Chord Electronics Chordette Gem
High-end audio specialist Chord Electronics has the world’s first stereo Bluetooth audio adaptor.
- Good sound quality
- Need to set volume carefully
At around £400, this is not a cheap solution to hearing music from your mobile phone or PC. But aside from a second string to its bow — USB audio playback — it stands as only the world’s second such product that can retrieve music wirelessly from your A2DP Bluetooth-equipped mobile phone. The first is the company’s own QBD 76 DAC, at nearly eight times the price.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
From UK high-end audio specialist Chord Electronics comes a true crossover product, a digital audio converter expressly designed to become the missing link between a mobile phone and a stereo hi-fi system.
The Chordette Gem resembles a scaled-down version of Chord's respected QBD 76 digital-to-analog converter (DAC). While the QBD 76 — priced at £3000 — uses proprietary conversion techniques to raise its game against strong audiophile competition, the Chordette Gem uses less expensive converter technologies, and is limited to two types of input connection.
It can accept digital audio either through Bluetooth, using the advanced audio distribution profile (A2DP), or via USB.
Once paired with a mobile phone, Mac or PC, any MP3 or similar music files can be beamed through the aether and received via the Chordette Gem's folding rubber antenna. We found the Chordette Gem's range to extend up to around 8 metres before drop-outs became audible, so should work well in most people's living rooms.
The Chordette Gem unit is milled from high-quality aluminium in a choice of six colourful anodised finishes, and features the company's trademark 'porthole' window on top, allowing you to see the LED-illuminated electronics within.
In listening tests, we found sound quality was good, if limited somewhat by the inevitable on-the-fly lossy compression applied to the audio signal before it's transmitted to the Chordette Gem. Beware, therefore, that even pristine WAV or lossless files will carry some hint of 'MP3ness' to them. As the A2DP protocol evolves, expect to see this improve as better codecs come into use by hardware manufacturers.
Meanwhile, the USB input option has no such limitations, and gave us one of the best quality USB audio playbacks we've encountered. Digital 'glare' was notably absent, with a smooth, analogue-like richness to the sound that nevertheless replayed detail aplenty.
You will need to set level carefully when playing back from both Mac OS X and Windows, adjusting volume level to around 50 per cent to avoid digital clipping, which is heard as unpleasant overload distortion.
When set up correctly, the Chordette Gem defies its diminutive size by conjuring up a big, warm sound that will get the best from digital audio from your PC.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Lexar® Portable SSD
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Huawei Mate 9
Acer Swift 7
Google Daydream VR headset
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Surface Pro 4
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Up next for Apple TV: 4K streaming reportedly in the works
- Apple’s original TV shows are almost ready for prime time
- Apple snags Amazon Fire TV exec to lead Apple TV efforts
- AirTV's slick marriage of Sling TV and OTA channels isn't in the product yet
- Here's what's coming next from Sling TV
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- TPIT Project CoordinatorVIC
- TPSenior Analyst Programmer - ContractQLD
- FTSnr SOC Security Coordinator - Perm - North Ryde areaNSW
- CCSenior Business AnalystVIC
- TPIteration ManagerNSW
- CCSolution Architect - Financial applicationsVIC
- CCSenior Infrastructure EngineerNSW
- FTFull Stack Web Developer .NET or JAVANSW
- CCCloud Security Solutions Architect - Finance - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- CCProject SpecialistVIC
- FTSenior Systems AdministratorWA
- CCUnix AdministratorNSW
- FTDeveloper - Java/J2EEQLD
- FTPresales Solutions ArchitectQLD
- CCArcSight Security Engineer - Contract - IT Services - SydneyNSW
- FTERP ConsultantQLD
- TPTechnical Business Analyst - DigitalQLD
- FTSenior Dot Net Backend Orientated DeveloperNSW
- CCContract - System Access Administrator - major Telco in MelbourneVIC
- TPDigital Strategist - Newcastle BasedNSW
- CCTechnical Support AnalystACT
- FTSalesforce Technical Consultant/Architect Global IT Company - SydneyNSW
- CCMDM Consultant/DesignerVIC
- CCSenior Business Analyst - Financial ServicesVIC
- FTDevOps/Senior Sys Admin - eCommerce - Permanent - Sydney Northern BeachesNSW