Fairly sophisticated shed, but the Chord look is not for me. Even just dusting my Naim units, the Chord amps with open mesh tops seem to be a dust trap with no solution. Up to now these products at their price point, have not engaged me.

Yeah, I read that and was baffled by your description of being an 1/8 of a beat off or something. That would not be possible blaming the clock. That would be like missing close to 3000 clock cycles (at 44.1k), and only on the low frequencies. I’m sure the worst DAC in the world wouldn’t be anywhere that bad. It wouldn’t be listenable. That’s why I looking for more info on what you meant by timing.

My only reserve on @Bluesfan would be his findings on the big differences when adding a clock on the rossini.
There are a lot of reviews on the rossini and all the reviewers found an improvement adding the clock. However no reviewer said it was night and day, like lifeless and uninvolving with rossini alone and dramatically better with the clock.
For the Bartok vs Dave, as mentioned above , the conclusions are completely opposite. So difficult to know who is right.
For the Dave feedback, i also often read that this dac is best for classical music. The prat is not his first quality.
But perhaps the mscaler changes the presentation a lot. Probably.

Hi FR,
such are the delights of the internet. We have probably both read so much on-line about this stuff that we don’t know what to believe. That was the point at which I decided to go and have a listen. First hand experience of auditions either at home or at an experienced Naim dealer really does take some beating.

If someone prefers a DCS, Naim, Moon, Linn or MSB streamer after making the comparison, then I wish them every joy from their purchase. At the end of the day, it’s a personal choice.

What I would be genuinely interested to learn though, is how other people manage to make one streamer sound superior to another that I have preferred in my auditions.

As an example, great respect to S-i-S for buying a Naim NDX2 and using its excellent front end to feed a great signal to the downstream dac. I wouldn’t have thought of that, yet subsequently heard that a DCS Network Bridge made a Chord dac sound more musical than an Auralic Aries G2 could when reproducing the same tracks in the same system. It is quite likely that I will one day try a Naim streamer in place of the Sonore OpticalRendu and, if it improves the music, buy the Naim streamer to fulfil a similar role.

Equally, the Chord Qutest has received consistently stellar reviews, yet it could not carry a rhythm when we listened to it. Coming home later that day, we much preferred music replayed via our Naim DAC-V1. We still wonder if there was something about the system set-up that somehow held the Qutest back.

Much is said about the attributes of DAVE, both complimentary and critical. We found the M Scaler to make such a difference, that we treat DAVE with and without the M Scaler as almost completely separate dacs. Likewise the Rossini with or without its external clock.

Perhaps our ears or brains are especially sensitive to certain aspects of musical reproduction, yet insensitive to other aspects. This may explain some of the divergence of views that we all read about.

This streaming business does seem to be both technologically immature and somewhat confusing at the moment.

Best regards, BF


Now that I find strange… as far as PRaT and involvement I found the NDAC/555PS outperformed the NDS/555PS, though the latter was more resolved and detailed. Both I found were left behind by the Hugo 1 in terms of insight and musical communication (subjective clearly)… I wrote about this on the forum a few years ago… it caused quite a stir… so much so the thread was temporarily removed, but later reinstated. Others, but certainly not all, or even necessarily a forum majority agreed. Ally my assessments were made at least on my home systems using ATC speakers… but sometimes occasionally a Statement based system.

The DAVE is a huge step apart in terms of transparency and immediacy to PCM1704K based players and even the beloved Hugo 1… but I can understand some wanting a smoother overall presentation that has a less revealing response to recording masters … which is why we have a choice.


the nds/ 555 without quality ethernet cables and cisco switch was disappointing for me. The cdx2/ xps2 was more involving and quicker.
With the tweaks mentioned, the nds has now the same prat vs cdx2, but with bigger sound, more refined, more details…
I heard recently the rossini, the linn kdsm, the audiomat maestro 3, the nd555. For the money ( 8 k euros), the Audiomat wins.
For naturalness, it’s the linn.
For all rounder performance and prat and authority, it’s the nd555.
So the next to listen will be Chord, but don’t know yet which model.

