CES 2018 News: Chord Electronics Announces Qutest DAC

Who's the Qutest?

by Ed Selley Jan 9, 2018 at 6:00 PM

  • Chord Electronics has announced the Qutest DAC which is designed for home use and purportes to be their most sophisticated offering yet.
    Chord Electronics Qutest
    The Qutest has been developed to replace the 2Qute DAC – one of Chord's most successful products. The design principles are very similar – which means that you get two coaxial inputs – on Chord's preferred BNC connectors rather than the more common RCA, a Toslink optical input and a USB-B connection. The Qutest is designed from the outset to be used at home and in a fixed system, so unlike Chord models we have looked at recently, there are no batteries, headphone outputs or volume controls.

    What you do get is technology that we have seen in devices like the Hugo 2. The Qutest is built around the proprietary FGPA system that Chord has been using for some years now and in the all important number of 'taps,' the technical indicator of how complex the interpolation filter is, you get an impressive 49,152 which is more than double that of the 2Qute. This means that the Qutest can handle sample rates up to 32/768kHz and DSD 512 via the USB input which should see you good for a few years to come. A four setting filter allows you to tweak the final presentation to your preferences.

    Chord has made some interesting revisions to the hardware design too. The USB input is galvanically isolated which is something that the mobile models do without and unlike its predecessor, the Qutest can be run from a USB power supply – meaning depending on the other hardware you have at your disposal, you might not need a mains socket to run it at all.
    Chord Electronics Qutest
    Externally, the Qutest is placed in an all new chassis that has greater mass that its predecessor. The PCB has been recessed into a shallow cavity in the chassis to allow for greater isolation and standard Chord niceties (or idiosyncrasies, your mileage may vary) like the 'porthole' at the top and coloured indicators for sample rate have been retained.

    The Qutest is available to order now for £1,195 and we will be off to the Venetian later this week to take a look at it.

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