I’m still waiting for a ‘proper’ DAC, but I think it’s quite interesting to see how this new QLS QA-660 performs against its elder brother, the QLS QA-550. So I power up my old Terratec Aureon FireWire 7.1 in DAC stand-alone mode. Connection made with standard Optical cable. I don’t really like Optical, but I don’t have better option at this moment.
By default, the language is Chinese. Luckily the word for Language is in English. So I don’t have problem to switch to English. Navigating via QLS remote control is quite nice. Though some buttons must be pressed a bit hard to respond.
We can change the text size and color to – if that’s matter 😉
QLS QA-550 against QLS-660. From different generation with different technology. What can I say? The price also around 4-5x different.
Chinese title also written quite clear on its OLED display. We can see some additional information also, like bit rate, sample rate, file type, and some playback status. The Optical cable has 96 kHz limitation so this 176.4 kHz is failed to be transmitted to my Terratec.
Overall, the QLS-660 has better separation, more relaxed sound, and better resolution. On “Temptation” by Diana Krall, the bass and Hammond organ could easily flow together in QLS-660, but it seems slightly mixed up in QLS-550. On the other side, QLS-550 sounds warmer and has some extra weight on the mid-range, but the consequence is less detail in overall and also the speed. I don’t think this is a fair comparison also, as both has 4-5x price different.
Although I like it a first impression, I still think there is a lot of room for improvement especially after several hours of break-in period. Not mentioning I could see a lot of Wima and (I believe) Matsushita which are not on my favorite list.
Digital pulse transformer also an important part to be upgraded. Pulse PE-65612 is very common used on the section. Some potential upgrade will be on the next purchase list, like Lundahl, Murata, or Scientific Conversion. To be honest, quite ‘green’ on this Digital world. So extra hours to learn is mandatory.
Soon after my ‘better’ DAC arrives, some extra listening test would come.