Audiophile-Grade Performance from a Proprietary DAC: Chord Electronics Qutest Supports up to DSD512 and 768kHz PCM, Includes User-Selectable Filters and Incredible Connectivity
Pure DAC performance. Devoid of headphone amplification circuitry or even rechargeable batteries, the Chord Electronics Qutest DAC is devoted to digital-to-analog conversion and getting you optimum high-resolution sound. Able to process up to DSD512 and 768kHz PCM, the British-built and Stereophile Class A Recommended Qutest provides audiophile-caliber fidelity distinguished by analog-like smoothness, clarity, detail, pace, rhythm, and naturalism.
A key factor behind Qutest's success – and super-low-noise operation – relates to its proprietary FPGA DAC designed by Chord Electronics engineer Rob Watts. Compared to the competition, Qutest offers up to 30 times more quiet playback and up to 300 times lower the distortion. No wonder Chord Electronics houses it in an aircraft-grade aluminum billet chassis to grant it Grade A protection and isolation.
Just like its acclaimed sibling, Hugo 2, Qutest also comes with proprietary user-selectable frequency-shaping filters and input selection controls, available via two fascia-mounted spheres, for more flexibility. 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 – as well as a galvanically isolated USB-B input, and optical and coaxial inputs, attest to it's all-rounder connectivity.
Factor in Chord Electronics' solid-as-can-be three-year warranty and our famous 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, and Qutest passes every test with flying colors.
“If you want a big, dramatic sound from a compact DAC, this is the one.”
—2019-2020 EISA Award, Best DAC
"[It] offers close to state of the measured digital art ca 2019, and it sounds simply superb."
—John Atkinson, Stereophile, Class A Recommended Component
"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, Hi-Fi Choice, Editor's Choice
"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, The Absolute Sound
"Notes have crisper, more distinct leading edges, carry warmth and texture in abundance, and never decay prematurely – even when forthcoming notes tumble over the top."
— What Hi-Fi?, 2020 Best DAC €500-1,200 Award
"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."
—Mark Gusew, Stereonet, Applause Award
"[I] still believe that if you are in the market for a quality DAC under Two thousand dollars, you'd be hard pressed to find a better-sounding one, and believe me, I've auditioned most of them."
—Sonis, Audiophile Style
USB Type B (White): 44.1kHz-768kHz-16bit-32bit
2x BNC Coax (Red): 44.1kHz-384kHz-16bit-32bit
1x Dual data mode input: 44.1kHz-768kHz-16bit-32bit
Optical (Green): 44.1kHz-192kHz-16bit-24bit
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
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
Dimensions (HWD): 1.6" x 6.3" x 2.8"
Weight: 1.7 lbs.
User Manual (PDF, 2.6 MB)