only 16 bit and 44.1khz/48khz.

Let's not damn what has been reviewed by many as an excellent DAC - without hearing it - by using terms like 'one dimensional'. As for the price, who is qualified to comment on Chord's pricing? For all we know the £399 may be great value.

I have heard a DacMagic (not on USB though) but not the Chordette Gem which is why I am using qualifying terms like 'technically' and 'potentially' until I hear it. Which I fully intend to.

Do you think our hosts would NOT have seen through an overpriced bit of gimmickry if that is what the Chordette really was?...

http://whathifi.com/Review/Chord-Electronics-Chordette-Gem/
 

Gerrardasnails

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Sep 6, 2007
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chebby:Gerrardasnails:m1rfy:I am only going to use the usb so just really depends on how much I want to spend I suppose.

The DacMagic would be better - I'm fairly sure. The Chordette is really a bit one dimensional in that you can only really use it with a pc or bluetooth and it would not be the price it is if it were made by Cambridge Audio.

Technically a USB that is capable of 24 bit word length (especially with a PC/laptop) is (potentially) going to be better than 16 bit USB. (Some of those bits do get 'robbed' so the advice for USB - on places like the Benchmark support pages for instance - is to set word length for 24 bits regardless and to set the sampling rate to match the source.)

The Chordette's 24/96 capability also allows for 'studio master' quality downloads to be played without down-sampling if that is your 'thing' or indeed something you want to try.

The DacMagic's USB is only 16 bit and 44.1khz/48khz.

Let's not damn what has been reviewed by many as an excellent DAC - without hearing it - by using terms like 'one dimensional'. As for the price, who is qualified to comment on Chord's pricing? For all we know the £399 may be great value.

I have heard a DacMagic (not on USB though) but not the Chordette Gem which is why I am using qualifying terms like 'technically' and 'potentially' until I hear it. Which I fully intend to.

Do you think our hosts would NOT have seen through an overpriced bit of gimmickry if that is what the Chordette really was?...

http://whathifi.com/Review/Chord-Electronics-Chordette-Gem/

The DacMagic's USB is only 16 bit but through coaxial or optical it's 24 bit. I think that the review in this mag said a lot, "an effective upgrade to computer or music phone". The Gem is a gadget. I don't see it as a serious piece of hifi.
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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Gerrardasnails:The Gem is a gadget. I don't see it as a serious piece of hifi.

So then I really have to assume you have heard it.

What was it about the sound that put you off?

(I have heard the CA DacMagic + iMac/iTunes Lossless + Primare i30 + XLR balanced connects and my opinions of the experience are on record elsewhere in the forum.)

Gerrardasnails:I think that the review in this mag said a lot, "an effective upgrade to computer or music phone".

On page 137 of the latest WHF S&V 'Ultimate Guide to New Technology 2009', the Beresford DAC is listed as.. 'Best for value', the CA DacMagic is listed as.. 'Best all-rounder' and the Chordette Gem is listed as.. 'Best Money-no-object' so I interpret that as WHF saying they DO consider the Gem a serious hi-fi component.
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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Gerrardasnails:The DacMagic's USB is only 16 bit but through coaxial or optical it's 24 bit.

Yes I know but the OP wants to use USB so the the DacMagics optical/coax capabilites are moot.
 

Ajani

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Apr 9, 2008
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Gerrardasnails:chebby:Gerrardasnails:m1rfy:I am only going to use the usb so just really depends on how much I want to spend I suppose.

The DacMagic would be better - I'm fairly sure. The Chordette is really a bit one dimensional in that you can only really use it with a pc or bluetooth and it would not be the price it is if it were made by Cambridge Audio.

Technically a USB that is capable of 24 bit word length (especially with a PC/laptop) is (potentially) going to be better than 16 bit USB. (Some of those bits do get 'robbed' so the advice for USB - on places like the Benchmark support pages for instance - is to set word length for 24 bits regardless and to set the sampling rate to match the source.)

The Chordette's 24/96 capability also allows for 'studio master' quality downloads to be played without down-sampling if that is your 'thing' or indeed something you want to try.

The DacMagic's USB is only 16 bit and 44.1khz/48khz.

Let's not damn what has been reviewed by many as an excellent DAC - without hearing it - by using terms like 'one dimensional'. As for the price, who is qualified to comment on Chord's pricing? For all we know the £399 may be great value.

I have heard a DacMagic (not on USB though) but not the Chordette Gem which is why I am using qualifying terms like 'technically' and 'potentially' until I hear it. Which I fully intend to.

Do you think our hosts would NOT have seen through an overpriced bit of gimmickry if that is what the Chordette really was?...

http://whathifi.com/Review/Chord-Electronics-Chordette-Gem/

The DacMagic's USB is only 16 bit but through coaxial or optical it's 24 bit. I think that the review in this mag said a lot, "an effective upgrade to computer or music phone". The Gem is a gadget. I don't see it as a serious piece of hifi.

Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't the only inputs on the Chordette - USB and Bluetooth? Which would mean that about the only products it can be used with are computers and phones... thus making that review statement just factual instead of damning...
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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I will have to wait until I have heard it. It is on the 'list' of things I need to hear...

