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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. rkt31
    m scaler needs usb power for usb detection as I know. though usb input is galvenically isolated from inside. still if someone wants to feed cleaner usb power, ifi idefender is best choice. it cuts the usb source dirty power and you can replace it with a 5v battery power or ifi's own ipower. ifi claims it to be better than battery but imho no power can be better than battery. so a 4xAA NiMH battery pack with usb pin can be a good option to replace is usb power via ifi idefender.
    514077 likes this.
  2. GreenBow
    Sorry, off topic. However I re-thought this. Harmonics are not played twice. My bad. Sorry if I confused anyone.
  3. musickid
    @Rob Watts (many thanks).

    Is anyone using mscaler with a mac and if so do you find you have to manually select the OPSR on the mac with video and manually select 48kHz? With roon exclusive mode that is automatically done as roon controls the computer. This may apply to windows users too. I find it odd that i have to manually select the sample rate when viewing video and wonder how autodetect hms applies here. Anyone out there can help me understand this.

    For e.g. when i stick a video on i'm still getting 44.1kHz as that setting is stuck on the mac from previously playing music on roon. For you tube videos as an e.g. there is no way i know of for determining the correct SR of the video that is streaming. Auto detect hms confirms video at 48kHz but the computer does not automatically detect and change to the SR of the video playing unless this is done manually. Strange? What is everyone mac and windows users doing here? If i have to manually adjust the SR for online videos are they all 48kHz as there seems to be no way to know?
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
  4. Chester Rockwell
    Morning everyone (well those of you in the UK at least).

    I’ve had the M Scaler since mid March so thought it was about time I fed back some thoughts and opinions. It’s been a strange couple of months for me audio wise, so fully enjoying the M Scaler has only really happened in recent weeks.

    Due to an Amazon error, I could only connect the Mscaler to my Hugo2 via optical for the first couple of days. I was waiting on the BNC to RCA converters. This was a pleasant experience though and allowed me to savour the experience a little, knowing even greater things we’re still to come. Things did sound better to me, even just via optical to the Hugo2. Whether or not this was just the new toy effect, I will never know.

    When the adapters finally arrived, and I recovered from an ear problem, I unleashed the full potential of the M Scaler and was very surprised by what I heard. It didn’t sound better.......it sounded different. Now you may read that and think that’s a bit underwhelming but let me explain and you will hopefully see why it is the complete opposite.

    When I’ve upgraded Headphones/DACs/Amps in the past, if I’ve researched and picked wisely things have always generally sounded a bit better. Usually by a small margin but better. For a long time I did not upgrade from my favourite delta sigma DAC (an Arcam D33 super dac, if anyone is interested) as nothing I heard sounded better. When I heard Hugo2 it did sound better but it wasn’t night and day. Now Rob has probably just spat his coffee out all over the computer at me suggesting his designs sound anything like the Arcam, and I have no doubt that his designs are technically far superior, but the point I’m making is I’m not one of those guys that can hear the tiny micro changes. I cannot hear any difference between Hugo2 filters. I cannot hear any difference between red book and Hi-Res (M Scaled or not). But I did hear a distinctive difference when adding the M Scaler. The reason I describe it as sounding different rather than better is because it is not simply just the same but better, it is the next evolution in listening to music in my opinion. If I read that previous comment anywhere I would be raising eyebrows and sneering at the hyperbole (as I often do on head-fi) but it’s simply the way I can best describe it. Please don’t think after reading that, if you buy an M Scaler and plug it in you will instantly be transported into some trippy hyper-reality where you’re actually sitting on the piano as it’s played. I imagine you can probably achieve that experience for a lot less money, if you know the right people! M Scaler is reserved yet always present. I have an emotional connection to music as much as the next man (maybe less so than some here) but M Scaler has never made me cry or overwhelm me with emotions (we are both too British and polite for that) but it is a very different experience which I could not give up now.

    Although I’ve just said it’s not going to provide you a trippy, out of this world experience, I think it can be compared loosely to very high end Virtual Reality for any of you that have experienced it. I’ve only tried it once when a VR company were pitching for some work and although graphics are far from photorealistic currently, it was the added dimensions and tangible feelings you get that made it such a sensory delight. M Scaler is like that, it is tapping into something different within our brains, of that I’m fairly sure. It is almost like an additional dimension in our music is being unlocked....whatever that means!

    Now I appreciate you may read the above as a potential M Scaler owner and think “you haven’t told me anything” and if you do think that I apologise but that’s the strange thing about the M Scaler. It is very difficult to describe, for me at least, in the usual terms. It is not like a new pair of headphones, or a new amp. You need to listen to one to understand this I think. Not at a show, you may as well not plug it in.

