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Hugo TT 2 by Chord Electronics - The Official Thread

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by ChordElectronics, May 10, 2018.
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  1. phase0
    I wanted to say hello to the thread. I'm a happy new HTT2 owner and here is a picture:


    I wanted to thank recent posters who linked reviews and the vids of Rob talking about the tech. It's helping me understand what to listen for and understand better what I am hearing.

    One thing I find especially fascinating is I did sit down on a busy CanJam floor with the Dave (this was a couple years ago IIRC). No doubt it's good but at the time I couldn't understand how/why it would be any different from what I had at the time. You can read reviews, impressions, and technical data but it's really something else to have it at home in your setup where you can relax with your music. I was really afraid I'm not going to hear anything different since what I got before the HTT2 is pretty good IMO.

    Anyways I was a little bit of a Chord skeptic but after a late night last night I'm definitely a convert. I'm really glad I took a chance to order this thing. Right now I only have Abyss SE. I need to get a cable to try running it balanced. I think the difference is palpable and I probably won't be able to ever go back. Thanks to the folks who advised me and put me at ease with my doubts. You guys were right and I'm so glad I took that leap.

    I do think it's more detailed and articulate than even before, something about the tone/timbre that is richer and more textured, more authentic. Less veiled. It seems like the stage is more opened up and bigger, maybe that sense of distance, being able to chase an instrument in it's space, hear the reverb tails better, and like that reviewer said when an instrument is forward and steps back into the background it's easier to still chase it without it being lost in the rest of the sound. It seems like I heard new things in songs I've heard many times, and there are things I know were there but something about the way HTT2 renders it, takes on new life and character. I think part of that is might be in the transparency and the more structured space that each sound's contribution is more clear but that the whole tapestry of the song is still a pleasant presentation without IMO being over analytical... I've obtained a few audiophile sorts of demo tracks that aren't maybe my favorite genre but are technically good. I also found myself listening to these all the way until the end. Normally I would skip around a lot more quickly. I also found myself staying up to about 4am. I couldn't stop. Which also reminds me about my fears of the HTT2 being somehow "too bright". I think like others pointed out, there's clarity in the presentation of the space but it's not actually bright. Like IDK a transparent window gives you a clearer view vs some frosted/smudged window that occludes a bit. I think that I can listen for so many hours effortlessly and eager for one more song speaks that it is non-fatiguing. In some cases I really thought I was hearing a chorus of angels singing. Some of the female vocals and string sounds I like had a new dimension or texture to them that took what was already great and made it better...

    Anyways much more listening needs to be done but that is my rough first impression. The proverbial dust hasn't even settled yet and after watching this talk today my mind is wandering to the mScaler. I fear for my wallet. Chord hit this one out of the park IMO HTT2 is fantastic. As far as that combined price maybe it's better to just look to the Dave? But I do like that I don't have to take the wallet hit all at once and there is an upgrade possible later on....
    Mikey99, Deftone, andrewd01 and 9 others like this.
  2. x RELIC x Contributor
    I think it's down to the proper reconstruction of transients where the brain can make better sense of what it is hearing, rather than bright gear shoving details at you which can be fatiguing for me pretty quickly. So, you get the detail but accurate detail that doesn't need to be brighter to appreciate. That's what I get from Rob's designs.

    For those that are using the XLR, or high gain, when it clearly isn't necessary to drive 99.9999% of headphones, could you PLEASE volume match before making comments on the differences you hear. Please. Most of the differences reported are exactly what we perceive when the volume is slightly (or dramatically) louder. It makes zero sense that something sounds better because the gain is increased but the volume is decreased. Does your car go faster because it has more gas in the tank. No. You notice an issue when it's low/empty. Same with transducers and unless close to max volume there isn't really any benefit to use a higher gain/output because for a certain SPL the headphone will always only use a certain amount of power (Ohms law). Cover your bases, yes, but the TT2 has so much juice on SE it really shouldn't be an issue for all but perhaps the HE-6 or Susvara.
    supervisor likes this.
  3. jarnopp
    I didn’t masure, but it seemed like the same volume (e.g., 0 dB) on balanced XLR and SE headphone out were the same. @Rob Watts are the two outputs volume matched when th same volume reading applies?
  4. Boogie7910
    I'm noticing a way better sound the past two days using TT2 in dac mode connected to Cavalli LAu via xlr. Need to do more testing but it appears my background is more black than ever before and every little subtle detail is more present and articulated with no congestion. I've never experienced such remarkable SQ. I did try this combo initially via rca outs when I first got the TT2 but it didn't have the same effect I'm experiencing now with xlr. I will try to go back and compare to TT2 direct SE in amp mode and then dac mode via rca to LAu, but I've been so enthralled with dac mode via xlr and haven't heard such detail before that I've been reluctant to switch it back.

    Edit: upon further review no difference between xlr and rca out to separate amp
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019
    dawktah2 and ZappaMan like this.
  5. x RELIC x Contributor
    I love the LAu but didn't notice the same thing as you from the DAVE XLR (2x output) vs RCA, when volume matched. Generally the fully differential design of the LAu is better fed a balanced signal, but Chord DACs are designed SE (for good reason) so the benefit from balanced would be entirely on the amp side.
  6. x RELIC x Contributor
    Yes, this is what you are looking for (bold emphasis added by me):

    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019
  7. jarnopp
    Thanks. So, on high gain (which is all I’ve used) the volume is matched between SE and XLR and my impressions are valid? Is that what that is saying?
  8. x RELIC x Contributor
    First, I'm not trying to invalidate any impressions. Just trying to keep things straight as to where the source of the impressions are coming from. :wink:

    If you switch between High and Low the display should read -9 on the Low compared to 0 on high. If you then manually raise the level to 0 on Low then that would match 0 on High. This is for the Gain setting. For the XLR vs SE the volume would not be automatically matched AFAIK as the XLR has a much higher output. Apologies, I was referring to Gain and that isn't what you were asking. Oops!
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019
  9. jarnopp
    No worries. I didn’t mean to imply you were trying to invalidate anything. I think we all just want to make sure the reference for our impressions is accurate. It “sounded” like the overall volume between XLR and SE was the same at the same volume reading, but it may not be. I can measure later with a phone app db meter, which is all I have. Hope Rob weighs in, too.
    x RELIC x likes this.
  10. jarnopp
    So when measuring, again, just with an iPhone app (Decibel X), it seems the XLR and SE headphone outputs are at the same level when their settings are the same (e.g., both at 0 dB). The meter readings are about the same, but the difference in tonality and fullness remains, at least with HE-6. Much less difference noted with more sensitiv HP, like Focal Elex.
    ZappaMan likes this.
  11. x RELIC x Contributor
    Interesting. Doesn't make sense to me given that the XLR should be a higher output across the board, but interesting. Perhaps the XLR and SE outputs are internally adjusted so that the 0dB volume display is always 0dB (just using a reference level here). That doesn't make sense though, because a higher output would not produce the same dB. I'd be very interested on @Rob Watts take on this.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
  12. ra990
    The XLR can be wired in either single ended (hot+ground) or balanced (hot+cold). Maybe the cable is not actually doing balanced and then you'd get the same exact output.
  13. musickid
    Can the TT2 on putting into standby be switched off at the mains then switched back on at the mains when you next want to use it?
  14. ZappaMan
    Yes, you’d need to press standby again tho to wake it up
  15. musickid
    thanks Zappa. This thread has really had it's daily allocation of get up and go since all the members in the states have been hoarding and collecting their new units. Forget the gold rush this is the TT2 rush...

    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
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