Sorry for duplicating my feedback on AK240 vs Hugo. There are 3 different AK240 threads here on Head-Fi so I replicated my short review from the other thread here below for the benefit of some who are not following the other thread:
Originally Posted by zachchen1996
Is there going to be a showdown between the ak240 and hugo? (guessing the hugo will win)
I was at the Jaben Singapore "Meet the maker of Hugo" session. Brought my AK240 and 1plus2 along to do a side-by-side comparison. Since Jaben has lots of TOTL cans for demo testing, I manage to also get some first hand experience comparing AK240 to Hugo using Sennheiser HD800 and Fostex TH900. I was there for around 45 mins so I try my best to test out as much as possible. I don't have golden ears and not an expert in the listening arts, so what I can hear I try to put into words here as best I can. Here's some photos of the test setup:
It's a pity I do not have a high-grade optical toslink cable to connect my AK240 line-out to Hugo, so I was given by Jaben/Chord the default toslink cable that comes with the Hugo which can only support up to 24-bit/96-kHz. Hence, I was mainly testing my redbook CD flac/wav up to 24/96 flac files on my AK240.
AK240 -> 1plus2
AK240 -> optical toslink LO -> Hugo -> 1plus2
AK240 -> TH900
AK240 -> optical toslink LO -> Hugo -> TH900
AK240 -> HD800
AK240 -> optical toslink LO -> Hugo -> HD800
Round 1 (16-bit/44.1-kHz redbook flac/wav):
I threw modern pop songs like Hotel California, Britney Spears, Celine Dion, KPops SNSD/IU, Indigo Girls, Lindsey Stirling, Anime JPops, some heavy rock/metal/trance from Tiesto - Elements of Life and CPops at both. I also tried redbook quality classical tracks from Anne Akiko Meyers violin collection and pieces like Bach - Toccata in D minor. AK240 performs on par with Hugo on all redbook tracks. I couldn't hear much difference between them via 1plus2 and my amateur ears cannot detect SQ difference between AK240 and Hugo. Both sound just as good on my 1plus2 with similar quality in bass/mids/treble, decay, soundstage, instrument separation.
Next I put on TH900 to see if AK240's SE out can handle a TOTL closed-back cans as well as Hugo's amp. As expected from the easily driven low impedance of the Fostex cans, AK240 sounds just as good as Hugo to TH900. I detect obviously better depth/3D soundstage, fuller/meaty bass and softer highs on TH900 compared to 1plus2 on both AK240 SE out and Hugo out. SQ of AK240 and Hugo is similar with Hugo maybe having a slight almost insignificant edge over AK240 in terms of depth. I'm not entirely sure if it is my biased placebo effect here since I started off already thinking Hugo should sound better, but I just did not hear as much difference between them as I have anticipated. So kudos to AK240 having such a nice pairing with TH900.
Finally I put on HD800 and I immediately detected a difference in SQ. AK240 sounded a little hollow and lacking body with HD800 across all spectrum compared to Hugo. Again I have expected this because HD800 is really difficult to drive and it is impossible for such a tiny DAP like AK240 to be able to drive it as well as Hugo.
Round 2 (24-bit/96-kHz flac):
Now this is the more interesting part of the test. Since I only happen to have loaded only one 24/96 flac (Ola Gjeilo: North Country II Ola Gjeilo) from 2L website on my AK240 (I have quite a few DSD and 24/192 but playing them on AK240 does not register on Hugo due to the toslink issue), I switched to it and try to see if there is a difference.
I immediately hear a difference on HD800 between them. The piano notes sound almost similar on both but when the Saxophone comes in the sound lacks body and feels like it went off-tuned towards the highs on AK240 -> HD800. AK240 -> LO -> Hugo -> HD800 sounded perfect on reproducing the Saxophone sound.
To narrow down if this is also a problem also on TH900 and 1plus2, I switched over to them. On AK240 -> 1plus2, I hear the same off-tuned weak sound of the Saxophone blowing. Here is the interesting part. It sounds just as bad from AK240 -> LO -> Hugo -> 1plus2. However when I switched over to test TH900, the weak-sounding off-tuned Saxophone issue is gone from both. AK240 manages to reproduce the Saxophone as well as the Hugo when listening through TH900.
So after hearing this, I conclude that the issue first arises because AK240 cannot drive HD800 well from its SE out. Secondly, 1plus2's quality cannot match that of cans and suffers in that area (albeit other instruments sound fine and very clear on 1plus2; somehow only Saxophone has a problem. Maybe Gavin can address this for us). Thirdly, once AK240 pairs with a TOTL cans like TH900 which it can drive well it can pretty much match Hugo's SQ IMO.
I do not have time to test other IEMs within the 45 mins I was there since I was too busy testing the 2 TOTL cans against various tracks on my AK240. My main take away is that both seem on par when listening through IEM (in the case of 1plus2) to my ears. Gavin may be able to give us a better comparison since he is having 1 entire week to listen to both of them at his leisure and he can probably test out DSD tracks for us too. Even cans like TH900 sounds just as good on both AK240 and Hugo. The main edge of Hugo over AK240 is when they are called to drive high impedance cans like HD800. That is when Hugo has the upper hand over AK240. Maybe the 2.5mm TRRS balanced out on AK240 can close this gap for us. We will see when I can get my hands on a 2.5mm balanced cable.