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.
     
  2. Slaphead

    Slaphead Facebook Friend

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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.
     
  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.
     
  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.
     
  7. Forza AudioWorks

    Forza AudioWorks MOT: Forza AudioWorks

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    Pretty much this.
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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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.
     
  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 Facebook Friend

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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 Desire for betterer is endless.

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

    lcmusiclover Friend

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    Interesting opinions here. Certainly contrasts the adulation afforded this device over on HF.

    Confession time -- I ran into some really good prices on a H2 and and 2go, so I popped -- just under $2400 for both. A real PITA to get connected and running.

    But ... sounds pretty darn good. Now perhaps my opinion is colored because I'm comparing it to some DAPs (Hiby R6 Pro & Plenue II Mk 2), not to my desktop rig (A2 Gungnir Multibit ==> DSHA-3F/Liquid Platinum). I get that's unfair also, since you really can't call the H2go very portable, even if it is battery powered.

    And I haven't really tested it that much, more just initial impressions, but my HEKse sound really good out of the H2go.

    It seems that a lot of the animosity here derives almost exclusively from pricing. For me, that's not part of the equation. After all, I could have popped for an SP2000 :)

    Anyway, I'll post a bit more in a while.
     
  15. Galm

    Galm Still looking for Little Red Riding Hood

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    I think the issue is two fold though, where before their newest line up of products their older dacs like the... QDC908234 whatever the hell and the Hugo 1... Just sounded a lot worse.

    Chord Mojo still shows some of this, I feel like I can hear some of the merit on Mojo of why people like their FPGA sound, but at the same time the highs and lows are... Pretty bad. Qutest, Dave, TT2, and the M Scaler are all much higher "tap length" but in reality just performing dacs so to me those products all sound much much better.

    The pricing is still terrible though. Chord supports used warranty transfer, so anyone interested I always recommend they go used. But even then, I find it perfectly reasonable to be upset that a used Yggdrasil can be like 1800 while a used DAVE is 7,000 dollars. It's especially crazy seeming if you prefer Schiit's sound. Chord's sound is something you basically either need to love right away or you should not waste your time on it... Just my two cents as someone who ended my dac journey on Chord a couple years ago.

    To me it was instant preference, and I even tried my best to confirm it with blind testing before purchasing finally and being satisfied.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2020
  16. Dandrac42

    Dandrac42 Acquaintance

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    I recently Purchased a Hugo2 from my local dealer at $1899 w/o tax. I am still in the honeymoon period so I haven't formed a conclusive opinion but so far it is incredibly clean sounding. First impressions are the pairing with Argon Mk3s is more engaging than my Utopias. The cleanliness of the Utopias and clarity of the Hugo2 seem to be too much of a good thing. The Elegias are Hit and Miss depending on the track. I am currently waiting for my ears to clear up either due to bad allergies or a cold before I try the STAX L300 Limiteds through the SRM-353X. So far I LOVE the volume control. I reach out with my right hand and boom instant volume adjustment :) . I dislike the USB input , it may not be galvanically isolated. I had to dig out the old Schiit Wyrd to isolate it from my Win10 computer to quell the "harshness". More to Come in the weeks ahead unless I forget or can't post due to reasons.
     
  17. Galm

    Galm Still looking for Little Red Riding Hood

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    It's not galvanically isolated. The Qutest "added" that feature to the Hugo 2 tier.

    My understanding is the desktop products have it while the mobile ones do not.
     
  18. Dandrac42

    Dandrac42 Acquaintance

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    This a follow up post from my initial impressions on the Hugo2 on 2/17/20. I am still looking for a solution to the USB "problem" between my Win10 computer and my Hugo2. I used a Schiit Wyrd to tame the USB harshness but the graphics card noise is still an issue. The optical out on my MB is my temporary solution. I am very impressed with the fidelity of the BT receiver from my Android phone (After I went into developer mode on the android phone and set BT to AptX from SBC). It isn't as good as the the other inputs but its the best BT sounding receiver I have heard to date. The fact that I mostly use it as an DAC/AMP for my Mk3 Argons on BT makes me laugh. The price of the HUGO2 compared to to the Argons makes no sense. When I'm not chilling in bed with the unit I connect it up to my STAX 353x-BK via the RCA outs. I purchased 3 sets of Audioquest RCA cables at diff price points to see if it made any difference. A 1M set of Mackenzie , Tower and Golden Gate from my local best buy. Tower and Mackenzie were the best sounding followed by the Golden Gate. Tower cables were fast and snappy but needed a little more body, the Golden Gate was slower and had the missing body but lost the snappiness, Mackenzie had a blend between the 2 so I returned the Tower and the Golden Gate. Sadly cables make a difference compared to the included cables that came with the 353x at least IMO. Damn I was hoping cables would not make a difference saving me a lot of money. Well that's enough rambling today. I think I will explore some Pearl Jam albums that I'm not not familiar with.
     
