High End 2015 • Hot Product

No, this isn't DAVE. It is an unusual choice of name for a DAC/digital preamp/headphone amp, but Chord Electronics has form in this department -- they make a headphone amp called Hugo, after all. DAVE is an acronym for "digital to analogue veritas in extremis" and will be available in the fall for 7995. Chord are making big claims for DAVE, the latest Rob Watts (shown above) design. At the press conference, the company not only called it their most advanced DAC to date, but also claim that it has the very best conversion technology available today.

DAVE runs six LX75-version Spartan 6 FPGAs and a Rob Watts-designed transient-aligned filter with 164,000 taps that run at 256 times the sampling frequency, and that’s before they mention 166 separate DSP cores. It’s amazing that everything fits in the compact and heavily bolted aluminum casework. Unlike previous mains-powered DACs from Chord, this has a display for input, sample rate and volume, as well as a handy stainless knob for the latter. There are plenty of outputs too, including USB B (up to 768kHz) and two ultra-high-speed coax connectors for dual data transmission up to the same frequency -- a product to go with them is yet to be announced.

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