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Chord Dacs? Added Distortion or accurate???

Andrewjvt

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Jun 18, 2014
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Ive been reading up loads of Dac reviews lately by what hifi - we all know that they love the sound of chord Dacs. Ive also read information about even the most cheap dac chip in a smart phone producing same output/sound as a high end dac?

The Hugo, Mojo and the Dave all award winners and 5stars.

My question: are chord deliberately adding in some kind of tizz, fuzz or hf distortion to trick listeners into believing that they are more 'exciting'

Most other really good dacs are being called boring and needs more excitement etc - just today the poor new leema - sales will be down now for them possibly making a more accurate product.

new mdac plus - a touch more attack would make it better.

Benchmark dac2 - sound could be more exciting

Also - people on here have complained about listener fatigue - HF distortion perhaps -

So are Chord dacs using cheap tricks or are they just much better than the rest.

Ive never listened to a chord dac or tested or done any comparisions between dacs so dont have a strong opinion - I just want your thoughts.

Discuss
 

lpv

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Mar 14, 2013
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in todays world with all readily available independent no BS audio websites reading reviews in magazines which are 100% vehicles for advertising is meaningless.
 

Gray

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Nov 27, 2015
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Hi-Fi Choice and Hi-Fi World both also speak very highly of Chord DACs. By all accounts it's the Rob Watts design input that makes the difference. I've not heard them myself, nor have I watched this video yet, but it might explain their different approach to conversion:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCYUujl1zTM
 

Al ears

Moderator
Gray said:
Hi-Fi Choice and Hi-Fi World both also speak very highly of Chord DACs. By all accounts it's the Rob Watts design input that makes the difference. I've not heard them myself, nor have I watched this video yet, but it might explain their different approach to conversion:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCYUujl1zTM
Yes. Might be something to do with their FPGA technology rather than using an off-the-shelf component.
 

drummerman

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Jan 18, 2008
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Recent Chord DAC's have some of the best S/N figures, highest dynamic range, lowest jitter and lowest distortion.

MillerLabs.
 

Gazzip

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Jan 15, 2011
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This is a brief description of how PS Audio employ FPGA in their Directstream DAC's.

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews2/psaudio/1.html

Clearly with FPGA much more pre-conversion processing can go on if it is programmed to do so, and the process is executed in a different way, than in a normal DAC chip. The theoretical precision of DSD conversion over PCM in relation to voltage is particularly interesting. I am pretty sure I have read that the DAVE and the Directstream share a great deal in common, although their respective FPGA programmers, Ted Smith (PSA) and Rob Watts (Chord), I think have a different approach to upsampling. The former does it in his DAC's whereas the latter does not I think. This could explain the smoothness of the PSA Directstream's presentation in comparison with the detail of the DAVE. I preferred the former, but then I like valves and am not all about accuracy at the cost of perceived musicality...
 

Andrewjvt

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Jun 18, 2014
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Gazzip said:
This is a brief description of how PS Audio employ FPGA in their Directstream DAC's. 

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews2/psaudio/1.html

Clearly with FPGA much more pre-conversion processing can go on if it is programmed to do so, and the process is executed in a different way, than in a normal DAC chip. The theoretical precision of DSD conversion over PCM in relation to voltage is particularly interesting. I am pretty sure I have read that the DAVE and the Directstream share a great deal in common, although their respective FPGA programmers, Ted Smith (PSA) and Rob Watts (Chord), I think have a different approach to upsampling. The former does it in his DAC's whereas the latter does not I think. This could explain the smoothness of the PSA Directstream's presentation in comparison with the detail of the DAVE. I preferred the former, but then I like valves and am not all about accuracy at the cost of perceived musicality...

 
Dis not you say a monthd ago.that the new dave caused fatigue?

It may not have been you. But if its a better dac and accurate why would it do so?
 

Gazzip

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Jan 15, 2011
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Andrewjvt said:
Gazzip said:
This is a brief description of how PS Audio employ FPGA in their Directstream DAC's.

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews2/psaudio/1.html

Clearly with FPGA much more pre-conversion processing can go on if it is programmed to do so, and the process is executed in a different way, than in a normal DAC chip. The theoretical precision of DSD conversion over PCM in relation to voltage is particularly interesting. I am pretty sure I have read that the DAVE and the Directstream share a great deal in common, although their respective FPGA programmers, Ted Smith (PSA) and Rob Watts (Chord), I think have a different approach to upsampling. The former does it in his DAC's whereas the latter does not I think. This could explain the smoothness of the PSA Directstream's presentation in comparison with the detail of the DAVE. I preferred the former, but then I like valves and am not all about accuracy at the cost of perceived musicality...
Dis not you say a monthd ago.that the new dave caused fatigue?

It may not have been you. But if its a better dac and accurate why would it do so?
Yes that was me and yes it fatigued the hell out of me. Maybe the DAVE was just revealing too much without smoothing off the edges, which upsampling (my DAC) does? Maybe the DAVE is designed/programmed to sound like that? I have no idea.

