The new 2Qute takes the technology from What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision's 2014 Best DAC - (Hugo) and adds it to What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision's 2014 Best DAC £700 - £1,000 (Qute EX). The result is a new super-DAC with class-leading specification, outstanding technical measurements and proven sonic performance.
2Qute advances the award-winning Qute EX DAC with the latest Hugo specification. Essentially a Hugo in a Chordette chassis, it brings the latest FPGA DAC technology into an affordable home-system-orientated unit. 2Qute contains the same high-performance Spartan 6 FPGA that has enabled Hugo to redefine the DAC genre in 2014. The 2Qute also boasts astonishingly 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 handy 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 for greater sonic performance. This has been achieved using a novel technique which allows for very high data rates of up to 384kHz; the input is driverless on Apple and Android devices, with (ASIO included) drivers for Windows devices.
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 0.5A power supply provided
Output: 3v RMS 1kHz
Dynamic range: -119dB A Wt
THD: 0.0003% at 3v RMS 1kHz; 0.0002% at 2v RMS 1kHz
Crosstalk: 126dB 1kHz
Frequency Response: +/- 0.1dB 20-20kHz
In a nutshell this is one of the best sounding DACs at or anywhere near its price. The 2Qute turns in a performance that's emotionally intense, musically immersive and is really impressive. It's a rare DAC that can do this; the top Chords and dCS machines perform this trick with ease, but there are very few others that can.
David Price, Hi-Fi Choice Editor's Choice Award, September 2015
Late last year I had the distinct pleasure of reviewing the Chord Hugo portable headphone amp/digital converter, it was the best on-the-go rig I've ever heard. The 2Qute lets you hear deeper into the music; it lifts veils from the sound so you hear each instrument and voice more clearly. The music is more immediate, more present, and more alive. If you have never heard recorded music like this you literally don't know what you're missing.
Steve Guttenberg, CNET July 2015
In the 2Qute, Chord goes a step further by inserting the latest FPGA technology – the one used in the exemplary $2,495 Hugo. This is a formidable combination, and it results in an incredibly organised and detailed musical performance, delivering an almost-effortlessly cohesive and musical sound no matter what song is played. It's clear the 2Qute outperforms the former Qute Ex. Another success story for the Chordette range.
What Hi-Fi? Five Star Award, July 2015
Accolades from the original Qute...
Competitive with top flight CD players from Esoteric, dCS, Accuphase, and EMM Labs, this $1,795 DAC goes head to head and matches them on most scores. This is an absolutely stunning result for the QuteHD. I am wildly enthusiastic about this DAC.
Phil Gold, enjoythemusic, December 2012
The entry-level Chord QuteHD DAC trumped the competition. Instead of the presentation rendered by the five-figure CD player, the QuteHD DAC delivered a far more appealing, richer presentation in which edge was replaced by body and substantial color.
Jason Victor Serinus, Stereophile, November 2012
The Chord is truly exceptional with CD-quality music. The Qute has a way of pulling out a full, dimensional sound from 16/44.1 music files that is quite astonishing. The Chord delivered some of the most convincingly natural sounding CD-quality sound I've yet heard. The Chordette QuteHD makes CD-quality music sound more like HD music. And that's a remarkable conversion.
Michael Lavorgna, Stereophile AudioStream, Greatest Bits Award, January 2013
The new QuteHD is exactly what you’ve been waiting for... we’re mightily impressed with the results... it’s a terrific performer. It makes most rivals sound insubstantial and lacking cohesion. Chord has struck gold with the QuteHD. It’s simple, looks great and sounds absolutely fantastic.
What HiFi Product of the Year 2012
If you were looking for the star player in this very talented team, the prime candidate has to be the QuteHD DAC. It rewarded me with a truly fabulous performance. Chord has long been a specialist with digital and this little DAC seems to have all of that knowledge condensed within it.
HiFi Choice, June 2012
Jitter is exquisitely low at 10psec for all sample rates... Chord has set the cat among the pigeons with this affordable but capable and fine-sounding DAC. Trimming the fixtures and fittings back to a minimum and concentrating the budget where it matters most has produced a DAC that will meet most audiophiles' needs while delighting them with sound that belies the keen price. The QuteHD should be heard by anyone looking for a DAC at around $1,700 that sounds as if it should cost a great deal more.
Hi-Fi News, Outstanding Product Award, September 2012