Australian HIFI - - SHOW REPORT -

Chord Elec­tron­ics used CES 2018 to launch its Qutest DAC, which it claims ‘ sets a new tech­ni­cal bench­mark for a small, home sys­tem dig­i­tal-to-ana­logue con­verter’ and fur­ther claims is ‘the world’s most ad­vanced com­pact DAC.’ It’s based on the lat­est pro­pri­etary Rob Watts’ FPGA tech­nol­ogy de­vel­oped for Chord Elec­tron­ics’ Hugo 2 DAC/head­phone amp, and in­cludes user-se­lectable fre­quency-shap­ing fil­ters and in­put se­lec­tion con­trols, avail­able via two fas­cia-mounted spheres. Un­like the Hugo 2, how­ever, the Qutest lacks a head­phone am­pli­fier, recharge­able Li-ion bat­ter­ies and cross­feed cir­cuitry… three rea­sons it re­tails for con­sid­er­ably less than the Hugo 2 de­spite the shared cir­cuitry.

‘ The new Qutest is the lat­est evo­lu­tion of Chord Elec­tron­ics’ most af­ford­able stand­alone DAC, the multi-award-win­ning 2Qute, which it di­rectly re­places,’ says Chris Strom, of Ra­di­ance Au­dioVisual, which dis­trib­utes Chord Elec­tron­ics in Aus­tralia. ‘ Qutest is uniquely equipped to bring the ben­e­fits of Chord Elec­tron­ics’ ac­claimed pro­pri­etary hard­ware and soft­ware tech­nol­ogy to a wide range of con­nected de­vices.’

The Qutest has gal­van­i­cally iso­lated USB-B, op­ti­cal and dual coax­ial dig­i­tal in­puts, plus high-res­o­lu­tion 768kHz-ca­pa­ble dual-data dig­i­tal in­puts for con­nec­tion to Chord Elec­tron­ics’ de­vices in­clud­ing the 705/768kHz-ready M-Scaler-tech­nol­ogy BLU MKII dig­i­tal/CD trans­port and of­fers sup­port for up to 32-bit/768kHz PCM and DSD512 via its gal­van­i­cally iso­lated USB-B in­put, 24-bit/384kHz PCM and DSD128 via coax­ial (BNC) and 24-bit/192kHz data on Op­ti­cal TOSLink. DSD 64 to DSD 256 is sup­ported via DoP and ASIO na­tive DSD for­mat is also sup­ported up to 512. The Class 2 USB in­put is driver­less on Ap­ple and An­droid de­vices, with (ASIO in­cluded) driv­ers for Win­dows de­vices.

The square-edged chas­sis de­sign (re­port­edly the work of Chord’s owner and Chief De­signer John Franks) re­tains Chord’s fa­mil­iar cir­cu­lar mag­ni­fy­ing port­hole win­dow through which the cir­cuit boards can be seen. The two ‘con­trol spheres’ are not only used for fil­ter and in­put se­lec­tion—they also il­lu­mi­nate with dif­fer­ent colours to de­note sam­ple fre­quency and fil­ter used. Out­put volt­age is user-se­lectable in three steps: 1, 2 and 3VRMS. Strom says that when the Chord Qutest ar­rives in Aus­tralia it will sell for $2,400 (RRP).

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion, con­tact Ra­di­ance Au­dioVisual: www.ra­di­

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