Chord Qutest DAC

$1,695.00
In Stock
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Chord Qutest is a standalone DAC introduced by Chord Electronics at CES 2018 to replace its multi-award winning predecessor, the 2Qute. With DAC architecture based on the award-winning Hugo 2, Qutest offers class-leading digital conversion.

Qutest is Chord Electronics' pure digital-to-analog converter; it does not contain headphone amplification or rechargeable batteries like the Hugo2 and is designed to improve sound quality in the home. It is Chord's most affordable standalone DAC.

The Next Generation of Pure DACs

Qutest is a ‘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 Chord's most affordable standalone DAC, the multi-award-winning 2Qute, which it directly replaces.

Qutest, a What Hi-Fi? Star of CES 2018, is based on Chord's 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 modernize aging 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 aluminum billet. The Qutest PCB nestles within a shallow cavity in the solid aluminum 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 analog 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.

The Power of Upscaling

To upgrade your Chord Qutest to the next level, we recommend adding the Chord Hugo M Scaler.

The M Scaler is an instant upgrade to any existing DAC you have. It has the ability to upgrade your standard definition digital input signals and output them to your DAC at a max resolution of 352.8 or 384kHz via a single BNC SPDIF output or via a 176.4 or 192kHz via an Optical SPDIF output. If you have a Chord Electronics DAC that utilizes Dual Data Digital inputs, such as the Chord Qutest, Hugo2, Hugo TT2 or the Dave, then you can increase this output resolution to 705.6 or 768kHz via the M Scaler Dual BNC SPDIF outputs. The Hugo2 requires a special cable for the 3.5mm dual data input, so we've developed aBlack Dragon Mini Coax Cable to connect it to the M Scaler.

Keith Howard wrote a wonderful profile on Rob Watts' theories of why the upsampling filters are so critical to remarkable digital audio playback. Read the Hifi Critic article here.

Key Features

Chord Custom FPGA DAC

Chord Custom FPGA DAC

4x Selectable Filters

4x Selectable Filters

Selectable Output Voltage

Selectable Output Voltage

768kHz USB Type B Input

768kHz USB Type B Input

192kHz Optical Input

192kHz Optical Input

USB Galvanic Isolation

USB Galvanic Isolation

2x 384kHz BNC Coax Input

2x 384kHz BNC Coax Input

1x Stereo RCA Outputs

1x Stereo RCA Outputs

Supports up to 768kHz PCM

Supports up to 768kHz PCM

Native DSD 512 (8x) Capable

Native DSD 512 (8x) Capable

Solid Aluminium Chassis

Solid Aluminium Chassis

What's in the box?

  • 1.5m 5v 2a Switching Micro USB Power Supply
  • 2m Type A to Type B USB Cable
  • Qutest Owners Overview Manual
  • Raw Silk Drawstring Bag

Awards

What HiFi? Award 2018
What Hi-Fi? Award 2019
2019 EISA Best Product Award
Audiostream 2019 Editor's Choice Award
The Absolute Sound 2020 Editors' Choice Award

Press and Reviews

Chord Magazine Guide
Chord Magazine

Guides & Advice
by Moon Audio

Moon Audio Qutest Review
Moon Audio

by Drew Baird
Apr. 2018

HIfi Choice Chord Qutest Review
Hifi Choice

by David Price
June 2018

Audiostream Review
AudioStream

by Rafe Arnott
Sept. 2018

Headphonics Review
Headphonics

by Marcus D.
May 2018

Headphonics Best Gear of 2018
Headphonics

Top Gear for 2018
by Marcus D.

What Hi-Fi? Review
What Hi-Fi?

by Staff
Oct. 2018

Stereophile Review
Stereophile

by John Atkinson
Dec. 2018

The Absolute Sound Review
Absolute Sound

by Steven Stone
Apr. 2019

Audiophile Style Review
Audiophile Style

by Sonis
Aug. 2019

Specs

General Features

Materials
Precision machined aluminium casing
Polycarbonate buttons
Glass viewing portal
Color
Black
Weight
1.70 lb (770g)
Dimensions
1.61 H x 6.30 W x 2.83 D (41mm x 160mm x 72mm)
Shipping Weight
3.3 lb (1500g)
Device Power Supply
5v 2amp Micro USB

Performance

Input
USB-B (White): 44.1kHz–768kHz / 16bit–32bit
Dual BNC (Red): 44.1kHz–768kHz / 16bit–32bit
Optical (Green): 44.1kHz–192kHz / 16bit–24bit
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
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

Package Includes

  • Qutest DAC
  • 1.5m 5v/2a Switching Micro USB Power Supply
  • 2m Type A to Type B USB Cable
  • Raw Silk Drawstring Bag
  • Owners Manual
  • 3-Year Warranty

    three year warranty


Development

Digital Designer
Rob Watts
Mechanical Designer
John Franks
Country of Manufacture
United Kingdom

Reviews

Q&A