You ever sat in a room with somebody playing the drums live? It reminded me of that, but a lot of people like it and hold it up there as the best DAC made yet. Horses for courses.
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
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drummerman said:
Recent Chord DAC's have some of the best S/N figures, highest dynamic range, lowest jitter and lowest distortion.

MillerLabs.

I get my information from HN&RR.
Paul Miller owns Miller Audio Research labs and he is also the editor of (and a reviewer for) HFN&RR who publish his 'independent' test results.

Miller Audio Research also have companies like Naim, Arcam and Chord Electronics as clients. (According to it's own website.)

You'd need to be very careful untangling the vested interests out of all these relationships.
 

Native_bon

Well-known member
Nov 26, 2008
180
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I got the 2qute dac, and it just proves what all reviews say. It sounds accurate in my system without any sign of hard sound. Real bass sounds to clean treble frequencies. My oppo sounds really good but lacks the up & go of the 2qute dac. Up & go without harsh- sounding. I think there is a preconception of how a product should sound, & was expecting that from the chord 2qute but gave me the total opposite. Yet still manages to sound warm. Yes Chord's dacs do sound different. Don't care about the tech just the sound. *wink*
 

Andrewjvt

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Jun 18, 2014
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From chord about Fpga and what i picked up from it is:

If this technology is being used on say the 2qute and dave. Apart from balanced connections what is inside to make the dave so expensive in comparison?

Next thing was all the marketing words: Unique, accuracy, Pure, finest, Custom, Excellent, ultra fine, original, multi award winning, micro detail and more complex (ive actually copied my friends sms in responce to the video i sent)

Are they not just sending a tizz to make us think they are more get up and go?
Like amplifiers hitting peak power/volume just above 9 oclock to trick the listener into believing the amp is more powerful than it really is.
 

Native_bon

Well-known member
Nov 26, 2008
180
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18,595
Andrewjvt said:
From chord about Fpga and what i picked up from it is:

If this technology is being used on say the 2qute and dave. Apart from balanced connections what is inside to make the dave so expensive in comparison?

Next thing was all the marketing words: Unique, accuracy, Pure, finest, Custom, Excellent, ultra fine, original, multi award winning, micro detail and more complex (ive actually copied my friends sms in responce to the video i sent)

Are they not just sending a tizz to make us think they are more get up and go?
Like amplifiers hitting peak power/volume just above 9 oclock to trick the listener into believing the amp is more powerful than it really is.
It may well be the case. One thing I have noticed, is that the output of chord dacs are quite high. This is the case with 2qute compared to the Oppo & M dac.
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
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Native_bon said:
Andrewjvt said:
From chord about Fpga and what i picked up from it is:

If this technology is being used on say the 2qute and dave. Apart from balanced connections what is inside to make the dave so expensive in comparison?

Next thing was all the marketing words: Unique, accuracy, Pure, finest, Custom, Excellent, ultra fine, original, multi award winning, micro detail and more complex (ive actually copied my friends sms in responce to the video i sent)

Are they not just sending a tizz to make us think they are more get up and go?
Like amplifiers hitting peak power/volume just above 9 oclock to trick the listener into believing the amp is more powerful than it really is.
It may well be the case. One thing I have noticed, is that the output of chord dacs are quite high. This is the case with 2qute compared to the Oppo & M dac.
Id like to line level say mdac v 2qute and play same song over and over with a/b switching.
Like i said in the beginning ive never heard them and id like to and dont have an opinion myself. I just find it sad that other manufactuers are possibly losing sales just because of a **** review
 

Gazzip

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Jan 15, 2011
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Native_bon said:
Andrewjvt said:
From chord about Fpga and what i picked up from it is:

If this technology is being used on say the 2qute and dave. Apart from balanced connections what is inside to make the dave so expensive in comparison?

Next thing was all the marketing words: Unique, accuracy, Pure, finest, Custom, Excellent, ultra fine, original, multi award winning, micro detail and more complex (ive actually copied my friends sms in responce to the video i sent)

Are they not just sending a tizz to make us think they are more get up and go? Like amplifiers hitting peak power/volume just above 9 oclock to trick the listener into believing the amp is more powerful than it really is.
It may well be the case. One thing I have noticed, is that the output of chord dacs are quite high. This is the case with 2qute compared to the Oppo & M dac.
This entire thread (and many others on this forum) reflects a wider, world issue that we currently face. There seems to be distrust everywhere. Nobody knows what to believe anymore. In hifi there are so many BS merchants and snakeoil tradesmen trying to sell baseless stuff that everything gets tarred with the same brush. This is going to have to be balanced quickly because at the moment the depressing truth is that we as a hobby (and wider as a society) are heading somewhere very, very dark...
 

davedotco

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Apr 24, 2013
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Native_bon said:
Andrewjvt said:
From chord about Fpga and what i picked up from it is:

If this technology is being used on say the 2qute and dave. Apart from balanced connections what is inside to make the dave so expensive in comparison?

