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Hugo M Scaler by Chord Electronics - The Official Thread

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by ChordElectronics, Jul 25, 2018.
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  1. musickid
    Amphenol RF "095-850-187M100" from mouser electronics are great for £18 each. They look thinner than usual but are excellent. Shipped in from Texas to UK. "Punch well above their price point." According to feedback on blu2 thread which ultimately inspired me to try them.

    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
  2. TheAttorney
    I don't think there is anything wrong with the stock cables. Judging from many past posts, plus my own experience, it's more likely that the more demanding requirements of syncing a pair of cables at 1M taps simply brings us closer to a threshold where something may go wrong. For some people, changing cables helped, for others it didn't help. My guess is that when you get close to such a threshold then any number of things may make a difference. Some have found than moving the components further apart helps. Or maybe a change to power supply, or change to grounding, or switch-on priority - too may variables to predict what will work in any individual circumstance.

    But regarding sound quality of different BNC cables, then that I've discovered is entirely a different prospect.
    Just before I received my HMS, I moved house (plus some unplanned changes) meant that my system was not performing at its best. Superficially it was fine and detailed, but there was a touch of splashy brightness that spoiled things on less than good recordings.

    The HMS improved things in all the ways others have described, but some of that brightness/thinness still persisted (at reduced levels).
    Tweaking the stock BNC cables gave incremental improvements: With only one cable connected at a time (i.e. not using the full 1M taps), I tried multiple clip-on ferrites (17) and JSSG 360. They were both better than stock, but I couldn't decide which was best. However, fussing over these incremental differences became completely irrelevant because of what happened next..... [to be continued]
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
    ZappaMan and jscmd2000 like this.
  3. TheAttorney
    Once I had demonstrated to myself that tweaking the stock BNC cables could incrementally improve SQ, I threw caution to the wind and ordered some audiophile ones. If I was a millionare, I probably would have just gone straight for the Habst silver ones. But I'm not a millionare, so I chose ones that were not insanely priced and had the reputation of being true giant killers - enter the Blaxius^2D.

    From the first momement I tried them, the Blaxius cables did not deliver an incremental improvement to the sound - instead they utterly transformed it!
    To put that into perspective, my subjective initial reaction was that they doubled the improvement given by the stock HMS. Or from a different perspective, the HMS+Blaxius in 44k passthrough mode sounded at least as good as HMS+stock at the full 1M taps - because although losing the taps lost much of the image height that HMS is famous for, the inherent Blaxius benefits of big tactile images/detail/depth/lack of glare made up for this to give an equally satisfying musical experience.

    Important caveats: I didn't do rigorous A/B tests because I didn't feel it necessary. Once the Baxius cables were in they stayed in for good. So treat these impressions as food for thought rather than a conclusive result that will work or everyone. Also, the better the rest of the chain, the easier it will be to tell the difference.

    Before anyone rushes off to try the Blaxisu^2 cables (around 250 euro each + VAT in EU countries), we need to address the elephant in the room. Or rather the elephant's trunk in the room, becuase these are thick, stiff cables. The thickness isn't such an issue - It would be great if they were 1mm less in diameter, or if the closely packed chord sockets were an extra 1mm further apart, but it all just about fits. The bigger challenge is the stiffness and large radius of curvature - you need to judge the length carefully to fit your components location, especially if you have little room between back of rack and the wall, so I suggest to contact @PeterSt at Phasure for advice on this point.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
    Jiffi32, apmusson, ZappaMan and 2 others like this.
  4. racebit
    Are you saying that no HMS sounded at least as good as HMS?
    Because if HMS in pass-through mode is better than no HMS, then something is wrong with your system, not with mscaler or mscaler stock cables.
    And you think A/B test is not necessary?
    But you are not the first to say that or similar. Maybe Chord could start selling a version of Mscaler with pass through mode only.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
  5. jscmd2000
    Hmmm I am missing something... If there is nothing wrong with the stock cable, why the upgrade??
  6. tunes
    Placebo effect?