    I just wanted to add some final opinions regarding cables. I won’t bore you with the details but coinciding with my M Scaler’s arrival I had some issues with my ear. I did not realise this initially and was having all sorts of different experiences and was putting it down to the new M Scaler. I was badgering Rob on private message about optical 250k taps sounding better than 1 million dual BNC into my poor Hugo2. Rob was patient with my questions and opinions but politely disagreed.

    Anyway, this lead me down the path of experimenting with cables. The first thing I would say is don’t let this forum get in your head. I have never had any interest in hifi cables but the minute things weren’t quite right for me, all the RF BNC cable debates here were running through my mind and I started hearing all sorts of things that I think were probably my imagination.

    The second thing I would say is the M Scaler does not have an RF noise issue. I genuinely believe that if my hearing had been fine when I got the M Scaler, I would never have upgraded BNC cables and been very happy.

    John Franks says there is no RF issue with M Scaler and Rob says things can be made a tad smoother with solid core ferrites. My experience is that they are both spot on.

    While still unaware that I had an issue, and convinced that I was the victim of RF pollution from the M Scaler, I purchased some Wave Stone cables. I will be completely honest here. When I first heard about these cables I was very very sceptical, certainly given the price of the top tier pair. The Stone cables use the same type of ferrites as the others but are the cheapest in the range (£495). Given there is a good returns policy in place I decided to try them.

    First things first, Nick has been a real pleasure to deal with throughout. Even when I was whining about my ear and being fussy, he was never anything but friendly and polite. I like dealing with people like that. Now on to the cables. They were certainly instrumental in me realising I had an issue with my ear as they did not solve the issue. Fast forward a few weeks, my ear is back to normal and I was essentially starting out fresh with the M Scaler and the Wave Stone cables. As has already been said here, the Wave cables are very well made. The BNC connections are tight and secure (much better than the supplied cables but that is to be expected) and the ferrites tight fitting. I did some comparisons between the Stone cables and the stock cables and did think the Stone cables sounded a little better. Rob’s use of the phrase regarding solid core ferrites “a tad smoother” is probably the best way to describe it. I have to caveat this with the fact that it was several minutes between comparisons by the time I swapped them out (I’m very cautious with my equipment) so although the above view is my honest opinion, I’m not sure how meaningful these types of tests are.

    An added bonus I have found with the Stone cables is they seem to also finish off any last USB noise that may find it’s way into the system. M Scaler already does this very well but any usb source I have now sounds exactly the same as optical, to my ears at least. I can’t explain this as I thought usb noise was of lower frequencies but they do seem to make a difference.

    As I have said already I probably would not have bought the stone cables if my ears had been fine when I got the M Scaler but I am going to keep them due to their build quality and how good they sound. Plus I have to be really honest with myself. I got into hifi because I love music and want to hear it sound the absolute best it can. My goal was to be able to almost remove the equipment from the equation so I can relax and enjoy, safe in the knowledge that this is as good as it gets. That physiological side of listening can play a huge part in what we hear in my opinion. For £495 the Stone cables could be making things a tad smoother, which in turn allows me to relax and enjoy more, so for me they are totally worth it.

    We’re in M Scaler territory now so if you are expecting big gains from tweaks, forget it. We’re too close to the event horizon for that.
    muski, Blitzula, snk8699 and 13 others like this.
  5. GreenBow
    Are you more of a headphone listener than an amp and speakers listener. For me the Mojo to Hugo 2 was a large step. In speakers I think that might be explained easier because all the sounds are on a larger scale. Even in my modest priced (IEMs) AKG N40, I can still hear a large difference between Mojo and Hugo 2.

    In my set-up, I went from Mojo to Hugo 2 by simply taking out one DAC and putting the other in. Over speakers, I immediately heard change. Sounds familiar on the Mojo, now had extra parts tacked on to the sides of them with Hugo 2. (This made them much more 3D realised too.)

    The TT2 takes another step. Sounds that I am familiar with on the Hugo 2, with TT2 now have more defining extra sounds tacked on. I can hear extra parts tacked on to the rear of sounds compared with Hugo 2, and behind. (Plus yet more details all round. Thus completing the 3D effect.) Also the sounds I heard on the sides of sounds with Hugo 2, on the TT2 have extra tonality (and texture). That's only a very brief description of TT2 compared to Hugo 2. (Greater transparency, while more detail, and more tonality.)

    It's all been clear as day to me. My only drawback, is that my partnering kit is not equally comparative with either my Hugo 2, or TT2. (Or maybe even Mojo). I would have heard more also, with the Hugo 2 (and Mojo), with an amp and speakers upgrade. However upgrading from Hugo 2 to TT2, is like and amp and speakers upgrade anyway. (Vis-à-vis.) At the moment I am looking at speaker cabling, and headphones. I can also drive speakers directly with the TT2, so cool on that.

