Any owners who want to tell me more about it? I recently received an inheritance worth about 13k. I can shell out another 2 grand to get my end-game DAC with headphones. Or...maybe the wife and kids want their bathrooms renovated 

Please tell me how it sounds. I don't have a dealer close-by to audition. I just want "end-game" performance so I won't have to worry. I listen to mostly .flac and .wav files with some .mp3s (320 kbps) in the mix. Only because it was hard to get those albums so I downloaded mp3s and saved money.


- Jack


I have this DAC and it is awesome.  Tremendously detailed, great soundstage.  I've compared to a lot of midrange DACs and it blows them away. 

I did add the M-scaler and didn't think it provided improvement, in fact I liked that presentation less.

It has a great pre-amp function so you can run it directly into your amp. 

I'm running with a Decware ZMA tube amp with great results.


Thank You! @carlsbad

I’m a bit confused now...after reading what you wrote and watching this video:


is this guy misguided? maybe delusional? Weird measurements?

Like I said in a previous post a while back, I’ve heard some of the "top measuring"

gear featured on that site. Absolutely hated the sound. Sorry, but I don't think some cheap-looking thing from China can be all that competitive!! I'm so confused!

I saw that.  I even thought about mentioning it in my response to you above.   I've always thought ASR was out to lunch. They now seem to be writing their own obituary.  They remind me of shock jocks saying things they know are not true just to stir up excitement.  "This $13000 DAC is easily bested by a $190 DAC."

They think that any parameter they can measure is a proper parameter to evaluate stereo components by.  

I'll be glad to take people off the street and do a blind test between the DAVE and the $190 dac.  

asr is a misguided guy sinead means next to nothing you can hear 1 to 5 percent thd  anything lower means nothing. in fact amplifiers with ultra low sinead  means lots of negativre  feedback which sounds bad 



it is like  measuring  horsepower in a car which is a useless spec

unless  you take into acount the vehicles weight 

400 hp in a 2 ton vehicle  is not fast


400hp in a 1 ton vehicle is screaming fast


speci fications don't  mean anything compared to sound quality


we are a chord dealer the Dave is excellent I would also consider how you feed the dac is also extremely important.



Dave and Troy

Audio intellect NJ.

dac and streaming experts 


I've been most interested in the Holo May DAC. That would leave you some nice $$ to play with.

I would not buy a Chord without auditioning the Mola Mola Tambaqui as well. It omits the flashy but nonfunctional Chord aesthetics. The Mola Mola is designed by some of the leading engineers in audio today, and reportedly the sound is superb. Just saying, why not check out the competition, too?

ASR does not produce valuable reviews upon which to base purchase decisions. I would not recommend anyone let it influence them in the smallest way. 

@jackhifiguy What is driving you to the Chord DAVE in the first place? If you have not heard it, what attributes have you heard about it that sound appealing? What kind of sound signature do you find most appealing, and what DAC would it be replacing and in what system?

I watched some YouTube videos about it before Amir posted his review.

Looks cool, claims are amazing from the company...

I like to see that kind of confidence 



Sounds to me like you're trying to sell me on it.

Well obviously, you're in business so that makes sense.


I didn't really understand your analogy..

One thing I noticed about reactions to ASR -- Amir’s videos make a number of discrete claims and not all of them are false or spurious. But many simply dismiss his entire videos or his approach or him, as a person. But if some of his claims are true, they’re useful and should be considered, apart from whether one agrees with the other claims or like his approach or whatever -- because that advances truth and supports the hobby.

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People who don't trust their own senses rely on ASR.

We have been gifted some senses (listening vs hearing) that machines don't have. Use them or loose them - your choice.

DAVE or Mola Mola would be amazing in a properly configured system.

Bricasti M1SE, Weiss 501 or 502 should be in the mix as well.  @verdantaudio has an extensive post covering popular DAC's in this price range.

A bathroom remodel could easily run you $20k, but you'll get 60-65% back in increased home value.  A new DAC vs. a heated toilet seat with bidet, clearly a no-brainer.  One actually is a profound upgrade.

I will admit I bought a new DAC before my high end Japanese toilet. I am an audiophile after all.

