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Chord Electronics - Hugo 2 - The Official Thread

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by ChordElectronics, Jan 5, 2017.
  1. silvahr
    Once again thank you very much for the time you took to share your thoughts/experiences with me and all the community interested in the awesome CH2.
    Head-Fi it’s a fantastic place for sharing experiences and points of view and to learn about this issues.
    Right now I can’t tell if I like more optical or USB but I’ll be using optical for the next two weeks or so and then return to USB to better note the differences.
    Thank you again!
    flyte3333 likes this.
  2. flyte3333
    No problem at all... what I learnt over these last 3 years (I could have just taken @Rob Watts 's word like most, but I like to experience things for myself) is the better you make the USB chain (lower noise and lower RF) the closer it gets to sounding like optical...

    The worse you make USB (you might think it's sounding better because it's more detailed but we all know what Rob says about that) the more different it sounds to optical...

    So if you have a really pimped out USB chain and it's sounding very different to optical, it's quite likely you've gone the opposite direction of technically better...

    My Frankenstein USB chain I described above was the smoothest/warmest sounding USB chain I ever heard and in the end, very difficult to pick a difference from optical. As mentioned, I don't need to do a blind test with that one to tell you I'd probably fail it, it's so close. As mentioned, that USB chain is not only ultra low noise output, but it's 100% de-coupled (not 99%) from AC mains power (and all the RF issues that come with it) so I have a good idea that I moved in the technically better direction with that. The fact that it ended up sounding like optical proved that but also made me realise, what a waste of time - should have just taken Rob's word instead of doing the big circle :o2smile:

    Another reason I had to experience this myself is because all this stuff Rob was talking about regarding digital sources/chains (warmer/darker is better, brighter/more detailed is not better) was not stuff I had heard anywhere else. So naturally I was sceptical... none of the other famous DAC designers were saying this, publicly or in private discussion... 3 years later I believe him lol.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  3. dontfeedphils
    All this talk of cleaning up USB signals. I'll throw in my recommendation for the Schiit Eitr (USB to coax).

    Made a noticeable difference on Mojo when I had it, and even more so on the Hugo. Removed some harshness/digital glare from the overall sound. Fairly inexpensive choice too.
  4. SteveOliver
    If anybody else is looking to do the above ( as per @Em2016 )

    I can confirm the "InLine® USB HD Adapter Hi-Fi (24-bit 192kHz) to Digital Coaxial/Toslink/I2S Audio Converter" works too, including outputting DSD over optical which is something I didn't know it could do until I tried it. Thanks from me too @Em2016 :)

  5. ZappaMan
    Do you feed it via a battery or from the mains?
  6. SteveOliver
    That one is USB powered. I've even plugged it directly into a DAP.
    514077 and ZappaMan like this.
  7. flyte3333
    Fantastic. There's less computers with optical output now, so it's good to have a few good USB to optical converter options that can do PCM192kHz and pass the DSD64 (DoP) bit perfect test with Rob's DACs.
  8. 21qz
    Hi guys, anyone come from a grace audio m9xx to hugo2? Wondering how much of a difference these are.
  9. musickid
    Immense......and that's the purest form of truth possible.
    Hooster, Wheel Hoss and Wildcatsare1 like this.
  10. Satir
    So InLine USB HD Adapter Hi-Fi to Digital Coaxial/Toslink/I2S Audio Converter does bit perfect DOP with DSD?

    Must try to ascertain what my brain thinks are any positive audio results with USB-to-Toslink converter vs USB only.

    Decades of vinyl playback with tube amp/preamp gave generous understanding how added harmonics are appealing. Many dubious claims in this audio hobby. Mostly stay off Sound Science forum. Find it akin to espousal of atheism on hospice ward. Share the skepticism, not the evangelism.

    My ears perk up when Rob Watts speaks outside technical matters. Enjoy a better understanding of what makes interesting people tick.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
    Paul Bjernklo, 514077 and ZappaMan like this.
  11. musickid
    With chord gear simplicity is the key. The rest is history as they say. Many congratulations on your TT2 Greenbow.
    GreenBow likes this.
  12. SteveOliver
    Apparently most USB to Optical/Coaxial converters that do a 176.4Khz 24bit sample rate will do DOP, which was news to me.


    I won't comment on whether it sounds better or not, but its great to see a white light emanating from Hugo 2. :wink:
  13. flyte3333
    Yep the PCM176kHz is where the PCM in DSD over PCM (DoP) comes from - 176kHz in the case of DoP64.

    Finding a converter that passes the DoP64 test isn't that easy. I've had a couple Cheap Charlies that seemingly send up to PCM192kHz but fail the DoP64 test. So they mess with the bits in some way.

    As mentioned, the number of computers supporting optical output is on the decrease. So it's nice that we have a couple mentioned converters here that work well.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
    SteveOliver likes this.
  14. BananaOoyoo
    Is there a way to select the output on the Hugo 2? (Is there any issue with having analogue outputs connected to my Stax SRM-353XBK all the time, and then just plugging in my non-electrostat headphones/IEMs when I want to listen to those instead?)
  15. musickid
    Even nicer than the white dsd light is the purple 705.6kHz light when mscaler is connected to hugo2!!

    I feel lucky to have an imac with 512gb ssd and does optical even though up to 96kHz which is fine by me as i listen to rbcd on roon fed into mscaler.

    Some research indicates a high quality cirrus logic spdif out on my imac which is in keeping with the high standards that apple market their multimedia kit. It seems to be tied in with the headphone amp/dac.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
    SteveOliver likes this.

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