DAC reference quality
Based on the technology of the more expensive Chord Hugo, the Qutest offers class-leading sound quality. Redefining expectations in its class, this CHORD DAC has surprisingly low distortion levels of 0.0001%. This means for sound the most detailed, crystalline sound and a realism totally similar to life.
Compatible high-resolution audio
The highest quality digital processor is compatible with a wide range of high-resolution music formats. Capable of playing studio-quality 44.1 kHz (CD quality) files and even DSD512, Qutest is the ideal DAC for playing high-resolution music files.
Highest quality USB input
By supporting audio files up to 32 bits/768 kHz, USB offers the best way to listen to music files stored on your home computer or laptop. The USB-B input is galvanically insulated for even greater performance. Compatible with Apple, Android and Windows, Qutest is the unique solution to improve the sound of all your digital devices.Optics and double coaxial
In addition to USB, the Chord Qutest is also equipped with twin coaxial digital inputs and an optical one. These make it ideal for connecting daily sources such as tv, set-top box or CD player and then taking their audio performance to a whole new level. Coaxial inputs use BNC sockets that lock for a closer and safer connection.
Aluminium aircraft case
Machined from a solid aluminum billet for aircraft, the Qutest DAC is built to the highest standards. This case not only feels luxurious, but also offers excellent shielding and insulation from electrical and mechanical external interference.
On the front panel there are two spherical polycarbonate buttons. The left button selects the chosen rebuild filter, four of which are available: Neutral incisive (white light button), incisive neutral HF roll-off (green), hot (orange), and hot Hf roll-off (red). The right button is used to select the source. On the rear panel there are four digital inputs: two S/PDIF in BNC sockets (yellow and red button lighting respectively), an S/PDIF lens on a TosLink connector (green) and a USB port (white). The USB port handles pcm data sampled up to 768 kHz and DSD data in DoP format up to DSD256. No USB driver for Mac is required; Computers require an ASIO driver, but can send native DSD data up to DSD512. Unusually, the two S/PDIF coaxial inputs can be operated in parallel to handle 32-bit PCM data sampled up to 768 kHz by Electronics Chord’s Blue Mk.2 transport.
The sound update served by the Qutest is not surprising when considering implementing field programmable gate array (FPGA) (FPGA) digital-to-analog conversion technology found in any other chord DAC.
While most DACs use standard ready-to-use chips, Chord designs their designs from scratch. By creating a more customizable digital circuit, Chord has more control over everything from filtering to conversion.
Qutest software shares identical audio code with Hugo 2, resulting in claims of “identical” jitter performance and “non-measurable” noise floor modulation.We are so satisfied with the improvements that accompany the Qutest, we asked ourselves (as we did with the 2Qute): where does it continue for the DAC line led by the “budget” of the agreement?
We do not know the answer, not even what such a successor would be called. Qutester’s not working. But, from experience, we believe the deal could (in a year or two) find another way to hoist the benchmark of another notch.
Until then, or until the arrival of a superior DAC of another brand, the Qutest occupies the gap in pecking order between the Chord Mojo and the Hugo 2 Chord as the DAC that smaller rivals look at at this price.
A small box that delivers great & superb results, Chord Qutest is the easy way to achieve reference-level sound quality for all your digital sources. Photo:Chord Electronics
Chipset: Chord Electronics custom coded Xilinx Artix 7 (XC7A15T) FPGA
Pulse array: 10 element pulse array design
Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz +/- 0.2dB
Output stage: Class A
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
Dimensions: 4.5cm (H) 16cm (W) 8.8cm (D)
Boxed Weight: 1500g