Chord Electronics - Hugo 2 - The Official Thread
Oct 21, 2020 at 6:55 AM Post #19,096 of 20,672

GreenBow

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Very interesting!
The length measurement seems to indicate that the cells are equipped with a protective circuit.
Nominal length of the Panasonic NCR18650BF is 65.3mm, the circuit is usually mounted on the negative pole and adds to that length.


Interesting back to you too.

I have seen some 18650 batteries measuring longer than 65.3mm though, am sure.
 
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Oct 22, 2020 at 1:28 PM Post #19,097 of 20,672

thehutch

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Hi, thinking about clearing out some headphones and simplifying things with one closed back and one open back, both of which I’d like to be able to drive to their full potential with my Hugo 2. I think I’ll keep my T5P, as it’s light, has a good seal and can be driven by anything. But what TOTL or near-TOTL open backs should I consider? Which will sound near their best out of the Hugo 2?

Meze Empyrean, LCD-4z/X seem like they’d be good. Is the HE1000se a good match? I’ve seen some people drive it with a Hugo 2, but thought maybe it could use a little more juice. A step down from that – the Arya – seems maybe too inefficient? Other ideas? Thanks much.
 
Oct 22, 2020 at 1:52 PM Post #19,098 of 20,672

JaZZ

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Is the HE1000se a good match?
In short: Yes. The Hugo₂ definitely has (more than) enough juice, and the HE1000se is very efficient. A better cable is recommended, though.
 
Oct 22, 2020 at 1:57 PM Post #19,099 of 20,672

TypodCrowd

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But what TOTL or near-TOTL open backs should I consider? Which will sound near their best out of the Hugo 2?

(Note: this is a long one. somewhat off topic for Hugo 2, but all descriptions pertain to the headphones directly driven by the Hugo 2)

The two I can suggest from personal experience are the Focal Utopia and the Abyss Diana Phi. I have both sitting side by side on my desk right now, being driven directly (not simultaneously, of course) by the Hugo 2.
If you're looking for the utmost in refined headphone sound (intimate presentation especially) then the Utopia are the best bet you can make. Beware some QC concerns regarding the VC wire on the drivers. Some claim they are fragile and will break over time ... I myself have not experienced this. Bass slams hard, treble is very clean, and the mids are just perfectly balanced. These come with a 5y warranty as well. Best cable I have heard on them is the Nordost Heimdall V2; opens up the sound stage just a touch and cleans up the muddiness that many experience with the stock cable. Second best cable for me was the Danacable Lazuli Reference; kept the intimate sound stage but dynamics, resolution, and clarity all went up. Beautiful headphone which I cannot recommend enough; only surpassed (straight out of the Hugo 2) by the sound stage and bass depth of the Abyss Diana Phi for me.
These take more of a speaker approach to headphone sound; Not as dramatic as the diffuse field feel of the HD800, but irrevocably more musical. They sound quite neutral, and are able to amaze in terms of imaging and layering of instruments/vocals. Many reviews say dynamics are not as great as the Utopia, but I don't feel that as much - it may just be the music I listen to. Numerically, the Hugo 2 drives them perfectly; able to deliver enough current for all but extreme volumes. I had little improvement when listening to them on a THX amplifier (pick you make, I've tried them all except the Benchmark), though I have not tried the Phonitor or XI Audio amplifiers yet. The bass is very well controlled and extremely low reaching even out of the Hugo 2; and the headphone pulls out details I have not heard even on the Utopia. Fit is a little different compared to standard headphones, but I'll let other forums/videos explain that. 1y, single transfer warranty, with the option to purchase an extended one if buying new. Built like a tank. Stock cable sounds better for me compared to the silver one I have, and I have not yet tried the Abyss Superconductor.

Those are the two I'd suggest - if I could afford to keep both I would, but I am selling the Utopia to a friend to cover the purchase cost I paid for the Diana Phi.

