Qutest or DAC V1 or keep B&W Formation Audio

I have a Nait 5Si feeding B&W 603’s.

I am looking at changing my DAC.

I have a B&W Formation Audio which I picked up open box for £299 - and which I could return - and a HiFi Berry feeding a Chord Mojo. I have Vinyl, Roon and Qobuz. My CDs are in the garage.

The Mojo is not really practical as a main system and needs to return to full time headphone duty before its battery dies.

So I am now using the B&W Formation Audio as a streamer - to its great credit sounds remarkably like the Mojo. I really don’t think I could tell them apart. It’s also very functional and switches intuitively between sources, to the delight of my wife. The App isn’t that bad either.

I have no idea what electronics is the the Formation Audio, B&W simply say high end, and part of me thinks I’m lucky to have it, and the other part of me thinks I’m missing something.

I am eyeing up an open box Qutest, an ex-display DAC V1 or just possibly something exotic from Topping or Denafrips.

Which sound best and should I look somewhere else entirely?

Thanks for your advice

It appears to have coax digital output, and the coax input on the dac v1 is not its strongpoint compared with the usb input, so personally I’d give that a miss.
Can you beg/borrow a Qutest to see (hear) if you can tell an improvement when using the b&w as a transport?
I believe Chord say you can leave the mojo permanently powered, if that’s an option - but does it improve on the b&w “bare” in which case there’s little point including it.

Thanks for that helpful steer

The Mojo sounds so sweet with an iPod and headphones, but I’m less convinced with my main system.

One must also remember that the Nait has a great degree of personal character.

Nonetheless I’ve ordered an open box Qutest for a three figure sum so I cal always send it back, but I have a feeling that won’t happen. I can run both the B&W and the Hifiberry RPi into it and see which sounds best.

I did look at the Topping D90 but … anyhow let’s see what the postman brings later this week.

Well the Qutest arrived and it’s like John Lennon is actually in our sitting room.

Staggering clarity and no rough digital edges on the high notes. Beautiful sound. Wow


Sounds like a positive result!

And now I’ve swopped out the B&W for a Primare Prisma NP5. It’s a similar beast but with no DAC, more streaming capability at a higher spec and it just looks a better match for the Qutest. Thanks for you guidance Robert

Great result, indeed! I absolutely enjoyed the Qutest in nearly every regard. A great, and I mean great DAC.

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