Chord Electronics - Hugo 2 - The Official Thread

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by ChordElectronics, Jan 5, 2017.
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  1. GU1DO
    AURALiC Taurus MKII come in my mind for now although i never heard the hugo2 over this amp because i just got the hugo2 this month ..

    I think you never heard a good RCA cable , this why you think amps introduce distortion , its not the amp , its the cable ,

    the details i am talking about are there but the hugo amp doesn't have the enough power to highlight these details

    week amp (hugo or other brand ) concentrate on the foreground or the background of the music , it cant handle both with authority as some more powerful amps
    if it was not the case why a lot of people love Hugo TT more then the old Hugo although they have the same DAC ?

    Thanks man you are a savoir :wink:
    BTW , its the same streamer am looking to buy for my hugo2 ,
    i just need the 3.5 cable to do the demo before buying the ND5 XS and the store only have BNC cable which doesn't fit the hugo 2
    what RCA cable you use with Hugo ? for me i use the Acrylic Chord Signature Tuned ARAY and i am having very clean background with crystal details.
  2. kank
    I think the Hugo 2 is a fine amp/dac, but it does have its limitation in the power delivery especially on more demanding planar magnetic headphones. The 'highlighting' of details are what the more powerful amp can do and present it more "obvious" to the listener. The signal is of course is outputted via the headphone out, but it may be a bit more subtle due to the amp not being powerful enough to drive the headphone properly. This will not be an issue if the headphones are easy to drive in the first place.
    Christer likes this.
  3. x RELIC x Contributor
    You are making the assumption that the TT and original Hugo have different power output levels, but they don’t.
    onsionsi and Hooster like this.
  4. paul2qute
    I had the Chord signature digital tuned aray and the Chord signature tuned aray analogue and sold both for better hi-fi gear,I've got the chameleon and it sounds better because I sold the signature and got better Hi-fi like the Hugo 2.Ppl get so hung up on cables but they should save their money and buy better kit,I've been there trust me
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2018
    GU1DO and Hooster like this.
  5. doraymon
    Guys I tried to feed the Hugo2 through digital coaxial using a Fiio L21 digital coaxial cable (brand new), but no signal seems to arrive to the Hugo.
    The cable is hooked to a Singxer SU-1 D/D converter which otherwise works perfectly.
    Any ideas?

    Picture of the cable:
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2018
  6. Hooster
    Thank you for kindly providing that information.
    UELong likes this.
  7. x RELIC x Contributor
    The L21’s 4 pole TRRS 3.5mm end has the coaxial signal on the Sleeve and the Hugo2’s 3 pole TRS 3.5mm likely isn’t seeing the signal. Pretty much the only compatible devices I’ve seen for the L21 are Fiio’s own devices with their wacky shared line-out / coaxial 3.5mm jack.
  8. GU1DO
    Are you sure Hugo TT and Hugo have the same power ?
    TT specs dont have any power output numbers
  9. doraymon
    Thanks a lot for this, I thought a 3.5 mm coaxial digital cable could have so many variances...
    I’ll try to return the cable.
    Do you know of any viable alternative?
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2018
  10. GU1DO
    Welcome any time man ,, glad to help :)
    Hooster likes this.
  11. x RELIC x Contributor
    Positive, I wouldn’t post otherwise.

    The TT has a higher Current bias, but that really shouldn’t be an issue for 99% of headphones out there. Incidentally, the Mojo also has the same power output.

    I can think of only two headphones, both from HiFiMan, that may struggle from a power output perspective with the Hugo2. Once you know how much Voltage and Current it actually takes to reach 110dB SPL (dynamic peaks) then you’ll realize that, for example, 4W power output is really not necessary and most of that power is actually unused... even if driving to 120dB SPL (threshold of pain) with most headphones.
    onsionsi and ChisChas like this.
  12. MacedonianHero Contributor
    I agree with you Amos here...but I would add that it also depends on the headphones too IME. If they are quite efficient like say the Z1R or Utopia; the H2 is hard to improve upon with an outside amp. For the LCD-4 or Abyss Phi, then it is certainly possible. :)
    Christer and kank like this.
  13. x RELIC x Contributor
    This is what the LCD-4 (200 Ohm, 97dB/mW) needs to drive to various volumes. Besides 120dB SPL the Hugo2 has enough output power for the LCD-4 for most scenarios. Output Current isn’t the issue either as Hugo2 can deliver a max of 500mA.


