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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. Christer
    Hello and thanks for the link.
    It is one of the few Reference Recordings I don't have, but I own most of the others so I know what you are trying to say.
    Like all of my other well recorded and well mastered digital recordings my Reference Recordings titles sound absolutely superb via my HMS.
    Cheers CC
  2. bikutoru
    They are about SOUND QUALITY FIRST, "annoying weird design choices" is about you. There is a reason behind it, "Funny and ironic that John Franks loves Antoni Gaudi",
    we just need to learn to appreciate it.
    masterpfa likes this.
  3. Christer

    your post and linked image, makes me even more convinced that I just have to go to Barcelona!
    I have been to Madrid quite a few times, but never to Barcelona.
    I love both Antoni Gaudi's architecture and Salvador Dali's "weird" paintings so I'll just have to make it to Barcelona this year!
    My design comments were not really about looks and design as much, more about empty space for no obvious SQ reason as far as I can judge?
    I like the looks of my HMS.
    And Qutest is rather cute.

    But I don't buy HIFI products primarlily by how they look.

    Although both my 100 pounder amp combo and my 100 pounds each, taller than me, electrostatic speakers look nice to a HIFI and mainly classical music nerd like me,the one and only REALLY IMPORTANT aspect is how they sound to me.
    And the less sound colouration and distortion they introduce ,the better.

    Transparency is King and HMS certainly delivers in that respect.
    Digital has never before sounded as good as now in my system.

    And I can easily live with both its oversize and weight until something more portable with at least the same SQ arrives.

    But if I could have it, I would love to be able to travel with a nicely rounded,not sharp cornered as HUGO 2, HMS built in,HUGO 3 capable of driving both my HD800 and HEKV2. And why not even a headphone like the Susvara directly without needing a separate headphone amp to boost power?
    Yes I know the TT2 is there, but it is too bulky for easy travel and DAVE sounds even better to me.

    I doubt there will ever be any portable unit capable to drive a headphone like the RAAL SRH1A though.
    Talking about weird design choices ,that headphone looks weirder than any other including my old Jecklin Floats imho.
    Cheers CC
  4. musickid
    The empty space has a totally functional purpose. It is most definitely not pointless aesthetics. Chord will have the precise answer here.
  5. JM1979
    I got an M Scaler a couple days ago. Point blank, this is the audio upgrade I’ve always been looking for. Music is so natural, smooth, well timed. I can just turn on an album and listen with zero distraction or questioning of the sound quality. Everything sounds like I’m plugged into the sound board for the actual recording.

    It’s such a nice bonus to throw any recording at it and get amazing sound. So much of my pre-M Scaler life included not wanting to listen to some of my favorites recordings because they didn’t sound great in my chain compared to high res stuff. The M Scaler has leveled the playing field. Although really high res sources (192) sound beyond incredible going into the M Scaler.

    I’m sure I’ll have more thorough impressions later but to be able to sit for hours, not want to tweak my setup or track/album and just listen easily is all I ever wanted with this hobby.

    I did ask a question a page or so ago about the BNC cables. I found an after market pair that isn’t crazy expensive. No idea on performance but I was willing to take this risk.


    I doubt there is anything wrong with the supplied BNCs. However, I can hear just a little noise, almost like very lite pink noise, way in the background now that I’ve added the M Scaler. Since nothing else in my chain changed, and I can hear the massive impact the M a Scaler is having, I drew a conclusion that it must be the BNc cables. I feel like they might be struggling to get all that data over and that could be the issue. We’ll see.

    Can’t wait to spend more time with the MScaler.
    Tao8, simorag and Ciggavelli like this.
  6. Rob Watts
    Aesthetics are crucially important, but there is another much more important reason - if it was the size of Hugo 2 (and it couldn't as the connectors would not fit) the case temperature would be 90 deg C - which the FPGA would cope with, but not anybody touching it! There are always good engineering reasons for why things are the way they are... Another thing I curse the size of the Hugo M scaler is when I am flying - but for short flights I put it in my man bag, together with the battery bank, and after a couple of hours it gets warm but never hot - and the reason for this is heat dissipation using anodized aluminium is too parts - radiative (infra red) and convection (air movement cooling). I have actually measured which is the most important aspect - and it turns out that radiative cooling is as effective as convection cooling, each contributes about 50% to the total for the Hugo M scaler (how do I know this? raw un-anodised aluminium has virtually no radiative cooling, so I measured it with raw aluminium, and the thermal resistance was doubled). Which is why when you seal it in a bag, it still dissipates enough from the infra red losses, so it does not get unacceptably hot. Both losses are surface area dependendent, which give you a minimum size...

