Following its world launch at International CES 2015 in January, Chord Electronics’ latest proprietary DAC, the 2Qute, is now shipping globally. Now in full production at Chord’s riverside Chord_2Qute Top WHTheadquarters in Kent, the hand-made 2Qute is arriving in dealerships around the world.

The new 2Qute, which replaces the Qute EX, takes Chord’s proprietary FPGA DAC technology from the Hugo mobile DAC/headphone amp and adds it to the compact, boutique Chordette range.

2Qute advances the Qute EX into 2015 with the latest Hugo DAC specification. It brings the latest technology into a ‘pure’ DAC (no amp), which contains the same Spartan 6 FPGA used in Hugo. The 2Qute also boasts low distortion levels of 0.0003%.

The 2Qute offers support for up to 32-bit/384kHz audio via coax and USB, and 24- bit/192kHz over optical. DSD64 is supported on all inputs and DSD128 is supported via coax or USB (all via DoP). The new DAC also gains a switch to easily move between coax, optical and USB digital inputs.

The device features a Class 2 USB input which, because of the 2Qute’s home-system orientation compared to Hugo’s more mobile aspirations, has been galvanically isolated. This has been achieved using a novel technique which allows for data rates of up to 384kHz; the input is driverless on Apple and Android devices, with (ASIO included) drivers for Windows devices. 

“The progression of the Qute, a 10,000 digital-tap-length series of  DACs started with the original product just four years ago, with the original 192kHz-capable Qute. It was followed a year later with the HD suffix when we gave the Qute full 384kHz capability, and the EX suffix followed when DSD capability and double-DSD (64 and 128) was added.

“All of these units famously used the same discrete pulse-array DAC board and it’s well known that Chord Electronics chose not to use industry-standard off-the-shelf chips sets. The development of these ground-breaking DAC designs gave Rob Watts, our design consultant, the proving ground for a totally new and holistic type of DAC design which was to become the mobile and desktop DAC, Hugo.

“Hugo has since become the benchmark by which all other DACs are judged and has just shy of 40 recommendations in the press; Hugo’s sonic credentials are undeniable. However, this gave Chord a problem: some customers were less keen on a mobile-orientated product in their home systems and felt Hugo had too many superfluous features for home use. They loved the idea of a simpler and ostensibly lower-cost DAC, but wanted the award-winning sound quality that only Hugo, with its digital tap-length of 26,000, can achieve.

“Rob Watts completely redesigned the Qute’s circuit board in order for it to contain Hugo performance levels without the mobile features, such as the volume control and batteries. Because the redesign was so extensive, we felt the Qute had to have a MkII designation, but 2Qute sounded undeniably better, so the name stuck!”

2Qute key features 

  • Coax, optical and USB digital inputs with input switch
  • Galvanically isolated Class 2 USB input up to 384kHz
  • Driverless operation on Apple and Android devices; drivers supplied for Windows
  • Support for up to 32-bit/384kHz audio via coax and USB, and 24-bit/192kHz via optical
  • DSD64 supported on all inputs, DSD128 supported via coax or USB input (all via DoP)
  • Source and sample rate indication/illumination
  • 12V 5A power supply provided

The new 2Qute DAC is available now Price: £995

 

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