Chord Electronics Introduces QuteHD USB DAC and Index Streamer

Digital-to-analog converters
Chord Electronics Introduces QuteHD USB DAC and Index Streamer

September 11, 2012 - Chord Electronics, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-performance hi-fi products, has launched a new multi-function 192kHz-capable USB DAC, the QuteHD. This surprisingly affordable newcomer, which offers a range of bespoke DAC technologies taken from the acclaimed QBD76HD, is the latest edition to Chord Electronics’ beautiful high-performance boutique range, Chordette. 

With its incredible sonic performance, custom DA conversion technology and cutting-edge DSD-over-USB functionality, the new QuteHD really can be described as the ‘ultimate’ USB DAC. QuteHD brings exceptional detail-retrieval, insight and transparency to audio systems, thanks to its bespoke circuit design implemented by Chord Electronics’ internationally renowned engineering team.

The QuteHD is fully future-proof - even for the most adventurous computer audiophile - and is ready to take advantage of today’s advanced studio-master-quality music files. It can handle sample rates from 44.1kHz to 192kHz (and up to 384kHz on SPDIF), allowing users to experience music in true high definition, along with the best possible reproduction of CD-quality music. The QuteHD benefits from an advanced 192kHz-compatible USB input and can also bring sparkling clarity to any connected component with a digital output thanks to two additional digital inputs - coaxial and optical. 

In addition to standard PCM files, the QuteHD can also process DSD data using the latest DSD-over-USB support, making it the world’s first affordable DSD-compatible USB DAC. Whether using Mac OS or Windows OS, Chord Electronics’ own proprietary driver software is provided, removing the restrictions of current operating system audio playback.

Robert Watts’ expertise for $1,795

Redefining sonic performance in the $1,795 DAC category, the QuteHD showcases the unique talents of Chord Electronics’ Robert Watts, whose state-of-the-art, world-class proprietary FPGA technology lies at the digital heart of the device and allows capabilities far exceeding that of normal commercial DACs. The custom-designed FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) incorporates all of the functions required of a DAC: SPDIF decoding; Isochronous USB timing and Digital PLL; WTA interpolation filtering; DSD over USB support and finally, the Pulse Array DAC. The ‘HD’ USB input benefits from its own separate FPGA and features asynchronous USB technology, isolating the digital clocks from the computer. Each sample rate clock is generated discretely using highly accurate crystal oscillators for optimum performance and ultra-low jitter performance.

Simple to set up and easy to use, the QuteHD shares the same bomb-proof build quality and stunning aesthetics that have helped make Chord Electronics famous around the world, and just like other members of the Chordette range, the QuteHD benefits from a one-piece aluminum chassis that has been milled from solid billet. Complementing the elegant design is a top-mounted ‘porthole’ that gives users a intriguing insight into the internal circuitry and changes colour with differing  incoming sample frequencies. 

Exceptional sound quality has been achieved by Chord Electronics’ highly accomplished engineering team, thanks to their world-renowned expertise with D/A conversion and DAC production. Like all Chordette boutique products, the QuteHD can be complemented with a matching rack or carry case.

Chordette Network Music Player

The all-new Index is the latest edition to Chord Electronics’ affordable boutique high-performance range, Chordette. Index is a high-quality compact music streamer and internet radio source component that offers exceptional sound quality at a real-world price.

Index will find and play stored music, whether on NAS, a network computer or a USB drive and is compatible with almost any format including: FLAC; WMA; AAC; WAV and MP3. Index also offers internet radio using the vTuner service, which currently gives more than 10,000 commercial-free stations and over 15,000 related podcasts. 

Exceptional sound quality has been achieved by Chord Electronics’ engineering team, thanks to their world-renowned expertise with D/A conversion and DAC production. The unit’s internal DAC chipset has been optimised for sublime sound quality and benefits from its own highly accurate discrete crystal clock generator. 

Full control of the Index using a tablet computer or smart phone is available (with full colour artwork, track information etc) as the unit supports many of the major control apps on the market. In addition, there’s a high-quality 128x64 dot matrix LCD display coupled with simple, four-way navigation keys that enable users to easily orientate the unit’s menu system and infrared remote control is also provided. 

The Index offers both Wi-Fi and wired Ethernet functionality and benefits from a comprehensive range of connectivity options, including a fascia-mounted USB input, digital coaxial and optical outputs, plus RCA analogue outputs. Its compact dimensions and DLNA technology make it easy to install anywhere in the home enabling users to quickly start enjoying high-quality streamed music and internet radio.