Bought the Chord Qutest. Love it. Hate the power supply.

Everything about this DAC is incredible except for the dinky power supply. I wondered if others didn't like it, so I Googled it and noticed that people were upgrading and noticing a sonic difference!

I am not interested in spending much money, but I would like to replace it with something that is an improvement for my ears and my peace of mind. 

Any suggestions?>


Very confusing post. If everything is incredible, why worry about the power supply? Did you mean that the sound was lacking, not incredible, and you were interested in improving the sound?

Since it seems to be considered to be a good value, I’m guessing that the power supply is of a modern design and a much better low noise switching supply than you find on lesser devices.  If this is true, you might need a more expensive linear power supply to hear an improvent.  All LPS are not created equally.



What part of "sounds good, looks suspect" are we supposed to worry about?

decent 5v lps are common, not too expensive, easily attainable, and worth it, for the qutest in my experience

@vonhelmholtz Very confusing post. If everything is incredible, why worry about the power supply? Did you mean that the sound was lacking, not incredible, and you were interested in improving the sound?

Agreed, “incredible “ is quite the high praise . If that impressive, then the “dinky” power supply is obviously doing its job very well. Some SMPS wall warts are better quality and implemented than are others. This appears to be the case for Chord in this example.

A very good quality LPS could possibly further improve sonic performance. But if already “incredible “ why worry about it.


My recollection is that the designer chose that particular wall wart based on sound, but on the Darko you tube review, an inexpensive upgraded power supply is recommended.

I have a friend running his off a Shanti LPS and very happy. 

I run my DAVE off of a Farad Super 3 set.  More expensive but very very good.  

Either one will be a noticable improvement.

Comparing the Qutest to my DAVE, you got a lot of bang for your buck there. Great DAC.  I bought my DAVE after listening to the Qutest.


I have a Chord Qutest, and can vouch that it is quite good using the stock power supply; but also agree that the sq can be improved by using a better power supply.

For the last year I have been running my Qutest with an IFI Ipower Elite 5v power supply.  This is the top of IFI's current lineup.  It is an ultra quiet smps that competes with linear power supplies.  It retails for $300.  I also have a friend that was very happy using an Sbooster 5v LPS with his Qutest.

You guys are hypocrites. These responses are annoying. You’ve never liked the way something sounds but knew something could be upgraded?


“These speakers sound great, but I should replace this lamp cord speaker wire. What should I buy?”

”You just said they sound great. Why bother?”

We have all been doing this hobby for many years. We know how these conversations go. So if you can’t recommend a power supply, why bother responding to this?

It’s like the people that say “only your ears will tell you”. Wow. Profound.

The provided PS is really low quality by anyone’s standards. It is commonly known that the DAC only gets better with a better power supply. If you can’t help, don’t. 

Nick…I owned Qutest for some time and liked it a lot. Rob Watts knows what he’s doing. Don’t soup up the Qutest. If you want to spend money, spend it on next level DAC.

I appreciate the responses from people who really considered the question and responded.

The ones with chips on their shoulders who were “confused” by my conundrum are ruining this forum.

It’s like, if someone suspects a perspective is shallow, they’ll forget about incremental upgrades to challenge someone’s intelligence.


I appreciate Rob Watts perspective. But Alan Shaw says amps don’t matter and I run Harbeth with a carefully selected amplifier.

I don’t like the $.69 power cord. Maybe because I’m a complete moron. I’ll find help on another forum.



Food for thought from Rob Watts himself:

“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...

If you still wish to pursue, try this LPS which comes with a 30 days money back guarantee. 




Your reaction to replies don’t make sense. People are simply responding to what you wrote, these were your words. You describe the sound as “incredible “ . So in your opinion the sonic performance is awesome/outstanding:phenomenal etc. If so, then the supplied SMPS is functioning very well.

No one suggested that further sonic improvement is not possible with a LPS upgrade, not anyone. Chord it seems uses a good quality SMPS with their DACs. The higher level Dave uses a SMPS and owners are apparently very happy with them. So utilizing a SMPS wall wart doesn’t imply poor quality. Particularly if it’s in a component described as incredible. Did you perhaps choose this term inappropriately?



