Add M-Scaler and be happy...
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I have a Qutest and auditioned the Hugo TT2 at home in my system for a week.
The TT2 was a noticable step up in almost every aspect - greater extention on bass and treble, instruments and vocals had more body and texture, and soundstage was wider. I think it was slightly more forward sounding in my system as well compared to Qutest.
Switching back to the Qutest, on the first day, the music sounded more constrained but as my ears adjusted, everything sounds great and I don't miss the TT2.
I might still upgrade to the TT2 in a few months :)
With that ear 868l pre there is no sense going with the TT2... Do you need an additional embedded pre in the loop? Keep the Qutest and add an Mscaler or go to the Dave... You don't say what your streamer is... Maybe an upgrade there would help... I have a Lumen U1 mini with my Qutest and am very happy with the pair in my system streaming Qobuz Studio Premier...
Definitely don't need another pre, that's true. I'll look into that aspect of TT2 features.
I am super curious about the mscaler, but also about non chord DACs.
I use a hifiberry digi + for streaming. Does top notch qobuz beautifully most of the time. Cheap and from what I can tell excellent roon endpoint. While I can't say that's not room for upgrade there, I want to see what other DACs might do first.
Both the Qutest and Hugo TT2 have a 10 element pulse array design...
The Qutest has 49,152 16FS WTA 1 filter... The Hugo TT2 has 98,304 taps... Dave has 164,000 taps and a 20 element Pulse Array... The MScaler takes either the Qutest, Hugo TT2 or Dave up to 1,015,808 WTA taps...
There is some software available with/for Roon that can Upscale similar to the MScaler called HQPlayer... I think there is a free trial for it... Although not exactly the same filtering as WTA it might give you a sense of what a bunch more taps might sound like with your current DAC...
Also, if you can do a little software building there are mods to SoX and FLAC which allow similar upscaling and filtering capabilities for free...
Other non-Chord DACS will not have the same timing precision which may or may not be a good thing depending on your ear/brain/system/room... Good luck in your quest...
These DAC technologies are absurd, in the best way. I know the difference between 10 pounds and 20 pounds, but 10 elements and taps vs 20 and 20, I don’t think so.
i like the HQ Player idea, though. Never heard of it.
Interesting about the potential loss of timing precision with non chord DACs. I hope that’s not always the case. But cool to keep that in mind. So many other highly regarded DACs out there,
I have a Qutest and almost sent it back when I first tried it.
The standard plug & play was too detailed for me ! Lol
I like DSD ( sacd ) Sound profiles in general
I also tried a Playback Designs Merlot DSD dacThe best dac I’ve been around, period
it was there with the Qutest
Anyway , Roon has a upsampling dsp, similar to the Chord 1Mm device , but all software .
I played with all the dsp things and settled on the 2x DSD upsample
it was pretty close to the Merlot when done
try the Roon thing first and see how you like it !
If you are ready to go down the rabbit hole, see this paper which describes the WTA algorithm and its effects on the reconstruction of analogue from digital signals... https://www.moon-audio.com/content/pdf/chord/chord-tech-profile-hifi-critic.pdf
Also, note that the Qutest and TT2 convert DSD back to PCM internally... Upsampling to DSD just breaks small signals, which some may like or dislike depending on your ear/brain/system/room...