Chord Hugo 2

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by Cellist88, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. Galm

    Galm Still looking for Little Red Riding Hood

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    Not to defend their horrible pricing, but the higher end products (especially the ones without batteries) don't seem to have noise issues. The 5 year transferable warranty also makes the risk a bit more tolerable imo... And it makes buying used make sense where you can save pretty large amounts and remove at least a part of the "Chord" tax.

    Hugo 2 is actually the scariest one to me... Over 2.5k and it can also have battery problems like Mojo.
     
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  2. Slaphead

    Slaphead Almost "Made"

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    Yeah, I was interested in H2, but the battery situation made me a bit leery about it even before my Mojo battery packed up.

    Also what I find a negative about the H2 is that it's, IMO, an ergonomic disaster - yeah, it might be a good sounding DAC/HP amp, but WTF is Chord playing at here.

    Another thing that has put me off Chord as a brand is the cult like following it seems to have garnered. Woe betide anybody who speaks out against Chord on certain other audio sites - it's almost like Franks and Watts have managed to create the audiophile equivalent of Scientology in some parts of the internet. OK, it's probably not their fault, but they seem very happy riding it and to a certain extent encouraging it.

    In the end I went for an RME ADI-2 DAC. The main reason being it that it fitted my requirements pretty much perfectly, whereas with the H2 I would have had to make compromises which ultimately I wasn't prepared to do.
     
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  3. Forza AudioWorks

    Forza AudioWorks MOT: Forza AudioWorks

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    I can agree with this. As a DAC it's a very fine piece of hardware, but its HP out didn't do justice to headphones I tried it with (Dharmas, HEKv2). IDK, maybe this is just me, but the sound I got from it was not engaging, there was no 'wow' factor.
     
  4. ToonMechaMan

    ToonMechaMan Rando

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    Tried the DAVE with the HEKv2 as well and thought the exact same thing.
     
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  5. spartacus

    spartacus Rando

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    the chord dave is incredibly transparent straight out but some people like an external amp with harder to drive HP's ,that might be you
     
  6. Galm

    Galm Still looking for Little Red Riding Hood

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    On most harder to drive planars the bass suffers pretty noticeably. DAVE's power output is pretty weak. 700mw at 80 Ohms is enough for Utopia. But only 225mw at 200Ohms for something like LCD-4.
     
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  7. Forza AudioWorks

    Forza AudioWorks MOT: Forza AudioWorks

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    Pretty much this.
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    It's not just planars, it's any headphone.

    Compare the incredibly transparent built-in headouts to running the outputs to something like the ECP DSHA3F or EC AF and report back.
     
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  9. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    The "humble" (by chord monetary anal rape standards) BHA-1, that costs way less than DAVE's stand, is a solid effing upgrade and sound good on nearly any headphone.
     
  10. Roman

    Roman Almost "Made"

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    I've had a new Hugo TT 2 as a loaner unit and would like to provide some impressions. I'm not a person knowledgeable in audio terms so can't really describe the sound. But I will try to provide as much useful information as I can. Below is my personal opinion and I would love to hear impressions from other people who managed to audition TT 2.

    I currently have a Gungnir MB A2 and a Project Horizon III amp with default tube (my DSHA-3F is not ready yet). Headphones are ZMF Verite with silver michanikós cable. I most likely have to relocate to Europe for a prolonged amount of time and want to have my gear with me. But carrying Gungnir MB that weighs 11lb sounds a bit gross to me. So, I wanted to find either a compact DAC with balanced outputs (since DSHA-3F has balanced inputs) or even an all-in-one device. The main idea was to find something that is at least as good as my current gear and is not that heavy to transport.

    Out of curiosity I bought a Chord Qutest some time ago and it was quite nice but not as good as Gungnir MB in my opinion (I sold Qutest later). So, after reading the whole topic about the new Hugo TT 2 on Head-Fi (don't do that) I started to search for a used TT 2 since my mind refuses to pay that much without audition. But then I found a loan offer from a Chord dealer and decided to apply. I'm actually glad I did and didn't buy the device blindly.

