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Chord Electronics has launched its most advanced DAC to date. Given the acronym DAVE,
Chord’s latest-generation digital-to-analogue convertor features the very best conversion
technology available, using proprietary techniques never seen before.
DAVE is a highly advanced reference-grade DAC, digital preamp and headphone amplifier.
Hand-made in Kent, DAVE is based around a proprietary FPGA (Field Programmable Gate
Array) offering more than ten times the program capacity of its predecessor.
At its heart lies a new (and in electronics terms, huge) LX75 version of the Spartan 6 Field
Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). The FPGA’s extraordinary capability enables a number of
key sonic benefits including significantly improved timing and the best noise-shaper
performance of any known DAC. DAVE’s technology delivers music with unmatched reality
and musicality, with an unrivalled timing response.
Technology in depth: new WTA filter
Chord Electronics has implemented a brand new WTA (Watts Transient Aligned) filter with
164,000 taps. WTA filtering is now up to 256 FS (that's 256-times the sample frequency) —
no other DAC has ever FIR filtered at such a high rate! In order to process signals at this
unprecedented rate, DAVE has massive parallel-processing capacity with 166 separate DSP
cores just for the WTA filtering alone. This enables DAVE to reproduce the original
unsampled analogue signal more accurately than any other DAC.
The output stage has been advanced with a new 20-element Pulse Array DAC and a unique
second-order analogue noise-shaper, which gives ultra-high-frequency linearity. Its output
feeds both balanced XLR and single-ended RCA outputs, as well as an advanced headphone
output with more than enough capability for the most impedance-challenging headphones.
A key benefit over its predecessor is a full-sized LCD display, showing input, sample
frequency and volume, plus set-up and configuration options. The display, which sits behind
the famous Chord porthole, is clearly visible from a variety of angles and retains the
signature colour display for volume and sample rate as introduced by the landmark Hugo
DAC/headphone amp. On its fascia, DAVE also features a rotary encoder with a large
stainless steel controller and ball buttons, enabling direct interactivity in addition to the
supplied remote control.
DAVE’s advanced technology is enshrined in Chord Electronics’ trademark casework which
has been precision-milled from solid aircraft-grade aluminium to deliver functional strength
and rigidity, as well as great beauty. Simply stated, DAVE is the most advanced DAC in the
world, something Chord Electronics is immensely proud of.
Chord has given its most advanced DAC to date a moniker that best reflects the product’s
capability; a device so advanced and with so few compromises, that it is absolutely truthful
in the extreme; a standard that all other DACs on the market simply cannot hope to match.
Chord initially looked at using Latinised versions of the term ‘Extreme Truth’ or ‘Veritas’ in a
move away from model names with simple numbers and letters. Chord eventually chose the
acronym DAVE which joins Hugo and stands for Digital to Analogue Veritas in Extremis.
USB B-style 44 kHz to 768 kHz
DXD and Quad DSD
2x optical 44kHz to 192kHz
1 x AES 44kHz to 192kHz
4 x Coax 44kHz to 384kHz
Dual-data mode available
2x ultra-high-speed coax 768kHz dual-data mode (for use with future-unannounced Chord
Maximum output voltage: 6 volts RMS
THD and noise at 2.5 volts: RMS 0.000015 %
THD and noise at 2.5 volts: 127dBA Awt (124dBA into 33 ohms)
Dynamic range at -60 dBFS 1kHz -127 dBA A wt
(No measurable noise floor modulation, no a harmonic distortion)
(Analogue distortion characteristic: no distortion for small signals)
Power requirements: mains power 80 volts to 260 volts; AC 20 watts