Cheers
 
Oct 22, 2020 at 2:03 PM Post #19,100 of 20,672

TypodCrowd

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Nominal length of the Panasonic NCR18650BF is 65.3mm, the circuit is usually mounted on the negative pole and adds to that length.

I haven't understood yet whether we're meant to keep the protection circuit or not in the Hugo 2 batteries. I'll check if/when I get my replacement.

Update for anyone following: I've checked with my local dealers and replacement batteries are available for self-installation for roughly $150 CAD including shipping. To be thorough, I'll order the official Chord replacements, and will run a few tests on my current cells once they reach 50% life. The next battery replacement (most likely in 4-5 years) will be a DIY project using the NCR18650B or NCR18650BF.
 
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Oct 22, 2020 at 2:06 PM Post #19,101 of 20,672

thehutch

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In short: Yes. The Hugo₂ definitely has (more than) enough juice, and the HE1000se is very efficient. A better cable is recommended, though.
That’s great to hear. Thanks.
 
Oct 22, 2020 at 2:13 PM Post #19,102 of 20,672

thehutch

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(Note: this is a long one. somewhat off topic for Hugo 2, but all descriptions pertain to the headphones directly driven by the Hugo 2)

The two I can suggest from personal experience are the Focal Utopia and the Abyss Diana Phi. I have both sitting side by side on my desk right now, being driven directly (not simultaneously, of course) by the Hugo 2.
If you're looking for the utmost in refined headphone sound (intimate presentation especially) then the Utopia are the best bet you can make. Beware some QC concerns regarding the VC wire on the drivers. Some claim they are fragile and will break over time ... I myself have not experienced this. Bass slams hard, treble is very clean, and the mids are just perfectly balanced. These come with a 5y warranty as well. Best cable I have heard on them is the Nordost Heimdall V2; opens up the sound stage just a touch and cleans up the muddiness that many experience with the stock cable. Second best cable for me was the Danacable Lazuli Reference; kept the intimate sound stage but dynamics, resolution, and clarity all went up. Beautiful headphone which I cannot recommend enough; only surpassed (straight out of the Hugo 2) by the sound stage and bass depth of the Abyss Diana Phi for me.
These take more of a speaker approach to headphone sound; Not as dramatic as the diffuse field feel of the HD800, but irrevocably more musical. They sound quite neutral, and are able to amaze in terms of imaging and layering of instruments/vocals. Many reviews say dynamics are not as great as the Utopia, but I don't feel that as much - it may just be the music I listen to. Numerically, the Hugo 2 drives them perfectly; able to deliver enough current for all but extreme volumes. I had little improvement when listening to them on a THX amplifier (pick you make, I've tried them all except the Benchmark), though I have not tried the Phonitor or XI Audio amplifiers yet. The bass is very well controlled and extremely low reaching even out of the Hugo 2; and the headphone pulls out details I have not heard even on the Utopia. Fit is a little different compared to standard headphones, but I'll let other forums/videos explain that. 1y, single transfer warranty, with the option to purchase an extended one if buying new. Built like a tank. Stock cable sounds better for me compared to the silver one I have, and I have not yet tried the Abyss Superconductor.

Those are the two I'd suggest - if I could afford to keep both I would, but I am selling the Utopia to a friend to cover the purchase cost I paid for the Diana Phi.

Cheers
Thanks for this really great response. I was not thinking any of the Abyss would work, but glad to hear you get great sound on them straight out of the Hugo 2. I know @Currawong felt he was loosing a bit out of the Utopia when he first reviewed Hugo 2, but if I recall correctly, I think he later changed his mind after a cable swap. Appreciate the great insight.
 
Oct 22, 2020 at 2:22 PM Post #19,103 of 20,672

TypodCrowd

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I think he later changed his mind after a cable swap.
This was all but necessary for me, regardless of the source on the Utopia. Again, somewhat offtopic here, but I've tried many (5-6) cables for the headphone, and all were strictly better than the stock cable. I'm not sure why (material science wise), but the sound is compressed, muddy, and closed on the stock cable. The first headphone I've owned where the stock cable was all but unusable once I'd heard some sort of custom cable on it.

