Zenith / Qutest: USB or Spdiff

Have just picked up a Zenith Mk3 and am using a Chord-C USB between it and my Qutest.

Has anyone moved to an M2Tech Hiface Two USB ~ Spdiff (BNC) converter please and what we’re your thoughts please vs USB ?

Cannot help with that exact situation but optical from zen mini to Hugo tt2 was better than usb even when the usb was running through a Phoenix reclocker. This would led me conclude (my ears/room etc) that usb is not the best implementation for chord dacs

A specific optical cable or have you tried just the one?

Every dealer I’ve spoken to as well as Chord and Innuos recommend USB.

Rob watts, the designer recommends optical /says the sound is as good or better than any usb solution

Yes I’ve read this.

On the other hand look at the design of said products. V-Tech for hi-fi. Amongst the least user friendly products on the market.

On the other hand this is not what the sales people in his own company say and nor is it what Innuos say.

On the other hand it’s absolutely not what either say at shows either and when they’re working those shows together they’ve been more than happy to show the difference. Most, but not all, those who have heard those demos went with USB.

Often the difference is no more than a user preferring a particular sound signature rather than one being objectively “better” in some way.

It’s what my ears say and that is all that matters to me

Indeed. Ditto. Interested to hear which optical cable people are using as I’m always open to see if my views might change.

I found investigating this with the tt2 fascinating. It is so revealing that it highlights differences starkly. I think the problem for me is electrical noise over usb. I have always hated the slight glare with digital and that is why vinyl is my main source. With the tt2 it reduced dramatically when I went Phoenix usb but it was still there. Going optical with an AQ forest cable almost totally removed it. Interestingly Rob watts mentions that some prefer this glare as it emphasises highs and appears to add detail

I also suspect the amount of noise will vary massively due to external factors in the home

Noted. Presumably a relatively short length of cable?

The optical?1.5m

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I’m intrigued now and at that price, assuming I’m looking at the right thing, it seems a no-brainier to give it a try.

I always get very confused with optical cables. Am I looking at Toslink or mini-Toslink or something else? Struggling to find the 1m I’d need. Seem to do 0.75m and 1.5m.

Full sized toslink. Search audioquest forest optical toslink about £42 on amazon

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Thanks. Looks available in downtown Manchester. Might grab some on Tuesday. The test will be against Chord Epic USB.

Let me know how you get on! First impressions will probably that it is darker and less detailed. Stick with it for a few days to get used to it. Worse case is you lose £40 :slight_smile:

Edit: with the zen mini you need to set the audio to zen mini dac to get optical out, otherwise it defaults to usb. Sounds odd but it does not actually use the dac chip as the output is digital!

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Withy zenith 3 and mscaler usb via the pheonix offers the best sound. I did try and src dx that others raved about and hated it

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Well as @Ryder35 suggests, for the price, I’m happy to put my money where my mouth is and see what happens.

An interesting read.

The Zen and Zenith don’t have optical do they though that was just the Zen Mini? So not sue what use it will be to you buying a cable.

Zenith mk3

Very true, Mike if you have a zenith rather than zen mini no point buying the cable you will not have a way to plug it in!