I lived in Japan off and on for years. One of the most wonderful things in Japan… the bathroom… huge water pressure, great smelling soaps, and the Japanese toilet. A wonderful place of regeneration. Warm toilet seats, no need for TP. The good life requires both… hmmm, maybe I need a high end system in the bathroom.

The Dave is a very good dac but it’s almost $10 k 

the Denafrips terminator+ is a better sounding dac in my experiences when heard side to side the Dave is very detailed sometimes too much so and not as forgiving 

to poorer recordings.  But f your system is warmer sounding it may suit you well.

I’m probably in the minority here. I’ve heard the DAVE a couple of times and I prefer my Naim DAC. It’s no longer in production but you can get a used one for around 1k and it sounds amazing (MSRP ~$4200).

Save the money and still be able to renovate those bathrooms!

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dang man. Sorry for your loss. You should fix the house up the way the wife and kids want. There will be other dacs, but there’s only one of them. 

the Wyred4sound 10th anniversary dac sounds even better and it's only $4,500 US.

I see audiotroy is still flogging their stuff on here of course they're a chord dealer LOL

Good points regarding the toilets. A heated toilet seat in the wintertime would be quite nice indeed….

At 4 kilos the DAVE DAC makes a great $14K door stopper! Spending more than three figures for a DAC is a waste of money. I'd take a Topping DX3-Pro ($250) any day over this Chord!

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Full disclosure, I've never auditioned the Dave. That said, any luxury consumer electronics product in the 5 figure range should have a display that does not look like a ransom note. 


As you can see everyone is recommending their favorite. I would recommend doing blind testing on some of the models you are interested in and let your ears decide. There is no bias if you don’t know which one you are listening to. Good luck ! 


@jackhifiguy, the Chord DAVE is a great DAC! I’ve heard it in a $250,000 2-channel speaker system. I’ve demoed it in my modest home setup. And both times I was completely captivated by its resolution and clarity. It has superb instrument separation and a phenomenal soundstage. I would describe its sound as neutral tilting toward the analytical. If you want to hear everything in a recording in minute detail, then the Chord DAVE would be a good fit for you. Because of the DAVE’s lofty price any good Chord dealer should be glad to send you one for a home demo. 

It tells me anytime  some one says a really cheap piece is better than a top flight piece You know the only thing that has happened is the good piece is showing  how bad the rest of there system is. 

@retiredfarmer It tells me anytime  some one says a really cheap piece is better than a top flight piece You know the only thing that has happened is the good piece is showing  how bad the rest of there system is

You give them more benefit of the doubt than I. My strong suspicion is they haven’t even heard the more expensive product they’re so dismissive of. I believe that it is more philosophical in nature. Anything more than they can/want to spend is simply the result of hype, clever marketing and of course a good dose of the ever present snake oil.


Not heard the Dave, but I read a lot of reviews and ended up getting the Holo May KTE. It’s the most perfect sounding dac I’ve heard, and if you look at what others saying, who heard both, it beats the Dave. For the price of the Dave you can get more value and more sound elsewhere, because you’re paying top dollar for British employees doing research and development.

also don’t forget the technology in Dave is from 2014, as good as that was at the time, there’s some new developments that surfaced in the past years which could make the Dave obsolete. Besides I personally hate the design and the looks of the Dave:)

Regarding M-Scaler which is a must if you want to get the best out of Dave, it’s easily bested by hqplayer, but does require more effort than plug and play.

enjoy the music!

I had the Chord TT2 and m-scaler for over a year which sounded excellent. Upgraded to the DAVE in Feb - definitely an improvement over the TT2 but the TT2 is more forgiving of recording quality, the DAVE makes no attempt to smooth out rough recordings. M-scaler? This refines the DAVE even further but I can see why some like the DAVE on its own, I think rhythm is better without the scaler but you also lose some coherency, a sense of musicians playing together.  See if you can audition one at home.

@jackhifiguy if you are planning on spending this amoun5 of money there are many other great dacs out there. I have been on a dac journey with many brands. Chord is good but there are better options imo. 

