Chord Qutest – The Pure DAC
Qutest is Chord’s “pure” DAC (it doesn’t include a headphone amplifier or rechargeable batteries like some of its stablemates) and is designed to improve the sound quality in your home. It is the latest evolution of Chord’s most affordable standalone DAC, the multi-award winning 2Qute, which it directly replaces.
The Qutest, which is a What Hi-Fi Star of CES 2018, is based on Chord’s award-winning proprietary FPGA technology developed for the class-leading Hugo 2 DAC/headphone amplifier, giving it proven class-leading technical and tonal performance.
Perfectly equipped to bring the benefits of Chord’s digital technologies to a wide range of connected devices, it features galvanically isolated USB-B, optical, and coaxial digital inputs for instant performance upgrades, as well as the ability to upgrade older digital source components.
Chord Qutest Material and Technique
The cabinet the Qutest is also completely new. It has a significantly higher mass than its predecessor and was precision-engineered from solid aircraft aluminum. The Qutest PCB is located in a shallow recess in the solid aluminum housing, which provides better protection for the PCB compared to previous designs, as well as additional isolation from external vibration.
Qutest offers Hugo 2’s proprietary user-selectable frequency shaping filters and input selector switches, accessible via two bezel-mounted spheres that provide useful flexibility. It also features analog RCA outputs for connection to Vollverstärker, preamps, and headphone amps, as well as high-resolution dual-data digital inputs for connection to future Chord Electronics products.
Another new feature is a user-selectable output voltage, available in 1, 2 and 3V RMS, allowing flexible connection to a variety of partner devices.
- Materials: Precision machined aluminum case with polycarbonate buttons and glass viewing window. Only available in Jett Black.
- Power supply for the device: 5v 2amp Micro USB
- Filter with tap length: 49,152 – 10-element pulse array design
- Connection options (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 (both BNC coax inputs together): 44.1kHz to 768kHz – 16bit to 32bit
- Optical (green): 44.1kHz to 96kHz – 16bit to 24bit
- Connection options (output): 1x stereo cinch pair (left and right)
- PCM support: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 352.8kHz, 384kHz, 717.6kHz, and 768kHz. 16 – 32bit
- DSD support: Native playback is supported. DSD64 (Single) to DSD512 (Octa-DSD)
- Variable output: Fixed, but selectable between 3v (blue), 2v (green) and 1v (red) by double pressing ‘Filter’ + ‘Input’ at 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
- Chipset: Chord Electronics custom coded Xilinx Artix 7 (XC7A15T) FPGA
- Step 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 300Ω
- THD and noise rustling at 3v RMS: 117dB at 1kHz 300ohms ‘A’ weighted (reference 2.5v)
- noise rustling 2.6 uV ‘A’ weighted: No measurable noise floor modulation
- Channel separation: 138dB at 1kHz 300Ω
- Weight: 770g
- Dimensions: 4.5cm (H) 16cm (W) 8.8cm (D)
- Weight in carton: 1500g