Chord Hugo 2

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

  1. Chianti

    Chianti New

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    Possible workaround after getting back home: Noise would occur when charging from my powered USB hub, not when using Hugo's own charger that comes in the box. So much for no longer having to carry separate stuff and using standard USB instead ... This may not be a defective unit after all in the sense of "not working as designed", more a design limitation.
     
  2. drgumbybrain

    drgumbybrain Science Nut

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    Just found this at HF. I just feel sorry for this kind of attitude. A folk is suffering with hugo 2 sound... and the response? "Please wait, you are experiencing a multitude of sound information given by hug2! Your brain has to adapt to it. ". What a lot of BS.

    Original post:

    Please report the evolution
    Ok here's where I'm at after 3 days. With the CA Vega, everything below the upper mids sounds incredible, everything above that is shouting in my ear with glare or stabbing my eardrums with tiny knives from the sharp treble response. No filter helps. It's that feeling where you're afraid to skip to the next track for fear of a bright intro that'll make you wish you had a towel to bite down on for the pain. Extremely hard digital sound not natural at all in those frequencies. With line level to WA22/LCD-4, some of that calms down but everything takes a step back and sounds rather flat and distant. I have to crank the WA22 volume up uncomfortably high to get any realistic kick drum impact, which makes the mids and highs shouty once again.

    Reviews are saying H2 sounds very natural, and maybe over time it will, but right now mine just wants to scream upper frequency details in my ears and make me afraid to listen to any track that's the least bit bright. For a 4 month wait and costly upgrade over Mojo I'm not happy whatsoever. I'll give it an honest 30 day trial to see if it gets listenable, but if not it's gotta go.
     
  3. Chianti

    Chianti New

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    - "flat and distant sound" - would recommend to use USB re-clocker with Hugo 2, and try different digital sources (Amarra 4 Luxe continues to be preferred with most headphones)
    - Re:tonality, I don't hear drastic differences between Hugo 2 and e.g. Sabre 9018 DACs when using line-level output into external amp
     
  4. luximal

    luximal Made things right

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    got the loaner hugo 2 from the head fi tour

    oh man, the hugo 2 is quite mediocre, even when using coax with the eitr and rca out to my mcintosh mc2505

    imagine this: take the tone of the Gungnir Multibit, and remove everything else that's good about it, and you've got yourself a hugo 2

    Tone has that gumbyish soft but not warm sound, and despite being a ds dac, to it's credit it's quite analogue like without any harshness. Tone is good if you like that type of sound.

    Soundstage size is decent, has good depth and width, but the audial sounds more expansive. And I think the sfd-1 is even better than the audial

    detail is meh, very little microdetail, and lacks the air and clarity of the audial. Sfd-1 and Gungnir Multibit outresolves the hugo 2 easliy

    dynamics is a joke, kinda dead sounding (but I think it's better than the hugo 1), background is grey and a bit congested and clarity is okay at best


    Basically if you want an inoffensive sounding dac and for some insane reason you want to spend over 2k for it, the hugo 2 is for you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2017
  5. drgumbybrain

    drgumbybrain Science Nut

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    What do you mean with the grey background? Can you explain a bit more? Cheers
     
  6. luximal

    luximal Made things right

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    contrast between the sound of the instruments and the space between them

    it's kinda hard to explain unless you are able to hear it yourself, but on dacs with really black backgrounds, instruments sound like they pop out of an inky black void. Think the sonic equivalent of amoled vs lcd. Even something like the Gungnir Multibit has a greyish background. The hugo 2 is a bit worse and while the audial fares the best out of the three, but it's still not perfect.
     
  7. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    This description is puzzling. Unless the music was recorded in an anechoic chamber, there's always some background, especially in live recordings. Are you sure that the "grey" is not supposed to be there?
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    #2 is a decent workaround

    #1 seems utterly dumb because it defeats the AIO and super portability aspect of the Hugo 2, while adding $600 to the already expensive price of the Hugo 2. This would be like me adding 80 pounds of intercooler and supercharger at the front and top of my BRZ because I wanted better acceleration. Doing so would give me the better acceleration I desired, but utterly defeat the point of point of the car.
     
