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 PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei P10 smartphone review
- 2 Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Motorola Moto G5 smartphone review
- 4 Oppo A57 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Moto G5 Plus phone: full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- How Thunderbolt 3 won the port wars
- Samsung Galaxy Gear 360: Great for the Galaxy S8, not so much for the iPhone
- Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- Gigabyte Aero 15 corporate gaming laptop review
- MSI GE62 7RD Apache gaming laptop review
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
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.
- MSI GE62 7RD Apache gaming laptop review
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Oppo A57 phone: full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- TPSenior .Net DeveloperQLD
- FTData ScientistACT
- FTICT SpecialistNSW
- FTTest AnalystVIC
- FTSolution Architect - DatacentreVIC
- CCWintel Server EngineerNSW
- TPProject Manager - SOE / Office 365VIC
- CCTesting Manager - Energy sectorVIC
- CCWintel Support EngineerVIC
- TPBusiness Analyst / Test CoordinatorQLD
- CCSenior PMO AnalystNSW
- FTData Analyst / Reporting SpecialistNSW
- FTXamarin DeveloperVIC
- FTSales Lead - Healthcare systemsVIC
- CCTechnical Specialist - Cloud ServicesVIC
- FTSystems EngineerNSW
- FTState IT Systems EngineerTAS
- FTDevelopment LeadVIC
- CCPega DeveloperSA
- CCApplications Support/ DevOps EngineerQLD
- CCSenior Systems EngineerVIC
- CCJava / J2EE DeveloperVIC
- FTEnterprise ArchitectVIC