Chord Electronics announced their newest device at CES this week, the Chord Qutest DAC.  The Qutest is a home-audio DAC designed to replace the existing 2Qute.  This audio device takes design and features from the award winning Hugo 2.

Qutest is a pure DAC, it does not contain headphone amplification or batteries like the portable Hugo 2.  It is intended to be used with your home audio setup to improve the sound quality.

Chord Qutest Front

Qutest Design

The Qutest chassis is built from machined aircraft-grade aluminum allowing for a single solid exterior.  The Qutest is heavier than its predecessor (2Qute) which helps to adds stability to your home audio setup.  The new materials and design give the immediate feeling of quality to the device. The Qutest control spheres for filters and input selection glow different colors depending on the frequency used, existing Chord owners will find this familiar and easy to use.

Chord Qutest Back

Qutest Technology

The Qutest uses the same DAC architecture, software, filters, and input selection controls as the Hugo2.  Leveraging the FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) technology provides a major upgrade from the 2Qute. As a result, the Qutest has performance gains in timing accuracy, noise reduction, and dynamic range.

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’ weighted (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

Chord Qutest Top

Qutest Features

The Qutest provides options for USB Type B, BNC Coaxial, or Optical input and a single pair of RCA ports for output.  This setup should handle most consumer needs.  The device comes packaged with a USB power supply, a Type A to Type B USB cable, and a silk drawstring bag.  Since this isn’t meant to be used on the go a hefty case is unnecessary.

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 start-up
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

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