Article Index
Chord DAVE
page 2
page 3
page 4, sound quality
page 5, conclusion
page 6, measured performance
All Pages



There are four different options for the screen display on the front of Dave. Here is one of the more colourful ones - but the basic black and white version is easier to read.


Alongside all these inputs there are single-ended and balanced outputs - which both provide a healthy voltage (see Measured Performance for more information). There’s also what are described as 2x ultra-high-speed coax 768kHz dual-data mode connectors which Chord says are for use with forthcoming but as yet unannounced products. Intriguing, to say the least.

Dave is not simply a digital-to-analogue convertor, though. It also contains a volume control, meaning you can plug it straight into a power amplifier if you fancy, and there is a headphone circuit with a 6.3mm jack on the front.

The styling of the whole unit is typical Chord - a superbly-finished brushed aluminium casing which is both weighty and immaculately constructed. At the centre is a large display window which serves to let you see what settings you have selected, plus incoming sample rate. You can dial through four different displays, one of which is basic black and white, two others which are rather more colourful and a final one which goes off after 30 seconds. Personally I preferred the basic one for its pure simplicity. 

The slanted front panel also contains four control buttons for navigation around menu options as well as the volume button if the Dave is being used as a pre-amp. 

A supplied remote control replicates all these functions and is, frankly, much easier to use. The reason? Chord has decided not to label any of the buttons (nor the inputs on the rear, by the way) so a thorough read of the instruction book is essential to find your way around.

Other facilities include a switch to select positive or negative phase depending on your system and tastes, a high-frequency filter to reduce noise plus a four-level Crossfeed system on the headphone output which blends information between the left and right channels to move the presentation away from the typical stark left/right in-your-head balance of most headphones to present something closer to that of a traditional stereo loudspeaker set-up. You can even configure Dave to prioritise its processing for PCM or DSD signals depending which type of file you are playing. Not surprisingly, it does sound better when this is correctly dialled-in.

As you can probably guess, all this digital engineering expertise and build quality doesn’t come cheap, Chord Dave costing £7950 - although anyone looking at its specifications and distinctive styling may well guess at a much higher price.

Oh, and as for the name - if you didn’t know it is an acronym for Digital to Analogue Veritas in Extremis. Meaning, in Chord’s own words, this is the closest you can get to hearing the true digital signal from your files.


So, is it...?




The supplied Chord system remote is probably the best way to control Dave given its comprehensive nature.






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