QA660 SD Card transport approaches very best as a digital source

digimusic

New Member
May 20, 2013
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#1
My QLS Hi-Fi QA660 took 3 hours to sound good and about 400 hours to break in about 15 days @ 24x7 on repeat to no longer improve. To me it sounds like a $5K VRDS-type transport (this is a Teac/Esoteric very expensive clamping system for disc transports). Now maybe my Von Scheikert speakers are challenged.

The QA660 is a revolutionary transport which uses no disc, therefore no wobble or disc jitter. The internal clocks are very high quality low jitter. The engineers designed and built this generation from scratch, from the ground up, at great time and expense to approach a goal of near perfection in transport technology. Rather than using a disc this is done via an SD card, about the size of a postage stamp. An SD card reader is provided free with the unit to record uncompressed music formats from your computer to the card.

The QA660 ($550) has choices of 5 digital outputs (optical toslink, spdif coax, bnc, aes/ebu, and i2s) which interface directly to the QA100 ($390) digital amp w/ 5 matching digital inputs. This amplifier is equal in greatness, and the QA100 and QA660 interface symbiotically with perfect clock timing and synergy. They sound terrific together.

The QA660 as a digital source obviously also interfaces superbly to outboard DAC’s.

The QA660 challenges the super high-end and possibly very expensive world class systems. Eureka!
 

egidius

Member Sponsor
Feb 13, 2011
422
0
0
Switzerland
#2
vs Audio4soul xtrem16

My QLS Hi-Fi QA660 took 3 hours to sound good and about 400 hours to break in about 15 days @ 24x7 on repeat to no longer improve. To me it sounds like a $5K VRDS-type transport (this is a Teac/Esoteric very expensive clamping system for disc transports). Now maybe my Von Scheikert speakers are challenged.

The QA660 is a revolutionary transport which uses no disc, therefore no wobble or disc jitter. The internal clocks are very high quality low jitter. The engineers designed and built this generation from scratch, from the ground up, at great time and expense to approach a goal of near perfection in transport technology. Rather than using a disc this is done via an SD card, about the size of a postage stamp. An SD card reader is provided free with the unit to record uncompressed music formats from your computer to the card.

The QA660 ($550) has choices of 5 digital outputs (optical toslink, spdif coax, bnc, aes/ebu, and i2s) which interface directly to the QA100 ($390) digital amp w/ 5 matching digital inputs. This amplifier is equal in greatness, and the QA100 and QA660 interface symbiotically with perfect clock timing and synergy. They sound terrific together.

The QA660 as a digital source obviously also interfaces superbly to outboard DAC’s.

The QA660 challenges the super high-end and possibly very expensive world class systems. Eureka!

I wonder how it compares to a little gem I have bought, the xtrem16 amplifier, with one digitla in, a usb and- an sdcard slot!
It will arrive sometime in June, I will let you know, what it feels like.
Somehow I am not completely sure about the sdcard business, but interested to find out.
 

cowboy

New Member
Jan 3, 2013
4
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#3
The theory of any digital music player is simple, and a lot of chip producers have designed solution for those chips. I have to say QA660 is one of the very unique solutions in the current market. Just simple microprocessor with SD card as the front end, and normal I2S loop to different digital interface, the software to take the digital bits out of the SD card, the PCB approach, the combination of each single components are the key to the audiophiles' heart. The sound quality and price made great satisfaction to me. However QLS needs a better appearance design, I have no complain other than that.
 

jkeny

Member Sponsor
Feb 10, 2012
3,427
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Ireland
#4
Yes, QLSHifi's approach is rare which is what attracted me to buy a QA660. The concept of single threaded process reproducing audio appeals. From my use of Jplay & Fidelizer on PC audio, I'm pretty sure that multiple processes running in parallel somehow seems to interfere with the quality of audio reproduction. Probably due to fluctuating current draws in the system. QLS seem to have addressed this. A more direct connection between the audio storage & it's output is also something that QLS has addressed by using an SD card storage with just MCU processing the audio stream.

All this does translate into a very good analogue-like sound, devoid of the sibilance issues usually associated with digital audio. Devoid of listening fatigue, the QA660 produces a very enjoyable sound which rivals some highly rated digital audio devices. It also dispenses with all the PC tweaking needed to get the best out of computer audio reproduction.
 

eltech

New Member
Sep 21, 2013
3
0
0
#5
Yes, QLSHifi's approach is rare which is what attracted me to buy a QA660. The concept of single threaded process reproducing audio appeals. From my use of Jplay & Fidelizer on PC audio, I'm pretty sure that multiple processes running in parallel somehow seems to interfere with the quality of audio reproduction. Probably due to fluctuating current draws in the system. QLS seem to have addressed this. A more direct connection between the audio storage & it's output is also something that QLS has addressed by using an SD card storage with just MCU processing the audio stream.