I was not thinking any of the Abyss would work
Some will disagree with my thoughts here, and I completely understand. Again, I've only truly spent time with the THX amps, and Abyss seems to put XI Audio up on a monolithic pedestal. They are, at their core, planars, which love current. But you can extract 90%+ of their sound characteristics with direct out of the Hugo 2 at sane, humane volumes that don't damage your next door neighbor's hearing.
 
Oct 22, 2020 at 3:12 PM Post #19,105 of 20,672

118900

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Hi, thinking about clearing out some headphones and simplifying things with one closed back and one open back, both of which I’d like to be able to drive to their full potential with my Hugo 2. I think I’ll keep my T5P, as it’s light, has a good seal and can be driven by anything. But what TOTL or near-TOTL open backs should I consider? Which will sound near their best out of the Hugo 2?

Meze Empyrean, LCD-4z/X seem like they’d be good. Is the HE1000se a good match? I’ve seen some people drive it with a Hugo 2, but thought maybe it could use a little more juice. A step down from that – the Arya – seems maybe too inefficient? Other ideas? Thanks much.
It really depends on your own personal taste. The headphones you mention are all good as are several others but you really need to audition them yourself before making an investment of that magnitude.
 
Oct 22, 2020 at 4:18 PM Post #19,106 of 20,672

thehutch

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It really depends on your own personal taste. The headphones you mention are all good as are several others but you really need to audition them yourself before making an investment of that magnitude.
Well, I’m open to anything, really. If I don’t like it, I’ll sell it or trade. I suspect I’ll want to rotate.
 
Oct 22, 2020 at 4:25 PM Post #19,107 of 20,672

royiko

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Any one in here get a Holo Spring 2 or Denafrips Ares 2? Would you like to share something about how do they hold up with Hugo 2?
 
Oct 22, 2020 at 8:58 PM Post #19,108 of 20,672

robo24

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Any one in here get a Holo Spring 2 or Denafrips Ares 2? Would you like to share something about how do they hold up with Hugo 2?
Had the Ares 1 briefly. Not even close. It was fine, but really not all that special. I got the Soekris 1421 at the same time to compare, and kept that one. The Hugo is better overall, in terms of detail and punchiness especially. I sold the Ares. Some things were just missing from the music which came out clearly on the other 2.
 
Oct 23, 2020 at 2:28 AM Post #19,110 of 20,672

LCMusicLover

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Hi, thinking about clearing out some headphones and simplifying things with one closed back and one open back, both of which I’d like to be able to drive to their full potential with my Hugo 2. I think I’ll keep my T5P, as it’s light, has a good seal and can be driven by anything. But what TOTL or near-TOTL open backs should I consider? Which will sound near their best out of the Hugo 2?

Meze Empyrean, LCD-4z/X seem like they’d be good. Is the HE1000se a good match? I’ve seen some people drive it with a Hugo 2, but thought maybe it could use a little more juice. A step down from that – the Arya – seems maybe too inefficient? Other ideas? Thanks much.
Two things:

As others have said, Hugo 2 ==> HEKse is a very good pairing. I’m listening to that system right now. Open, airy headstage, check. Detail for days, check. Linear tonality, clean, well-extended bass, check. Plenty of power, check.

Also, H2 drives all my cans well, even my Heddphone. Volume on H2 is indicated by the color of the ‘volume ball’, from low to high: red-yellow-green-blue-violet-white. Utopia plays red/yellow. HEKse yellow/green. Hedd plays green/blue, so there’s some Heddroom left :)

(Additional note re: H2 ==> Hedd.There’s a hard-to-define character to this combo. I was just listening to ‘Aja’ via H2 / Hiby R6pro ==> Hedd. R6p is quite powerful and has no problem driving Hedd. But the H2 is better — on the title track the piano is just a little richer from H2, slightly tinny from R6pro. Sax sounds more realistic as well.)
 

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