    I agree absolutely with your comments about "throw any recording at it and get amazing sound". Indeed I was musing on this very point on the flight home from Munich - I can't think of any RBCD that doesn't somehow work musically, in spite of poorer recordings. Is it because sound quality is now elevated to such a level that pretty much all recordings are now listenable? Or is it that digital sampling without 16 bit accuracy for the recovery of transients, is fundamentally flawed? I suspect the latter - simply because when I hear analogue master tapes, in a lot of ways it sounds poor (listen to Beatles master tapes!) but musically it works. The M scaler allows one to recover the sound of the master tape, and more importantly allows the emotional or musical connection to the original recording.

    I used to worry when purchasing music - that it would be unplayably bad - that fear has completely gone now, at least from the genres I buy music from. And I can't express how much joy this gives me!
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
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    Aslshark, onsionsi, CClose and 17 others like this.
  7. delirium
    Does that mean your cable too? I have a 60cm that you made?. No good then?
  8. Triode User
    No, it doesn't apply to my cable. Those comments about the length of the cables only relate to stock or standard cables and where I (and RW) did fine that longer standard cables were slightly better than shorter ones but it was slight. As soon as one uses ferrites then their effect dwarfs the slight advantages of having longer standard cables.
  9. JaZZ Contributor
    In case you haven't already heard them: The anniversary editions of «Sgt. Pepper» and the «White Album» sound fantastic.
  10. Triode User
    Yes, I got the high res versions of both and like them a lot.
  11. Christer

    Hello Rob,well I both strongly agree and partly disagree with what you say here.

    But before I return to being " Controversial Christer" again, let me say both to YOU and others here that after a bit more than six months with my M Scaler I consider it together with my Linn Sondek LP12 and its Supex MC pickup which I bought in the mid 70s ,the most important and enjoyable HIFI products I have ever bought!

    There are other important links in my chain as well of course. But these two LP12 and HMS stand out as the most significant for my enjoyment of recorded music.

    My LP12 made the best of analogue my reference for many years. But I have to admit that M Scaler has rocked that boat considerably.

    Since I returned from my winter in Asia three weeks ago I have played fewer LPs than ever before.

    The best ones still sound very good.

    But I am so amazed at how good the rbcd layer of quite a few of my reference SACDs sound that I just keep digging through those and the around 100 "new" old classical rbcds I brought back from a good friend before landing at my place.
    Together with the 50 or so rbcds I found in a wardrobe in my flat in town last year I now have roughly 150 plain rbcds and another 200 or so SACDs to keep me busy.

    When SACD arrived on the scene in the late 90s one slogan was "The air is back again".
    But to my surprise with M Scaler it is also very much there, provided the recording allows it with rbcd.

    And often even better defined than via my SACD players.

    Today I played a couple of BIS recordings I was present at some of the sessions of. And even via SACD I have been a bit disappointed with that sorrowful last chord of Tchaikovsky's Pathetique symphony not decaying into silence as I so clearly remember it doing in the hall,but haven't heard it do as long and clear in my system back home before.
    But today it was there in all its tragic glory with several seconds of slow natural decay into complete silence.
    And I could play it very loud indeed via speakers without congestion at climaxes
    And from rbcd of all formats!
    I also played BIS' SACD of Beethoven's 9th and again the rbcd layer sounded better than the SACD layer.
    But here I have be a bit CC again, because in the middle of the slow movement the battery of my linear PSU for my Qutest ran dry and I was forced to pause the player until I had fitted the supplied wall power unit into Qutest and could carry on listening.
    But unfortunately some of the magic was gone. The strings were not as silky smooth and the general sound and soundstage and effortless portrayal I had enjoyed was not quite there any longer. And there was also a wee bit more noise audible even via speakers.
    I have to be absolutely honest and imho the battery powered linear unit is simply better than the supplied one.
    Not only via headphones but even more so, via my big electrostatic speakers.
    Via battery power I was completely transfixed and caught up in Beethoven's heavenly music and it sounded at least as good as my hi res versions of that symphony.
    But without it there was a bit of hardening and digital edge back again.
    A tad smoother on battery?
    Oh yes, more than a tad to me.

