Dac V1 and Qutest?

The V1 has been the heart of my system for a number of years now and I love it. But I’m also feeding it via USB with the very good opticalRendu and Sonore Power Supply (with Shunyata USB and power cable on the supply, and opticalModules upstream). I’m not sure the V1 is worth its full price in 2020 compared to the competition (RME etc) but perhaps you could fine one used. How are you planning on using it? FTR I can’t stand the Chord aesthetic - reminds me of eighties video games. No way would I pay what it costs for a Chord DAC no matter how good just for that reason.

Yep, that Mini would be the issue compared to an optimized, dedicated, low noise streamer into the V1.

Feeding the Qutest is the bluenode 2i on in to the 252.

To be fair I’ve been blown away by the Qutest. I connected it yesterday to the the fc/92 in to a 300 and was totally surpised just how much of an uplift it gives.

If the v1 was close in sq I’d put that in to the new rack with refreshed kit when it all comes back, and then put the qutest in to the study cb system.

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Keep in mind that the V1 doesn’t bypass the preamp, so you would be doubling up if using your 252. Best use for the V1 is if you need the preamp in it.

is the preamp not just for a headphone?

I just finished this exercise for a second system I am putting together to keep company with my 552/500. I have a Nait 2 just restored by AVOptions and am partnering it with my 1987 vintage ProAc SuperTablette speakers.

I have debated between the V1 (pre-loved) and a Qutest. In the end the Qutest won out and has been ordered (no way to demo either - my decision was made by speaking with several knowledgeable Naim owners) and I am now contemplating the final piece which is the streamer.

I am getting ready to pull the trigger on a MicroRendu as Roon will be the main listening platform.

Any other streaming suggestions in place of the Rendu? I want to keep things physically small thus the Rendu (and why I considered the V1).


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Got both at home. You should consider buying a V1 if you will use headphones.
Frankly speaking, I am not really a huge fan of the qutest, for my ears it’s lack of presence, maybe too much analytics. Compare to an Ndac it’s less musical, lack of presence, not so many details, and adding an XPS to Ndac just blow the Qutest.
I am currently using a Qutest for the saloon to listen to low-level music and watching TV.

If you can extend to an opticalrendu it’s miles ahead a micro, though if you can find a used micro 1.4 it’s pretty good. The ultraRendu is another option and no worry about fiber. The new micro 1.5 at $399 though is a great bargain. The quality of the power supply and dc cable is important.

Nope. It’s for output to an amplifier. The headphone amp is separate, and quite good, at least it is with my new Beyerdynamic Amiron’s.

Why not the RME ADI-2 DAC FS? Getting a lot of good reviews and its cheaper than the Qutest and has greater functionality.


PS I’m not parting with my DAC-V1 used as a preamp in my system.


I was close to buying an RME but for the lack of co-ax inputs (only one). Such a shame, looks excellent otherwise.

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Not surprising your example blows the Qutest out of the water. An nDAC and XPS PSU even used is well over twice the overall price by comparison in nearly all instances, whereas a V1 is a bit more apples-to-apples. Lack of presence and not so much detail is about as far from my recent experience with the Qutest as is possible, and this is with the supplied SMPS. It just goes to show, once again, how system dependence plays a massive role in these comparisons and impressions. So far I can honestly say the Chord Qutest is the ‘best’ DAC I’ve yet experienced, though admittedly I have not had an nDAC in my system (but yes, have demoed the V1, and would say these ears would likely prefer the nDAC if sound reports are accurate, even though it’s getting a little long in the tooth according to many). I looked long and hard for an nDAC before pulling the trigger on the Qutest, but they’re extremely difficult to find used in the states.


Depends what your feeding the v1, I found that using the SRC mode improved things for me, I didn’t realise until a year after buying what the SRC mode was, as it’s not in the manual :face_with_raised_eyebrow:.

"Sample Rate Conversion (SRC) Mode

SRC has also been added to the DAC-V1. This allows the user to configure a digital input to adjust on-the-fly to input clock signals that are out of range. This improves overall robustness with S/PDIF sources that do not have an accurate clock."

Phew! That’s a relief as my main source is USB.


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I have thought about trying the well regarded Chord Qutest vs V1. I did try the Hugo (1) vs V1 a while back. While the Hugo was very nice for some music, it did not work for me for the type I tend to listen to the most (Jazz/Blues). I thought it was better for choral/orchestral/classical settings.

What I have found - V1 likes a clean input. Reduce the noise on your input and it will shine, brightly.
I use it with the USB input and ‘fixed’ output. All the audiophile accolades plus PRaT are applicable in the right setup!
Shown below is such a setup - however please note that the server total cost is more than the V1 itself!
The key is the superb power (Paul Hynes Ltd SR7T & a Sean Jacobs ‘Statement’ level regulator/current boosters) to the server ATX and CPU. In addition the fast powerful CPU and RAM provide low latency. The CPU cores are hardly working while playing music, thus generating very little noise. The OS is audio optimized for low latency as well. All this assembled in a low vibration fan-less passively cooled case. The relentless DIY community over at audiophilestyle may be blamed for most of these findings!


Maybe the V1 needs [better] isolation on its USB input? I certainly found my Mac Mini, running Audirvana fully optimised with dedicated USB bus, via Gustard U12 isolator-converter then SPDIF into Hugo1 Better sounding than ND5XS into Hugo1. And In a brief comparison same Mac Mini direct into Chord Dave was indistinguishable from a Melco N1.

Sure, but you also aren’t going straight into a V1 with a mini. Not sure how what you list above is related (different dacs, spdif convertors, etc etc). IME I’ve found the better the streamer into the V1, the better it gets, but of course like all things in audio, YMMV.

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I have never had the chance to test a Qutest.
But I have a headless Apple MacMINI dedicated as a transport (using Audirvana+) only to the Naim DAC V1. The USB cable is Audioquest Carbon. And I’m very pleased with this duo. The biggest difference in the SQ, to me at least, is coming from the sound engineer’s mastering work. Even a CD quality FLAC can bring me a real musical pleasure and in the same time a poor mastered DSD file can disappoint me.
So I can’t discussed my personal experience with the difference between the two DACs but just before reading this thread I red “Spotify! It ain’t so bad” one. And there you can find that a lot of members with more than entry level Naim systems are quite satisfied with Spotify’s 320 kps. So if you are content with such a source quality maybe there is no big issue Qutest or V1. But if you are more critical the best option will be a home demonstration if that’s possible. And you could decide based on you personal experience.


Great impressions and advice.
Although I don’t use Spotify (cannot stand it as a corp., but that’s a separate issue), 320kps sounds really quite awesome on any number of pre-programmed Internet Radio stations I switch between.

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