Chord Hugo 2

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

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    For AIOs, I would recommend the Schiit Fulla 2 for $99, Douk Audio DSD1796 for $83, or GOV2 for $199 instead of the $1495 Hugo 1. Heck, I'd recommend the Mojo over the Hugo 1.

    No. This is nonsense. The notion that the Hugo 1 as a dedicated DAC can even compare with mid-level desktop DACs, at least ones I would consider good, is utterly bullshit. However, I would point out that the Hugo 1 might be better in many ways than the Gungnir DS or Emotiva DC-1 from five years ago, or Lavry DA10 from ten years ago.

    As DACs, the Hugo and Mojo are about on the level of well implemented < $150 small form-factor desktop DAC such as ODAC, Modi, and some others from reputatable pro brands which I know are about to come out, etc.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2017
  2. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Some thoughts on CHORD I figured I should make clear. Also writing this because of several PMs I've received:
    1. CHORD'S APPROACH IS LEGIT. I don't think anyone here who has heard the DAVE will say that it's not a TOTL DAC. I know that a few members own it and enjoy it. Nuff said. I would agree with @EVOLVIST that the CHORD tech, full-blown implemented, and with a good power supply (it's always the power supply right?) is legit.
    2. THE PORTABLE CHORD DACS DO NOT COMPETE WITH DESKTOP DACS. The portable CHORD DACs (2Qute, Hugo, Mojo, and even the $5500 Hugo TT) used as dedicated DACs, do not compete with good mid-level desktop DACs in 2017, much less with the better low-priced small form-factor desktop DACs recently released. Anyone who makes this claim is full of shit, a shill, has bad ears, or uses mediocre desktop DACs for comparison. Getting tired of repeating this in every other PM. Actually, let me repeat this again: THE PORTABLE CHORD DACS WHEN USED AS DEDICATED DACS DO NOT COMPETE WITH THE BETTER DESKTOP DACS.
    3. MOST SBAF MEMBERS ARE TOO POOR TO AFFORD CHORD. Heck, most SBAF members cannot even afford an Yggdrasil. I think can I pretty much name every Friend who owns an Yggdrasil (Pavane, or Holo), and honestly there are not that many. Heck, I sold off my Yggdrasil (for cheap) because I needed to reallocate funds for other gear. As a consequence of being too poor to throw away $1600, $2500, or $5500 at portable DACs, SBAF members seek higher value products. Products that perform better or near for a fraction of the cost of CHORD (which do happen to exist). Members here are going to be smart and allocate their money wisely, knowing that any DAC will be worth as much as a used condom in 5-10 years after release.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2017
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  3. mscott58

    mscott58 Friend

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    Agree here completely. Have to admit that I got swallowed up by the Mojo hype-train and used it for quite a while in my portable stack. It worked better with a good portable amp, specifically the ALO CV5, but then when paired with the AK100 source the three-piece AK/Mojo/ALO stack was more of a brick (remember the old "luggable" PCs?). Then I heard the Sony NW-WM1Z and the stack has been sitting on the bench since. For desktop use, the Holo Spring (mine's the L3) is clearly superior than the Mojo, and I never liked the Hugo's (V1 or TT, haven't heard the V2). The addition of the Singxer SU-1 to run the Holo via I2S helped as well. As Marvey said, I know I'm lucky to afford this gear (and the Cavalli LAu that drives my desktop set) - it's an embarrassment of gear in many ways. When I do suggest desktop stacks to my friends who either don't have or don't want to spend as much $ I almost always recommend one of the Schiit MB's for DAC duty - either the Gungnir or Bifrost. Really can't beat them pound-for-pound in my experience.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2017
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  4. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    Re #2 What a load! But you are entitled to your opinion since this is your site.

    All Hail, the magnificent OZ:bow:

    For another view:
    I am, therefore, full of shit, have bad ears, and use mediocre dacs like Schitt Multibit Gungnir, Metrum Musette, Matrix, Lavry, Apogee, Benchmark and other Schiit dacs with and without deeffifieers.

    I prefer the Mojo in my speaker based setup and in HP setup. Is it perfect, Fuck no, nothing is.
     
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  5. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    Not sure who you're asking.

    If it's me, there's no Chord DAC that I've heard at this point that I would buy over Yggdrasil or, at least right now, over Gungnir MB either.

    I don't see Hugo 2 changing that.
     
  6. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    From a different perspective, I was chatting with a friend of mine in the UK that say's he received his Hugo 2. He wants it for his commute (via train), so is looking at it as a (trans)portable unit primarily. His initial comparison is to his Sony WM1Z ... and the highlights of that brief discussion would be his comments to the effect of:
    • Well, it (Hugo 2) plays louder.
    • So far, the battery life sucks.
    • It isn't any lighter.
    • I like "Mojo-mode" the best so far, so maybe I should just get a Mojo instead.
    • I think I like the Sony better.
    Again, his comments not mine - I just removed the profanity and captured the highlights.
     