Musical Fidelity A1 class A integrated with built in USB DAC.
Benchmark USB DAC.
Chordette Gem
Any other DACs with excellent USB performance. (Research still ongoing.)

My experience of the DacMagic was not all that great despite being an 'optimal' set-up (optically connected iMac + lossless files + XLR connected to Primare i30) so that is no longer on the list :-(
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
thanks to everyone for all of their opinions. I would though be able to use the dac magic with either optical or coax, I just said I would be only using the dac with the computer so the chord chordettes lack of inputs wouldn't be a problem.
 

Helix

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Nov 28, 2007
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Hello,

I have listened to both DAC. DacMagic, very clean sound.. Gem sounded a touch more musical.

If you have less than ideal source, for example, less than 192 kbps digital music files, DacMagic seemed to compensate them with its upsampling feature. In this case, go with DacMagic. It sounds betther than Gem with less than ideal source.

But since you mostly use lossless files, you'll be better off getting Gem. It sounds more musical than DacMagic with ideal source.
 

Helix

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Nov 28, 2007
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Or if you can stretch your budget, there's another alternative, Stello DA100 Signature DAC (675 pounds). (make sure it's the Sig. version.)

It sounded better than both of DAC's. I think it's the least expensive DAC that shows what High-End DAC sounds like.

By the way, it also works great with less than ideal source like DacMagic.
 

Gerrardasnails

Well-known member
Sep 6, 2007
295
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Helix:
Hello,

I have listened to both DAC. DacMagic, very clean sound.. Gem sounded a touch more musical.

If you have less than ideal source, for example, less than 192 kbps digital music files, DacMagic seemed to compensate them with its upsampling feature. In this case, go with DacMagic. It sounds betther than Gem with less than ideal source.

But since you mostly use lossless files, you'll be better off getting Gem. It sounds more musical than DacMagic with ideal source.

I think this says a lot. Two people have listened to both and each has differing views. For me, I would love to own a product from Chord Electronics. However, I needed a product that connected to my pc, bluray player and possibly my Sky box (tuner). The Chordette can't do that and is double the price. Maybe I was wrong to call it a gadget. I do feel as though Chord have marketed it for people with money to make their mobile phones sound great rather than to be part of their hifi system. Chord's other DACs start at 5 times the price and are on a different level both in size and ability. Once my youngest is at school with her sister, I will be investing in a DAC64, to see just how good they are. At the moment though I am very happy with my system.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
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Gerrardasnails:Helix:

Hello,

I have listened to both DAC. DacMagic, very clean sound.. Gem sounded a touch more musical.

If you have less than ideal source, for example, less than 192 kbps digital music files, DacMagic seemed to compensate them with its upsampling feature. In this case, go with DacMagic. It sounds betther than Gem with less than ideal source.

But since you mostly use lossless files, you'll be better off getting Gem. It sounds more musical than DacMagic with ideal source.

I think this says a lot. Two people have listened to both and each has differing views. For me, I would love to own a product from Chord Electronics. However, I needed a product that connected to my pc, bluray player and possibly my Sky box (tuner). The Chordette can't do that and is double the price. Maybe I was wrong to call it a gadget. I do feel as though Chord have marketed it for people with money to make their mobile phones sound great rather than to be part of their hifi system. Chord's other DACs start at 5 times the price and are on a different level both in size and ability. Once my youngest is at school with her sister, I will be investing in a DAC64, to see just how good they are. At the moment though I am very happy with my system.

I think it's quite clear cut, if you have a PC/laptop without a digital out, then go with the Gem with USB if your budget can stretch to it.

However I'm still not convinced by the Bluetooth, for starters you're gonna have to store high bitrate files or ideally lossless files on their mobiles. Some would consider that insane. How many do that I don't know, and iPhone users are out of luck - Apple being Apple, its bluetooth is severely restricted. And I doubt many built-in laptop bluetooth adapters are A2DP compliant (Chebby you're lucky).

Chord should make another Gem model with normal optical inputs instead of the bluetooth. I guess the units will really fly off the shelves then.
 

Helix

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Nov 28, 2007
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I think they discontinued DAC64, which has been replaced by QBD76 (Gem's big brother that has coaxial, optical as well as USB & Bluetooth inputs). They says it's better than DAC64. (costs more too, 3 grand).

The only thing I'm not happy with Gem is the way Chord markets it as some sort of gadget. I do think it's a good piece of hifi equipments.
 

Gerrardasnails

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Sep 6, 2007
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Helix:
I think they discontinued DAC64, which has been replaced by QBD76 (Gem's big brother that has coaxial, optical as well as USB & Bluetooth inputs). They says it's better than DAC64. (costs more too, 3 grand).

The only thing I'm not happy with Gem is the way Chord markets it as some sort of gadget. I do think it's a good piece of hifi equipments.

That is my point here. Chord make it as some sort of gadget as that's the market they know it will sell to. It's hardly the QBD76's little brother considering it's almost 10 times cheaper. I would say it's a product they thought would make a few quid for them.

I would not be buying a brand new Chord 64 anyway. And maybe I might get a cheapish QBD76 in a couple of years time.
 

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