Chord Electronics Dave Reference DAC / Headphone Amplifier

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What HFL Thinks

Chord Dave DAC - I think it is fair to say that there is no other audio brand out there quite like Chord Electronics, offering highend audio products with unique styling and stunning build quality which are all hand built in the UK in rural Kent. Possibly best known for their DAC’s they also offer a range of highend components. With customers like Skywalker Sound, Air Studios, and Even Sir Paul McCartney on their books along with stunning reviews that their equipment gets you can be sure that Chord really do offer some of the best products currently available today. So whatever you are after please pop into HFL to find out how Chord Electronics can enhance your music listening.

MEET THE MOST ADVANCED DAC IN THE WORLD: DAVE 

Chord Electronics has launched its most advanced DAC to date. Given the acronym DAVE, Chord’s latest-generation digital-to-analogue convertor features the very best conversion technology available, using proprietary techniques never seen before. 

DAVE is a highly advanced reference-grade DAC, digital preamp and headphone amplifier. Hand-made in Kent, DAVE is based around a proprietary FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) offering more than ten times the program capacity of its predecessor. 

At its heart lies a new (and in electronics terms, huge) LX75 version of the Spartan 6 Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). The FPGA’s extraordinary capability enables a number of key sonic benefits including significantly improved timing and the best noise-shaper performance of any known DAC. DAVE’s technology delivers music with unmatched reality and musicality, with an unrivalled timing response. 

Technology in depth: new WTA filter 

Chord Electronics has implemented a brand new WTA (Watts Transient Aligned) filter with 164,000 taps. WTA filtering is now up to 256 FS (that's 256-times the sample frequency) — no other DAC has ever FIR filtered at such a high rate! In order to process signals at this unprecedented rate, DAVE has massive parallel-processing capacity with 166 separate DSP cores just for the WTA filtering alone. This enables DAVE to reproduce the original unsampled analogue signal more accurately than any other DAC. 

The output stage has been advanced with a new 20-element Pulse Array DAC and a unique second-order analogue noise-shaper, which gives ultra-high-frequency linearity. Its output feeds both balanced XLR and single-ended RCA outputs, as well as an advanced headphone output with more than enough capability for the most impedance-challenging headphones. 

Display 

A key benefit over its predecessor is a full-sized LCD display, showing input, sample frequency and volume, plus set-up and configuration options. The display, which sits behind the famous Chord porthole, is clearly visible from a variety of angles and retains the signature colour display for volume and sample rate as introduced by the landmark Hugo DAC/headphone amp. On its fascia, DAVE also features a rotary encoder with a large stainless steel controller and ball buttons, enabling direct interactivity in addition to the supplied remote control. 

DAVE’s advanced technology is enshrined in Chord Electronics’ trademark casework which has been precision-milled from solid aircraft-grade aluminium to deliver functional strength and rigidity, as well as great beauty. Simply stated, DAVE is the most advanced DAC in the world, something Chord Electronics is immensely proud of. 

Why DAVE? 

Chord has given its most advanced DAC to date a moniker that best reflects the product’s capability; a device so advanced and with so few compromises, that it is absolutely truthful in the extreme; a standard that all other DACs on the market simply cannot hope to match. 

Chord initially looked at using Latinised versions of the term ‘Extreme Truth’ or ‘Veritas’ in a move away from model names with simple numbers and letters. Chord eventually chose the acronym DAVE which joins Hugo and stands for Digital to Analogue Veritas in Extremis. 

Specification:

Inputs: 

  • USB B-style 44 kHz to 768 kHz DXD and Quad DSD 
  • 2x optical - 44kHz to 192kHz
  • 1 x AES - 44kHz to 192kHz
  • 4 x Coax - 44kHz to 384kHz 
  • Dual-data mode available 

Outputs digital:

  • 2x ultra-high-speed coax 768kHz dual-data mode (for use with future-unannounced Chord Electronics products) 
  • Maximum output voltage: 6 volts RMS
  • THD and noise at 2.5 volts: RMS 0.000015 %
  • THD and noise at 2.5 volts: 127dBA Awt (124dBA into 33 ohms) Dynamic range at -60 dBFS 1kHz -127 dBA A wt
  • (No measurable noise floor modulation, no a harmonic distortion) (Analogue distortion characteristic: no distortion for small signals) Power requirements: mains power 80 volts to 260 volts; AC 20 watts 

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HiFi Lounge is proud to be one of a select few Bryston dealers in the UK who now come under the new Bryston Centre of Excellence initiative.

PMC speakers (Brystons UK distributer) are re-affirming their commitment to the development of Bryston for domestic use in the UK through the creation of a network of Bryston Centres of Excellence, PMC have appointed Tom Barron to the position of Bryston account manager, here is what he had to say about the new venture - account manager, here s what Tom had to say on the new venture -

"I will be working with a carefully selected group of retailers across the UK so we have strong geographical coverage that puts Bryston within easy reach of audiophiles up and down the land. Each Centre of Excellence will receive in-depth training to ensure they are fully conversant with all aspects of the brand, to enable them to serve their customers with confidence."

HiFi Lounge have been big fans of Bryston for many years now, owning much of their equipment personally before starting HiFi Lounge. We even started the always active Bryston Owners Thread on AVForums to which we contribute regularly, so it really is a privilege to be part this new scheme. We have a vast knowledge regarding the current Bryston range of which we have most on demo, so if you have any questions or would like to come in for a listen please do not hesitate to get in touch. There is nothing we like more than talking about and listening to Bryston equipment.