    To get back on topic of the size of your Wonderbox HMS, mine has only ever been a bit hot with above 30C temperatures without AC on in the tropics. Today after having been switched on all day for at least 8 hours it is not even more than nice and warm to touch.

    In other words from a temperature and connections point of view I don't really see any reason why an M Scaler would need to be any bigger than a Qutest?

    As far as "throw any recording" and so on....
    I have to disagree, if anything HMS reveals bad recordings more ruthlessly than ever imho.

    Luckily I have very few really bad recordings but those that are bad really suck even via HMS!
    Good music magazines tend to be rather correct about SQ of recordings most of the time.
    In that respect Gramophone can still be trusted.

    In some bad cases with digital recordings I am pretty sure the reason is that some early classical rbcds were recorded on only 14 bit ADCs and I can quite easily hear that those sound less refined and not at all as enjoyable as later and better recordings.
    When I first played some of BIS's early SONY PCM F1 14 bit recordings via HMS I was quite disappointed. They still sounded quite bad to me.
    Yes for those with a memory of early days of digital,that slamming garage door at the HIFI show in London was impressive, but music is much more complex than a slamming door.
    Even the DGG mid 60s Karajan/BPO LP of the same symphony sounded smoother and more resolved than the 14 bit recording where strings sounded flat and harsh.

    I even had to check if my HMS was really upscaling properly and check with pass through to hear that Sibelius's 7th from the same hall and orchestra as the Tchaikovsky but now via PCMF1 sounded even worse that way.

    I definitely think 16 bits are essential.

    But I am really amazed at exactly HOW good 16 bits can sound via HMS.

    HMS has changed the way I look for music to listen to, and will keep me quite busy ripping many discs before winter arrives again. And I and all those smart birds migrate to warmer climates over the winter again.

    As far as analogue mastertapes are concerned I would say that they can actually with the really good ones, sound very good and realistic indeed.

    Cheers CC
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
    Siz. likes this.
  12. delirium
    Ok..thanks...hifinevrosa you know
  13. Deftone
    Im not sure if this was posted back in september but here it is "Theory behind MScaler technology"

    Whats interesting is at the end the interviewer asks "And has his thirst for more filter taps now been sated?"
    And Rob replies No: “My gut feeling is that we need to go further.”

    Why go further if 16bit 44.1khz is now perfectly reconstructed? its so good infact that most users that have one here have stopped looking for higher res editions and just enjoying the music...
    Unless he means in regards to the regular DAC development like pulse array etc but im not sure because this question was specificly aimed at Mscaling.
  14. ray-dude
    To the later, we know that better components, more pulse array elements, and better power all make a substantial difference in SQ (mScaled DAVE vs mScaled TT2). The leap from 500k taps to 1M taps is also material, so very intriguing to think what the next bit of reconstruction accuracy will bring (2M taps, or even 4M taps).

    With better analog to digital conversion (Davina), will the need for more taps in reconstruction filters go up or go down? If you take an mScaled signal put it through davina, downsample it, then mScale it, and repeat, how many generations can you loop through before the core signal has materially deteriorated? I can't wait to find out!

    There is also the broad domain of digital equalization/digital cross overs/digital room correction. To the extent that a lot of this functionality moves into the digital domain (imagine a DX amp for each driver in a speaker, with the digital cross over setpoints set from a Davina-based recording from the listening position...custom digital cross over for your speaker drivers, with room correction built in), the more signal headroom you have in the digital domain, the more flex you have as you apply digital correction. Will this require better reconstruction filters?

    I think we're just scratching the edge of what is possible in digital audio. Rob is blazing an incredible trail of innovation, with each step built purposefully and with great foresight on the step before. I can't wait to hear what he comes up next!
    onsionsi and musickid like this.
  15. miketlse
    It is quite simply the scientific method. Rob hypothesised that with the WTA filter and 1 million taps, it should be possible to perfectly reconstruct the initial audio to 16 bit accuracy, and that more taps would bring no benefits for RBCD music.
    He has developed M Scaler, and demonstrated that it enables the best music reproduction so far, but that does not prove the hypothesis that additional taps will bring no benefit. For that he does need to develop the next M Scaler, so that his hypothesis can be tested.
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