Comparing Chord Qutest Dac with the Built in Dac in Lumin T3 Streamer

  • My system is as follows:
  • 1. Martin Logan 11A impression speakers. 
  • 2. Conrad Johnson Power Amplifier Classic 62   
  • 3. Rogue Pre-amp     
  • 4. Lumin U2 mini streamer 
  • 5. Chord Qutest Dac

Seeking to upgrade by replacing the Lumin U2 mini streamer and the Chord Qutest Dac with the Lumin T3 streamer.  I would use the DAC that is built into the Lumin T-3 streamer. 

Would this be an upgrade? I short, does the Dac in the T3 sound better than the Chord Qutest Dac. Would appreciate any advice. Thank you. 





I had U1 Mini / Qutest combo and in my opinion it will be tough to beat. What you’re looking to do is most likely a sideways move. I would upgrade either the streamer or the dac then upgrade the other component later on. Keep it separated. Also, if you haven’t tried a really good USB cable in the current setup, you are not even at full potential yet.

I compared the Qutest a few years back when I was cross shopping the T2. Initially I found the Qutest to be very dynamic, but in repeated A/B it grew fatiguing to my ears on most recordings. I went for the T2 which I still own.

The T3 is a nice improvement. I ended up recently with an X1 which is absolutely fantastic and cross shopped that with the Bartok, preferring the X1. It is liquid and compares nicely when playing high res files against my high end Kuzma Stabi R vinyl setup.

Lumin customer support is second to none, and it works flawlessly to update. The Lumin app is good, but I prefer the interface of Roon.



I have not compared T3 to Qutest but have compared the T2. This is not a fair comparison. Tonally similar. The T2 sounded much bigger than the Qutest in terms of image height and width. Qutest has the edge in terms of depth and the T2 had a small edge in terms of detail. No one I have heard is better than Chord between the speakers in terms of image depth.

All around, most people would probably be biased toward the T2/T3 but it is also a $5K unit vs a $1600 unit.

A fairer comparison would be to put the T3 up against the TT2. I think the TT2 is probably the better DAC in that scenario as It is more detailed and maintains its edge in terms of soundstage depth and the overall image is bigger. But then, it is a $5500 unit without streamer vs $5K unit with streamer so again, you would expect this.

An interesting alternative would be the Weiss 204 as it is priced in the middle at $3.5K and if you added it with your U2 Mini, it might be as good if not better than the T3.  .

Full disclosure. I am a Chord and Weiss dealer. I don’t sell Lumin but have had multiple Lumin devices in on trade.


I have a Qutest and I was looking at the Weiss 204 earlier today as I'm looking for a DAC with balanced outputs.  I haven't heard any Weiss DACs before but I'm curious after reading many positive reviews for what that's worth.  How does the Qutest compare in your experience?  I'm using an iFi Zen Stream with Roon for now.  Looking for a new streamer as well.

@tubeguy76 the DAC 204 is the better all around DAC.  Chord is amazing between the speakers.  The Qutest has great depth of image and strong detail.  That said, it lacks the image width and height of the DAC 204.  The 204 is close to as good in terms of depth and will be very close in terms of detail.  Tonally they are similar.  The Qutest might have a hair more musicality while the 204 is maybe a bit more neutral.  This should not be a huge surprise since the 204 is more than 2x the price of the Qutest.  If it wasn’t a big step up, why 2x the price.  If this was a comparison to the TT2, the convo would be reversed about how it is better all around than the 204.  

Regarding streamer, if you are running Roon, the most important thing you can do is split the duties of player and server into two devices.  Roon core needs a very high powered processor to handle that bit of software.  Between managing the volatility of the web, local libraries and DSP functionality, big processor important.  The player did or any device that is “Roon Ready” is just doing simple decompression and getting data ready for the DAC.  This requires a much lower powered processor.  High power here introduces noise.  A Nuc running rock, a small green computer, Roon nucleus, etc… paired with just about any endpoint will outperform all the single devices I have heard running Roon at this price level.