Aurender N100h usb to Qutest dac issues -SOS-

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

I just bought a used Qutest over the weekend to go between my N100h and my Mcintosh MHA100 integrated. Prior to the sale we discussed how I was going to use it, the seller informed me that he strictly used the coax connection from a Node streamer. So I grab my battery pack and Apple Camera kit to at least verify I can lock into 192, 96 and 44.1K songs on my phone. Seller seemed nervous I was doing this, I assured him this was standard affair. I forgot I recently uninstalled Qobuz so I couldn't bring up any hi res songs, but the Qutest powered up normally, was in perfect order and I had no reason to think I'd have any issues. 

When I get home I set it up as follows: N100h> Pangea USB cable>Qutest>Audioquest ICs>MHA100>SVS speaker cables(temp in for my Acoustic Zen)>Omega Modern CAMs. I bring up my normal playlist to start testing and here's what happened.

  1. The Qutest immediately showed itself to be a superior dac to the MHA's onboard as far as resolution and detail retrieval. The problem is, vocals in particular can sound raspy and it's quite evident that while part of the song is playing wonderfully, there is a layer of something bad going on. Some songs on my playlist are down right gargled sounding. 
  2. Tried all three output voltage settings. Volume acted accordingly but sound anomaly continued.
  3. So I take the Aurender out of the equation and Camera Kit connect my iPhone and iPad directly to the Qutest's usb connection and it's the same. MacBook Pro direct usb in...same thing.
  4. Swap out Audioquest IC's....Hail Mary change.
  5. Swap out the Pangea usb cable with a no name pc grade cable and everything was downright garbled...unlistenable. Plug same cable into MHA100....sounds fine through onboard dac.
  6. I don't have a coax digital source but I tried out the fiber from my tv and also a AudioEngine B1 and the Qutest sounded simply startling....addictive. Even Bluetooth streaming via the B1, my system never sounded so good. I could only imagine how it'll sound with a great streamer.

This dac sounds so good I've got to make this thing work or replace with another. I'm hooked.So here's my options:

  1. Aurender has a usb to coax adaptor (pricey at about $700). Moving away from usb is attractive to me in general. Usb can be a bit quirky at times.
  2. I have an Arcam iRdac which has coax digital passthrough so I could feed it from the Aurender and pass it on to the Qutest via coax. Just need a RCA/BNC cable or adapter..... but more equipment, more cables. I've set this up similarly between the N100h and MHA100's dac before to test coax vs usb.
  3. Get a Node3 to stream to Qutest and just be done. 
  4. Return the Qutest and find another who's usb inputs work fine. Switch to coax later when more convenient. 

Anyone using an Aurender with a Qutest? Am I doing anything wrong with this usb setup? I really hope I'm just missing something, but I've been into high end digital audio since the 80's and I've never run into anything like this. 

Thanks and sorry for the long post.































Have you contacted Aurender for support? Is your N100H updated to the latest firmware? Those are good first steps.

The Aurender is a streamer you can't use it with a Node, Roon or anything else. Connect it to your router by ethernet cable the USB from Aurender to the DAC.

DAC out to your amp.

Thanks for the replies, quick update. The N100h is on latest firmware. It's never had problem feeding other usb DACs. I've had my Arcam irDac, Schiit Gumby, and now the build in dac on my Mcintosh. Never had these issues before. 

Lordmelton, I'd replace the N100H with the Node. No confusion about what's feeding what. May seem like a downgrade but I'd try it. I'm somewhat motivated to get away from usb feeds. Like I said they can be a little finicky and I listen to mostly redbook so coax should do nicely.  

Hi treynolds, Interesting system.

The description you give of SQ sounds like something I've heard with new gear before burn in.  Seems the previous owner exclusively used S/PDIF and you are only using USB.  Possibly the two signal paths are sufficiently discrete to require separate burn in time?  
In the past I've noticed this requirement for addressing each input channel separately in some of my amplifiers.

While I still suggest you contact Aurender for support - it's always worth making that effort - I gave up on my N100H and dumped it at a loss. Many people praise Aurender products and support but I have nothing nice to say about either one, based on my experience.

