Brand New in Box - Chord Electronics Qutest Standalone Digital Audio Converter. Purchased from authorized dealer Moon Audio on 1/11/19.
*Brand-new Boxed *3 Year manufacturer US Warranty *Will ship fully insured Postage Signed & Tracked
"Take one Chord Hugo 2. Strip off battery, Bluetooth and headphone amplifier. Shrink what’s left. The result? A damn fine DAC"
HI-FI WORLD - November 2018
Qutest is Chord's ‘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 their most affordable standalone DAC, the multi-award-winning 2Qute, which it directly replaces.
Qutest 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 of Chord's 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 modernise ageing 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 aluminium billet. The Qutest PCB nestles within a shallow cavity in the solid aluminium 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 analogue 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.
- 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)
- Galvanically isolated inputs
- 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
- Digital designer: Rob Watts
- Mechanical Designer: John Franks
- Country of manufacture: England
Future-proof: High-Res Audio to 768kHz PCM/DSD 512
Qutest has been designed for static use within home audio and desktop hi-fi systems. The new design benefits from 5V Micro USB powering which offers improved flexibility over its predecessor. 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 device features a Class 2 USB input which, because of the Qutest’s home-system orientation compared to Hugo 2’s more mobile aspirations, has been galvanically isolated. This has been achieved using a novel technique which allows for very high data rates of up to 768kHz; the input is driverless on Apple and Android devices, with (ASIO included) drivers for Windows devices.
All-new aluminium casework
The Qutest chassis is all-new. It has significantly greater mass than its predecessor and has been precision-machined from solid aircraft-grade aluminium billet. The Qutest PCB nestles within a shallow cavity in the solid aluminium chassis, giving the circuit board greater protection within the casework and additional isolation from external vibration compared to previous designs.
Qutest’s new square-edge chassis design created by owner and Chief Designer John Franks retains the popular circular magnifying porthole window, which reveals the custom Chord Electronics’ circuit board within. Qutest’s control spheres (for user-selectable frequency-shaping and input selection) illuminate with useful colour-coding information denoting sample frequency and filter used; brightness settings are user-adjustable. A further new feature is a user-selectable output voltage available in 1, 2 and 3V RMS outputs for flexible connectivity with partnering devices.
New levels of technical performance for a compact DAC
The latest FPGA and advanced WTA (Watts Transient Aligned) filters have been implemented in the Qutest, bringing a wide variety of performance improvements over the 2Qute in a number of areas. Performance gains have been made in timing accuracy, noise reduction and dynamic range and tap length, the technical indicator of how complex the interpolation filter is, has more than doubled compared to its predecessor, to 49,152.
User-selectable filtering option
A four-function switch filter, operated by its own control sphere, offers a useful degree of user-selectable frequency-shaping, bringing warm and soft or transparent and incisive presentations, giving additional flexibility and user control.
- 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’ wighted (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