Next thing was all the marketing words: Unique, accuracy, Pure, finest, Custom, Excellent, ultra fine, original, multi award winning, micro detail and more complex (ive actually copied my friends sms in responce to the video i sent)

Are they not just sending a tizz to make us think they are more get up and go? Like amplifiers hitting peak power/volume just above 9 oclock to trick the listener into believing the amp is more powerful than it really is.
It may well be the case. One thing I have noticed, is that the output of chord dacs are quite high. This is the case with 2qute compared to the Oppo & M dac.
Chord DACs a very high output, typically around 3volts. Many manufacturers push the nominal (Red Book) standard of 2volts to 2.2 or even 2.4.

They do this for one simple reason, the difference is too small to be percieved by the listener as a change in volume but it is noticeable. The difference is that it sounds better, more focussed, more dynamic, more "get up and go" in fact all the things that Chord dacs are said to be good at.

This will most certainly have an effect when auditioning Chord Dacs, that said they do use some different technology which may also have an effect, I don't know.

Precise level matching is not something that most dealers are capable of or prepared to undertake, but that would really tell us something if it were carried out.
 

Andrewjvt

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Jun 18, 2014
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davedotco said:
Native_bon said:
Andrewjvt said:
From chord about Fpga and what i picked up from it is:

If this technology is being used on say the 2qute and dave. Apart from balanced connections what is inside to make the dave so expensive in comparison?

Next thing was all the marketing words: Unique, accuracy, Pure, finest, Custom, Excellent, ultra fine, original, multi award winning, micro detail and more complex (ive actually copied my friends sms in responce to the video i sent)

Are they not just sending a tizz to make us think they are more get up and go? Like amplifiers hitting peak power/volume just above 9 oclock to trick the listener into believing the amp is more powerful than it really is.
It may well be the case. One thing I have noticed, is that the output of chord dacs are quite high. This is the case with 2qute compared to the Oppo & M dac.
Chord DACs a very high output, typically around 3volts. Many manufacturers push the nominal (Red Book) standard of 2volts to 2.2 or even 2.4.

They do this for one simple reason, the difference is too small to be percieved by the listener as a change in volume but it is noticeable. The difference is that it sounds better, more focussed, more dynamic, more "get up and go" in fact all the things that Chord dacs are said to be good at.

This will most certainly have an effect when auditioning Chord Dacs, that said they do use some different technology which may also have an effect, I don't know.

Precise level matching is not something that most dealers are capable of or prepared to undertake, but that would really tell us something if it were carried out.
Im going to make it my mission to do it some time soon.
 

davedotco

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Apr 24, 2013
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Good on you...*good*

One small tip that may be usefull, level matching can be very awkward so I suggest measuring the level at the easily accessable speaker terminals. Some sort of steady test tone and a digital multimeter is all that is required.

Good luck
 

Native_bon

Well-known member
Nov 26, 2008
180
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The perceived notion of a higher output making Chord dacs sound more focus and dynamic may not be the whole story. Having a higher output, yet very low in distortion is to me very welcoming. Am currently using a PSU linear power supply with the 2qute, which to me even makes it sound better due to lower noise floor, reducing the initial effect of sounding much louder. If making it louder made it sound better, many would have followed suit.

My Arcam can take up to 4volts input so am all good. Am sure most amps can handle very hot input signals these days so should not be a problem generally. I would definitely like to know the results of the output test and how that affect's the sound. *yes3*
 

drummerman

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Jan 18, 2008
540
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chebby said:
drummerman said:
Recent Chord DAC's have some of the best S/N figures, highest dynamic range, lowest jitter and lowest distortion.

MillerLabs.

I get my information from HN&RR.
Paul Miller owns Miller Audio Research labs and he is also the editor of (and a reviewer for) HFN&RR who publish his 'independent' test results.

Miller Audio Research also have companies like Naim, Arcam and Chord Electronics as clients. (According to it's own website.)

You'd need to be very careful untangling the vested interests out of all these relationships.
The conspiracy theory ...
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
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davedotco said:
Good on you...*good*

One small tip that may be usefull, level matching can be very awkward so I suggest measuring the level at the easily accessable speaker terminals. Some sort of steady test tone and a digital multimeter is all that is required.

Good luck
My trusty old fluke i brought in 1996 is still going strong
 

Gazzip

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Jan 15, 2011
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Native_bon said:
The perceived notion of a higher output making Chord dacs sound more focus and dynamic may not be the whole story. Having a higher output, yet very low in distortion is to me very welcoming. Am currently using a PSU linear power supply with the 2qute, which to me even makes it sound better due to lower noise floor, reducing the initial effect of sounding much louder. If making it louder made it sound better, many would have followed suit.

My Arcam can take up to 4volts input so am all good. Am sure most amps can handle very hot input signals these days so should not be a problem generally. I would definitely like to know the results of the output test and how that affect's the sound. *yes3*
+1

I can understand how a higher output on the Chord could help the sales person to make an initial impact when demoing against other, lower output DACs, but surely that wouldn't wash during prolonged listening? It would just sound louder at lower settings on the pre-amp, not better. I have previously had the DAVE on extended home demo (thanks Fanthorpes!) and I can vouch for the fact that it is like no DAC I have ever heard before. Dynamic and revealing as hell but I just didn't take to it.
 

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