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  7. Galm

    Galm Still looking for Little Red Riding Hood

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    Great post.

    Yeah I love my Chord Mojo with my ie800s (lol two things a lot of people here don't like). I use it in my pocket on the go. I could tell without too much time that Mojo isn't as resolving as the Bifrost multibit, but it has a very nice smoothness that I appreciate when I'm on the go anyway, and not as easily able to listen to the really minute details. It's also definitely lighter on bass than all my other dacs I have/had. That's fine for me with the ie800s though.

    But I thought it was just awful with my HD800s and ZMF Atticus both as a dac/amp and as a dac. Getting a real desktop dac was a huge improvement.

    Yeah right...

    As someone who owns one that's total bull. I do like my Mojo, but it's not some perfect device, and it's value for the money is questionable. I mainly got it to see what the big deal was and was not liking my Oppo HA-2s sound signature. It's certainly not a shitty dac, but it may not be great for the price. Idk for me those Black iDSD's are way to big to actually count as portable, but they do sound good.

    If you're looking for a desktop set up I agree with Torq that Yggdrasil is almost certainly the better bet. I've been having the same decision and crossed out Hugo 2. The Holo Spring Dac L3 was the only other real competitor with Yggdrasil but doesn't make sense for my purposes.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2017
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The Chord Mojo is a good sounding DAC and worth the portable price premium. The value is not fantastic, but it is OK. OK value is still better than piss-poor value. The Mojo also sounds better than the Hugo 1 IMO. Mojo's most serious limitations are lack of slam, sigma-delta timbre that manifests as prickly treble, and inability at the extremes. It's mid-centric, which is a lot better than the Hugo 1 which can sound lean. Also, the Hugo 1 tends to sound flat and boring - unengaging. The Mojo is good enough where certain synergies might be found with associated gear via happenstance. However, I personally would not consider the Mojo or any of the CHORD portable DACs that I have heard so far as a foundation, a source, for a high performance headphone or two channel system.

    I have not heard Hugo 2 so I cannot say anything about it for certain. Considering that I didn't even find the Hugo TT up to snuff, and the universal truth that bigger and hotter sounds better, Magic Eight Ball says "doubtful". Vegas odds say that we take our chances with one of the more established high performance DACs used by the members here: Yggdrasil / Gungnir Multibit, Holo, Menutte / Pavane, DAVE, MSB Analog (with latest firmware upgrades), TotalDUC D12, Lampi Big 12, used: PWD1->2, SFD, EAR DACute, etc.

    But who knows. Maybe the Hugo 2 might be revolutionary and incorporate the best aspects of all DACs that I have ever heard, and even possess up to 80% of the attributes only heard from the best analog recordings from high-end vinyl rigs, into one small package.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2017
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  9. bengo

    bengo Friend

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    In some weird reverse karmic twist, the universe has rewarded (rather than punished) my sarcastic post in that other thread. A Hugo 2 just landed at my local dealer. I will try to arrange a quick listen to it this week. Will be sure to include the packaging and instruction manual in any review :D :D

    I can also do a more extended audition over a few days (and compare it in "DAC mode" vs Yggdrasil SE output), although this would probably involve, at least, a very hefty deposit on my credit card...

    Maybe my true punishment will be listening to the thing, although the impressions I get from others' comments on Hugo 1 are more 'meh' than 'aargh'. I should add that I have not heard any Chord gear myself, although so far I generally prefer good R2R DACs (either OS or NOS) to any delta-sigma (or PWM, PAM, etc).
     
  10. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    Very unlikely to be "argh"; you're more likely to be underwhelmed than horrified, except at the value proposition. We're talking about Chord, not Audio GD, here :)

    I'm not convinced that it's worth the portable price premium. The battery life is pretty poor, and it's a really clumsy shape for portable use, banded to a phone or DAP. It's possibly usable as a "transportable" thing, as long as you don't try to charge and play at once on a warm day. Worse yet, you really need a separate DAP to drive it over S/PDIF, as using it via USB is horrifically flaky in your pocket. I ended up building an ugly polymer putty "gumshield" around a short right-angled USB cable so that it could retain connection most of the time when banded to an old phone.

    (Oh, and if you use a phone to drive it, it needs to be flight mode, as the thing has the worst RF rejection that I've seen in a while)

    All of that is stuff unrelated to the sound, of course- which is.. inoffensive, possibly a bit too easy going. I thought it lacked extension even more than a Modi Multibit, but also seemed to lose out in separation and timbre etc. too (as well as sounding a little odd at what passed for its high frequencies). The sound was OK, but very unspectacular. I think I'd be more tempted to look for the recent variant of the Fiio X5 or something for a cheap mobile unit, and just learn to love the 4490 sound if I was interested in a Mojo on the move.

