DAC, Crack, and Sack - Chord Qute HD and Chord QBD76 HDSD

ManBat

Active Member
Please see original post with pictures at: Stereo Net
DAC, Crack, and Sack - Chord Qute HD and Chord QBD76 HDSD - Product Reviews & Personal Opinions (Moderated) - StereoNET Australia

Qute HD: Approx $1800



Technical specifications

Harmonic distortion: 103 dBV

Signal-to-noise ratio: 115dBV

Dynamic range: 118dBV

Digital inputs:

1 x USB HD with DSD decoding, 44.1 kHz to 192kHz, 1

6-32-bit (future 384kHz-ready)

1x Optical

1x Coaxial 44.1 kHz/ 384kHz-ready, 16-32-bit

Outputs: 2x RCA phono

Power supply: 12v 1A 2.1mm connector. Centre point

positive 100V- 240V –

50/60Hz, 1A wall adapter supplied

Weight: 0.4kg

Dimensions: 160x70x40mm

QuteHD technology details and technical specifications

SPDIF decoding

The QuteHD is an all-digital design and allows operation from a single SPDIF connection from 32 kHz to 384 kHz. Due to unique features in the design, reliable operation with 192 kHz from Toslink optical is possible. This allows better sound quality, as the benefits of optical (lower RF noisegiving lower noise-floor modulation and hence smoother sound) is obtained, without the detriments of poor jitter and errors from optical.

Isochronous USB and Digital PLL

Isochronous USB operation eliminates jitter from the transmitting computer, astiming is controlled by the QuteHD. With SPDIF sources, the effect of incoming jitter is virtually eliminated by use of a unique Digital

PLL. This has a very long time constant of 1.5 seconds, so the incoming jitter is effectively removed. The benefit of this is no measured degradation with huge incoming jitter levels and a smoother, warmer, more natural sound quality.

WTA interpolation filtering

For a product of modest cost, the QuteHD has huge DSP capacity.

10 parallel DSP custom-designed gate-level cores are employed, to give a third-generation WTA filter of 10,240 taps. This improved algorithm, which attempts to much more accurately reconstruct the original timing of the transients for the recording, gives much better bass definition, a better sense of timing and rhythm, and a much more accurate and precise soundstage.


DSD over USB support

The QuteHD supports DSD over USB. Moreover, the challenge of filtering the DSD has been carefully done; extensive filtering of out-of-band DSD noise is accomplished without any audibly degrading decimation, as the Pu

lse Array DAC directly handles the DSD data.

Fifth-generation Pulse Array DAC

The QuteHD employs a four-element Pulse Array DAC.

Although it is simpler (by employing four elements) than previous Pulse Array

DACs, it enjoys the benefits of Pulse Array performance compared to other DAC conversion technologies. These benefits include: very high low-level signal resolution; very low jitter sensitivity; no noise floor modulation; no anharmonic distortion harmonics, and very low harmonic distortion with analogue characteristics. The analogue section has been carefully designed to be as simple and direct as possible, thus ensuring transparency

http://www.chordelec...ecs for web.pdf


I was on the lookout for a DAC and was experimenting to see if they made that much of a difference to my system (NAD Master Series). I had previously tried the PS Audio Perfect Wave II, and Rega among others. I managed to borrow this little DAC from a local dealer and played around with it for three days. I wasn’t expecting much from the aluminum-clad snuffbox, and managed to test it through both USB connected to a MacBook and via optical cable.

I downloaded a free sample of Pure Music and Chord drivers and managed to fumble my way through set up.

Sound

After playing around with various files, bit rates, and music I was impressed.

Giving it a direct comparison to the NAD M15HD (which incidentally is no slouch in two channel music) it revealed subtle differences in musical presentation. These nuances presented themselves with more intimacy with tunes containing simple harmonics and vocals. Where the difference wasn’t subtle was music from jazz, hip-hop, and alternative – in fact anything with a decent recoding really. With this material to shape – it formed good harmonics. In fact making an immediate difference in base, mid range and detail to the character of the sound, adding depth, scale, and soundstage which seemed to stretch over the period of two days.

I was more impressed with this that the PS Audio Perfect Wave II (with bridge), however to be fair there weren’t given a side-by-side audition. But from memory the Chord made more of an immediate impact.

Sounding neither bright nor warm it added the extra level and edge to the music. Many reviewers have described some equipment as “lifting a veil” to reveal details and presence that were missing. This is the case with the Chord.

Bass details were prominent as were string instruments, guitars, cellos, and violins. Synthesized music gave a new breath of air and atmosphere that enveloped the listening room to a greater degree than before. Impressive!

The light inside the window changed colour dependent on the sample rate of the music;

  • Dark blue 24 bit 192
  • Red – CD’s – red-book
  • Orange for 48kHz
  • Yellow for 88.2
  • Green for 96
  • Blue for 176.4
  • Pink-I just don’t know? By this point I didn’t care either.
  • Purple for DSD – apparently


See for yourself: (pics attached at Stereo Net) DAC, Crack, and Sack - Chord Qute HD and Chord QBD76 HDSD - Product Reviews & Personal Opinions (Moderated) - StereoNET Australia

Designed by Rob Watts, apparently Chord took 10 years to develop their own chip rather than using an off the shelf variants, Wolfson, Sabre, Burr Brown etc. I wasn’t in the market for a DAC, as previous DAC’s hadn’t made much of a difference on my system; that is of course until now.

This is a great DAC and left me very very impressed.

