Article Index
Chord DAVE
page 2
page 3
page 4, sound quality
page 5, conclusion
page 6, measured performance
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Chord Electronics’ new Dave DAC/pre-amp/headphone amplifier is a tour-de-force of digital engineering, says Jon Myles.


Chord’s recently released Dave DAC has to be one of the most highly-anticipated standalone digital-to-analogue convertors to come around in a long time. First announced to much fanfare at last year’s Munich High-End Show enthusiasts have been waiting for it with bated breath ever since.

Not surprising, really, as the Kent-based company has its own take on getting the best out of digital audio. That means it eschews the usual path of buying in DAC chips from other manufacturers and instead uses bespoke designs from renowned digital guru Rob Watts.

These are based around an FPGA (field programmable gate array) chip that can be loaded with Chord’s own proprietary software to achieve the best possible sound. Allied to this is the Watts Time Aligned (WTA) filter which has formed the basis of Chord’s digital products for the past 15 years but has been steadily improved and upgraded over that time.

Put more simply, instead of buying an off-the-shelf DAC chip and designing a circuit around it (as most manufacturers at all sorts of price levels do) Chord’s approach is to take control of all elements themselves - especially the all-important conversion of digital to analogue.



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