Chord Qutest DAC

Chord Qutest DAC

$1,895.00 Free Shipping!

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Chord Qutest DAC

$1,895.00 Free Shipping!

Free Shipping!
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  • Description


     

    MY TAKE: Chord nailed it again! The Qutest offers performance and features like nothing else in the price range! – Galen Carol

     

    Qutest is a standalone DAC whose performance belies its compact dimensions. With DAC architecture based on the award-winning Hugo 2, Qutest offers class-leading digital conversion.
     

    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 the company’s most affordable standalone DAC, the multi-award-winning 2Qute.
     

    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 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.

     

    REVIEWS:


    The Absolute Sound: "This DAC delivers a ‘whole cloth’ musical experience that integrates the entire frequency spectrum in a holistic, organic way that just sounds right – neither too soft nor too hard, and detailed without being harsh, relaxed without being flaccid.
    The
    Qutest recreates digital music with a non-digital character that emphasizes its musicality but not at the expense of detail or dynamics. It possesses a certain ‘rightness’ to its sound that I could live with happily for a long time.
    I would strongly recommend trying the
    Qutest before you replace your DAC with something with an additional zero at the end of its price tag. The Qutest qualifies as a solid piece of engineering at a reasonable price that delivers digital music with power and finesse. What’s not to like?" - Steven Stone


    HiFiChoice: "Chord’s great sense of timing is hard not to fall in love with. In other respects it’s also highly accomplished. It’s truly impressive on classical music. The way it hones is on different instrumental sections is a revelation… there’s a fabulous sense of focus that makes things sound bold and highly defined. There is a great sense of being transported back to the time and place of the recording. The soundstage is beautifully etched with the piano sounding so solid it could have been bricked into my listening room way.

    "What really strikes me here, though, is the sweet, smooth tonality of the Qutest. It sounds more natural than anything else at or near the price; it’s smooth, even and is able to communicate the natural tonal patina of acoustic instruments surprisingly well. Whether is it strings or brass, the performance just sound so much more natural and organic here.

    "Dynamically, the baby Chord is great. The way the Qutest carries the expressive emotion of the vocals is a delight. Not only is the timbre of the singers voice a pleasure to hear, but the DAC is able to impart every last inflection.
    This is a great sounding digital converter – indeed spectacular at the price. You’ll have to spend a lot more money than this to find a DAC that does any better."
    David Price, HiFi Choice, Editor’s Choice Winner, May 2018


    Sterephile: "Chord's DAVE was one of the best-sounding DACs I've had in my system. I miss it still.  With the [Qutest's] Incisive Neutral filter, I was strongly reminded of that description.
    The
    Qutest is an extraordinarily well-engineered component. Even without taking into account its small size, the fact that it's powered by a 5V wall wart, and its relatively affordable price, Chord's Qutest offers state-of-the-art measured performance. It sounds simply superb. Strongly recommended."  -  John Atkinson, January 2019, Stereophile
     

    Watch John Darko's review on YouTube: "The stand-alone decoder to beat at the price point."
     

    AudioStream - Editor's Choice 2018 - "Small footprint, big sonic impact, that sums up the Chord Quetst DAC for me. It’s a simple affair, with 32-bit/768kHz USB-B, 24-bit/192kHz Optical and 32-bit/384kHz (or 32-bit-768kHz combined) BNC inputs, native support for DSD 512 and a pair of RCA outputs making it one of the highest-resolution DACs I’m familiar with at any price point. Set-up takes minutes and the Qutest features the amazing Rob Watts’ proprietary FPGA converter with a 49,152 Tap-length and variable (3V, 2V or1V) Class-A output. It’s built like a tank and weighs far more than you’d think, making it sit pretty no matter how big your cables get – an issue I’ve had with some other smaller DACs over the years where they ‘tip’ with larger digital or RCA cables attached. The sound is muscular, ballsy, tonally rich (depending on which filter you like – there’s four to choose from), with a huge open top and bottom end and a juicy midrange that always gets my feet tapping and my head bobbing. Easily one of the most fun DACs I’ve heard. It’s a boogie machine and sure to put a smile on the face of all who hear it." - Rafe Arnott

     

    Stereonet: "Since I started listening to Chord Electronics DAC's about four years ago, I'm staggered by the progress that has been made in creating genuinely better products. Over time, I can see refinement in the hardware, count the additional taps and hear far deeper into recordings. Chord Electronics is a company that does not sit on its hands but continues to innovate and refine. 

    "The trickle-down benefits from their top-end products are undoubted with the lessons learned being applied into products at a more affordable price, just like the Qutest DAC.

    "The Qutest gives the listener a clearer window into recordings, perhaps better than you may have ever heard before. I would love to listen to it with the M Scaler. Some tell me that it's an impossibly good upgrade, transforming the pair into reference grade sound equipment. 

    "There is no doubt in my mind that this is a DAC with serious performance and for a very reasonable price. The more I think about it, I can't put forward a suggestion of a better DAC for the money, so I'll put my money where my mouth is and purchase this review sample. 

    "While Chord Electronics' DAC range is exceptional with real performance to be enjoyed at each price point, the Qutest is, without doubt, the bargain to be had in its lineup." - Stereonet


    FEATURES:
     

    Materials: Precision machined aluminum 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 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

     

    SPECIFICATIONS:
     

    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

    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


    Video: What Makes Chord DACs Unique

Product Ratings

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Chord Qutest DAC

$1,895.00 Free Shipping!