    Even with A/B comparisons auditory memory lapses quickly and any nuances of change in sound quality, unless dramatic are often difficult to discern. Ideally a switch box of some kind would be needed but this introduces yet another poison. Then you need to do the comparison blinded with someone else doing the switching. There is also the element of hearing acuity and interpretation. Level of alertness, alcohol and/ or other drugs, ambient noise, day or night, weekday or weekend, mains noise etc all can have an effect. Cables usually make the smallest incremental change in the chain. I personally would rather spend the additional $1k on the better set of cans or better amplifier. In the digital domain it is the EMF and other forms of electrical interference that alters the SQ so shielding is the critical aspect. Ferrites could make a difference and that tweak is much less expensive and works for some. At least all of this is what I have come to believe reading along on these forums. If it sounds better to your ears and the difference makes you happy and you can still pay your bills, then just do it! Life is short so get in as much pleasure as possible.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
    Jan Tage Holmber likes this.
  7. Triode User
    I am probably against the tide here but when I tried it I thought that Dave by itself was better than Dave plus MScaler in pass through.
    xxx1313 likes this.
  8. tunes
    Why would anyone want to have purchased a HMS with DAVE to listen in pass through mode? It’s DAVE plus HMS that should sound better than DAVE alone. Now people are talking about selling DAVE for TT2 plus HMS so they have more power to drive ABYSS PHI or Susvara without needing an external amp (headphone or speaker amp).
  9. Triode User
    You are right. No one in their right minds would listen to pass through for anything other than a quick way of assessing the 1M taps. Lol. I hope you don’t think I’m sitting here listening to pass through every day!
  10. Rob Watts
    The way the DSD conversion works is that the DSD filter is a DSD to 705 kHz PCM converter. So when DSD is detected, the signal is converted and sent to the rest of the M scaler as if it was an original 705 kHz PCM signal; and the only way of outputting 705k is via the dual BNC. I guess with hindsight I should have muxed (that means switched) the DoP signal through to the OP's in the case of this instance (and this wasn't done because the input could be native DSD protocol which would then need re-packaging and converting to DoP to be sent to a non Chord DAC that almost certainly would not support DoP via SPDIF anyway) - I am afraid I am guilty of being 705/768k centric, as this became my de facto standard 4 years ago. Of course, you upgrading to a TT2 will solve this issue!
    Chord Electronics Stay updated on Chord Electronics at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
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    Jan Tage Holmber likes this.
  11. kennyb123
    Thanks for the quick response, Rob. I really appreciate it. My TT2 should only be a couple weeks out, so I have much to look forward to.
  12. thePhones
    In the past I always bought my music instead of streaming it via services. Today I tried "Tidal Hifi" and was experiencing listening fatigue in a way which I only got pre Hugo/mscaler times. But now using Tidal via USB Audio Player Pro - mscaler - Hugo 2 I got this sense of everything sounding just a bit more mechanical, less musical, even when listening to the same song which I downloaded on HDtracks (both 44.1/16bit). I noticed a difference in kbps, sometimes one has 1-5 kbps more than the other.
    Has anyone else experienced this and can maybe describe what is happening here as Tidal is claiming bit perfect streaming with the Hifi subscription. I really want it to sound the same but to me it really does not. Maybe its some loudness normalization taking place.
  13. jscmd2000
    Mechanical... as in digital glare maybe? I think a lot of people only use cd's and lp's for this reason.
    Using optical out of my ak380 into hms/dave does sound better than usb out of my macbook pro probably because of same reason.
    Also, running Tidal through Audrivana sounds better than tidal direct for some reason I do not completely understand.
    thePhones likes this.
  14. wdh777
    I switched from tidal to qobuz which I think sounds better. You could give that a try.
    thePhones likes this.
  15. ZappaMan
    And is there an explanation regards why these cables double the improvements registered via mscaler ? Are they ferrite based? Are they rfi suppression based ? just be interested to know. I'd like to double my mscaler obviously :) that way, my mscaler would only have cost me half the money (or something)
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
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