Nait 2, Kans Mk1 but what DAC?

I don’t know about tha Macbook Pro, but I use Audirvana 3.5 on a 2012 Mac Mini. It is, however, dedicated to music use, running headless with no attached screen or keyboard, fully optimised following Audirvana’s guide so has a USB bus dedicated to the music output, no other software running, and it is using Direct Mode which bypasses parts of Apple’s systems (I stopped at El Capitan OS because beyond that Apple disabled this, though I understand workarounds are possible). My music store is on an SSD in the Mac Mini, so I dob’t have to stream music across a network. USB output goes direct to my Chord Dave DAC. I started with it into Hugo, which needed an isolator between (I used a Gustard U12) - the Qutest is probably OK without because it has galvanic isolation which Hugo didn’t.

When I set it up it sounded better than, and so replaced, the front end of an ND5XS (I had already adopted a Chord Hugo external DAC). At the time of first auditioning Dave, I had the opportunity for a comparison of my Mac Mini/Audirvana setup with a Melco N1A, and there was no evident difference, though it was only a short comparison. (Rest of system for that was Bryston 4Bsst2 amp intoPMC Fact 12 speakers.)

A while ago (I haven’t looked recently) I read some posts by Rob Watts, the designer of Chord’s DACs, in which he said that when travelling he uses his Mac laptop as source into Dave, and he seemed quite happy with it. I don’t know what software he uses, nor what he uses at home. He did cite a benefit of using on batteries, completely removing any ground path link to the DAC, where otherwise ground plane modulation is the most difficult thing to eradicate completely.

At the end of the day you’ll only know if you try alternatives and compare.sound quality, and of course how good the rest of the system is will make a difference to what source differences you might hear.

Sounds like a great set up. I should have specified I’m only looking to stream music directly over Wi-Fi. I have Tidal HiFi via Audivarna at the moment. I don’t have any saved music on hard drives or any other drive. I guess I’m just trying to work out what’s going to be the best sound quality with the Qutest. Keeping the MPB or moving to a dedicated Wi-Fi streamer.

I would have to look at how Audivarna is set up at the moment. But the laptop is only being used for that not anything else.