Product Summary:The Chord Qutest is a standalone DAC whose performance belies its compact dimensions. With DAC architecture based on the award-winning Hugo 2, Qutest offers class-leading digital conversion.... Click To Read More
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Qutest DAC by Chord Electronics
The Chord Qutest is a standalone DAC whose performance belies its compact dimensions. With DAC architecture based on the award-winning Hugo 2, Qutest offers class-leading digital conversion.
Qutest is Chord’s ‘pure’ DAC (it does not contain headphone amplification or rechargeable batteries like some of its range stablemates) and is designed specifically to improve sound quality in the home. It’s the latest evolution of their most affordable standalone DAC, the multi-award-winning 2Qute, which it directly replaces.
Qutest, which is the What Hi-Fi? Star of CES 2018, is based on their award-winning proprietary FPGA technology developed for the legendary Hugo 2 DAC/headphone amp, giving it proven class-leading technical and sonic performance. Perfectly equipped to bring the benefits of Chord’s digital technology to a wide range of connected devices, it features a galvanically isolated USB-B, optical and coaxial digital input, giving an instant performance upgrade, plus the ability to modernize aging digital source components.
The Qutest chassis is all-new, too. It has significantly greater mass than its predecessor and has been precision-machined from solid aircraft-grade aluminum billet. The Qutest PCB nestles within a shallow cavity in the solid aluminum chassis, giving the circuit board greater protection within the casework and additional isolation from external vibration compared to previous designs.
Qutest offers Hugo 2’s proprietary user-selectable frequency-shaping filters and input selection controls, available via two fascia-mounted spheres, introducing useful flexibility. It also features RCA analog outputs for connection to integrated amplifiers, preamps, and headphone amps, plus high-resolution dual-data digital inputs for connection to future Chord Electronics products.
A further new feature is a user-selectable output voltage available in 1, 2, and 3V RMS outputs for flexible connectivity with a wide range of partnering devices.
- Materials: Precision machined aluminum casing with polycarbonate buttons and glass viewing portal.
- Device power supply: 5v 2amp Micro USB
- Tap length filter: 49,152 10 element Pulse Array design
- Connectivity (input):
- USB Type B (White): 44.1kHz to 768kHz 16bit to 32bit
- 2x BNC Coax (Red): 44.1kHz 384kHz 16bit to 32bit
- 1x Dual data mode input (using both BNC coax inputs together): 44.1kHz to 768kHz 16bit to 32bit
- Optical (Green): 44.1kHz to 96kHz 16bit to 24bit
- Connectivity (output): 1x stereo pair of RCA (Left and Right)
- PCM support: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 358.8kHz, 384kHz, 717.6kHz, and 768kHz.
- DSD support: Native playback supported. DSD64 (Single) to DSD512 (Octa-DSD)
- Variable output: Fixed, but selectable between 3v (blue), 2v (green), and 1v (red) via dual press of ‘Filter’ + ‘Input’ upon startup
- Driver support: Driverless with Mac OS X and Linux, driver required for Windows OS
- Digital designer: Rob Watts
- Mechanical designer: John Franks
- Country of manufacture: England
There’s no question that it’s an immaculate musical performer. The Chord Qutest is a perfect fusion of science and art.
The control system on the Qutest may look simplistic to the uninitiated but to long-time Chord devotees, those 2 buttons on the top do quite a lot.
The sonic upgrade served by the Qutest isn’t surprising when you consider it implements the bespoke FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) digital-to-analogue conversion technology found in every other Chord DAC.
Chord Qutest, of course, has its own style – and it is, first of all, expressed in incredible harmony and mobility of sound. The apparatus can handle any genre – either fortissimo in the finale of Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony, or Metallica’s Master of Puppets – they “look” excellent. The mercury, very lively and natural sound literally fascinates – and, if you compare the device with a much more expensive technique, Chord Qutest will not hit the face in the dirt, it may only lose in the surgical accuracy of spatial localization.
- Chipset: Chord Electronics custom coded Xilinx Artix 7 (XC7A15T) FPGA
- Tap-length: 49,152
- Pulse array: 10 element pulse array design
- Frequency response: 20Hz 20kHz +/- 0.2dB
- Output stage: Class A
- THD: <0.0001% 1kHz 3v RMS 300?
- THD and noise at 3v RMS: 117dB at 1kHz 300ohms ‘A’ weighted (reference 2.5v)
- Noise 2.6 uV ‘A’ weighted: No measurable noise floor modulation
- Channel separation: 138dB at 1kHz 300?
- Weight: 770g
- Dimensions: 4.5cm (H) x 16cm (W) x 8.8cm (D)
- Boxed Weight: 1500g