There is lots of technical data and professional reviews on the net if you need further information.



QBD76 HDSD: Approx $8000

Technical specifications

• Harmonic disortion:
< -103 dB (1kHz, 24-Bit @ 44.1KHz Sample Frequency)
< -110dB (100Hz, 24-Bit @ 44.1KHz Sample Frequency)
• Signal to noise ratio: >120dB
• Channel separation: >125dB @ 1kHz
• Dynamic range: 122dB
• Switchable digital inputs:
2x 75ohm S/PDIF BNC coax
2x AES balanced XLR input
2x plastic fibre optic (TOSlink)
1x USB (B-type ) 44-48kHz capable
1x 4-pin high-speed to USB (A-type ) 192kHz-capable
• Analogue outputs: 2x RCA phono, 2x balanced XLR
• RAM buffer, 3 settings: off, min and maximum
• Phase switch, 2 settings: positive/negative output phase
• Sample frequencies:
44kHz – 96kHz Optical, AES
44kHz – 192kHz Coax Single Data, USB
176kHz and 192kHz Dual Cable Optical, AES, or Coax
• Output max: 6V rms. balanced. 3V rms. unbalanced
• Output impedance: 75ohms (short circuit protected)
• Dimensions: 338x60x145mm (Width x Height x Depth)
• Weight: 7kg

http://www.chordelec...-info.asp?id=74



Chord QBD76 HDSD

When I asked a local dealer if I could borrow the rather expensive alien looking device he said, “Why of course you can, but you’ll regret it…(long pause)....are you sure?” I eagerly gave the affirmative nod at which point he said, ”For doing so, you’ll call me a bastard…” and of course two days later - I called him just that.

After a very satisfying encounter with the Qute HD I was sold. This was a very good DAC. I just had to try the bigger brother.

In short I will have to throw these commonly known Hi Fi adjectives around, detail (tons of it) feel, depth of scale, tight, solid, absolute presence. As in the previous encounter with the Qute DAC, I described it as lifting a veil to reveal more musicality. This DAC burns away that thick velvet curtain with a flamethrower and immerses you in what I can only describe as liquid music. You’ll drown in it! The sounds that my speakers produced amazed me (Monitor Audio Platinum PL300)

James Blake Unluck – Limit to you love – the added base reverb and vocals were outstanding

Apparat – Music for Theatre – Light On – a complex track full of intimate and large-scale music – this sounded fantastic, you could here every single detail.

Nitin Sawhney – OneZero – Homeland – Chello, tabla, vocals – all were lifted and brought to the front with a gusto of detail and presence.

Duke Ellington – Mood Indigo – a delightful clarinet and sound that melted in the atmosphere.

The Thing – Ennio Morricone – Bass lines that gave immediate sheer presence layered with thick atmosphere. You could feel the tension in the track and were totally immersed in it.

Everything and anything from Birdy to ZZ Top sounded spectacular.

You get the picture. This is the best DAC I have ever heard. The gentleman at the audio shop truly is a bastard in a nice way, after all he did give me fair warning.

If I had the cash I would buy this DAC today. If Chord sold this at around 50% of the asking price (here's hoping), it would probably be one of the best selling DACs on the planet. Not only does it sound out of this world, it also looks it.

Does the Qute HD come close? It certainly gives it a good go. I just wish I never heard this damn DAC!
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
You can't see the Photos unless you are a registered member of StereoNet Australia.

Prices in AU Dollars one presumes.

AU$1800 = ~£1000 (by exchange rate)

AU$8000 = ~£4445

Products: Chordette Qute EX DAC

Products: Chordette QuteHD (DSD) DAC

Products: QBD76 HDSD DAC

Ignore the Photos at the top of these CHORD page links, if there is a product Photo it is at the BOTTOM.

Chord_QuteHD-0161%282%29.jpg


QBD76HDSD_0514%281%29.jpg


Very Buck Rogers and the 21st Century looking.

Steve/bluewizard
 
Last edited:

ManBat

Active Member
CHord Qute HD.jpg
CHord Qute HD.jpg
QBD76 HDSD 3.jpg
QBD76 HDSD.jpg
Qute Blue 1.jpg
Qute Pink.jpg
Qute Yellow.jpg
Qute Blue.jpg
QBD76 HDSD 2.jpg
QBD76 HDSD 2.jpg
 

Attachments

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    Qute Red 1.jpg
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  • Qute Red.jpg
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Last edited:

ManBat

Active Member
Apologies - I have now loaded some pictures albeit several errors occurred, several pictures did not load, and some have repeated themselves. Cheers


You can't see the Photos unless you are a registered member of StereoNet Australia.

Prices in AU Dollars one presumes.

AU$1800 = ~£1000 (by exchange rate)

US$8000 = ~£4445

Products: Chordette Qute EX DAC

Products: Chordette QuteHD (DSD) DAC

Products: QBD76 HDSD DAC

Ignore the Photos at the top of these CHORD page links, if there is a product Photo it is at the BOTTOM.

Chord_QuteHD-0161%282%29.jpg


QBD76HDSD_0514%281%29.jpg


Very Buck Rogers and the 21st Century looking.

Steve/bluewizard
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
One might wonder what you can do with and how you can place such odd shaped components. CHORD makes a special rack that you can use to stack components.

Products: Chordette Rack equipment support

The Racks appear to be modular so you can stack as many units as you need -

blueStackFriontBLK.jpg

silver5stackBLK.jpg


Very unique products.

Steve/bluewizard
 

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