Add Chord Cutest (DAC) to Bluesound Node or purchase HiFi Rose RS150BDAC

Hi, I just purchased a new Bluesound Node a week ago and I do not like the sound quality So I thought I would purchase a Chord Cutest DAC since I can bypass the DAC in the Node.  I only like using the Node for its user friendly Blusound software to access Tidal HiDef music using my cell phone.  So my question is if I'm just looking for the best audio quality imaging etc. would I have a superior sound quality using the Node with the Chord Cutest or would the HiFi Rose Model RS150B  audio sound quality be even better? I could live without the video screen on the Rose and the YouTube video music stuff Rose has built in that ports out to my large screen TV using the HDMI  Earc connection. I am just wanting to have the best audiophile sound period. So would the Rose be better sounding than what I'm thinking would be best sounding?  If the Rose would sound better I would buy the Rose and look into using its other features that I may like however I just want the highest quality sound period above all else without spending over 5K and stay on a budget under 2K IF I can surpass the Rose sound quality.   I am asking this question because I am hoping to save money and my research points to just adding a Chord Cutest to my Node because of all the vast awards the Chord Cutest keeps getting and forget the Rose. In my system I have a Modified Musical Fidelity A5 integrated Amp with just RCA inputs and I have Texton Electron Impact speakers. 


I doubt if you can hear a difference. At least double blind.

I’m sure that you will like one OS better than the other.


Qutest is an excellent DAC. Go used and allocate some funds for a good USB cable. 

Chord for sound, Rose for looks.  

Return the node and buy a streamer only and get more streamer for your dollar.


I think you’re on the right track as long as the Qutest offers the sound qualities you’re looking for.  The other thing I’d do is upgrade to an exterior linear power supply as many Node users report big improvements from that.  I’d think between the DAC and power supply you’d be in really good shape, and you still have the OS you seem to like.

Sonically, the Chord Qutest was one of the most disappointing DACs I’ve owned. Value-wise, it easily ranks as the worst.

Don’t fall victim to the hype surrounding their proprietary FPGA and filter tapping. It doesn’t result in any better objective performance than a mid-grade OEM DS chip and independent measurements confirm that.

Subjectively (in level-matched A/B comparisons I conducted), the Marantz HD-DAC1, Denafrips Ares II, and Electrocompaniet ECD-2 are all considerably superior, especially in bass performance. If you want to get the same experience the Qutest offers, you can get the Pro-Ject Pre BoxS2 Digital, which sounds indistinguishable for half the price of a used Qutest.

The most likely reason others are recommending the Qutest over the Rose’s internal DAC is the pervasive and flawed notion around here that separate components that result in higher total cost always result in better performance.


There’s good reason you’ll never encounter a shortage of pre-owned Qutest DACs floating around the market. I believe one time I counted as many as 10 available simultaneously on the “other” site. It’s as overpriced and overhyped a product as I’ve encountered in all my years in this hobby. Lean bass, relatively grainy highs, and a very 2-dimensional soundstage with none of the layering you get from a good R2R DAC. It is the epitome of stereotypical delta-sigma sound. Even the original AKM Topping D90 sounds more organic.

I don’t have experience with HiFi Rose products, but I’d honestly be amazed if the Qutest sounds any better than their onboard DACs. When it comes to streaming, your best bet is to get the product with the most reliable and logical operating interface. Get the streamer that fits those needs first and foremost, then worry about the DAC quality. If the streamer is frequently crashing or suffering other obnoxious glitches, it doesn’t matter how good the internal DAC is, nor will it matter of you have a great DAC downstream…it will ruin the experience. 

IMO. Often audiophiles go looking at what is fresh and pretty, new with glowing reviews. Many of those reviews are paid for. I was curious about the HiFi Rose and bought one. The integration was awful, the GUI was not intuitive and the sound did not impress me over a Bluesound and separate DAC. The biggest overlooked factor is that BluOs and Bluesound customer service has been very reliable. Forget hype and audition if you can for a week or so.

+1 regarding the Cutest being overpriced and over rated. Have you considered the Eversolo DMP-A8? I recently ordered one (expecting it Friday) as an upgrade from the DMP-A6. I am very impressed with the Eversolo and going all in. The UI on the Eversolo’s is excellent as good as the Blue OS and the dac was very good.Pairing is key YMMV, but as a streamer alone it is truly outstanding. Folks are parting with their Rose’s because they cannot live with the UI chashes; it is really bad according to folks that own them on this forum and selling at big discounts. My one and only issue with the Eversolo UI was the inability to create cross platform playlist in the Eversolo app but now that has been addressed with a recent update. Before you go down the rabbit hole adding power supplies,multiple boxes etc. check out the Eversolo offerings they are priced fairly and the A6 I owned was far superior to the Node.

I would not gamble on the Rose to deliver the best sound, especially if you don’t care about the bling factor that comes with it. I have not heard the Qutest, but there are plenty of well reviewed DAC’s in that price range, read carefully to find one that will deliver “the sound” you are looking for. Sticking with separates is a good plan at this point if you are seeking the best sound, eventually you will want to step up to a better streamer too. 

After owning and trying several streamers—I found I prefer Lumin. You can find used ones on sale for great prices right now. I picked up a T2 (new model T3 is out) on TMR online store and absolutely love it. I’m a lifetime Roon user so have never tried Aurender.  

If it fits your sound profile, I’d suggest giving this Musician Pegasus a good look.  You could add their Pisces D2D that’d allow you to use i2S for a very nice performance bump and add an external power supply for the Node all for about the same price as the Qutest.  No brainer in my book.

Just something else to ponder.

I bought a Denafrips Pontus ll to go with the Node, N130 and have really been happy going on two years now. You might want to investigate a good USB cable as well.

All the best.

Thank you guys for all your input. I'm checking out everything you're mentioning. Thank you.