I went from chord to dCS with the Bartok and now own an MSB Discrete. To me the Bartok is now overpriced as is the Dave. 

“hmmm, maybe I need a high end system in the bathroom.”

@ghdprentice George, you crack me up!


Listen to all that you can. But what you like the kind of. It doesn’t have to be expensive to sound good. Consider Delta-Sigma, Resistor Ladder (R2R), and FPGA, based types of DACs. Remember that the actual chip, or way the 1’s and 0’s are changed to an analog wave for is actually not the hard part. It is the circuit design, clock, power supply, and analog output stage that really determines the sound quality of a DAC. I have owned a few DACs and right now my favorite is the Gustard x26 Pro. It beats my Topping D90, D10, and my modified MSB Gold III. Also remember that “end-game” in a still evolving area (digital audio conversion) is not an easy thing to identify. Much easier in an amplifier or pre amp as they have been around for 100 years. $13k is a lot of money. If you come to this group openly asking for suggestions, I’d suggest you have a lot more research and learning to be done on your end first.
One last thing. If the number of “taps” used by an upsampled seems important to you because of what Chord says, remember that a equivalent software package can do the same and more for $150 (FPPB-RT). You don’t need a $5000 box from Chord to do it (M-scaler).


edit: I would also add that if CD’s are too expensive for you to buy and you are downloading 320MP3 from torrent sites, then you should not be dropping $13000 on a DAC and should put the money to use elsewhere.  Don’t let if burn a hole in your pocket. 

@jackhifiguy Based on what @adasdad said, I want to reiterate my questions from earlier which you didn’t answer. What attributes have you heard about it that sound appealing? What kind of sound signature do you find most appealing, and what DAC would it be replacing and in what system?

I strayed away from saying anything about the DAVE being analytical because I didn’t want to get into a debate about it. It really comes down to the synergy with the rest of your system and how revealing the system is. The Mola Mola Tambaqui also shares the same flavor. Both are engaging, but they are more analytical than they are musical, maybe the Tambaqui is almost equal, but it sure doesn’t sound as organic as many other DACs. 

One last thing. If the number of “taps” used by an upsampled seems important to you because of what Chord says, remember that a equivalent software package can do the same and more for $150 (FPPB-RT). You don’t need a $5000 box from Chord to do it (M-scaler).

Noteworthy and reasonable to look further into.


Where do you live?  Are their any audio shows near your area you can drive to.

remember that a equivalent software package can do the same and more for $150 (FPPB-RT). You don’t need a $5000 box from Chord to do it (M-scaler).

As ASIC designer I can say it is not true.

In term of calculations power of performance Software can't compete to dedicated hardware in real time application, even close! 


I want the DAC to be accurate. Just want to hear the music the way it was recorded. But measurements don't tell the entire subjective opinions and objective reviews from professionals are necessary.

The DAVE is an excellent DAC.  I  owned it for over a year.  


Keep your eyes peeled for a used one!  



Hope this guy gives you some perspective as Dave is compared w/ another world class Terminator II dac.


@blisshifi, I like that you mentioned synergy with the rest of a system because I believe that it is a critical consideration when putting together an enjoyable setup. After demoing several excellent DACs, and deciding that Rob Watts Chord FPGA designs were the flavour that I liked the best, I decided to build my dedicated headphone system around the Chord Hugo TT2 and M Scaler. Everything from the wall socket to my headphones, LPSUs, the power conditioner and power cables, interconnects, music server/streamer, RFI/EMI filters, tube headphone amplifier, and an Audiowise SRC.DX USB > BNC converter, were all chosen specifically to work seamlessly with the Chord TT2 and M Scaler so as to maximize their capabilities and to get the exact sound of music that I prefer. 

I chose the TT2 because I liked its tonality and its form more than that of the DAVE.  The real deal when looking at high-end audio gear is that you’ve really got to audition as many different types of DACs, amps, and speakers as you possibly can, and not be in any kind of hurry to spend one’s money. When you get into the Chord, dCS, Nagra, MSB, Tambaqui, Holo May rarified air of digital audio converters, to me it becomes a totally subjective endeavor. Shop around and buy what you like and can afford. Easy peasy!