Chord Qutest or Naim DAC

No. Xpsxs, xps, 555ps only.

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My goal was only to respond on Ranulph post. Not to show the superiority of one vs the other.

If you live in the UK or EU, get a second hand Hugo as you can find the batteries (need replacement every 2 years or so) for cheap. It will be half expensive and better than the nDac.

I find my Qutest a bit better than my last Hugo and don’t feel paranoid about the batteries going south any more.

Better than the Ndac for you, not for me. Perhaps better on details and transparency, but not on musicality.
For me, my opinion of course.

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That was also only my opinion le coq! :wink:

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These discussions come from time to time.

Merci, le chat.


Good move - and now there is an even more complete picture, which surely is good. I haven’t read the review - the ones you posted or the ones I did, so I’ve no idea which might come across as ‘superior’ - however as I indicated reviews don’t indicate which one he or she would prefer.

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I’ve been wondering what a ND5XS2 into a Naim DAC would sound like. Anyone running this combination? Chord Qutest is also under consideration.

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I have found with the Hugo, if you keep it cool, and don’t allow the case to get warm, the batteries last longer… I discovered on my second change of batteries.

From SQ I have yet to hear a Chord DAC that betters my Hugo mk1 overall musically , and that includes DAVE and other Hugos. (BTW I am, talking musically, not technically here, as the DAVE is very impressive, but in the end just does not do it for me… I wrote about this on the forum)
However not all Hugo’s and DAVEs for that matter sound the same and there are sometimes fairly prominent sample to sample variations I have discovered. Therefore with those Chord architectures I can only recommend try before you buy… and if buying used it can make it challenging.

What I can say is that my Hugo is like gold dust… and I fear for the time if it ever fails beyond repair. I suppose I got lucky with it. Oh yes I have changed the PSU for a third party one that is specifically optimised for the Hugo mk1… now that was a nice uplift too, albeit subtle, in terms of low frequency tonal definition amongst other things… it effectively reduced the SQ performance difference I had noticed between running on batteries or on charge in submersive listening sessions.

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I used a Naim DAC and then a Naim DAC with 555PS for quite a few years and replaced it first with Hugo (which I now use as a portable), then DAVE and finally Blu2 DAVE.

I have not heard Simon’s Hugo, but DAVE definitely sounds more musical to me than my own original Hugo and Blu2 DAVE is the endgame: I have not heard more realistic digital replay. What I find is even when the source material is less than ideal that Blu2 DAVE extracts the most enjoyable replay I have achieved. I will not be changing again as the level of replay it gives is perfect for me.

The Naim DAC has better ergonomics than Chord’s idiosyncratic designs, but in terms of musical presentation, it has to be Chord for me. It’s lack of sonic signature and greater dynamics are probably responsible for my preference.

Please don’t think I’m saying the Naim DAC is anything other than very good, but the technology has moved on.

I have heard a Qutest and was very impressed and I would choose it over Hugo if I had no interest in portability. The advantage of Hugo or Hugo 2 would be its variable output enabling you dispense with a pre-amp if you don’t need analogue inputs.

I have heard Blu2 DAVE with pre-amps (including Naim NAP552 and Chord Ultima) and definitely did not like having the additional electronics. In fairness the Ultima seems to have no effect so it would have been £35k for nothing. The NAP552 seemed to impart a sonic signature, which did not appeal to me.

However, these are my opinions and you may not share my preferences. So try to listen to both. Ignore subjective reviews (and my opinion) and choose the one you prefer.


Thanks for the reviews I’ve never seen these either.

Hi, I’ve tried 3 of the Chord Qutest with a blusound vault 2i and they messed up, all 3 failing and producing weird electrical noises after about 2 weeks. Got my money back and bought the Naim DAC V1 and had no probs so far (2 weeks). The Chord sounded great for the small time it worked but I do prefer the Naim to be honest. I have the XS3 amp so that might tilt it Naims way anyway. Apparently there are very few probs with the Qutest but it and the Blusound obviously don’t get on, and you can turn the Naim off at night. Hope this helps a little

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Thanks for all the comments. Much appreciated.

I too had problems with the bluesound as it caused an unpleasant hum through the speakers. Thankfully this forum and a gentleman from the Naim service line was very helpful in providing a solution ie grounding the amp to my house earth solved everything.

Its probably a matter of taste and worth a listen but personally I much much prefer the chords dacs in general to the ndac, or to most naim streamers I have heard for that matter. The aesthetics don’t worry me, I bought it for its sound and not as an ornament

Perhaps try both and let us know which you prefer? 4 years ago I had the same dilemma. The Naim DAC or a Chord. In the end I picked up a Chord QBD76 and haven’t looked back. I am sure the Naim DAC will be fine too, and although I did have the intention of picking up a 2nd hand unit not too long ago, I decided not to as the idea of additional boxes is not exactly a welcome note to me. The Naim DAC needs a power supply to sound its best. It will sound mediocre without one as what I was told.

I discovered transport has a huge effect on a DAC’s performance. Bits are not bits even in these new DACs which can adjust for huge amount of jitter.

On my Chord Mojo, with the same optical cable from my OLED TV, streaming UPNP from Bubble UPNP or spotify, and then switching a google chrome cast audio streaming the same, the engagement, and foot tapping really goes up a notch.

Not sure why, maybe there is some bits or sample rate being changed internally by the TV, whereas google chrome cast sends apparently bit perfect signal.

Anyway - I have heard transports sounding different into Blu2/Dave.

so - which transport are you going to use?


I have tried various transports at home a Linn DSM, Sonore microRendu and JRiver for Mac. During demos Auralic and Lumin streamers (neither of which sounded right to me) as well as Innuos and Melco (which were almost as good as my Mac mini, but fell down on price and software). Of the ones at home I prefer JRiver for Mac because of its DSP features, if I turn these off then I can’t hear any difference.

I use the Linn DSM in another system and the Sonore microRendu with Hugo for headphone listening (Audeze LCD3s). However, JRiver MC is excellent and I have no intention of changing it. I have tried Roon, but didn’t like it as it seemed more about reading than playing music.

I guess my transport is the Bluesound node 2i. I am somewhat wedded to it as iI prefer Amazon Music HD.

There is nothing wrong with the Node 2i I use one myself feeding my 272 DAC, its great bit of kit.