Chord Electronics DAVE DAC/headphone amp

Digital-to-analog converters,
Headphone amps and amp/DACs
Chord Electronics DAVE

As I’ve said, there are rival products, some of which turn in a different sound, and some of those sounds you might prefer over the DAVE. And there are some digital converters that come so close to the DAVE’s performance that you’d struggle to hear the difference in some settings. But the DAVE will likely show its hand sooner or later. It may be in dealing with a format, or outputting to a super insightful system or headphone, but the DAVE is a tough act to better all round.

Perhaps beyond all other aspects of performance, what is so important about the Chord DAVE is that it represents a raising of the bar of what can be had from a digital device. It’s one of those rare products that throws down the gauntlet, both sonically and technologically. Yes, you can do a lot with an off-the-shelf variation on a theme of the application board that is supplied to digital engineers by the chip companies, but that only goes so far. Chord Electronics’ DAVE is one of the few devices that challenges that concept head on. And for that, I can put up with the electromorphising name. The DAVE gets the strongest recommendation we can muster!


Type: DAC, with built-in headphone amplifier

Inputs: USB B-style: 44 kHz to 768 kHz - DXD and Quad DSD, 2x optical: 44kHz to 192kHz , 1 × AES: 44kHz to 192kHz , 4 × Coax: 44kHz to 384kHz, 2× BNC ‘DX’ inputs

Outputs digital: 2× ultra-high-speed coax 768kHz dual‑data mode for use with future-unannounced Chord Electronics products.

Outputs analogue: 2× RCA, 2x XLR, ¼” TRS headphone socket

Dual-data mode available

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

Available: in black or silver

Dimensions: (W×H×D): 34×6×15cm

Weight: 7kg

Price: £7,950

Manufactured by: Chord Electronics


Tel: +44 (0)1622 721444

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