The Venetian Tower in Las Vegas seemed an appropriately glamorous location for Chord Electronics to unveil the latest addition to its family of DACs to an expectant public at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (see this month's issue for more). Dubbed “The World’s most advanced compact DAC”, Qutest is based on the latest version of Rob Watts famed proprietary FPGA technology – developed for the Hugo 2 (HFC 428) no less. 

Designed for static use within the home, the new digital-to-analogue converter benefits from being powered via a 5V micro USB port, offering up to 32-bit/768kHz PCM and DSD512 via its USB Type-B input, 24-bit/384kHz PCM and DSD128 from its coaxial (BNC) and 24-bit/192kHz via optical Toslink.

Created by Chief Designer John Franks, the new square-edged, solid aluminium chassis retains the often divisive circular magnifying porthole window seen on Hugo and similarly utilises the coloured spheres to provide the user with information relating to sample frequency and input selection. A choice of four filters is on hand to introduce warmth, softness, transparency or incisiveness to the performance via frequency shaping. Meanwhile, an additional feature includes a user-selectable output voltage available in 1, 2 and 3V RMS outputs for connectivity with partnering devices.

Qutest is available to buy now for £1,195 and you can find out more about it here.