It’s been a long time since I bought this QLS QA-550 – a year or two. Unfortunately, I haven’t had enough time to try this. During this lazy Sunday, and as I also have ripped several tracks to WAV format, then why don’t try this?

I don’t have a finished DAC on hand, but luckily my Terratec Aureon FireWire which has DAC stand-alone mode is lying around. Not too difficult to find an optical cable lying around also. So here is the simple setup. This QLS QA-550 got problem playing from a microSD card (with SD card adapter). And another lucky this, it’s not too difficult to find SD card around my room.

The bad thing, this QLS still can’t play over 16 bit / 44.1 kHz file. So we are stuck with 16/44.1 WAV file. I don’t think it would be too difficult to pass the higher bit/sample rate? As the decoding function would be done outside, with external DAC. But don’t know why until now, there is no support for any other than 16/44.1 WAV file.

I actually have prepared a set of parts to mod this QLS. Started from the TentLabs DAC and several capacitors. Well, it needs some time to accomplish this – which I’m lacking of…

This Terratec Aureon FireWire is ‘heavily’ modified. Black Gate NX Series on the main supply definitely the most important upgrade. It brings a new horizons of sound. Clear, crisp, detail, while maintaining the musicality – are some of the key points. Some Elna’s also lying around. Cerafine is my favorite. The output coupling position also temporary changed to Black Gate PK series. Not the best on the position, but I just plug what do I have on hand. The ideal is to bypass the opamp and use extra tube buffer stage. But this will eliminate the headphone out – sigh!

A romantic vintage appearance from this Terratec Aureon FireWire.

The overall sound? Not bad for a PC based sound card. But I do could have a good use of a better DAC 😉