All this does translate into a very good analogue-like sound, devoid of the sibilance issues usually associated with digital audio. Devoid of listening fatigue, the QA660 produces a very enjoyable sound which rivals some highly rated digital audio devices. It also dispenses with all the PC tweaking needed to get the best out of computer audio reproduction.

Hi John,

I appreciate your comments on the QA660. I'm just wondering if you would be willing choose a winner. Do you think a PC running Jplay+Fidelizer with USB SPDIF converter sounds better than QA660, or are they both equally as good as one another?

I only ask because the QA660 is reasonably priced, however I'm quite happy with my PC setup, but of course, always looking for something better.
I think you are the only person on the internet that I know, and would trust, when it comes to commenting on the sound of this player. So anything more that you can add would be wonderful.

best regards,
Erin
 

Julf

New Member
Nov 27, 2011
613
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Amsterdam, The Netherlands
#6
The QA660 is a revolutionary transport which uses no disc, therefore no wobble or disc jitter.
In the same way as most cheap mp3 players?
 

agisthos

New Member
Oct 14, 2012
56
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#7
For those that are bemused as to why this device can possibly be interesting, you must have had experience with tweaked PC front ends to really understand.

When using a PC as a media centre, you can get better sound by using JPlay in minimalist mode (which turns of various motherboard components that create high frequency noise), putting SATA power filters on the hard drives, using low noise USB output cards, powering the PC by a better quality power supply e.t.c e.t.c

The difference between using a PC tweaked as above and just a normal MacBook/PC is VERY audible. As John Kenny says, what you get is less sibilance issues and fatigue, with a more analog type sound. These changes are only effecting the signal before it has even got to the DAC itself !!

So I commend QLS Hi-Fi for designing a product that has been on my wish list all year now. A digital streamer that does away with all the awful PC design issues, and just reads the data in the purest manner possible from an SD card.
 

Julf

New Member
Nov 27, 2011
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Amsterdam, The Netherlands
#8
The difference between using a PC tweaked as above and just a normal MacBook/PC is VERY audible.
According to some people.

So I commend QLS Hi-Fi for designing a product that has been on my wish list all year now. A digital streamer that does away with all the awful PC design issues, and just reads the data in the purest manner possible from an SD card.
So, again, how is this different from any cheap portable player (starting with the original RIO PMP300 from 1998)?
 

agisthos

New Member
Oct 14, 2012
56
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#9
According to some people.
I was sceptical myself, until a friend of mine built a CAPS music server, and I tried each tweak step by step.

So, again, how is this different from any cheap portable player (starting with the original RIO PMP300 from 1998)?
It plays MP3's and has an analog headphone output? Totally different type of product.
 

Julf

New Member
Nov 27, 2011
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Amsterdam, The Netherlands
#12
I was sceptical myself, until a friend of mine built a CAPS music server, and I tried each tweak step by step.
Testing each step side-by-side with the old configuration?

It plays MP3's and has an analog headphone output? Totally different type of product.
Is playing a different file format and having a digital instead of analog output "revolutionary"?
 

agisthos

New Member
Oct 14, 2012
56
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#15
There certainly are audiophiles who think such 'before the DAC' manipulations do not do anything. If this is the case then no discussion in this thread is going to please you.
 

Julf

New Member
Nov 27, 2011
613
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Amsterdam, The Netherlands
#16
There certainly are audiophiles who think such 'before the DAC' manipulations do not do anything. If this is the case then no discussion in this thread is going to please you.
In my case, I am just curious about what makes this product "revolutionary", considering it doesn't seem to do anything new or unusual, apart from being marketed to audiophiles.
 
May 30, 2010
13,900
3
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Portugal
#17
In my case, I am just curious about what makes this product "revolutionary", considering it doesn't seem to do anything new or unusual, apart from being marketed to audiophiles.
I am telling myself that it must be better than the Metronome Kalista I have been dreaming with.

BTW, where are Amir and FrantzM when we need them? ;)
 

FrantzM

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,469
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#18
I am telling myself that it must be better than the Metronome Kalista I have been dreaming with.

BTW, where are Amir and FrantzM when we need them? ;)
Are you calling me? :D