As mentioned before, my inventory mainly consists of portable audio products, therefore my comparisons section will also concentrate on only two products, both of which come from the British Chord Electronics. I left the Sbooster PSU out again, to provide feedback for the original sound.
Chord Electronics – Hugo2 (2,695$)
I connected the units via Roon into a shared zone and played the same track simultaneously, while also volume matching the units.
The Hugo2 isn’t necessarily in the same category as the Mytek, as it is a portable product running off a battery. However, the Hugo2 offers a desktop mode as well. The Chord piece uses a custom programmed Artix 7 FPGA instead of an off the shelf solution, offers also two headphone outputs and multiple digital inputs. Where the Chord lacks in comparison is input selection (no analaogue inputs) and balanced outputs. It however offers you crossfeed, Bluetooth input and higher file support. If you’re into MQA, then the Mytek again has the upper hand.
The Hugo2 is as the Mytek loaded with details and to me wins on having the cleaner signal with a blacker background. The Brooklyn DAC+ however is richer from top to bottom. The Hugo2 offers a different top end, which also is silky but I know some find the Hugo2 a bit too forward in its treble.
The Hugo2 has a punchier low end, while the Mytek is softer in comparison. The Mytek portrays the vocals more close up to you, while the Hugo2 displays them a little more in front. Vocals are denser on the Brooklyn DAC+ and appear lighter on the Hugo2. Instruments enjoy more weight and body when listened to on the DAC+.
Both units create a wonderful soundstage with excellent imaging. The Hugo2 gives you also the option to alter the sound to your liking with custom digital filter settings. Something similar can be said about the Brooklyn DAC+, which also gives you seven digital filters to select from.
Chord Electronics – Qutest (1,895$)
A lot of the above can also be said about the Qutest, especially when it comes to technical parameters. The Qutest offers the exact same file support as the Hugo2, which is not surprising as it is in the same family of products in Chord’s range. The Qutest however does not contain a headphone output, and only offers an unbalanced RCA line level output. I have used the Schiit Audio Lyr 3 as amplifier of choice for this part. The Mytek now performs as DAC only, not using its headphone section.
The Qutest to me spits a cleaner and more neutral signal. The Mytek again has more weight and body in comparison. Qutest goes deeper with more rumble and punch, where DAC+ is richer and softer.
Both DACs create a nice and big sound stage with excellent dimensions. It is hard to say if one creates a bigger venue than the other, as they seem to be en par. The most noticeable difference again is the weight of vocals. Where the Qutest follows the Hugo2‘s sound and is more airy and lighter than the Mytek, which contains more meat in contrast. The Mytek’s midrange is richer and fuller in comparison, but the Qutest seems more open and higher resolved.
The treble of the Mytek is again fuller and a notch warmer in contrast to the brighter and neutral character of the Qutest. The Chord has a cleaner and clearer presentation up top to me, which transports more air in the picture than the one of the Mytek. The Mytek’s however might be more suitable for people who like to listen for long sessions.
This review took me much longer than I’d like to admit, and I am thankful for Mytek to give me that much time to do it. It has been months since the Brooklyn DAC+ has stepped foot into my apartment and I have enjoyed every minute of having it with me.
The Brooklyn DAC+ is a rich digital to analogue converter in many ways. The feature set is outstanding, especially when keeping its size in mind. You not only get a great performing DAC, but also a wonderful headphone amplifier, pre-amplifier, phono stage and a recorder to top it all off. Mytek did clearly think outside the box when they came up with this one. It combines HiFi pleasure and professional grade versatility.
With all the options you have in the Brooklyn DAC+ it has high potential to become the beating heart of your entire audio system. The sound it produces guarantees for long lasting and baffling fun. The DAC+ has no problem with even some of the most difficult to drive headphones I know.
All in all I think the package Mytek provides with the Brooklyn DAC+ is very convincing, and if you’re in the market for a unit that does it all, you might want to take the DAC+ into heavy consideration.