The Qutest digital to analogue convertor

Qutest is a What Hi-Fi? Award-winning DAC with a performance that belies its compact dimensions. With DAC architecture based on our class-leading FPGA tech, Qutest offers unrivalled sound quality gains.

Range: Hugo
Colour options:

The Qutest DAC is designed to improve system sound quality, instantly. It is the latest evolution of our most affordable ‘standalone’ DAC, in other words, one that does not contain a built-in headphone amplifier, like the Mojo 2 and Hugo 2.

The Qutest is What Hi-Fi?’s ‘Best DAC’ 2023 £1,000+ and a What Hi-Fi? ‘Best DAC’ winner every year its inception (2018-2022). It is a proven class-leader and is based on our award-winning proprietary FPGA technology giving it unrivalled technical and sonic performance.

Perfectly equipped to bring the benefits our digital technology to a wide range of connected devices, it features a galvanically isolated USB-B, optical and coaxial digital input, giving an instant performance upgrade, plus the ability to modernise 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.

The What Hi-Fi? ‘Best DAC’ 2023/24 Qutest is the definitive small audiophile DA convertor.

Materials: Precision machined aluminium casing with polycarbonate  buttons and glass viewing portal. Available only in Jett Black.

Device power supply: 5v 2amp Micro USB

Tap length filter: 49,152 – 10 element Pulse Array design

Connectivity (input): USB Type B (White): 44.1kHz to 768kHz – 16bit to 32bit

2x BNC Coax (Red): 44.1kHz – 384kHz – 16bit to 32bit

1x Dual data mode input (using both BNC coax inputs together): 44.1kHz to 768kHz – 16bit to 32bit

Optical (Green): 44.1kHz to 96kHz – 16bit to 24bit

Connectivity (output): 1x stereo pair of RCA (Left and Right)

PCM support: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 352.8kHz, 384kHz, 717.6kHz, and 768kHz. 16 – 32bit

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

Digital designer: Rob Watts

Mechanical designer: John Franks

Country of manufacture: England

Key Features

Chord Custom FPGA DAC
49,152 Taps
4x Selectable Filters
Selectable Output Voltage
768kHz USB Type B Input
96kHz Optical Input
USB Galvanic Isolation
2x 384kHz BNC Coax Input
1x 768kHz Dual Data Mode Input
1x Stereo RCA Outputs
Supports up to 768kHz PCM
Native DSD 512 (8x) Capable
Solid Aluminium Chassis
Roon tested

Included Accessories

Qutest user manual
Safety instructions
Drawstring bag
5V 2A Switching Micro USB power supply
Type-A USB to Type-B USB cable

Chipset: Chord Electronics custom coded Xilinx Artix 7 (XC7A15T) FPGA

Tap-length: 49,152

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’ weighted (reference 2.5v)

Noise 2.6 uV ‘A’ weighted: No measurable noise floor modulation

Channel separation: 138dB at 1kHz 300Ω

Weight: 770g

Dimensions: 4.5cm (H) 16cm (W) 8.8cm (D)

Boxed Weight: 1500g

View the Huei phonostage