Originally Posted by wisnon
Yup, good memory. I do have a Qute. Not to worry, a pal of mine will son get the Micro and will be able to compare directly both the Hugo and the Micro. I expect the Micro will win hands down on DSD, but it will be a toss up for PCM, where the Hugo has its sweetspot. Rob and many other say the Hugo is better than the Qute, but RossB from Audtalia thinks that with a great LPSU, the Qute is better...more full bodied and richer.
Infact, its no mystery at all what Chord-Rob Watts does with DSD. Rob is extraordinarily forthcoming with his explanations (thus he commands a lot of personal respect from me). thorsten is the same way too.
Rob is not a DSD lover and does not think native playback is as good as his solution. I vehemently disagree. He upsamples/upconverts all incoming signal (PCM and DSD) to 2048fs PCM. That is at 90mhz! Then he brings it back down to a lower rate PCM for output after extensive DSP manipulation. I think the Hugo has 16 DSP cores in FPGA pulse array Dac. Timing is paramount for Watts (4ns threshold) and his Watts Transient Aligned filter is proprietary. All this is buried somewhere in that MONSTER Hugo thread here at Headfi.
Sorry, been working all weekend, thus I haven't been able to get back to you...
I was very interested in the Hugo at one time, too. Just too much $$$. I would probably sink that kind of money into something like, well, a LAMPI !
There are several products out there that sample DSD to a super high PCM rate. Or something PCM like. Or some kind of hybrid. Gotta be careful when using those three letters. For some reason it gets people all worked up! Whatever the case, there are many intermediate multi-bit, high sample rate possibilities. PS audio with its new Direct Stream DAC is doing something like what Chord does, except instead of downconverting to PCM, they go to DSD128 with everything! Now how this makes native DSD files better, I don't know, since they are already delta sigma modulated, and all you need is to simply convert it to analog! You don't need a gazillion redundant samples added, topped with the necessary filtering, followed by re-modulation... etc. etc. etc...
Of course the people in the industry who are building DAC's that use DSP with DSD files claim that it makes them sound better. In reality, though, they are really selling convenience. We all love things like digital volume control. And in this world where everyone wants to have their cake and eat it too, no one is going to tell you that the convenience you just bought is at the expense of quality.
Now before anyone takes what I saying the wrong way, DACs like the Chord or the PS Audio or anything built on the ESS chipset, sound excellent, and are justly well reviewed. DSD combined with digital signal processing can and does sound very good. And in some ways, yes can even sound better. I don't think Rob at Chord is imagining things or making things up, because yes, there are things I hear in processed DSD that sound better. But, on the whole, just cannot match native DSD playback. Once you have heard it, you are hooked. No going back, in my opinion...
Edited by MLGrado - 8/16/14 at 8:04pm