Chord Electronics DAVE DAC
The Chord Electronics DAVE is the most advanced DAC Chord has ever made. It features the very best conversion technology available, using proprietary techniques never seen before, making DAVE the most advanced DAC/preamp amplifier in the world. DAVE stands for ‘Digital to Analogue Veritas in Extremis’, 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.
The DAC, which is also a reference-level headphone amplifier and ‘digital preamp’, distils twenty years of Chord research, development and advanced engineering into one device. At its heart lies a new version of the advanced Spartan 6 Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) with 1,000x the processing power of the traditional mass-produced chip DAC. DAVE’s FPGA is loaded with over a million lines of code to confront complex timing issues head-on, with speed and precision.
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. The device’s lossless digital volume control outputs the signal direct to your power amplifier for the purest experience.
DAVE has a full-sized LCD display, showing input, sample frequency, volume and set-up configurations options, within Chord’s famous porthole design. 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.
About Chord Electronics
Chord Electronics were established in 1989 and have gone on to be one of the worlds leading manufacturers of Highend Audio, under the leadership of their owner John Franks, Chord have always strived to to push forward the world of audio to offer landmark products giving fantastic performance mixed with stunning design and build quality.
Based in Rural Kent on the banks of the River Medway, Chord’s main goals are always to offer innovation and uncompromised audio quality and with customers like Skywalker Sound, Air Studios, and Even Sir Paul McCartney on their books along with stunning reviews that their equipment gets you can be sure that Chord really do offer some of the best products currently available today.
Simone Ragionieri Simone –
I own the DAVE since almost a year as a DAC / headphone amplifier, and for me it has been a game changer. The level of transparency and realism I experience out of this DAC is the best I heard in my system, ever.
The DAVE combines qualities typically difficult to match, because it is ruthlessly detailed, fast, clean and musical, smooth, vivid at the same time .
The most striking quality of the DAVE for me is how it builds a 3D environment, where the localization of the instruments or singer etc. is holographic, and the ambience (i.e. spatial cues produced by the recording venue) is represented in a spooky real way: whether it is a club, or a large live arena, or a church, etc. the illusion of being transported where the music was recorded is something special.
The DAVE is very expensive, but for a headphones-only user like me it combines the DAC and a very good amp, allowing a minimalistic while high-end desktop setup. I have used the DAVE with several headphones and it can cope also with hard to drive ones (you will need and amp for the hardest ones, though).
A very compelling feature of the DAVE for a headphone user is the crossfeed function. While I am not a fan of DSP in general, I must give to Chord that their implementation of the crossfeed on the DAVE is outstanding, and it helps a lot with the generation of a realistic soundscape, where the typical artifacts due to excessive lateralization of the sound source on a headphone are much reduced.
Last, you may consider to treat yourself with the Choral Ensemble stand. It is outrageously expensive and has little effect on the sound IMHO, but it displays my DAVE on the rack in a theatrical way 🙂