  9. JoeBinx

    JoeBinx New

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    Excellent point, the portability combined with the input flexibility and sufficient head-amp are the only saving grace of the Hugo 2. It won't drive a legacy 2010 planar but it'll do just fine with most new more efficient headphones. Sadly I've not lived with any of the even remotely "flagship" status dacs or amps, as such I was ultimately disappointed by how the Hugo 2 compared to my NFB10ES2, yes it had better resolve but the imaging suffered at times... a $2300 portable is comparable to a exaggerated sounding Mid Fi Sabre dac/amp...

    But, considering that it's not a 25 lb black metal box that requires a wall wart, I suppose that's alright.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2017
  10. bengo

    bengo Friend

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    Er, isn't #2 also dumb for the exact same reason? You can't fit a PC or Macbook in your pocket. HQPlayer isn't cheap either.

    PS: welcome back!! :)
     
  11. Grahad2

    Grahad2 Red eyes from too much anime

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    You can use upscaled files...? GPD Pocket, as it's name suggests, fits in pockets.
     
  12. Darren G

    Darren G Friend

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    Guessing it's more a case of the phone out sounds mediocre. If I put a $2300 thingy after that, it plays louder but if still sounds like junk, or worse, what do you do next? Try to justify the purchase, or return it.

    p.s. cheaper solution - those $300 Bose headphones with active noise cancellation, yea those, actually aren't so bad. Yea they are on the murky side, but they are also reasonably pleasant. And you save a ton of cash for better gear on your rig that really matters. Oh and the active noise cancellation works quite well.
     
  13. luximal

    luximal Made things right

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    Well it's not really about the the contrast between instruments and the background noise, but more about the contrast between sound and not sound

    Marv calls it "blackground" http://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/the-audio-101-thread.3214/page-3#post-96353

    "So in terms of clarity, I mean lack of veil or haze. Having a black (as opposed to grey) background or canvas of which sounds emanate. Here are some examples: the Schiit Jotunheim and Abyss headphone are quite good at the clarity / blackness aspect, but not the last word in plankton; the Ragnarok, despite having good clarity, if we listen carefully, has a slight haze when compared to amps which are clearer sounding."

    Basically the sonic equivalent of contrast ratio.
     
  14. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    1) I just ignored the "portability" aspect of the Hugo2. I just thought of it as a small desktop DAC with some extra features. The battery? Power isolation built-in. That said, as a DAC I didn't find it any better than the Bifrost Multibit. Of course, YMMV. Sill, for $2k, I would expect a better DAC.

    Then again, the portability maybe worth something to some people.

    2) If you use iTunes, BitPerfect ($10) works well for upsampling, with a few options for how it's done.
     
  15. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    Thanks, that's helpful. However, from my (limited) experience, I'm wondering if the subjective impression of "blackground" is really more about a different (faster?) dynamics in the leading edge of fast-increasing acoustic energy coming from a very low energy state, rather than the the low-energy state itself. All microphone-based recordings have a level of background acoustic energy that to me feels (subjectively, I don't have the time or gear to do proper measurements) well above any intrinsic "greyness" of even the least accomplished of my audio setups. However, I've (and, more reliably, my wife who is very musical but doesn't care about gear) noticed changes in perceived contrast between pauses and music with gear changes.
     
  16. Darren G

    Darren G Friend

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    Good points. Pausing (or maybe playing a track of 0's if you can find one) provides a baseline for how quiet your gear is. You are correct that most music does have some background noise that is part of the recording. Agree, some of what is being discussed is subjective. For me, I'm aware of a layer of fuzz that my current rig is mostly free of, but it's still there to a degree. Hard to know exactly how much of that is the recording, and how much is added during reconstruction, but I'm aware of it. Even more telling is that some days I'm more aware, some less. That's not due to gear or recordings, just where my focus happens to be.