    While in effect the music is the same. Added to what I already said about TT2, it's is a clearer, smoother, and cleaner presentation. It's more engaging too, to the point where I am even more like a rabbit in headlights.
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
    Triode User likes this.
  6. Deftone
    What headphones are you using with TT2? You might have already said and ive missed it somehow.
  7. birdlandbill
    I've been enjoying listening to music either streamed from Qobuz or stored on Innuos Zenith SE > IsoRegen > HMS > BNC > Chord Dave > Focal Utopias. I recently had the opportunity to try Chord-supplied, a pair of Silver Dragon, the Wave Stream and the Wave Storm. The Silver Dragons were my go to BNC cables after a fairly quick comparison with the Chord-supplied BNC cables. Until I tried the Wave BNC cables. There was simply more audible musical information with the Wave BNC cables. This was strikingly demonstrated with the recording Trip Trap on Marcus Miller's Laid Black. So I decided to take advantage of a non-blinded and extended listening comparison between the Stream and the Storm. Both brought out more of the HMS > Dave DAC magic. I could clearly hear Hilary Hahn (Hilary Hahn Plays Bach, 2018) changing finger placements and depressing strings and could hear stunningly clear and granular bowing. Same with a recording by Patricia Kopatchinskaja (Deux with Polina Leschenko, 2018). Is this TMI for music listening? Not for me. It brings the physicality of performance closer to me. I landed on the Wave Storms for reasons that are unclear to me (my wife swapped the BNC cables out for me and I preferred the Storms 4/5 blinded comparisons). Was I happy with the Silver Dragons? Yes. Did I hear more musical information with the Wave BNC cables? Also yes.

    You will notice almost no spatial or musicality terms in my descriptions above. I have entered a peculiar space inhabited by folks like Ethan Winer (AES Damn Lies Workshop and Audio Myths Workshop) and Dr. Mark Waldrep (High-Resolution Audio Demystified) and have independently discovered that the music engineer for a given recording is a bigger determinant of audio quality than kHz/bits. The microphones used and their placement in the violin recordings I mentioned above allowed the HMS > Wave > Dave to bring out otherwise inaudible detail (even in live performance). I now understand why the same drummer (one of my great passions) sounds so different when produced by different engineers.

    As I further explore this musical dimension, the Waves and their iron are danged heavy, but they help deliver audio gold.
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
  8. 514077
    Sometimes, I find Dr. Aix a bit of a gadfly. I can see why people might get frustrated enough to expel him from a given audio society. But, I love reading his emails. It's good to hear different slants on things, and maybe, learning something new. I'll look to see if that AES engineer has something to which I can subscribe.
  9. birdlandbill
    Yes he is, but I think there is some signal in the noise. I've been a high resolution skeptic for a while. Would love to engage in some blinded AB testing of MP3 (320), RBCD, and higher resolution the way Dr. Waldrep does it.
  10. musickid
    Let me explain the mscaler. I listened to a track by the Portuguese fado sensation Ana Moura. With pass thru hms to h2 it sounded wonderful and her voice was crystal clear. With the mscaler 1M taps everything was still crystal clear but her voice was totally transformed. With pass thru it was a pleasant recording but with the mscaler i heard her real true to life voice as if she was in the same room talking to me. In this case the background music, instrumentals etc became secondary for me because the sound of her voice mscaled hit me hard. No solo dac made by chord or anyone else can replicate this type of musical quality.
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
    Aslshark likes this.
  11. Ciggavelli
    My M-Scaler comes next week, and I’ll be using the Hugo 2 as well. How are you getting the full 1m taps, without the dual bnc?

    I bought that dual bnc to digital coax moon-audio cable for the Hugo 2, but I’m not sure if it will give the full 1m taps. How are you feeding the m-scaler to Hugo 2 to get the full 1m taps?
  12. musickid
    Simple. Dual bnc cables (i have amphenol rf) from mscaler into 2 lots of bnc to rca adaptors into an audioquest twin rca to 3.5mm stereo jack adaptor into hugo 2 coax. Then you get light blue dual coax input light on hugo 2 (automatic) with purple 705.6kHz sample rate indicator through hugo 2 glass window. Finally make sure you have white OPSR on mscaler for 1 million taps. No need to spend alot. Ignore the colours in the photo as it wasn't fully set up yet here. 705.6kHz with 44.1kHz input upscaled 16 times.
    IMG_20180924_211426389.jpeg IMG_20180924_205423007.jpeg
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
    Ciggavelli likes this.
  13. Ciggavelli
    Nice! I’m glad it works. Thanks for the info! I’ll do some additional research, but I think my moon-audio cables will give me the full 1taps. We’ll see next week. If not, I’ll look into other adapters and cables
  14. musickid
    The moon audio cables are expensive but will give you 1million taps.
    Ciggavelli likes this.
  15. dmance
    Careful, I went through my parts bin of adapters but only the audioquest worked without dropouts.
    Ciggavelli likes this.
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