    The device is well built and looks premium but nothing really special. Very powerful according to specs. Power supply is implemented using super capacitors charged by a brick made in China PS (lol) so should be technically very clean. I only auditioned it as an all-in-one, didn't connect any amplifiers. As far as I know Chord DACs are essentially delta-sigma and all Chord magic is some preprocessing in FPGA. The only DS I could compare Chord with is RME ADI-2 and in my opinion (and also from memory) Chord easily beats it as all-in-one. Not surprising though considering price difference.

    Things become a bit more interesting when comparing Chord to my current setup. First, to me Chord sound is not as engaging as my current setup sound. It is clean, resolving, bass is tight etc. but it doesn’t give me goose bumps. Some tracks Chord plays very well but I still find vocals better on my setup. For example, the whole Chronology (Jean Michel Jarre) album sounded very well on Hugo but also on my setup. Whereas Sleeping Sun from Oceanborn (Nightwish) was better on my setup. I’m not sure if it is a mastering issue but in Sleeping Sun I always hear “th” and “s” sounding weird when listening on any DS setups whereas on my setup they sound softer and more pleasing. Or maybe because DS are more resolving and get all crap from sound? I don’t know and it doesn’t matter.

    Chord Hugo TT 2 MSRP is about $6000 (could be less offered by dealers), could be bought used for a bit more than $4000 or as a grey market product (no official Chord warranty). It is probably nice as all-in-one, could even drive some speakers, relatively small footprint so looks good on any desk. I also like the way it is implemented (custom processing, no generally used chips). But I will not buy it, I think that amount of money is too much and one could find a good all-in-one for less. Or I could be just deaf and it is a top notch.

    Anyway, I don’t regret paying for a loaner and recommend to always have an audition before pulling a trigger on such expensive gear.

    Thanks for reading.
     
  11. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Chord DAVE! It's fairly portable. Headout is OK / good, but the DAC really deserves something better.
     
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  12. joeexp

    joeexp Don't ship this man FD-X1 ever

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    Perhaps wait for the Hugo TT 4;
    Should be out in 3 years time.
     
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  13. Ice-man

    Ice-man Friend

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    I was able to spend a week listening to and testing the Hugo 2. Listening at home with my own gear in a quiet environment. Primary headphones were hd650 and ETHER 2. I used the H2 with both usb and coax connections and didn't find very much of a difference between the two. For comparison I tested the H2 against the ifi idsd and the Bifrost 2.

    tl:dr This dac/amp is very likely the most overpriced single piece of gear that I've come across in the hobby. It's not that it's bad sounding, it's quite decent sounding. Comparing it to an idsd bl, I'd take the idsd any day over the H2. The idsd is richer sounding, has more useful sound manipulation with switches and such, can drive higher impedance headphones more easily, has a slightly better battery life and is more portable. PLUS it cost nearly 10x less than the H2. :confused:

    Compared to the Bifrost 2...there isn't really a comparison here. The BF2 embarrasses the H2 in every aspect except being transportable and including a headphone amp. But sonically, the BF2 is more resolving, more cohesive and has the ability to sound more like listening to live music., real instruments and actual voices. If I ever needed any assurance about the ability of Schiit products to deliver the best price/performance in the hobby this this test has given it to me.

    There is an artificial quality to the sound that the H2 creates. It's not that it doesn't do bass, it does. But there is a V shape here with a sharpness in the lower treble that doesn't kills the believable factor for me. The lighted balls are just weird. The inputs and outputs are awkwardly placed especially when used in a desktop setup.

    And then there is the price. Yikes! If I ever had any doubt that there is NO correlation between product price and performance, Chord has completely put that to rest. But this is a $2500 product. The most I would feel comfortable paying would be about...? Just take a 0 off the sticker price and that would be a good number. $250

    Is the Hugo 2 a mini transportable DAVE? Hell no. The praise and rave reviews on this product are incomprehensible to me. But fuck, this is audiophilia and I've seen stranger things.
     

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