    All that written, I do perceive a consistent and significant difference in grey haze between my older Bifrost Multibit->Lyr 2 (stock tubes) setup, and the Yggdrasil->MJ2 with selected tubes setup. The contrast ratio of the later is consistently greater. It's that difference that I think of as the 'grey' background.
     
  17. luximal

    luximal Made things right

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    If you read the paragraph before the one I quoted, marv says this.

    "Then there is clarity if the time domain, on the gross scale, excess reverb (which I consider somewhat of a separate item from clarity per se in the Heptagon plots and will indicate separately "reverby seashell effect"); and on the micro scale: blurring, slow decay, lack of focus, etc. (which I consider to be more closely related to transient response, speed, articulation, etc)."

    So you might be on track with what you're saying, if you're saying that speed/decay can change perceived contrast. I think it's a bit of A (speed, decay) and a bit of B (the actual blackground itself) that attributes to contrast.

    Also note that some components can artificially increase the contrast by crushing background detail. The great dacs capable of producing a black background doesn't do this, but some of the shittier ones do.
     
  18. k4rstar

    k4rstar Britney fan club president

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    @luximal dropped by with the Hugo 2 loaner unit from Head-Fi (hey, thanks Jude!) and I was able to give it a listen. These impressions are totally biased because I don't like Chord; I don't like the Mojo; I don't like the Hugo v1; and @HitmanFluffy was not exactly whispering sweet nothings to me about this DAC when I asked him about it.

    Fed through it's coaxial input via the Eitr, I listened to it as a combo unit first using my HD650s. Within 30 seconds of Blondies' Parallel Lines (original 1983 US target CD, none of that DCC Hoffman mud mix) I was ready to call it quits. I know this mix to be dynamic and slightly incisive, so imagine my distress when it sounded compressed and soft through the Hugo 2. It was quite apparent all the balls had been put physically on the unit and none had been left for the sonic signature.

    OK, the headamp won't do, so I tried it as a DAC-only through my Valhalla 2 in comparison with my Gungnir MB and the Audial MK2 which was also in attendance. As a DAC this unit is less offensive but it's only there where you realize how poor the value proposition actually is. This is like Bifrost Uber level sound quality overall. I would rather have a f'ing Geek Out V2. Through the Valhalla 2 some transient sharpness returned to the sound and the staging was less flat. The bass is notably less fat than the Gungnir Multibit but somehow more smeared. This was apparent during 'The Emperor's New Clothes' off Sinead O'Connors second CD. What was also apparent was the headstage was artificially deepened by making the mids sound smaller and more distant, as this recording is slightly laid-back to begin with. It is a presentation reminiscent of how some BA IEMs sound, though even the Andromeda pulls off this trick in a more convincing fashion.

    There is a lower treble emphasis that was mostly masked by the colored treble of the HD650 but I imagine it would be murderous on a stock HD800 and/or with a dirty USB source. As others have noted separation was quite good, with instruments appearing more distinct and less "on top of each other" than either the Gungnir Multibit or the Audial. I cannot help but feel the exaggerated depth relative to the width of the headstage has a part in this. Depending on the recording the crossfeed option either appeared to do nothing at all or collapsed the sides of the stage further while re-enforcing center imaging. The filters were totally useless.

    Honestly, it is mediocre as hell. Don't buy it. Don't listen to anyone telling you to buy it. Being a portable unit does not excuse this level of poor performance. It doesn't compete with some cheaper portable shit I've heard (GOV2) let alone full-sized desktop stuff. Also, I thought this thing cost like $1600 until I asked @luximal and he told me it was like 2K. I checked and it's even more than that. WTF??

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Northwest

    Northwest Friend

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    Out of curiosity did you try the usb input of the Hugo2? I wonder how much of an improvement the Eitr made in your opinion. I tried the USB on the original, and had a lot of problems.
     
  20. k4rstar

    k4rstar Britney fan club president

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    Sorry to say I didn't even bother. My desk was a mess during this comparison and using the Eitr/Gen5 as a source for everything kept things consistent. You can ask @luximal as he took the unit home and it was his Eitr.
     

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