Recommend a dac that contributes to system for tight bass


I am not a bass fiend just would like a dac that has pleasing tight moderately deep bass.  I have pass labs monoblocks so amp not an issue....don't really want tube dac....

I know room and acoustics and system synergy play crucial role but have found some dacs excel at transparency like chord and other sound a bit flat like oppo....marantz is slightly warm exc prat but bass is bit light....

Thanks in advance.....


80ed0208 31c0 4577 9fa1 e63df01d1a04karmapolice

Showing 10 responses by karmapolice

I tried the chord qutest and the chord tt2 and the chord hugo 2 at different times in different systems and while they have an excellent midrange there bass has been on the softer side for my taste
so do you like the pontus ii more than your electrocompaniet or are they just different? how different?

the reviews of the venus seem to suggest its as good as the tt2 (which I have and sold) so still not sure about denafrips and well the terminator too much $$$
jss49 I appreciate your insight....

there is overlap between lower midrange and bass and perhaps my dissatisfaction with the chord is more in the area of the lower midrange but to my ears the chord is lean.

so perhaps my quest is for a fuller lower midrange dac....

in any event I never had any issues with the treble of the qutest nor did I think it bright.....

I have a very neutral preamp which is passive townshend allegri reference but no issues with full midrange on my vinyl setup and I am using solid state phono section .......

I previously had a pass labs preamp and found the chord similarly too lean for my taste......

I even tried the chord in my bedroom with a set amp and still found it less appealing than my current bedroom dac which is the marantz 30N.  The marantz has a better midrange than the chord qutest or hugo 2 but still not as warm and full as I would like....my playback designs mps5 has that better balance so my quest after all said and done is for a slighly richer and warmer but not not too much dac......alas I cannot afford a second mps5


I am glad that the bass with the chord is strong in your system but you are the unicorn as most of the feedback I see online of chord tt2 and dave do not mention the strong powerful bass ....in fact the chord tt2 and chord dave seems to be praised most for  sounding fast transparent and open and to some criticized as sounding thin ......

I get excellent bass through vinyl so its not my system per se....

in any even I specifically asked for ideas other than chord so we can agree to disagree about the bass in chord products


well its not just the dac but the implementation of the dac in the product....some dac have tubes....some dac have beefier power supply....some dac upsample....

different dacs have different dac chips...

btw I own Harbeth 40.2 speakers and while I think Mr. Shaw is brilliant in many ways he also doesnt believe in the value of speaker stands and has other eccentric views....

I adore nelson pass whose pass labs makes my 260.8 monoblocks but his company party line is that power cables make little difference.....

so people have their views but to many people the speaker stand and cabling do matter quite a bit.....

whipsaw funny you mention you have the pontus as I was considering the newer pontus 2 but am wary since it seems so many people flip their other models (ares and terminator)
thanks the tt2 was too revealing imho....I hear the dave is even ruthlessly revealing.....

my favorite cd player are a touch warm like the playback design mps-5 so maybe that is where I need to settle on....for this system
I mentioned that the bass is great for vinyl....I used the same linestage amplfiier and speaker for both vinyl and digital so how can it be my system?

there is a reason that chord hugo 2 and tt2 are often recommended with warm headphones........

dont see anyone recommending chord hugo 2 or tt2 for sennheiser which are anything but warm...

so I aint dreaming this...

but I am glad if some of you are very happy with the bass from the chord qutest and hugo 2....maybe I am too picky or prefer vinyl to digital (the bass for vinyl is just much deeper).....or perhaps  some of you only listen to digital nowadays?
I appreciate everybody two cents but as I mentioned I primarily listen to vinyl on this second system and it is fantastic so ain't gonna change speaker position or room acoustics or amp or preamp or speakers.....only thing open to is finding right dac that said though ain't gonna spend 5K for that when listen mostly vinyl and this is second system and happy with digital in other system.

So $3k budget for 20 percent of time listen to digital in this system with pass labs 260.8 monoblocks and pass xp27 phono and townshend allegri reference preamp (replaced pass xp32 preamp) with harbeth 40.2 speakers thru SR power conditioner  ....  I am using oppo as transport and for now will stick to qutest as it pairs well with my headphone amp at least [quicksilver headphone amp and zmf aeolus headphones]
I adjusted my oppo transport by putting it on a solid base and using stillpoints and the bass is fine now....upgraded to lifeatec toslink from bluejean toslink

I still prefer the slightly warmer sound of the playback designs mps5 but it cost 5x as much so the qutest is a great bargain especially for a second system...

For those of you who think qutest has too much bass at times I suggest you fine tune the voltage setting for the qutest when you power it on..

while it depends on your other equipment for me 2v is just right but 1v definitely sounds more open but leaner in midrange and bass.
while streaming may be great I dont want to go there yet....mostly vinyl if want to play digital will play occasional disks.....the whole streaming thing is not my bag.......

as someone else pointed out its not so much the bass as a bit lean in midrange (lower midrange) at times with the qutest and chord products .....I am using pass labs monoblocks so it aint the amps and harbeth 40.2 speakers which are hardly lean either