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Description


 

MY TAKE: Chord nailed it again! The Qutest offers performance and features like nothing else in the price range! – Galen Carol

 

Qutest is a standalone DAC whose performance belies its compact dimensions. With DAC architecture based on the award-winning Hugo 2, Qutest offers class-leading digital conversion.
 

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 the company’s most affordable standalone DAC, the multi-award-winning 2Qute.
 

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 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.

 

REVIEWS:


The Absolute Sound: "This DAC delivers a ‘whole cloth’ musical experience that integrates the entire frequency spectrum in a holistic, organic way that just sounds right – neither too soft nor too hard, and detailed without being harsh, relaxed without being flaccid.
The
Qutest recreates digital music with a non-digital character that emphasizes its musicality but not at the expense of detail or dynamics. It possesses a certain ‘rightness’ to its sound that I could live with happily for a long time.
I would strongly recommend trying the
Qutest before you replace your DAC with something with an additional zero at the end of its price tag. The Qutest qualifies as a solid piece of engineering at a reasonable price that delivers digital music with power and finesse. What’s not to like?" - Steven Stone


HiFiChoice: "Chord’s great sense of timing is hard not to fall in love with. In other respects it’s also highly accomplished. It’s truly impressive on classical music. The way it hones is on different instrumental sections is a revelation… there’s a fabulous sense of focus that makes things sound bold and highly defined. There is a great sense of being transported back to the time and place of the recording. The soundstage is beautifully etched with the piano sounding so solid it could have been bricked into my listening room way.

"What really strikes me here, though, is the sweet, smooth tonality of the Qutest. It sounds more natural than anything else at or near the price; it’s smooth, even and is able to communicate the natural tonal patina of acoustic instruments surprisingly well. Whether is it strings or brass, the performance just sound so much more natural and organic here.

"Dynamically, the baby Chord is great. The way the Qutest carries the expressive emotion of the vocals is a delight. Not only is the timbre of the singers voice a pleasure to hear, but the DAC is able to impart every last inflection.
This is a great sounding digital converter – indeed spectacular at the price. You’ll have to spend a lot more money than this to find a DAC that does any better."
David Price, HiFi Choice, Editor’s Choice Winner, May 2018


Sterephile: "Chord's DAVE was one of the best-sounding DACs I've had in my system. I miss it still.  With the [Qutest's] Incisive Neutral filter, I was strongly reminded of that description.
The
Qutest is an extraordinarily well-engineered component. Even without taking into account its small size, the fact that it's powered by a 5V wall wart, and its relatively affordable price, Chord's Qutest offers state-of-the-art measured performance. It sounds simply superb. Strongly recommended."  -  John Atkinson, January 2019, Stereophile
 

Watch John Darko's review on YouTube: "The stand-alone decoder to beat at the price point."
 

AudioStream - Editor's Choice 2018 - "Small footprint, big sonic impact, that sums up the Chord Quetst DAC for me. It’s a simple affair, with 32-bit/768kHz USB-B, 24-bit/192kHz Optical and 32-bit/384kHz (or 32-bit-768kHz combined) BNC inputs, native support for DSD 512 and a pair of RCA outputs making it one of the highest-resolution DACs I’m familiar with at any price point. Set-up takes minutes and the Qutest features the amazing Rob Watts’ proprietary FPGA converter with a 49,152 Tap-length and variable (3V, 2V or1V) Class-A output. It’s built like a tank and weighs far more than you’d think, making it sit pretty no matter how big your cables get – an issue I’ve had with some other smaller DACs over the years where they ‘tip’ with larger digital or RCA cables attached. The sound is muscular, ballsy, tonally rich (depending on which filter you like – there’s four to choose from), with a huge open top and bottom end and a juicy midrange that always gets my feet tapping and my head bobbing. Easily one of the most fun DACs I’ve heard. It’s a boogie machine and sure to put a smile on the face of all who hear it." - Rafe Arnott

 

Stereonet: "Since I started listening to Chord Electronics DAC's about four years ago, I'm staggered by the progress that has been made in creating genuinely better products. Over time, I can see refinement in the hardware, count the additional taps and hear far deeper into recordings. Chord Electronics is a company that does not sit on its hands but continues to innovate and refine. 

"The trickle-down benefits from their top-end products are undoubted with the lessons learned being applied into products at a more affordable price, just like the Qutest DAC.

"The Qutest gives the listener a clearer window into recordings, perhaps better than you may have ever heard before. I would love to listen to it with the M Scaler. Some tell me that it's an impossibly good upgrade, transforming the pair into reference grade sound equipment. 

"There is no doubt in my mind that this is a DAC with serious performance and for a very reasonable price. The more I think about it, I can't put forward a suggestion of a better DAC for the money, so I'll put my money where my mouth is and purchase this review sample. 

"While Chord Electronics' DAC range is exceptional with real performance to be enjoyed at each price point, the Qutest is, without doubt, the bargain to be had in its lineup." - Stereonet


FEATURES:
 

Materials: Precision machined aluminum 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 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

 

SPECIFICATIONS:
 

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

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


Video: What Makes Chord DACs Unique