DAC That Sounds Like A Chord

I like the sound quality of the Chord DAC, particularly the QBD76. It sounds very good in my system. I have upgraded almost everything in my system from amps to speakers and cables, and the Chord DAC has remained.

I was just wondering if there is any DAC out there that sounds like a Chord. I am thinking of a cheap (but good) DAC such as the Chord Mojo but want a device that does not run on batteries, have a USB Type-B connection and can take a full-sized power cord. I noticed that apart from the Chord DAVE, all other Chord DACs either run on batteries of some sort, do not have USB Type-B and can’t take a standard power cord.

I’ve owned the Musical Fidelity M1 DAC and do not wish to go there again as it sounds terribly pale next to the Chord QBD76. I’ve read a few options such as AudioQuest Dragonfly Red / Cobalt etc. but there are some reviews saying the Chord Mojo blow these things out of the water. I wanted to like the Mojo but it doesn’t have USB-Type B connection, run on batteries and cannot take a full-sized power cord.

The QBD76 was Chord’s flagship DAC before Dave. All the other DACs you mention cost well under 10% of its RRP, so I can’t help thinking that you’re setting yourself up to be disappointed here. Not that it’s impossible to enjoy ‘lesser’ systems just because you also own something better, but without knowing how you plan to use this other DAC, I’m not sure I understand the question!

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It’s for a 2nd system. I just want to shortlist some DAC options which may sound a bit like a Chord, but isn’t a Chord. That’s all.

the DAC you are looking for is a Chord 2Qute. Which is basically a Hugo1 without the batteries, headphone output and volume control but runs on a power supply. The sound quality is outstanding.

you are mistaken, not all Chords DACs other than DAVE run on a battery !

It isn’t available anymore but if you look you may find a second hand one.

I don’t see any issue with using a charger into a 2qute or a Chord qutest. Both have USB A inputs and can take a charger. Why does it need

to be a full size power cable??

As for alternatives - now that you are used the the QBD76 anything else other than a Chord DAC will set you up for disappointment.

The TT2 is another one that doesn’t run on batteries.

Nor does the discontinued 2Qute which makes it good value second-hand. The Qutest doesn’t use batteries either if you’re willing to stretch to the £1k mark.

Thanks to all response. So there’s the 2Qute and (more expensive) Qutest which have Type-A USB and do not run on batteries. That’s good to know. Perhaps I’ll look at a used 2Qute as an alternative in the 2nd system.

Full-sized power cord is desirable although not entirely necessary. For a cheaper DAC, perhaps I can forgo this criteria. I now have a thing for good (expensive) power cords. I intend to add another Mexcel cord to the QBD76 and if that happens, the power cord will be more costly than the DAC itself.

Yes, I’m aware that it’s only (arguably) the DAVE that will sound better than the QBD76. As a matter of fact, the QBD76 is very very good, and I attribute the great sound quality of my system to the Chord DAC. I actually intend to keep the QBD76 for life as at the (used) price paid, it’s extremely good value. I suspect my system will sound a lot less enjoyable without the QBD76 on board. There’s something magic about Chord DACs and that’s the reason I’m looking at a DAC which will sound like a Chord. I guess it’s a Chord DAC after all.

The DAVE remains as a distant aspiration.

Something to keep in mind. With the Qutest you can easily buy a large 5v power bank that can run days between charges and recharge in 3 hrs. This removes any noise, mains interference altogether. This is a great sounding value for money DAC.

The TT2 uses 6 large capacitors and filtering to provide a clean power supply. I’ve tried using power banks etc with the TT2 and it sounds no different at all. So, I spend £ on power cables for other kit instead.

So depending on how much you want to spend there are a few Chord options available.


I thought you were using powerbanks on your Mscaler and TT2? Has this changed recently?

Only use power banks on the Mscaler. I tried it with the TT2 but didn’t find it to change at all. I think that’s down to the 6 capacitors and filters inside the TT2 that sorts out the power before it hits the DAC.

It was very noticeable with the mscaler and Qutest though.

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Interesting that some use battery power banks to provide a 5V supply for their audio kit, most of these use Li ion batteries which give 3.7V nominally so if the pack uses batteries in parallel or series the voltage is far from 5V which means that they need to incorporate a regulator either to bump up or step down the voltage to a controlled 5V for USB use. Invariably these are economical switch mode devices, as they are intended for charging portable devices. I don’t doubt that they work, but I would be surprised if these offer a particularly ‘clean’ supply. Most people here go out of their way to avoid switching supplies.

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Not all do work well. I went through a few before settling in the Krisdonia and Anker power banks. Anker for 5v and Krisdonia for DC 9/12v.

Poweradd Pro was one that Rob Watts used but it isn’t readily available over here (uk).

What I would say, don’t get one with too many different functions… more electronics more noise.

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