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Very nice wrap-up, thanks!

A problem that I stumbled into when trying to assess the impact of changes (on my rather modest system) was that of establishing a reliable term of reference: I sometimes found that A and B were both better than C but we found it difficult to compare A and B.

Another problem with subjective preferences is that they are not necessarily transitive: we might prefer A to B and B to C and … C to A!

Cyclic preferences are not that uncommon when we compare things according to multiple criteria nad often a source of misunderstandings.

It would also be meaningful to compare devices without knowing their prices in the first place but, of course, this is hardly doable.

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Some interesting comments.

There’s no substitute for going to a dealer and listening with own ears

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That I disagree with, certainly the first part. Music streaming has been with us since the late 90s which is when I started. (20 years ago)
Home networks and streaming approaches have massively matured since then to the point of possible technology stagnation but ubiquitous consumer adoption. The innovation is largely around the user experiences, and library / media management from different vendors, but the tech is rather established and dare I say old school… but if it works why change it…

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That’s because they don’t. The build quality is excellent and Chord products do not have lots of irritating illuminated logos. I like discrete styling with 3 small boxes sounding as good as I’ve heard from digital replay, quiet PSUs and kit that only takes a few minutes to warm rather than powered on all the time. There are many reasons we choose kit and enjoying music is the top one. I think it’s the same for most hereon.

I’ve posted many times Naim, Linn and Chord make superb kit and I enjoy music on those brands. I’m sure other brands such as Brinkman, MSB and dCS make fine sounding equipment, but I’m happy with what I have so don’t feel a need for further comparisons.

I place little or no value on subjective reviews. To me, it is like sending someone else to audition for you. There’s no substitute for your own ears when I comes to choice. Reviews should concentrate primarily on build quality, features and usability.


I agree, I do think there is no harm in describing presentation, but stopping short of stating a reviewer preference as part of the review unless clearly stated reviewers personal subjective preference.

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Me too.

I prefer Mac mini to hifi streamers to feed Blu2 DAVE because of its flexibility. Very few hifi streamers facilitate DSP out of S/PDIF or USB to facilitate room correction. I’d like to hear one that did.

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Agreed. Indeed I think the description is essential, as many people cannot get to try before they buy, so descriptions by reviewers can be the only way to guess whether they may like the sound of something. But most useful are comparative reviews, in the same room and with the same reviewer- and better still with more than one person simultaneously listening, then describing as objectively as possible the subjective differences - and the more included in the comparison the better. Sadly such reviews are rare.

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I would not buy a player like Blu2 DAVE without being able to listen to it first. I think if I were living in an audition impossible local I would rely on the fact that I like Chord, Linn and Naim kit rather than a subjective review.

A review I liked, but some hereon didn’t, was where listening tests were done under controlled conditions. Listeners could not tell an AudioQuest Vodka Ethernet cable from a poor quality $2 Ethernet one (i.e. one that failed a Fluke test). As results were consistent over a cross section of people, this seemed more useful to me. Though still no substitute for listening for oneself.

I bought Hugo unheard, and was very glad I did but I wouldn’t have gone for Dave, as that is far too much money for a punt - however some retailers will allow home auditions by phone order - otherwise at that sort of cost a trip to audition would likely be worth the cost (my first ‘wow’ audition of Dave was through the fortuitous fact of visiting family where there was a nearby dealer who had speakers I had heard before and the same amp ax mine, so I could manage just taking my Mac Mini.)

Given the mixed impressions of the degree of benefit of MScaler as well as its cost that is one I would definitely need to hear for myself - but I know a dealer who will happily send it, should I decide to do so.

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It’ll be interesting to read your impression when you hear MScaler. I’d be curious to learn if you thought Blu2 sounded even better than HMS.

I agree!

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They sound very slightly different

I am ok with either one.

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But a bit of a difference in price, for redundant CD play if you’ve ripped all your CDs