    (I bought a WM1A and sold my Mojo. Very happy with the decision.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2017
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  11. bengo

    bengo Friend

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    Or Benchmark. I don't think I made it to the end of my standard audition playlist, which was only 8 tracks at that time. My ears are still sore! How something can measure well, but simultaneously sound so godawful, is a true mystery to me.

    I find in general that most DACs do fine on more minimal tracks which leave enough space for instruments to breathe, while it tends to be busier stuff (rock, metal etc) that really trips them up in a big mush of monotone digitus - just try a Foo Fighters track on the DAC2 to see what I mean.
     
  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Those are good points. The Mojo really isn't an all-in-one. I actually liked the Mojo with the Andromeda IEMs. I normally prefer Andro with source impedance of a few ohms (Mojo is near zero); but there was great synergy with Mojo's bass-light / mid-centric presentation and Andro's predisposition to be tipped-up at the extremes.

    Now that I think of it, I reached the same conclusion as you. Why did I want to deal with the Mojo when the ZX2 sounded better in a true all-in-one self contained package? I did have to pay significantly more for the ZX2, but at least the data source and storage is included.
     
  13. Jerry

    Jerry Friend

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    Looking forward to your impression, bengo :)
     
  14. Galm

    Galm Still looking for Little Red Riding Hood

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    I believe Hugo 1 was just hype... It's not like horrendous, but it doesn't beat the desktop level machines in the price range.

    Hugo 2 is getting rehyped because of its similarities to Dave, which is admittedly TOTL. But It's unlikely to sound like dave at its pricepoint with its specs and the fact that it's also got a battery taking up space. I mean most of that is just second to the fact that its specs just plain aren't going to be as good as Dave's.

    Also people hyping it up from conventions. I had another person tell me how much they liked it at an audio show that was in LA this weekend. Which isn't exactly optimal testing conditions. But he did seem to genuinely enjoy it at least.

    I'm just very very skeptical it is better than Yggdrasil.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2017
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  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    It's mostly noobs at shows. Sure, the Hugo is great compared to an iPhone. The price also bedazzles and makes one think that sub $300 AIOs can't compete with it.

    Just recall how Stillhart heard the Hugo for the first time at CES and went all ga ga over it, while I had to explain to him in my old HF DAC thread that the Hugo really wasn't all that great. Years later, he's moved on, through a few R2R DACs. Last time I heard, he was really into the AGD DAC19.

    I also suspect CHORD employs sock puppets to shill their gear on the boards. They have a great marketing machine.
     
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  16. Galm

    Galm Still looking for Little Red Riding Hood

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    Wow... To follow up @David De Lucena Someone one headfi just said that their ie800s with Hugo 2 sound better than their Stax setup...

    Like I enjoy the ie800 a lot unlike most, but that's just hilarious.
     
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  17. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Haha, I loved the post where Robb Watts "completely and utterly" disagreed with one poster who said that he preferred the QBD76 over DAVE.
     
  18. Jerry

    Jerry Friend

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    I saw that post. Have you heard QBD76, Marv? What is your impression between the 2?
     
  19. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Oh shit. I think I have. It's the one that sort of looks like DAVE (but without the platform and legs, and with the window offset to one side), but was the prior flagship? If it's what I think it is, I heard it next to the Yggdrasil and EAR DACute with the EC Studio. It's a colossal POS that was not anywhere near competitive with Yggdrasil or DACute. I actually asked the owner: Do you actually listen to that POS?

    EDIT: LOL, so I guess I have to agree with Robb Watts.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2017
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  20. Northwest

    Northwest Acquaintance

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    I spent a few weeks time with the original Hugo after reading praise. It didn't live up to hype for me. It felt really outdated. It wouldn't remember the last input you used. It had multiple unlabeled buttons. You had to memorize the color of the internal three LED to know what setting you were using.

    The form factor wasn't great either. In my opinion it didn't work as a transportable DAC, and wasn't the best at being a desktop dac. It had some inputs, and outputs on the same side. I used a lifatec toslink cable paired with my HD800. I was initially impressed, but my enthusiasm waned only after a week. It could of been poor synergy between the HD800 and the Hugo, but the initial extra detail I thought I was hearing became pretty fatiguing. HD800 might not have the best bass quantity, but I felt like the Hugo never improved anything in the bass department.

    I no longer own the HD800. Also, after attending a couple of meets, I feel that the Hugo didn't offer much for the price.

    Ps. From what I've seen there has always been a glut of used Hugos for sale. They don't seem to sell even when discounted to $1000 from their initial price of $2,200.
     
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