CHORD’S QUTEST DAC
Chord Electronics’ Qutest DAC, which it claims ‘ sets a new technical benchmark for a small, home system digital-to-analogue converter’ is now available in Australia. The Qutest is based on the latest proprietary FPGA technology developed by Rob Watts 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-on 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 multiaward-winning 2Qute, which it directly replaces,’ says Chris Strom, of Radiance AudioVisual, which distributes Chord Electronics in Australia. 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. Qutest 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 square-edge chassis design is reportedly the work of owner and Chief Designer John Franks. The two ‘control spheres’ are not only used for filter and input selection—they also illuminate with different colours to denote sampling frequency and filter used. Available now, the Chord Qutest sells for $2,400 (RRP). For further information, please contact Radiance AudioVisual on (02) 9659 1117 or visit the website at www.radianceav.com.au