HDX DAC or Chord Qutest?

Would a Cord Qutest DAC be an upgrade over the internal DAC in the HDX? Using the HDX as a transport.

be careful about the concept of upgrade. Because it can be an upgrade on hifi terms, like details, spaciousness, soundstaging, bass…but less enjoyable. Or both. But better try before.
Some prefer the ndx2 , some prefer the ndx2/ chord hugo for instance.

Thanks, I’m not sure if I could get one for tryout. I just wanted to get some thoughts. Maybe someone with experience with both.

I don’t have that specific experience, and haven’t read anyone else describing it, however quite a few people reported adding a Chord Hugo to an NDX or ND5XS and finding it to be a significant improvement to their ears, and that gave me the confidence to try it myself, buying unheard (with ND5XS).

A marked improvement in sound quality - my assessment was more natural, others used the description more analogue-like. (And it was that change that made a diehard vinyl preferring friend of mine admit that digital could sound as good.)

That was Hugo 1: Qutest is the desktop version of Hugo 2, so might be expected to sound even better, though I haven’t heard. I don’t know how HDX compares to in the ND5XS or NDX, however I believe it is same generation so might be expected to have some similar characteristics in terms of sound.

Hugo seemed to represent quite a revolution in DAC sound quality, proving remarkably popular even amongst Naim devotees. Most of those who reported trying said they found it better. It seemed to be a very small proportion who didn’t, while a few people have just said it is a different presentation, preferring one with some types of music and the other with other types of music. To me it was a game changer, leading me to even better things: next changing ND5XS for a better player (saving money in the process), then upgrading Hugo to its big brother, Dave. There was a lot about people’s experiences with Hugo on the old forum, which even with its search limited to thread titles at present may find you something.

One thing I omitted to add: although I bought Hugo unheard, when I later considered upgrading I managed to have a simultaneous home trial of both Hugo TT and Dave by mail, the only net cost to me being the return carriage - but I had to pay for them upfront, to be refunded in full on return. I don’t recall if there was a postage cost to me, but if there was that was refunded as well. The said supplier’s name began with the same letter as Naim, and ended with the latter part of electronics.

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I can second that, I got all my Naim stuff from Welwyn, they are good people.

I have heard the Qutest fronted by an NDX/555PS.

The Qutest resolves more detail and shows what is wrong with the NDX, it’s far far cleaner.

However on my brief listen I found warts and all the NDX is more musical and engaging.

The Qutest will impress on first listen but I’m not convinced I’d want it long term

Absolutely agree with you!

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