Best connection from streamer to dac

A total newbie to this and was wanting to upgrade the dac on by Bluesound node 2.
Was thinking about a Chord Qutest as that fits the budget.
My question is what’s the best way to hook them up….optical, BNC or USB I think that connection is….

I believe the Node 2 has Coaxial RCA and TOSLINK digital optical digital outputs.

I think the Coaxial RCA to Chord DAC will give you the best sound quality. You can get cables for RCA to BNC (for the Chord input)

Should be a big upgrade on sound. Be interested to know how you get on. Good luck.


I think the accepted wisdom is to use the COAX OUT from Node into BNC IN on the Qutest. Chord and Black Rhodium do RCA digital to BNC cables.

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I suggest a Naim nDac instead.


Agree. It’s a question of getting hold of one!


I don’t think the bare nDAC would take the Qutest. It would open the possibility if an extra PSU which obviously lifts the nDAC. That said with the Qutest you can add an M-Scaler.

In either case I would think that changing the Bluesound would be required.

Rather than a Qutest have you considered a Mojo? Especially a 2nd hand Mojo 1 if the readies are tight.

How are you feeding the Bluesound?

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Naim nDac is much more musical than the
Chord Qutest and Mojo,I think.


By Bluetooth….I tried the Ethernet connection but as it’s all miles away from the incoming router have to use a the earth wire thingy which interferes with the phono so no good.

I’ve owned and like both. Hate to try and pick without a direct back to back comparison.

Is that aptX BT?

Have you tried Roon?

Not tried Roon…not sure what aptX BT is……
Correction…not Bluetooth but wi if connected to the node….
Used to be hard wired with the earth thingy but so much interference on the phono that could not play any vinyl so it had to go….

Earth thingy?

AptX is a version of BT that allows you to stream at up to 44.1/16.

Depending on the quality of your streamed files there may be a limit to what you can expect an external DAC to do for you.

I am just trying Roon for the first time and am quiet impressed, it has an ability to deliver the best quality from your digital sources. This might give you the uptick you are looking for BUT, it depends on infrastructure. I tried running it on my laptop using WiFi into a Poly/Mojo. The Network utiilisation was just too high. Worked VERY well when I used the boggiest of USB cables direct into the Mojo from the laptop. As the Poly improved the sound quality and Roon via the USB equalled, or perhaps beat, the Poly I am impressed.

Just some food for thought …or confusion :wink:

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It’s the devolo magic lan that uses the house’ earth network for hardwire connection but seriously interferes with the phono.

Understood, networking through the mains. Never used it myself, and always avoided adding other stuff to the supply - non of which trumps practical experience.

You could try getting a cheap switch and a couple of long network cables to run an experiment, might suggest another developmental line for the future …or not.

I would query the logic of spending 2-3 times more on a DAC than a transport unless you are thinking of upgrading your Bluesound at a later stage.

But to answer your question I’d also consider optical as it eliminates electrical noise and a decent optical cable will give you 24/192 but to be honest I can’t hear any difference with hi-res it’s all down to mastering to my ears.

There’s no real good reason to use USB between a Node and Qutest though (it can handle higher res above 192 but the Bluesound cannot provide this) and if using BNC (co-axial) just make sure the cable says its 75ohms.



I compared Naim DAC and Chord Qutest for weeks in my system and the Naim DAC was streets ahead for me.

The Qutest went back.


I wouldn’t query this at all, in my opinion the dac is the main player in this scenario. My only interest in the streamer is what bit rate is supports, but even that, late an night with a pint in me is debatable. And of course that it supports roon.

I compared nDAC /XPS2 with the original Hugo TT. The nDAC /XPS2 was moved on - for more than I paid for the Hugo TT!


I’ve found the opposite. When my Auralic Aries G2 had an issue and I put my Bluesound node in its place there was a very noticeable change, even early in the morning with beer in me.



Yes - that’s the beauty of this hobby.

There is no ‘sounds better’ in general - there’s only what sounds best to each person in each room and system.

I have tried adding other brands of kit to my Naim system (inc. Bluesound, Auralic, Chord, dCS, Harbeth) but always preferred all-Naim systems.

I am very happy with that and have no real desire to try other systems at this time.

Anyway, good luck to the OP in his hunt for a dac.

If I was starting again from scratch, I’d still stick to all Naim.