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QLS Hifi QA01: DDC and ADC for less than $70

  • Remember the QA100 digital amplifier from little know Chinese manufacturer QLS Hifi?  Now comes the QA01, a DDC and an ADC rolled into one matchbox unit. In itself this is impressive enough but when you learn the price you’ll be scrambling for your PayPal account. US$62. No, that’s not a typo. Sixty-two bucks.


    The QA01 is unlikely to be a best-in-class USB-S/PDIF convertor but it’s a solid purchase if only to enable connection between computer and non-USB DAC (hello Metrum Octave). Better still, it offers an I2S on top of coaxial and optical outputs. Output is limited to 24/96 until the user sets 24/192 capability via internal jumpers. Digital decoding is handled by a Wolfson WM8782.

    Adjacent to the USB input (Tenor TE7022L) is a pair of RCA for analogue input. Convert those LPs/cassettes to digital if that’s your thang. Again, it’s unlikely to match the quality of more expensive fare like the Ayre Acoustics QA-09 but it’s still good for dipping your toe into ADC waters.  QLS Hifi’s pricing ensures that expectations will probably be exceeded.


    Want to improve the sound quality of the QA01? Add a 9VDC external power supply.

    Further information: QLS Hifi

    John Darko

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram


    1. “The QA01 is unlikely to be a best-in-class USB-S/PDIF convertor”

      Yes, unlikely, but still possible. Just like the Squeezebox Touch run as a transport was unlikely to beat other transports costing 100 times as much, but it still did. The lesson is, don’t judge it by its cover. This has to be reviewed first including taking a look at the clock, psu, and double blind listening tests of a reasonbly good population etc

      For the ADC a lot can be deducted by reading the WM8782 specs eg SNR 100dB etc.

      • Just like to point out:
        Double blind test of a reasonably large population will always end up in the same result… which is “there is no audible difference”.
        A double blind of audio equipment should be conducted with a select panel of well experienced unbiased population.

        • I agree that experienced listeners will be better at discerning audible differences. Hence, a stratified, randomized, double blind test is recommended. The “unbiased” results from the double blind structure and randomized audiences. My basic point was that at least give a listen before making any conclusions about the sound quality.

      • ADC function seems to be limited to Mini Disc recording or to recording devices having SPDIF inputs. If one’s computer only has USB inputs (no SPDIF input at all), then, to record into such computer, another device would be needed (decent external USB sound card) to convert the SPDIF signal back to USB….but such extrenal USB sound card most likely has its own ADC… a bit redundant for computer recording application, am I wrong?


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