DAVE w/ or w/out M Scaler?

DAVE alone or DAVE + M Scaler?

May I have the opinions of those with either configuration?

i currently run DAVE alone. Cheers and stay well 
I'm curious about the Chord Hugo TT2 with and without the Scaler. I've been told it's amazing too.
tt2 benefits greatly from scaler as does qutest

dunno about dave, i don’t have one

calling scott at verdant
I don’t believe in absolutes in audio, but in my system I prefer the Dave without the M-Scaler. In my opinion the Dave sounds "artificial" with the M-Scaler...in other words, something just didn’t sound right. I’m sorry I can’t provide a better description.
If you can, demo one.  I have one with my TT2 and love it.  Even with non-Chord DACs.  
The M-Scaler gives you more.  More detail.  More air.  Better separation.  A little smoother of sound but like ricred1 said, it is not absolutely certain this will make the sound better to your ears.  Most customers have been quite happy to add an m-scaler to their Dave.  I have yet to have a return.  

The general rule is...the better and more refined the DAC, the more an M-scaler does to change the sound.  And this goes for non-Chord DACs.  It was designed for the "TableTop" series from Chord so it is naturally intended to max out sound quality from a TT2 but arguably does even more for a Dave.  Most Dave customers follow up and get an M-Scaler.    

We have a 30 day return policy.  Your obligation is return shipping to NJ.  
Why bother with an m scaler ehen you can do the same thng in roon for less we are importing a fast roon core from belgium thatsounds amazing

Fof 3k you get a state of the art roon corehttps://432evo.be/index.php/432-evo-standard-music-server/


Dave and Troy 
Audio intellect Nj
Us importer 442 evo music servers

scott i am curious to know if the m scaler function aids/does not aid throwback r2r or nos r2r dacs...

seems on the surface of it that the m scaler is a high-computing-power upscaler, so fundamentally not compatible with/helpful to dacs designed on non-oversampling philosophy, correct?

or maybe this is one of these cases where the reality is counter-intuitive?
@jjss49  this is an interesting question.    On the surface, you are right.  The approach with a NOS DAC is the exact opposite of what Chord is trying to do with the M-Scaler.  NOS DACs are trying to serve up a digital signal in its purest form while Chord and the M-Scaler are trying to recreate an analog signal as completely as possible driving the need for up-scaling.  Theory says you shouldn’t be able to hear a difference yet people do.   

In this thread poster ecwl talks a bit about this.  

So theoretically, it should have no impact.  However, many M-Scaler users report improved sound even in pass through mode compared to USB.  
Check out this thread focused on the Denafrips Terminator over at Audiobacon.  

Ultimately, I don’t have an R2R DAC lying around that I can test this with.  You can be  certain it won’t take full advantage of what the M-Scaler is capable of.  

thanks scott

i actually do have several nos r2r dacs in hand... will try and see for myself... i just wanted to know what the 'official line' from a retailer might be on this interesting topic, at least from a conceptual/theoretical point of view

will check out the noted threads...

I had a DAVE with Blu2 (sold), and then a TT2 with M Scaler, and then a Qutest with M Scaler. I sold them all over time, deciding I wasn’t really a fan of the Chord sound. But the one thing I realised over that time was that the M Scaler made everything sound worse.

The sound produced by the M Scaler is brighter, tonally bleached, lean and artificial. It removes the natural warmth and fullness of recordings and adds an artificial sense of detail. People hear this impressive difference and think it must be an improvement. It’s not.

The M Scaler is no different to upscaling through Roon or other software. Rob Watts adds some proprietary sauce to make it sound a little different to Roon but it is essentially the same thing. There is absolutely no reason why a PC cannot do what the M Scaler does, despite Rob Watts’ claims.

There are no free lunches in audio. Massively upscaling audio files to 768 Mhz does not just turn them into the equivalent of native ultra high resolution files and does not come without cost. That cost is the bright, lean and fatiguing sound that the M Scaler produces.

Rob Watts claims that the DAVE/M Scaler reproduces transients better than any other dac, but this is audibly not the case. The DAVE/M Scaler produces splashy, two-dimensional transients which sound artificial, and can be bettered by many other dacs.