Sandstone, yeah I thought of the break-in potential but when I swapped in a no name pc grade usb cable just to sounded much worse, downright unlistenable. Same cable then moved to integrated amp's dac and it sounded fine. Hey I use nice cables too, but even the no name one should never have sounded that bad.   

And taking the Aurender out of the equation, this same thing is going on for a MacBook Pro direct via usb, and iPhone and iPad via Camera Connection kit (usb).  It 

So darn frustrating, thanks for the assist guys. 

usb is not an issue with a server designed from the ground up to run USB.

our 432EVO servers sound amazing, run usb flawlessly and are 100% upggradable and modular




this is done by swapping parts.which then moves You into the next model.



Dave and Troy

Audio intellect nj

US importer 432EVO music servers



Cleeds, what problem did you have with your N100h? Mine is rock solid compared to the darn Mcintosh MB50 streamer/dac. Sounded real nice but often lost it's settings and you'd have to start from scratch setting it up. No wifi issues though, I could rerun playlists for weeks without issue. But the more I went in and changed tracks or do anything...the problems began.

In contrast, the Aurender runs internet radio almost constantly (custom URLs now too!) and I hit my Qobuz playlists hard daily. Rarely a hiccup, never had any wifi issues with my Netgear and Cisco bridges. I've been in IT for over 25 years, so I'm covered on all the networking stuff.

audiotroy, thanks for the info. I'd put the Aurender in a pretty high class too. Lots of well sorted out usb equipment to be had. What OS do these 432EVO servers use?

Post removed 

I’m comfortable with tech, the N100H wasn’t my first venture into streaming and I had a raft of issues with the N100H. But the Aurender’s biggest failure was support. They apparently have only one guy in the US ("Ari") and more than once his e-mail responses revealed he didn’t read my original complaint or explanation of what I’d already tried.

For me, the Aurender was nothing but a freakin’ waste of time. I replaced it with a Bryston BDP-3 and couldn’t be happier.

Notice that the OP hasn't mentioned Aurender support, even though I've asked.

Post removed 

"3. So I take the Aurender out of the equation and Camera Kit connect my iPhone and iPad directly to the Qutest’s usb connection and it’s the same. MacBook Pro direct usb in...same thing."

The Qutest has a busted USB check it with other things.

Maybe needs a factory reset and software/firmware update contact Chord.

Thanks for all the updates gentlemen. A shout out to Jeff the seller who put me in contact with the east coast Chord service guy, Steve. Talked to Steve for quite a while and he went through the normal questions, probably in his mind to figure out how I screwed it up lol.

When I told him my background and the steps I took, he pretty much stopped me after I mentioned the Apple CCK with two IOS devices not working either, and said..."yeah you've got a bad board". So hopefully in about a week he'll be popping a new one in, fresh from England. 

Now that's service from a seller and a good company. It'll be basically brand new so lots of break-in will commence. I'll circle back and report on the N100h/Qutest combo after the repair. 

Cleeds, your Aurender experience sounds horrible. I've never had to contact them once, I've used three different usb DACs pretty much problem free. One strange quirk is if you change tracks too often and quickly, the Aurender will eventually  give you a usb error on the screen, and a reboot of the dac is required. Bounce around tracks just a little slower and you can go for months problem free. 


Sorry to hear you've got the same problem. My Qutest was sent to a factory authorized service tech and the mainboard was replaced. Never had a problem since. 

You may be better off with a UC100 or UT100 converter and just go fiber or coax to it. I ended with both and prefer the coax by just a smidge. 

My Qutest is almost new. I tried changing the voltage last night from 3 to 2 and it seemed to be gone. Did you keep yours at 3Vs? I’m thinking about getting the Denafrips Pontus II 12th I have the ability to audition one in my system and decide if I like it better. If not I just paid for shipping. I love the Qutest but it will great to A/B them. 

I tried both voltages and it did not correct the issue prior to repair. Would be interested to hear your take on the Pontus vs Qutest. 

So the Pontus fell through and now I’m considering going overboard with a terminator