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To­day’s mu­sic-lover has never had it so good: the vinyl re­vival, in­ter­net ra­dio, plus the grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of mu­sic stream­ing, like Spo­tify, Ama­zon Mu­sic and Google Play Mu­sic ser­vices. We’re even able to en­joy record­ing stu­dio sound qual­ity (bet­ter than CD) with the right equip­ment.

Most of to­day’s mu­sic is dig­i­tal and there’s one cru­cial piece of elec­tron­ics that de­ter­mines how good that mu­sic can ul­ti­mately sound: a DAC (dig­i­tal to ana­logue con­ver­tor). The chances are, you’ve al­ready used a DAC in the past 24 hours: that smart­phone call, TV news catch-up or in­ter­net surf; DACs are es­sen­tial cir­cuit board de­vices em­bed­ded into every­day gad­gets con­vert­ing dig­i­tal sig­nals into ana­logue ones, so you can hear them.

Most are tiny chips, cost­ing no more than a few pounds, ma­chine-sol­dered into cir­cuit boards, like the one in your phone. At the op­po­site end of the scale, how­ever, are ex­ter­nal, match­box-sized DACs that plug in to smart­phones, tablets, lap­tops, com­put­ers, TVs, hi-fis and more, to up­grade (and trans­form) sound qual­ity. The dif­fer­ence can be likened to HD video: sud­denly mu­sic has more clar­ity, more res­o­lu­tion and is more “real”.

The world leader in DAC tech­nol­ogy is British. Kent-based Chord Elec­tron­ics has been mak­ing award-win­ning DACs us­ing pro­pri­etary tech­nol­ogy since 1996. Hav­ing dis­cov­ered ba­sic chip-DACs sounded aw­ful, it ap­plied com­put­er­like lev­els of pro­cess­ing power to the task, em­ploy­ing highly ad­vanced pro­gram­mable de­vices (FPGAs), cus­tom­coded by its ex­pert au­dio de­sign­ers.

Chord Elec­tron­ics’ DACs, from the smart­phone-en­abling recharge­able Mojo to the Hugo 2 (pic­tured) are hand-made in the UK with British de­sign, ex­per­tise and soft­ware. The com­pany has the most ad­vanced dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy the world has to of­fer and has ac­cu­mu­lated more ma­jor awards than any­one else. To ex­pe­ri­ence your favourite mu­sic in HD, search ‘Chord Elec­tron­ics Mojo’ to be­gin your jour­ney of dis­cov­ery.

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