It might look like it but this is not Chord’s Qutest. It’s not even a DAC. It’s the Kent company’s forthcoming £990 phono stage.
Meet Huei: compatible with MM and MC phono cartridges and wrapped in the same machine-milled aluminum chassis as the Qutest DAC. Any colour you like as long as it’s black. Lining Huei’s front edge, Chord’s signature “polychromatic control spheres” handle microprocessor control of cartridge gain (8 levels) and impedance adjustment (16 settings), plus rumble filter on/off. The nearby porthole gives us a view of the electronics within.
On the rear panel, we note a pair of RCA sockets for connection to a turntable, single-ended outputs plus a set of balanced outputs (for connection to an amplifier) that might have Qutest DAC owners thumping the table in righteous indignation. Power comes from a 12V wall wart.
From the press release: “Huei has been carefully designed to provide turntables with the same high standards of amplification the company has become known for over the past 30 years.”
For newcomers, Huei adds gain to a phono cartridge’s exceedingly quiet output signal so that it can be fed into a line-level input on an amplifier. Different cartridges require different amounts of gain. Selecting the right impedance optimises the cartridge’s performance. A rumble filter strips away any low noise generated by the turntable’s bearings.
- Input impedance: 30Ω-47kΩ, 50pF-1uF
- Input noise: 1.1nV/Hz
- Max output voltage: 10V RMS equalisation
- Gain range: 0dBV-75dBV
- Equalisation response: RIAA curve; Equalisation accuracy: +/- 0.1dB
- Frequency response: RIAA curve = 12Hz to 25kHz
- Rumble filter: Rausch Slope -24dB per octave below 50Hz
- Output impedance: 520Ω (resistive)
- Input power supply: 12V 100V to 240V 50/60Hz PSU
- Dimensions/weight: 160mm (W) x 43mm (D) x72 (H); 770g
Shipping begins late summer 2019.
Further information: Chord Electronics