I've just been comparing three portable sources with my Hugo:
- iphone through USB streaming FLAC files from my server using JRMC
- 160GB ipod classic playing ALAC files converted to coax SPDIF through the CLAS
- optical out from the AK120 playing FLAC files.
This was using the HD800/Blue Dragon directly from the Hugo headphone output.
Surprisingly, the iphone through USB sounded the best, followed by the AK120 optical output, then the CLAS coax digital ouput. The iphone/USB sounded sharpest, cleanest and most dynamic. The AK120 was very close behind, perhaps sounding a bit airier but also a tad grainier. The ipod/CLAS sounded grainier still, a shade softer and less resolving. There was not a lot in it - any of these sources sounded great - but the differences, while subtle, were noticeable.
I also compared the heapdhone output of the AK120 against the Hugo using my JH13pros. The AK120 sounded great, but there was no question that the Hugo was an order of magnitude better. It sounded bigger, deeper, more extended in every direction, more natural, and just easier to listen to. I just love this little device!
Thanks for the comparison, I think a lot people wanted to know this.