Chord Dave


It won't be for everyone. I'm not saying it's the best. I've owned several DACs and after owning the Dave for a couple of weeks all I can say is WOW! This is the closest to hearing a night and day difference between components that I've experienced. The Dave differentiates between recording venues better than anything I've owned. Detail, soundstage, air, vocals, attack and dynamics are truly outstanding. I'm saying all of this and I'm using the standard power cord. If you're looking for a new DAC, give the Dave a listen.  
ricred1
ricred1 congrats on your new DAC that's great! I've never heard a Chord DAC but my last CD player was a Tube Technology Fusion which used the same WTA FPG DAC technology and sounded fantastic. I can only imagine how good the Dave sounds.
jond,
Thanks. This is a crazy "hobby"! As the saying goes, one man's medicine, is another man's poison. My friend tried the Dave and wasn't overwhelmed with it in his system. I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum. I submit it's the most significant change that I've done to my system.
Do you have the Blu upscaler as well?  If not, you really need to hear it.
Greetings limniscate,

I haven’t had the opportunity to hear the Blu MkII upscaling CD transport. I have a music server and can’t justify getting the Blu upscaler...at least not yet:)! My friend asked me to try one, but I refused. I'm going to play around with the Dave this weekend without my preamp. I said I wouldn't try direct, but I've changed my mind. Have you heard the Blu MkII? If so, what are your thoughts?
It's my understanding that you can connect a media server to the Blu mkII and it will upsample to improve the sound. Can anyone comment on the sonic impact of combination of the Blu mkII with the Dave?
It should read music server,  not media server. 
Well I tried the Chord Dave direct tonight. I had my wife play her favorite songs. She immediately asked me what I did. She simply said, "something didn’t sound right." I started writing down my thoughts:
1. two dimensional-height, width, and depth collapsed
2. either too loud or not loud enough
3. vocals are recessed
4. reduced spacing between instruments

I still absolutely love the Chord Dave, but I have yet to hear a DAC that I prefer directly into the amplifier. The Corus may not be the best preamplifier, but for now I’m keeping it. Ladies and gentleman I think I’m done for a while!


Yes, I've heard the Blu MkII, and it blew my mind.  I actually was underwhelmed by the DAVE in my system, but may consider the DAVE with the Blu MkII.

I still absolutely love the Chord Dave, but I have yet to hear a DAC that I prefer directly into the amplifier. The Corus may not be the best preamplifier, but for now I’m keeping it. Ladies and gentleman I think I’m done for a while!

I have definitely noticed this with a lot of DACs.  It entirely depends on what the I/V and output stage of the DAC is.  If it's general solid state or op amp, you will definitely need some sort of preamp to help with waveform smoothing or attack.  I suspect that a DAC that uses a very nice Class A or tube output stage (with some sort of volume control) could potentially sound very good direct to an amp.

I noticed this with Oppo bluray players (both the 103 and 105).  As good as the audio is from these players (and it's VERY good for the money), it sound very dry and somewhat flat coming straight form the player.  It really starts to shine when you put a Class A preamp in the mix.

limniscate,
You say, "I was underwhelmed with the Dave in my system." That's why I always say, no absolutes in Audio, only preferences. I submit we put too much focus on individual components and forget it's a system. The Chord Dave is just outstanding in my "system ". 
If the Dave sounded good direct, I would have sold my Corus to purchase the Blu mkII. Unfortunately funds prevent me from pursuing the Blu mkII at this moment. 
" I actually was underwhelmed by the DAVE in my system ."
At present a reviewer friend is doing a review the new Chord Hugo, he has the top Total dac himself, passive preamp, Wilson Alexia and Gryphon Antilion Evo as his reference system.
He told me he is very impressed with the new Hugo up against his Total dac getting very close to it.
We found that it uses a discrete type of Delta Sigma conversion technique. He said it was the first DS dac that he has heard that he’s been impressed with up against the R2R ladder multibit Total Dac.

This is the sort of systems (even better than his) that he listens to on his reviewing journeys.
http://www.soundstageaustralia.com/index.php/features/61-hq-visit-dcs-cambridge-united-kingdom

Cheers George
I just sold my Chord Dave, I do miss it, I can not listen to music more than a few minutes without being bored with the DAC I currently have till I get a new one. The Dave worked great in my system (Wilson Audio Sasha’s and T +A amp, High Fidelity Reveal cables, Aurender MS). With the Chord Dave, I could listen for hours. Miss the big soundstage and the eerie vocals and the lifelike clarity of the Chord Dave. Would definitely buy it again. 
the dave is a killer dac. there is just so much resolution AND soul to the sound. i have the baby brother, the chord qbd76 hdsd...it's no slouch.

have you tried the pre in the chord? is it any good?
skanda,
I've tried the Dave direct and prefer the Dave with a preamp. In my system it's not close, but every system is different.
Yeah....much better with preamp. IMHO the best dac I have heard or owned.
Ricred, did you give the volume control stage sufficient time to break in like 50 plus hours or just perform a quick AB comparison?  I would expect the Dave to sound very competitive direct.
I would love to hear the Dave as I,m still in love with my original Hugo.