Well i thought i would be polite to Naim and not post anything, but that rascal in Chesham @Nigelb gave me the assignment.
Three systems…the main one was Mscaler/Dave/ preamp CPA 5000, and a pair of new Ultima power amps into Dynaudio confidence 60 speakers. Speaker cables true signal revelation.
Next was Dave/MScaler/Etude into Kudos 505, true signal ultimate i think as the speaker cable.
Last system was the Chord TT series Hugo, Toby and a pair of Q Acoustics concept 300 with Qed Supremus speaker cables.
This is the Saturday morning session, so we had over an hour presentation from the Chord digital designer Rob Watts. He took us through his design philosophy, science, mathematics, history of digital conversion. Time flies quickly as it was very interesting and thought provoking. But you could easily come away with the thought that anything other than FPGA was just for the bin…only doing 8 bit.
I think for me the comment from Rob that put all this into perspective was we know a lot about human sight and brain processing of images. The eyes provide about 10% of what we see, the rest is interpolation and processing by our brains…hence the odd optical illusion. By comparison, the interaction of our ears and brain-is less well understood. So perhaps with different ears, brains etc…people liking different systems is understandable.
The main demo was of the new amps fed by Mscaler/Dave. The scaler was switched in and out from track to track…by the touch of a button by Maurice, our Chord host. To Rob and Maurice…the Mscaler is indispensable. To me , yes it sounded different to a bare Dave, personally i was not convinced. Overall the system sounded really good, refined, controlled, detailed, had great depth. Perhaps not that Naim PRAT of the Statement amps and an ND555 with these speakers. The Kudos 808 active with nap 500 takes some beating recently, but this Chord system although different is well worth an audition. An unfair price comparison? Whatever…a great system.
The Etude/Dave/MScaler into Kudos 505 just did not engage me at all. I listened to a couple of tracks of my music and then others. Compared to the Naim amps and streamers recently…no comparison. But the Etude is not in a 552 league…so unfair again?
The last system i thought was OK, the Q Acoustics seemed happy on the TT system.
In summary, i hope others will chime in as i have no Chord products in my system…i know i am biased. But i think some of the science Rob took us through…sort of explained why we lean to a particular sound. I know it would never happen, but it would have been interesting for Steve Sells going head to head with Rob Watts on dac technology implementation.
Thanks to Rob, Maurice from Chord and as ever the Signals guys for a great morning, interesting, good music, food and company👍 If i got the part of systems incorrect, apologies…Alistair will hopefully mop up my mess😉
Going to put my feet up listen to music and see what fireworks @nigelb put me up to.