Chord QuteHD DAC
The Chord Electronics Company is based a couple of miles from where I live in Rochester, I have lusted over their equipment (out of my price range) after spending many happy listening hours ‘chewing the cud’ over music in a sadly missed hi-fi shop that was located where I live, I digress… Chord have released a desktop-range (Chordette) that includes the ‘QuteHD DAC’ which is getting high praise globally… now this is not a review of any sorts but more importantly to discuss the ‘pulse array’ technology that this DAC employs.
I’ve got to divert off track for a little bit of history… I’m in that place where I will soon have to make a decision of sticking with cd’s (home system) or go the PC/Desktop/Portable route and really get into this headphone malarkey. The one thing I have come to appreciate as a ‘participant or voyeur’ that Head-Fi is an a very informative ‘wiki’ and fuels an incredible ‘cottage industry’ that in my mind challenges the major players and in many cases leaves them lagging far behind in quest of our ‘holy grail’ in sound… a year ago I would have been on the floor laughing at the thought of considering giving up a home-system for a Portaphile/Desktop one but with the rise of hi-end DAP’s and the new breed of CIEM/IEM’s that give staggering levels of detail the time to revaluate on how I enjoy my music now beckons... before I’m prepared to invest in a hi-end DAP, a DAC & desktop headphone amp will be pre-requisite and any future DAP must have the connectivity into the system as a source.
I get real confused over different file types, if up-sampling is a benefit, is hi-res significantly better over red-book, then to compound everything Duncan (Mod) has confused the life out of me more with technical explanations that just make me want to become a lemming and get the train to Dover (the Nyquist theory was the tipping point)… in such worrying times you just have to pick yourself up and find the courage to phone a Samaritan, in this case a helpful man at Chord who left me more confused but somehow more enlightened after explaining the gist of the pulse-array technology behind the QuteHD.
Our conversation travelled many different routes and a couple of the notable things that stuck were, only upload/download music in the format it was recorded (red-book, hi-res etc.), up-sampling only has a real benefit when derived from hardware as opposed to software applications… there was more advice but my brain has gone into system overload so I’ll excuse myself from any more memory errors.
What does ‘Pulse Array’ bring to the proceedings of a DAC and make the QuteHD different from the norm… I’m not technically proficient enough to give a proper assessment so I’ll try and explain things in way that I can grapple with… with up-sampling music the DAC fills in the blank spaces(?) resulting in perceived better definition & detail… the QuteHD using ‘pulse array’ technology does things differently instead of filling in the ‘blanks’ by the disbursement of ‘bits’ it ignores them & only concentrates on the retrieval of the bits carrying information (the further you get away from the source the easier it is to pick out individual bits of information),.. after the DAC receives the data the ‘tap rate’ enters the equation, the widely used industry DAC norms are 256-taps, the QuteHD operates a 11,000-taps(?) with it’s highly modified DAC-chip… the end result being vastly superior sound with regard to definition, detail & sound quality.
Obviously Head-Fi’ers will want to ask many questions about the ‘pulse-array’ technology and the benefits over rival DAC’s… to help answer any questions the helpful man from Chord has offered to participate in the discussions on Head-Fi (big thumbs-up for that), he may also ask Robert Watts, who is one of the leading world authorities/experts on ‘proprietary DAC technology’ to join in the debate.
Chord DAC technology & DAC’s:
Chordette Range: http://www.chordelectronics.co.uk/products.asp?cat=16
Edited by OK-Guy - 6/17/13 at 5:02am