Qutest is the latest mid-priced DAC from a company who is right at the cutting edge of DAC tech.
Chord Qutest will cost £1199 and will be available early Feb. You can pre-order here.
Connectivity looks good as do the specifications. Build quality is always something that Chord lead on.
In the Hugo range, 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 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
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
Chipset: Chord Electronics custom coded Xilinx Artix 7 (XC7A15T) FPGA
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
Dimensions: 41mm (H) x 160mm (W) x 72mm (D)
Boxed Weight: 1500g
Click here for a review of the Qutest.