  19. lerrens

    lerrens Acquaintance

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    Cross-posting this from the Gungnir MB thread:

    Just got the Hugo 2 for IEM usage and wanted to share my impressions & thoughts comparing it as a DAC with Gungnir MB (A2)

    DACs: Schiit Gungnir MB (A2), Chord Hugo 2
    AMPs: Topping L30, SMSL SP200, Jotunheim, Audiolab 6000A
    Headphones: IER-Z1R, HD800S
    Speakers: KEF LS50

    Sound Comparison:
    Gungnir has a better reproduction of the dynamics of the music than Hugo 2, the sudden change in emotion of the instrument or vocal performance in a song would be delivered truthfully, creating a very engaging, immediate involvement in the music. The lower frequencies also sound fuller on Gungnir, having more density in vocals, and giving out more impact and sustain of drums and bass, the drums sounded very lifelike.

    Hugo 2 on the other hand clearly has better resolution and more clear view of all the details in the music. Not that Hugo has more detail quantity, the same details could also be found in Gungnir, but Hugo has a way to make the edges of the details very prominent, along with blacker background, creating this transparent window of view to the sound. To me the soundstage is also a little bit wider and taller on Hugo. However, something about the dynamics on Hugo is just not as enjoyable as on Gungnir. Hugo sometimes sound a bit too calm and even a bit lifeless compared to Gungnir. The lower frequencies on Hugo is very clean and fast but tends to sound a bit lean. Overall the tonality is brighter than Gungnir, and IMO brighter than what I considered neutral.

    On each of their own both of them are really good and enjoyable DACs, having a very solid density and insight into the sound they reproduce, and I did not find the ‘digital harshness’ & ‘listening fatigue’ I normally found in off the shelf delta-sigma DACs in either of them after long sessions. It's still hard for me at the moment to say which of them I prefer more, would probably come down to what music I'm listening to also what other gears are being used.

    Other thoughts:
    I wonder if anyone has noticed that the Gungnir MB seems to have an interpolation filter that is longer length in time than Hugo 2? (If I'm not mistaken that is)

    Here's how I reached this conclusion, first referencing the whitepaper about why interpolation filter length is important to Chord DACs, the conclusion is: for 44.1kHz sampling rate, the total length required for creating interval samples that are accurate enough is 1.443 secs, and that's the holy grail Chord wanted to reach when building the M scaler.

    For the same sampling rate fs = 44.1KHz, the filter length (in time) of the following devices could be calculated as follows:
    M Scaler: 1.443 seconds
    (1 million taps used on the up-sampled 16fs = 705.6K Hz signal, 1M/705.6K)
    Hugo 2: 0.07 seconds
    (49,152 taps used on the up-sampled 16fs =705.6K Hz signal , 49.152/705.6)
    Gungnir MB: 0.1 seconds
    (18,000 taps used on the up-sampled 4fs =176.4K Hz signal , 18/176.4)

    After the comparison and some reading about the technology behind, I do look forward in what technology advancement in chipsets performances may bring us in the future, especially with Jason hinting at the performance advancement they are secretly making for MB DACs...

    References:
    Chord Million Taps White Paper:
    https://www.moon-audio.com/files/chord/chord-tech-profile-hifi-critic.pdf
    18000 taps is mentioned in FAQ:
    https://www.schiit.com/products/gungnir
    Jason hinting MB advancement:
    https://www.head-fi.org/threads/sch...most-improbable-start-up.701900/post-15388698
     
  20. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    in SBAF parlance: macrodetail (detail in your face), and rounded vs square (transient presentation).

    It's been argued that rounder presentations result in a less black background. I think this is only partially true, or perhaps a tendency. The AD5791 DACs from Schiit are a bit grey sounding IMO.

    Whitepapers are inherently self-serving. The thing about most interpolation / upscaling algorithms is that they are iterative. For example, Shannon-Whittaker gets more accurate after successive iterations. See homework assignment here I assigned, completed by @spwath and @cameng318. We can see that a few iterations gets close, but not close enough.

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...an-inconvenient-truth.9480/page-8#post-307109
    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...an-inconvenient-truth.9480/page-8#post-307162

    And even then, in regards to the claim of 1.443 seconds and number of taps, this would also be a matter of CPU power and number of taps; it's also subjective in respective to how accurate is accurate enough. In a few years, maybe it would be 1.221 seconds, or maybe 2.323 seconds because 1 million taps wasn't enough.

    Schiit uses a closed-form filter where all bets are off. Closed form doesn't require iterative calculations. I don't know how closed-form filters work, that is I've never coded one or look at the algorithms. Perhaps one day.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2020

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