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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. dmance
    A good segue for Rob to chime in on his imminent digital amp ...perhaps the perfect product (at least those with loudspeakers)
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
  2. Triode User
    Rob has the long term DX amps project of which there will be an integrated version with as I recollect a headphone output. But that is a while away from the last we heard and unless anything had changed. Meanwhile, the Dave is so far ahead of TT2 in its transparency that you could easily add one of a number of good quality amps. I have found that the Pass Labs XA60.8 plus Dave plus HMS was more powerful and more transparent than just TT2 plus HMS for speakers and it really floats my boat. All you need to do is to try some amps to find what does it for you with Dave and HMS and Susvara. I think it is unreal to expect Rob to suggest which amps you might use with Dave and HMS, don't you?
  3. JaZZ Contributor
    My audition of the Susvara has led me to believe that the addition of an amp is indeed critical, especially for a highly resolving headphone like this. To my ears the direct connection to the DAVE sounded a lot better (and this throughout the frequency spectrum) than the detour via HiFiMan EF1000 with its tendency to round the edges and add some euphonic sauce. The achievable loudness was absolutely sufficient, no lack of dynamics at all. BTW, Jude favors the TT₂ as the optimal companion for the Susvara. Not sure if I would concur with this, though (haven't heard the TT₂ yet).

    On the other hand I have no choice with my two electrostats, which call for a separate amp. Interestingly I can perfectly live with this solution, even enjoy the music with it.
    GryphonGuy and jarnopp like this.
  4. delirium
  5. jlbrach
    yep, crappy sounding and recording music sounds crappy on any system
    Amberlamps likes this.
  6. jscmd2000
    The thing about amps is that... it is hard to imagine the upper limit.
    You might as well decide on your budget, if you have one lol, and then go from there.
    If you find a $10k amp used to be absolutely wonderful and give all kinds of praises, guess what? You can find plenty much better at much higher price. And if you find one, then you wouldn't think your amp was so great.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
  7. dac64
    direct to a pass lab aleph 5 power amp via dave.
  8. analogmusic
    some of the reviews preferring Hugo TT2 to Dave here are indeed a bit puzzling to me.

    Before buying my Dave I went through every single post of Rob Watts on Head fi, multiple times to make sure I understood.why Dave was better than Hugo 1 as the price jump was massive.

    By the way all it took was a 1 small audition listening to Dave vs Hugo TT1 to hear the superiority of Dave. Also this was confimed when testing Blu2/Qutest vs Dave alone, I could hear what Blu2 was adding to Qutest, but I still preferred Dave alone.

    Digital sources in particular are of great interest to me because I can hear (before the Hugo was created) problems that they have playing music, or even just playing a recording of a single voice of a person reading the news. before Hugo it just did not sound real enough to my ears.

    And the primary difference of Dave over the Hugo range, to my understanding isn't only the output stage or the power supply.

    It is the much larger FGPA and programming which went into it. which allows the 20 element pulse aray to have a noise shaper of -350 DB. What this really means is that Dave has superb small signal resolution and refinement which the Hugo range doesn't.

    The additional power of the Hugo TT2 cannot overcome it's considerably smaller FPGA and less elaborate programming.

    My humble opinion.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
  9. Amberlamps
    Less elaborate programming could actually be a benefit rather than a hinderance and downgrade.

    It’s called optimization. Cleaning up code can actually improve things, help get the best out of the hardware involved and in the process make whatever device better overall. It can also give a much better user experience.

    Robs code has no doubt continued to evolve since daves release, refinements here and there, possibly his code is leaner and faster than it was 6 years ago ? Possibly his code that was originally on dave, has evolved and been optimized and would now run perfectly well on TT2’s chip ?

    Whether that in itself would make things sound better, thats robs domain, but less elaborate programming does not mean that you end up with a dumb sounding brother compared to dave.


    TT2 was never meant to beat dave, it would of been a stupid move to make, yes TT2 and HMS is better than dave, but dave+blue or hms will always be better.

    I can’t see why folk were getting in such a tizzy about it. That was aimed solely at dave owners who were getting worked up that people were saying TT2 is better. They needed rob’s assurance that it wasn’t, just to reassure themselves that they were still in this fake weird “elite pretend 8 grand club”.

    They were worried that their 8 grand device was being bettered by a 4k device. They were getting worried that they were now in amongst the minions who can only afford to spend 4k. And I’m not joking. If Rob said yes, TT2 beats dave as a joke, but never came back to say he was only joking, a good whack of you would of sold dave and bought TT2.

