Chord Electronics Qutest DAC

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What HFL Thinks

Chord Qutest 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.

Qutest is our ‘pure’ DAC (it does not contain headphone amplification or rechargeable batteries like some of its range stablemates) and is designed to improve sound quality in the home. It is the latest evolution of our most affordable standalone DAC, the multi-award-winning 2Qute, which it directly replaces.

Qutest is based on our award-winning proprietary FPGA technology developed for the class-leading Hugo 2 DAC/headphone amp, giving it proven class-leading technical and sonic performance. Perfectly equipped to bring the benefits our 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 modernise ageing 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 aluminium billet. The Qutest PCB nestles within a shallow cavity in the solid aluminium 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 analogue 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.

Features:

Materials: Precision machined aluminium casing with polycarbonate  buttons and glass viewing portal. Available in black.

Device Power Supply: 5v 2amp Micro USB

Connectivity (input): USB Type B (White): 44.1kHz – 768kHz – 16bit – 32bit, 2x BNC Coax (Red): 44.1kHz – 768kHz – 16bit – 32bit, Optical (Green): 44.1kHz – 192kHz – 16bit – 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

Technical:

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

Output impedance: 0.025Ω

THD: <0.0001% 1kHz 3v RMS 300Ω

THD and noise at 3v RMS: 117dB at 1kHz 300ohms ‘A’ wighted (reference 2.5v)

Noise 2.6 uV ‘A’ weighted: No measurable noise floor modulation

Channel separation: 138dB at 1kHz 300Ω

Weight: 770g

Dimensions: 41mm (H) x 160mm (W) x 72mm (D)

Boxed Weight: 1500g

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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.