The Qutest packs a huge punch into a small, stout chassis. Featuring superb clarity and presence as one expects from a Chord DAC, the Qutest is a purist's dream, with simple connectivity and use, and a small footprint. It pairs extremely well with our range of headphone amps, particularly the similarly desktop-friendly GS-X mini, for an unassuming but uncompromising stack of audio performance.
Qutest is Chord Electronic'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 Chord's most affordable standalone DAC, the multi-award-winning 2Qute, which it directly replaces.
Qutest, which is a What Hi-Fi? Star of CES 2018, is based on the 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 Chord's digital technology to a wide range of connected devices, it features a galvanically isolated USB input, optical and coaxial digital inputs, giving an instant performance upgrade, plus the ability to modernize 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.
Chord Electronics have been producing cutting-edge digital-to-analog converters (DACs) and amplifiers, using innovative techniques and methods, since their founding in England in 1989. Founder John Franks and engineer Rob Watts have once and again turned the audio world upside down with their outstanding and unique designs.
At the heart of every Chord DAC is an FPGA chip (field-programmable gate array), which Chord packs with thousands upon thousands of lines of code, to optimize the conversion for timing and noise, and deliver and incredibly natural, musical sound. This sets Chord Electronics apart, as instead of turning to mass-produced, off-the shelf integrated circuits for the heart of their DAC's, they craft their own circuit in-house for each design. This is why no other DAC on the market sounds like a Chord DAC.