We posted nearly the same time, I just saw your reply.

+1 , same idea and reasoning.😊


I over reacted. Kudos to the person who gave a recommendation. I guess my hyperbole was too strong in my original post. 



Bottomline is you are very happy with your Chord DAC. Congratulations!


I had a Chord Qutest and when I added a Teddy Pardo LPS it was a substantial improvement in SQ. I sold the Chord and put the TP LPS on my Bluesound Node. That also was a significant improvement.



I had a Qutest and added a Teddy Pardo 5v LPS.

very substantial positive impact.

I have since moved on from Chord but still have the LPS and happy to sell it.

it also has the cable and kit to work with a Bluesound node.

Happy to sell it. 
DM if interest.

There was something weird about the power supply being deliberately current limited due to the battery charging requirements. 

So long as the batteries are charged, you can swap to a high current supply.

I've had a Chord Qutest for about 3 years now...  Get a Furman power conditioner with Linear Filtering Technology (LiFT)... Plug your DAC, streamer, network switch, router and modem into it... Problem solved...

Particularly if it’s in a component described as incredible. Did you perhaps choose this term inappropriately?

It’s not inappropriate. Incredible is used in the context of the system. Any incredible sounding component can be improved. A $10 power cord can sound incredible and that goes the same for a $100 DAC, if you get my drift.

To the OP - the reason I avoid most Chord DACs is they can’t take a full fledged power cord. I have the Chord QBD76 which sounds awesome. I have a good power cord attached to it which took it to another level.

Good luck.

I have a Qutest and use an Sbooster linear power supply with the Ultra Mk II in line plug in which Sbooster recommends for the Qutest. But even a basic iFi power supply will provide cleaner, quieter power than the stock SMPS. 

Rob obviously knows how to engineer DAC's. Doesn't mean we can't think for ourselves, do what makes sense to us and share our experiences. Or ask one another questions.

I think the quality of the Qutest bears tweeking and upgrading. In fact I feed mine through an Mscaler that I picked up here second hand. This is not Chord's recommended way to move up their product chain, but I am very happy with the result and it is my end game DAC. 

Cheers, and enjoy your Qutest!

i would agree with the above comment

the qutest is engineered to a relatively low price point, no doubt the power filtering is not as extensive nor advanced as the hugo tt2 or dave models well up the chain

also concur with the m scaler being a significant sonic upgrade for the qutest (as well as other dacs, chord and otherwise)... you pay dearly for the upgrade though, making it an obstacle for some, to be sure... but the step up in sound is real, and significant

I realize this an old thread, but adding a few thoughts.  I am a big fan of lps to replace switching supplies in my system.  This is for three reasons: 1) get switching supplies off my power distributor completely to reduce noise potentially fed back into the mains, 2) clean up the power supply to the supported gear and provide more reserve for transient peaks (yes, even with relatively low current source gear), and 3) this allows me to experiment with different high quality power cables that both affect the sound of the target gear and can reduce noise between cables in my relatively tight space on my rack.  

I have just acquired and new Chord Qutest.  If I keep it, it will replace a Chord QuteHD that is currently powered by a souped-up 12V MRCU lps with a good PC made from quality Furutech parts.  Right out of the box, the Qutest with a switching supply is not as engaging as the QuteHD, with the Qutest sounding harder and less liquid or natural and with a meh soundstage.  I have a 5V ifi PowerX switching supply that works very well on my ifi purifier 2, but sounded noticeably worse with Qutest than the stock Chord supply provided with the DAC.  Score one for Rob Watts.

This was a surprising result that the three generation older Chord DAC with 1/5 the computing power connected to a quality lps was not only in spitting distance of the Qutest, but bested it in my system.  A fair fight would involve reverting to the stock switching supply that came with the QuteHD which is even dinkier than the one that comes with the Qutest, and allowing time for the Qutest to run in which has been noted as important in multiple places.  But the positive effect of the MRCU lps on the older Chord is undeniable.

If I do keep the Qutest, I will get an lps to replace the stock supply.  If any of you have updates on which supplies have worked for you, I would appreciate your suggestions.  Thanks in advance.