Chord Qutest vs SGCD

Hi everyone,

On this forum, I found a topic comparing the Chord Qutest to the DirectStream DAC. I currently own a Stellar GCD and use it as a DAC/Preamp. I was wondering if some people here had the chance to compare the DAC of the SGCD to the Chord Qutest. My idea would still be to use the SGCD as a preamp, but with the Qutest DAC instead.

In an ideal world, I would find a way to test drive the Qutest, but it is not possible at the moment, since stores are closed and we can only order online.

On a scale of no way to f**k yeah, do you think it would be a wise move?

Thanks in advance!


I’ll be honest. I wasn’t at our Club’s DAC-It-Out (Our Son’s Army Boot Camp Grad) and the results were controversial. Had I been there, I would have insisted that my SGCD (now a DSD Sr. BTW - love it) be included in the event. Some of the DAC’s in the shootout are no longer being built (yeah…WTF).

I won’t buy into the Chord stuff because functionality is limited for the over $2k price point.

I don’t agree with the DAC-It-Out results but then again, I wasn’t there. Keep the SGCD and if you can, get the DSD Sr., either as a trade plus price difference or as an addition to your SGCD if you require the Analog Inputs of your SGCD.

10 DACs Came to Fight

You’ll have to scroll down a bit.

I own a DSD Sr., a DSD Jr., and Qutest. The one I like the best is the one I happen to be listening to at any given moment. When I listen to the Qutest I think it can’t get any better. Then I switch to the DSD Sr. And realize it isn’t true, better exists. I have no experience with a SCGD, sorry. But I would be happy to live with any one of the three I own. But I much prefer to own all three. If I had to pick it would be DSD Sr., then Jr., then Qutest. But the differences are small, very small.


I just bought a Chord Qutest to go with my new PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell DAC (Preamp). It’s a great combo. IMO the Qutest DAC is stronger than the Stellar Gain Cell DAC in the DAC department.


Where are you located?

In my house. Where I’ve been non-stop for the past 4 weeks.

(Which is in Quebec/Canada)

Thanks for your reply, that’s the kind of hands on opinion I was looking for.

Have you ever tried Hugo TT2, and if so, how did it compared?

I have a TT2 and Hugo2 and before that a DS Sr. The biggest advantages of the TT2 over the DS are:

  • the DC input allows you to select a top grade power supply (ultra low noise)
  • the supercapacitor based power supply means its less sensitive to the external DC input and can provide transients faster than any transformer based supply
  • the 18watts (into 8 ohms) output lets you drive speakers directly for stunning transparency
  • the dual-coax inputs can be fed by an optical isolator (OPTO-DX) from a software upsampler

IMO the TT2 has no competition. When PSAudio ever ships its bass powered speakers, this will be a killer combo.

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I’ll sent you a PM with some info.

I have never tried a TT.

Thanks @dmance for your answer.

Just a little word of caution regarding linear power supply I read in a Moon Audio Hugo TT2 review ( - I have seen similar disclaimer elsewhere:

"Folks have been asking Moon Audio what external power linear power supply they should use as an upgrade. Chord is very clear on this point. Due to legal reasons they will neither condone nor recommend using third-party power supplies. Use of them will invalidate the warranty. They have had to take this hard stance now after several cases of damaged product due to the unregulated voltage output on some of these power supplies. "

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That is just playing it safe because most people know which lps to use ,so it can produce claimed values,but many may skimp getting good enough lps and uses maybe " Chinese" lps and end result is broken piece of gear. No manufacturer wants to repair for free or replace their perfectionally working gear for that. It´s like saying don´t put diesel in your gasoline engine…

SGCD is a chip based and not in-house design like DS Sr/Jr. Hence, if you like chip DAC sound it’s good. Qutest is Chord DAC and based on their own design… I haven’t done a back to back comparison, but generally Qutest gets better reviews overall.

You also have to look at features, as Qutest is bare bone while SGCD has a lot more features like Balanced audio out, more digital inputs, volume control, remote trigger, etc…

So, on sound alone Chord has reviewed better, but on features SGCD wins.

I agree with you.
However, Chord puts the onus on you to purchased the “right” LPS.
If you don’t, you are screwed if something goes wrong.

I reached out to Chord and asking them a similar question using an LPS for the Qutest. The response was prompt and basically to the point. No - and if we thought it would be beneficial we would have supplied one.

When I had the SGCD, it’s PCM DAC was excellent. I never tried the DSD via I2S so I can’t comment on it’s DSD over PCM performance.

Very true; I read a similar comment from Rob Watts (but can’t find the link anymore).

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My reply was from Chord support staff, Ed Selley.

I’m fairly new to Chord, just getting the Qutest. I’m impressed thus far. Curious how the Chord MScaler works, and how the upsampling would differ/compare to the upsampling done via firmware (such as Roon/Audirvana). I’m going to try and learn more about it.

Well i can say what i have heard ,but not with my DSD dac but instead Mscaler with Chord dac. Mscaler makes big difference when upsampled using dual bnc all out to 768khz. There is much more everything,resolution and that hard described rightness and musicality. It is pretty much doing the same things as HQplayer with Roon but better.

And that Mscaler only costs about the price of a DSD plus two expensive bnc cables out. And i like my DSD so no interest going Chord no matter what. :innocent:
Mscaler was powered by Ciunas lps as was the dac.

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Interesting alleged comment from Rob Watts posted on a forum about a preference for a USB battery bank rather than an LPS (

“Actually my advice is that the supplied PSU is as good as a battery supply (based on my listening with my set-up -YMMV) - which gives the lowest amount of RF noise - and that LPS supplies is likely to sound worse, as they are often transparent to RF noise from the mains - the supplied switcher has RF filters. My advice is to try a USB battery bank, and if it sounds identical to the supplied PSU, then don’t bother “upgrading” with a LPS…

The hard bright sound is characteristic of more random RF noise entering your system, creating more noise floor modulation, which makes it sound brighter, and if bad, harder and grainy.”