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Chord Electronics - Hugo 2 - The Official Thread

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by ChordElectronics, Jan 5, 2017.
  1. musickid
    M scaler definitely smoothes things out and takes the edge of streamed music by neutralising the tension which one perceives as a slowing down of the tempo when in fact the music is playing with ultra precise timing that is spot on. Don't expect any magical transformations. Do expect a very natural presentation which does full justice to the original recording and artist. No dac of any make on its own can reproduce this effect. More analogue yes. Softer not really.
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
    miksu8 likes this.
  2. miketlse
    @miksu8 you have reminded me of a long term project of mine.
    I have a few tapes i made when I used to listened to classic rock programs on FM radio in the 70s/80s - I remember that the FM hiss + tape hiss used to give them an 'atmospheric' sense of distance, so I will be interested to capture them digitally, because they represent a snapshot of part of my life.
    I find that the Hugo 2 'keeps on giving', and I regularly come across live CDs of jazz bands from the 50s/60s, which exhibit the cutoffs typical of old analogue recordings, but still leave me with a wry smile and thinking 'those guys were having fun'.
    I also find that playing CDs in my bluray player, then feeding the optical output to Hugo 2, then direct driving my speakers does produce some magical performances.
    I don't know the root cause, so consider this a 'work in progress', but I do remember posts from the Blu2 thread where some owners stated that playing CDs gave better sound than ripped digital files. So I am not surprised by your mention that CD sounds clearer, which is an opportunity for you to try and investigate why.
    miksu8, SalvorHardin and Peter Hyatt like this.
  3. CreditingKarma

    If you are looking for a more analog sound. You may want to look at some r2r and r2r nos dacs. They most often sound more analog.
    Wildcatsare1 and miksu8 like this.
  4. Currawong Contributor
    Have you tried the red or orange filters with compressed music?
  5. Progisus
    HQPlayer with closed-form-m filter to Hugo2 @ 768k is a less expensive alternative you might try. Providing you have a PC or Mac. Before all my Chord gang dis me... m-scaler is probably superior but I have been enjoying fatigue free enhanced listening for awhile now.
    Luvdac, miksu8, Hooster and 1 other person like this.
  6. Deftone
    Someone needs to go against the grain every now n then.
  7. Rob Watts
    So firstly decimation - this is where the input sample rate is reduced, and you do this by filtering, then discarding the filtered samples - so in the case of DSD64 (1 bit at 64FS) to 16FS PCM you filter then just use 1 out of 4 samples. In reality, you just filter and decimate in one go, as you don't use 3 out of 4 samples, so there is no point in calculating unused samples... Now so long as the filter is good enough, and you use a WTA filter afterwards, there is no loss in SQ at the 16FS sample rate. But how do we know what is good enough filtering? Now the downside to decimation at 16FS from 64FS is that if you do not filter perfectly above 8FS then you will get aliasing, and this is the original signal above 8FS but now pops out at the wrong frequency after decimation - so its a type of distortion, and because it is not harmonically related, and it degrades the timing of transients, it is particularly annoying. So before designing the DSD filter in Hugo 2, I wanted answers to the question as to how good the filter needs to be to prevent sound quality loss - as this is pertinent with the ADC project (and all ADC's decimate somewhere in the path), so I needed to find out how much aliasing was acceptable.

    And the answer was - very tiny amounts of aliasing is audible. The original Hugo 1 filter had -130 dB rejection, and absolute worst case would have aliasing at -150 dB, which is pretty low (much better than the filters normally used in ADCs). But the Hugo 2 filter was -220 dB, so would have worst case aliasing of -240 dB. I could easily hear the improvement in this new filter; DSD was warmer, and smoother and flowed much more naturally (I am talking about tempo here). I then compared it to the non decimating Dave DSD+ filter, and preferred the Hugo 2 decimating filter, as it was a tad smoother, and maintained the sense of flow that the Dave non-decimating filter had. The reason for this is that we require a decimating DSD filter to do two things - remove out of band noise from aliasing POV, and remove the out of band DSD noise and distortion from a noise floor modulation in the analogue section POV. And you can do both things at once. The benefit that Hugo 2 filter has is that it is better at attenuating noise above 88.2 kHz (220 dB attenuation) against DSD+ filter (130 dB at 88.2), and this benefit certainly outweighs any possible loss that the decimation introduces.

    So decimation to 16FS (that's 705.6 or 768kHz) certainly is not a problem SQ wise - so long as you make sure any aliasing at all is at -240dB or better. Of course, nobody else does decimation to that level of performance.

    Actually, it is possible to directly EQ and volume DSD - you just end up with 1 bit in, N bits out. Then you use another DSD modulator to create DSD by converting back to 1 bit. The early proponents of DSD were keen to promote this - but reality got in the way. A DSD modulator creates a lot of THD and noise, plus other nasty artifacts, and connecting several DSD modulators together severely degrades performance. DSD modulation is certainly not a transparent operation.
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  8. Amberlamps
    Let me guess, Alan Partridge ?
  9. ZappaMan
    Amberlamps and uzi2 like this.
  10. miksu8
    Thanks for the reminder! Only used green so far so will try them.
  11. Malmbak
    So, I just sold my Qutest to get the Hugo 2 instead. Before I take the plunge, is there anything else out there that has equal (or thereabouts) SQ, is battery powered, transportable, and drives headphones?

    And does anyone know what price point of the 2go module will be?

  12. SteveOliver
    As the old saying goes, if you ask that question you can't afford it. :)
  13. Hooster
    There is no 2go.
  14. SteveOliver
    What, ever. That will upset a few people around here if its true.
  15. miketlse
    SteveOliver and SalvorHardin like this.

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