    My cups of tea are the best in the world, so whose gunna hang on my each and every word ? Nobody ? Is that because it’s a stupid thing to do ? Yes, it is a stupid thing to do, but thats exactly what some of you here do with rob.

    You get in a tizzy and then call for dad.


    I will say this, Rob mentioned that he was shocked at how poorly TT2 performed next to Dave. Well Rob, you must of known that pretty early in the dev/prototype phase, so why continue with a design that you were shocked at ?

    Why not amend the design, or was there pressure from chord to hurry up and get it finished so they could throw yet another device onto the market as quickly as humanly possibly ?

    Pretty poor of you to come on here and say you were shocked at how badly one of your designs performed when compared to dave.

    Folk have just spent 4 grand on it, and now you tell us you were shocked at its performance, way to go Rob.

    Why didn’t you mention that critical piece of information before they went on sale ?

  10. Triode User
    I’m not quite sure why you feel so hard done by. Remember that in the uk Dave is £8500 and TT2 is £4000. That is more than twice the price of TT2. I think the thing to be shocked by is just how good TT2 is for the money.

    Remember also that Rob always says that he designs for the very best performance that he can achieve within the target cost for any given device. So, sure could have revisited the design / components and brought the transparency of TT2 closer to Dave but the cost might have been considerably higher. What if the price had to rise to maybe £6k and even then it was still not as fully transparent as Dave. How would that have been a smart decision?
    xxx1313 likes this.
  11. Ross Contributor
    I paid full price for both the DAVE and TT2, and I don't feel at all hard done by because I ended up with the TT2 (which I prefer).

    Remember, double the price does not mean double the sound quality. The majority of the additional cost of the DAVE is attributable to its casework, the internal power supply and the fancy screen.
  12. Triode User
    I am happy for you that you prefer the TT2. After all it does things that Dave does not do (power). Equally I am sure you will understand that I came to a different conclusion after trying them side by side for a few weeks. We have both used our ears to make decisions and that is the important fact rather than that we have bought just because of what someone else has said about them.
  13. Amberlamps
    Oh, don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel hard done by, TT2 is great, I feel miffed that as a designer, Rob mentions now, how surprised he was with TT2’s lack of performance.

    That lack of performance would of surprised him long before TT2 was final. It would of been found in the first couple of prototypes. If he was that surprised, why continue along that path ?

    I’m not annoyed with Rob or anyone else, he does what he does, but to say he was surprised at how badly it faired between dave, from the engineer side of things, yes it does not beat dave and was never intended to do so, but he could of said it with more tact.

    Had he said 6 months ago, omg I was shocked and surprised at how badly TT2 performed against dave, what would of happened ? Alot of people would not of bought it.

    Me, I was thinking about buying dave or tt2 and mscaler, I would of got both much lower than the rrp, maybe I should of bought dave, but I didn’t, had Rob said what he did 6 months ago, I would of.

    But saying all that, I’m not annoyed at choosing the wrong product, TT2 and HMS does extremely well for me, it sounds better each time I use it. If I felt that it was bad, I would of traded them up to dave in december.

    The part about folk following robs everyword, to some extent it’s true, and knowing that, Rob should of been more tactful with regards to what he was saying. As his designs are not exactly Argos purchases and his post came across like he was shocked at how “schiit” it was compared to dave.

    Thats how it came across to me.
  14. Rob Watts
    Sorry but you have badly misinterpreted my post which was:

    "That was in the context of M scaler and TT2 against a lonely Dave on it's own. M scaled Dave beats M scaled TT2 hands down in every regard - and it was a surprise to me that the difference was so large - I was expecting TT2 to be a lot closer to Dave than it is."

    I did not say I was shocked at TT2's performance - indeed as I write this in a Singapore hotel room I am using an M scaler/TT2 and it sounds extremely musical and transparent. If I thought TT2 was badly performing I would not be using one at all. Note also that my B&W 802's are driven by a TT2 at home. I had intended that TT2 would replace my linear power amp (until DX was perfected), and designed it to sound as transparent and as musical as possible, given the cost constraints. But I was surprised how big a difference that Dave makes; but it's twice the price of TT2, so it damn well should be substantially better. My surprise is one of technical understanding, as the transparency improvement does not come from the noise shaping, but the myriad of other factors that goes into a DAC design. When you are designing you make predictions as to the resultant SQ; and my prediction was that it would be a lot closer than it turned out to be. So intellectually I have been re-calibrating and researching on these other factors.
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    onsionsi, jbrownson, bikutoru and 9 others like this.
  15. Ross Contributor
    That's pretty much what I have been saying.
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