Chord Qutest——>No difference

Just picked up a pre-owned Chord Qutest (off Audiogon) and hear no difference against my Bluesound Node’s internal DAC. The two are connected via a Chord Company:

  • C-USB Cable - Type A to B

The Node registers the Qutest, which seems to be operational bc the sample rate indicator changes color. Still, it sounds the same.

Am I missing something?




You might try and change the output voltage (variable line level voltage 1v, 2v & 3v) on the Qutest and see if you can hear any difference... If not, something is not right... You do have the output of the quest going to a line stage preamp?  And your not upsampling the original source material before feeding it to the Qutest?

I owned this combination and noticed the Qutest brought more warmth and definition to the sound field. So I am surprised to hear your response to the change. I had traded a Rega DAC in on the Chord so I never really used the Bluesound direct to the preamp. However I did try a few digital cables before settling on the Kimber Kable D60 and have since upgraded to the Hugo TT-2

I’ll be curious to see if your assessment changes 


good luck


Changing the variable line level voltage to 3v seems impactful - the music certainly is louder.  My wife likes the change; maybe I was expecting miracles? Thanks for your input.



i experimented with and found 2v worked best for me. But I think that is really pre-amp specific, I have an audio research. I did contact AR as I was concerned 3v might be too much, but they said it wasn’t. 

Anyway it sounds like you’re getting it dialed in. Enjoy!


Thanks Theo, I have an old Arcam C31 preamp (paired with Arcam P1 monos) so I need all the help I can get. At some point may upgrade to a Rogue Audio tube preamp but that’s down the line.

No! Practically all of today's DAC's have achieved such low levels of noise and distortion that they are virtually indistinguishable! That's regardless of price! Let the rock throwing by the golden ear crowd begin!

If you want a DAC with a sonic signature get one with a tube output stage, like a Lampizator. Then you can tube roll to your heart's content!

The component with the higher output voltage will always sound better. That's a quirk of human hearing.

One of my biggest AHA moments was the first time I heard a friend's Qutest.  I have since bought DAVE. There is a huge difference.

Count your blessings and save your money if you don't sense a difference.


@teh_chucksta 2v was the best setting in my system when I had the Qutest. 
I’d recommend to run and listen to the Qutest for at least 2-3 days with the DAC constantly on…do not unplug it. 
Once you get a hang of what it is doing, switch back to BS. 

I had the same problem when I purchased the Qutest to go with the Blusound. I heard a difference but nothing to get too excited about. UNTIL... I bought a used Audioquest Diamond BNC/RCA cable. Using the BNC connection with a good cable made a big difference. Hope this helps.

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@jasonbourne71   Agreed that more voltage —> louder music —> more pleasing to the ear. But whatever the special sauce, I’ll take it. Regarding your DAC recommendation…I’m on a budget (bought my Qutest used). Thanks for the posts.

@milo0812   I need to purchase 2 of these, the other so I can connect the Qutest to my old CD player.

@jjss49  What can I tell you, I didn’t hear the difference, and any improvement I hear now may be a function of loudness. My wife says the sound is bigger and fills the room. I agree, whatever the cause.


I am sure that the digital cable that milo0812 recommends is fantastic.

Another option is the Cullen 2 Meter Nitin Digital Cable ($77) which I use between my Node 2i and DAC.  I can easily hear the difference between the 2is built in DAC and my modded Museatex Meitner DAC.  My understanding is that Cullen was purchased by another cable company but his website indicates if you are interested in his cables to email him at the email address provided.


What can I tell you, I didn’t hear the difference, and any improvement I hear now may be a function of loudness. My wife says the sound is bigger and fills the room. I agree, whatever the cause.

no worries, don't sweat it, just enjoy the music

All you really need is the Musical Fidelity v90 dac. It sounds amazing for the price.


Another thing that made a nice difference, if you are wired to your modem/router, is this from eBay (he sells all lengths):  

Supra CAT 8+ ETHERNET cable 2-meter Made In Sweden THE BEST FOR NETWORK AUDIO  $64.00  Free shipping

seller zendada (10,788) 100%

This is very good cable from a good company.  He uses a bit of artistic license calling it CAT 8+.  It really is CAT 8. 

If you buy it, be sure to order it from seller zendada.  I made a mistake and ordered it from another seller who ended up being in England, cost $20+ shipping and a month to get to me.

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Being well familiar with Arcam gear having owned several Arcam components and currently using an Arcam AVR….


I think it will be difficult to hear the difference that the qutest will bring. Arcam already has a warm robust sound signature so it is already warming the sound signature from your blusound node. 

your wife is probably spot on that it makes the music sound bigger as that would easily be the effect of the qutest in an Arcam system. 

to help bring out the differences more for the better qutest  I would look to upgrading cables in your audio system, interconnects and speaker cables included. Arcam has enough resolution to benefit from getting better cables. 

I love the Arcam sound for my surround sound system. Warm clear properly weighty midrange sound without added high frequency hype or sizzle and doesn’t have one dimensional bass like most AVRs out there. 

I owned a Qutest as well for some time and know that it is a good dac still in its price range. 

@sudnh i ordered a couple of new digital cables (BNC to RCA terminated) coax cables that should arrive any day now. Let me break them in for a week or so and I’ll post my findings.

As I prefer a warm sound, I went with Arcam early on, though down the line I may swap out my preamp for tube-based Rogue Audio.

@fuzztone @ddude003 @theo @jasonbourne71 @carlsbad2 @audphile1 @milo0812 @audioguy85 @sudnh @jetter 

Hello everyone, I arrived at the sound I desired, and thought I’d share my findings.
So to begin, the problem -from the outset- was power. Though I own a pair of 175W/channel (@8 ohms) Arcam P1 monoblocks, they aren’t enough.
As suggested, I toyed with Qutest’s 1-3 voltage settings but still was unsatisfied until…I integrated an external power supply! The LPS is set to 5v3amps, with the Qutest @ 2vRMS, and that resolved everything. The Qutest now has sufficient power to give the resolution & soundstage I expected.  My current preferred filter setting is warm with HF rolloff.

During all my tweaking, I also eliminated my Hydra 4 from the system, with the pre/amps now going directly into the wall, and everything else into my Furman power strip. I find this eliminated a dampening sound, making the audio experience cleaner & brighter.

Per @jetter ’s recommendation, I bought Cullen digital cables but am using my Chord USB until burn-in (using the free Tara Labs cascade burn-in recording).

A special thanks to @jetter btw who went above & beyond helping me get some curve balls sorted out.

Thanks to everyone who participated.


Charlie, it is always good to hear that a fellow music lover has reached a level of satisfaction with a new component. I am sure you will get years of enjoyment from your Cutest, as did I.