Chord Electronics Qutest Compact FPGA DAC

Chord Electronics


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Chord Electronics Qutest FPGA Compact DAC

What HiFi Five Star Review:- 

Chord Electronics have been busy lately - winning awards and introducing new products. The Qutest FPGA compact DAC is a 'pure DAC' based heavily on the multi award winning portable Chord Hugo 2.

The Chord Electronics Hugo 2 has won a swathe of rewards and is often referred to as 'the world's best mobile DAC' - it is classed as a mobile DAC due to having a headphone socket and being able to run on an internal battery. The Qutest is the  compact home version of the proven class-leading FPGA technology found in the Hugo 2. The Qutest ditches the headphone socket and does not have an internal battery to operate from away from power... but it carries the same award winning sound in a home friendly package.

Qutest Connectivity

Perfectly equipped to bring the benefits Chord Electronics digital technology to a wide range of connected devices, it features a galvanically isolated USB-B for, 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. 


Qutest Specifications

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

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

Digital designer: Rob Watts

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