    For the Abyss Phi (42 Ohms, 88dB/mW) it’s still not an issue from an output power perspective, again, until you’re trying to get to 120dB dynamic peaks which I wouldn’t recommend for hearing longevity.


    Just posting the numbers here Peter and it should be noted that I haven’t heard either headphone with the Hugo2 or my Cavalli LAu. What differences do you notice with an external amp, and are those differences noted with more efficient headphones as well? I ask because if they are noticeable with more efficient headphones then it’s a synergy topic and not a power issue, based on the numbers. I’m genuinely curious about your objective answer.
    ChisChas likes this.
  14. Weider
    Hi guys, on a totally unrelated note, does anyone have any idea if blanking plugs for the the RCA outputs and/or the 3.5mm outputs, exist for the Hugo 2?
  15. Rob Watts
    My first reaction to reading paul2qute reply was that I am sure people have read enough about my posting on adding another amp, as I really have said enough.

    But then I thought - have I posted about all the ways that bloom, or the perception of added weight can be added to an amplifier? This would give the illusion that Chord amps are relatively underpowered (when of course they aren't). And I don't think I have posted about all the ways of how to artificially add to the perception of weight.

    So here goes:

    1. 2nd harmonic addition. Now I have posted about this before, and it's something that is well known about. The ear is actually pretty poor transducer for bass; the ear is non-linear, and not very good at detecting the pitch of low frequencies (bass). The ear/brain has a number of tricks available to actually let the brain compensate for the ear's poor low frequency performance. One of these tricks is to take the 2nd harmonic, then use the level of the 2nd harmonic, together with some fundamental, to trigger the perception of the fundamental; so when you add 2nd harmonic distortion, it's easier to actually perceive the fundamental - so you hear the bass. Another way that the brain uses to infer or perceive bass is through transients, but that leads onto the WTA filters and another situation.

    So adding 2nd harmonic makes you think that you are hearing more fundamental and more bass than there actually is. So having an amp (such as a tube) that creates more 2nd harmonic for bass (and this happens naturally with transformers and tubes) will give an illusion that there is more bass than there actually is.

    2. Damping. Headphones and speakers are electro-acoustic systems that have a natural resonance in the bass; this resonance is damped (or controlled) mechanically and electrically; when a bass driver starts flapping out of control (creating more bass and the illusion of more weight) it creates a back EMF in the voice coil; this is controlled by the amp's OP impedance. Listening tests have shown that this is directly audible - a high OP impedance (low damping factor) gives more bass than a low output impedance (high damping factor); but with the high damping factor, although the bass is leaner, it starts and stops much faster and is much more accurate. So bass tightness, rhythm perception and impact improves.

    3. AC coupling capacitors. These can add considerable bloom to bass, particularly electrolytic capacitors. There is an effect known as dielectric absorption; with this, the capacitor non-linearly stores charge; then it releases this charge at a time after the bass has finished, and creates a low frequency error that depends upon the previous low frequency amplitude envelope. This sounds like a softness in the bass, and it also increases bass perceived weight (you are actually adding low frequency errors). Moreover, they also add 2nd harmonic distortion too, and only with the bass. Indeed, I see a lot of DAC designers using this trick of having large amounts of 2nd harmonic but only with low frequencies - no names, but examine the 20Hz distortion against 1kHz - some DAC's have 1% THD at 20 Hz, and this is done solely to convince you into thinking the bass has more weight than it really has (this is actually done to try to compensate for a hard and glarying treble). You can fine tune the SQ by selecting the right caps - but all you are doing is balancing one distortion against another to try to fool you.

    Now Hugo 2 does not "enjoy" any of these tricks - it has extraordinary low 2nd harmonic distortion (-130dB) and very low OP impedance (25 milli-ohms or 0.025 ohms many headphone amps are a few ohms), and no coupling caps at all (with the digital DC servo). So why don't I use these tricks? Simply because it would destroy transparency - and in particular destroy variability. There are some pieces of music where I want things to sound soft and warm and big; there are some tracks where the bass must be fast and super tight; if you use the above tricks - then everything always sounds the same. And that to me ruins the music.

    So what does that mean if your headphone sounds too thin with no weight in the bass? EQ - or more importantly - get better headphones. There are many headphones IMHO that actually are not very good, even though they are very highly regarded in the Head-Fi community... If you plug a distorting headphone into Hugo 2 or Dave, it becomes very apparent and very easy to perceive headphone deficiencies.
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    rnros, Deftone, Currawong and 19 others like this.
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