The gullible Chord fanboys on Head-fi have drunk deeply of Chord Kool Aid, but make sure you form your own view before buying one. Definitely don’t fall for the old trap that if it sounds different, or if it appears to produce more detail then it is better, because it is not.

I really loved the m-scaler paired with my Qutest.  It made a really big and clear difference that had it going toe to toe with my PS Audio DirectStream.  But it just hasn't been able to cut it with the DAVE.  Hard to say exactly what it is - but it just feels completely sterilized.  Like it sucked all the air out of the room.  Maybe this is because the Dave is so strong on its own. It seems to add a little tighter articulation at the cost of space and entirely removes the three dimensional vibe that Dave starts with.  It's just a totally lifeless sound.  Like an extremely high resolution image of a sculpture.  Without it, the Dave just absolutely comes alive. There have been one or two fringe cases where I felt like the m-scaler was additive - usually on poorly recorded tracks, but 99% of the time the Dave is demonstrably stronger without the m-scaler in tow.  

The difference was night and day for me.  M-scaler makes a huge difference when used with Dave in my system: Soulution amp, Magico S5 mk2, Synergistic research Galileo powercell, grounding, and interconnects throughout.  I recently moved from Devialet expert 1000 monoblocks just because I wanted to listen to this Dave/M Scaler combo that used to be my headphone setup.  Dave alone does not sound better than Devialet, but with M Scaler, everything changes for the better.   Maybe your system needs to be highly resolving and dynamic to hear the improvement, but for me, M scaler for sure!

Wellschlager,   For me I didn’t find that it aucked the life out of the room but I did find that the music just sounded off and unnatural.  Hard to put my finger on it.  I really tried to like it too since I had bought the m-scaler new.   At the end of the day I sold it though and still love my DAVE.   Maybe jchoiny is correct, it must be system dependent.  

I found DAVE with MScaler to be very System dependent. BUT… also…. if Streaming it’s very dependent on which Streaming service and what quality of Music it’s being fed.

If playing CD’s in to the DAVE the Transport needs to be of pretty good quality.

Network Noise can be an issue and a break in the Network Chain can help between one’s Broadband Router and Source… then in to the DAVE.

TT2 with MScaler was good. Warm sounding but powerful. A great upgrade for the TT2.

Dave with an MScaler can be viewed as a good addition but not a massive upgrade and I feel the DAVE on its own is great enough thus far. That is until the new MScaler shows it’s face matched to the DAVE. One can improve the DAVE via Farad Power Supply and a carefully chosen Network Noise reduction. Source is obviously a consideration.

Three years ago, I auditioned Deve with and w/o Mscaler.


To me, it is night and day difference in details and clarity.


I would not have bought Dave alone.



I had a TT2 with M-Scaler for a year and definitely preferred this to the TT2 alone. Upgraded to DAVE four months ago and kept the m-scaler, occasionally bypassing the sampling via the m-scaler and tbh, hearing little difference. In full-sampling mode, music sounded detailed and 'clean' - perhaps a bit too clean, especially with the sound of voice.  Overall, I thought the sound was also lacking in rhythm and drive - I just wasn't being moved by the music.  I disconnected the m-scaler and fed the DAVE via usb directly from my Zenith Mk3.  The difference in sound from the DAVE alone was huge!  Soundstage widened, voice sounded natural and forward, rhythm and drive were there in abundance. Surely this couldn't be right? It was contrary to what most people had said about adding the m-scaler.  After a week I reconnected the m-scaler.  Soundstage narrowed and singers retreated back into the band and sounded cleaned up.  But . . . the m-scaler's strength lay in its ability to present the instruments in a band, the musicians, as playing together,  Drums sounded so well integrated and complemented bass lines.  I played a Gong live album (yes, I'm bit of an old hippie) that I'd heard many times and for the first time I thought 'These guys actually play well together!'  So, sometimes I use DAVE alone via usb, sometimes I use the m-scaler - all really depending on what mood I'm in.  btw, I found the headphone experience is much better with just the DAVE.