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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. ray-dude
    I went through a similar arc a couple years ago. I adored my B&W 802d3's, but got completely addicted to the experience of mScaler + DAVE driving Omega Super Alnico Monitors. Omegas were just thinner, but the B&W's lacked the sense of being in the same space as the musicians. I went so far as getting a custom switch box so I could easily switch between the two, so I could pop back and forth.

    I eventually found the Voxativ 9.87's (4D drivers, 104dB sensitivity), which were WAY above the Omegas, and close enough to what I loved about the B&W's that it was no compromise (ultimate transparency/imaging, with the sense of physical presence that you get from big a** speakers and amps...BASA).

    My original intent was to swap out the DAVE with the TT2 to have more pop, but I wasn't happy with what I was giving up in transparency when I did that.

    I'm sure I'll eventually get back to BASA's, but I'd relishing the high efficiency speaker + mScaled audio experience right now. Alas, I haven't found the true no compromise solution yet. You need to make a choice about what aspect of music reproduction you really lean into, and be patient as the state of the art evolves.
    musickid and JamieMcC like this.
  2. THGM
    Congratulations! Hope the Chord/Stellia combination gives you a lot of pleasure. Can't wait to hear your thoughts.....:)
  3. JaZZ Contributor
    No need for shielding – the same goes for the speaker cables themselves. It would only increase capacitance.
  4. Hooster
    Enjoy the Focals. No need to insulate the adapters though, is there?
  5. N Quarter
    I realize there is quite a bit of bass on single ended GreenBow, but there is more with the XLR output. I too was quite worried about driving speakers direct at first, I think mainly from reading “the adventures” of Paul2Qute. The doubt has subsided in me now, after using the TT2 for several months like this, on average 8 hours a day. I don’t hear any of those clicks that a few have mentioned either.
  6. GreenBow
    That's why we buy low capacitance shielded speaker cables. Or low capacitance cables full stop. (Any guitarist would tell you that, because high capacitance cables cut bass.)

    If I decide to stick with TT2 driving my speakers I will be using shielded cable for the adapters. I will buy a metre of my speaker cable and make two 25 mm adapters from that. (At the moment I am just testing to see if I think I want to do it permanently. To be honest it sounds gorgeous driving speakers direct, but I bet a really good amp would get most of the way there.)

    Yes because the wired side of my speaker females are open metal. They need electrically sealing and RFI sealing if it's possible. At least I think so, but I might be overdoing it. However my cables will be very close to speaker, and that means a moving magnet inducing current in the adapters. (Electrically sealing the plugs is going to have to be done. Although RFI sealing the plugs is probably taking it too far.) I can't find any cable RFI sealing material anyway.

    I don't necessarily doubt you. However the bass level sounds right with SE. I can see how there could be more bass with balanced, unless it's a balanced property.

    It's like I said though. After trying direct SE driving speakers, I was shocked that people were reporting weak bass. If there were much more bass, it would become heavy. Bass level is gorgeous as it is. Having said all this though, the Special Forty can kick like a shire horse in the lower registers. A couple of reviews said what you would think if you heard the Special Forty from behind a screen. That you would think they were a reasonably sized floor-stander. I agree with those impressions. Even my early impressions of the Special Forty were - how do they get that bass? How, from a cabinet that size. I ended up taking off the covers and looking at the drivers to try and get a feeling of what was happening. Now I am just in awe of the bass/mid driver for that.

    Like when I first got the Special Forty, I had to check the tweeters were working. It's not that they are bass heavy. It's just that they are full sounding and have a lower response than my Emit M10. They also have a darker background than my M10, in the way Chord DACs have dark backgrounds. (They are not over-bassy though. I know you know the Special Forty, but that's my take.)

    My only theory is people were using more volume than me. I would never really need to push TT2 over 0 (zero) on the volume numbers. Again I am not disputing you, but I disagree that I need more bass.

    I can really remember the P2Qute story, as it was a year ago. Wasn't it that he was driving his TT2 balanced and extremely loud. I wound not do that. However I did have the odd stupid moment when I turned up my amp loud briefly. To me that's another reason to use the TT2 with an amplifier; so I don't blow it.

    It's going to be a while. Apparently they need a few days run in, or over a hundred hours to be sure. To be honest though, at first I was underwhelmed. Then I was starting to think, "Oh I see". Over the short time I have listened to them, they have improved a lot.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
    THGM likes this.
  7. mightyKyn
    A/b the susvara LCD 4 on mTT2 over last week.

    Susvara is substantially better than LCD4 in every respect except LCD 4 has a bit more bass... it is not substantially more... but the much narrower soundstage I believe makes the bass seem more present.

    Susvara is really quite amazing... need to try driven by xlr outs.

    Hard to see anything else’s other than the TOTL abyss getting close to Susvara. 97975F55-A481-4E17-97C2-CB40C156B96B.jpeg
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
    bluenight and ZappaMan like this.
  8. N Quarter
    It might just come down to the fact that my excite 12’s don’t output as much bass as your special 40’s, even with an amp inserted, just physics. Like you say, I owned the S40’s, and bass was definitely their strong suit. The 18 Watts just has a better grip on the driver than 8, more control, which gives a fuller sound with my 12’s. When I demo the bigger (better) speakers, I will bring my cables for single end also, to see which output sounds best with each pair of speakers.
  9. jarnopp
    It’s funny, but I haven’t noticed those “hardware” clicks lately. Maybe it’s a burn in effect with the unit? I’ve also been running speakers from the XLRs in balanced configuration for a while, and using the RCAs to drive an active sub. No worries about bass and the integration can me made to be seamless with the right sub and speakers. If you are going for transparency, the single driver speaker options are great.

    Oh, and for the record, I can hear a faint display noise when I’m an inch or two from the display when it’s on, but not otherwise.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
  10. GreenBow
    I actually meant to say, "I can't see how there could be more bass with balanced, unless it's a balanced property".

    Anyway whatever. Neither would I say the S40 strong suit is only its bass. It has a brilliant tweeter. They are good speakers and that's why they won so many awards.

    Whatever though. I suppose it's conceivable that the TT2 sounds bassier in balanced out. They say there is a slight change in sound or transparency. However overall we are led to believe Chord generally don't use balanced, because their DACs don't need it. Something to do with the way the DAC work is done. What balanced cures is not present in Chord DACs.

    I think they only put the balanced option on so folk with power amps have the choice.

    Anyway, as I say whatever. Am not going on about it any more.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
  11. Triode User
    My power amps are fully configured as a balanced design and only have XLR inputs so I really value the XLR outputs on the TT2 (and Dave) when I am just using them as DACs.

    When people say they prefer the balanced outputs of the TT2 driving headphones or speakers compared to the SE outputs there is a part of me that wonders if they properly level match the volumes when comparing or whether the preference for the XLR is because they accidentally have it a bit louder? It is an easy trap to fall into.
    x RELIC x and Hooster like this.
  12. betula
    It is not the TT2 sounding bassier in balanced out. The speakers are simply getting more power.
    Ragnar-BY, GreenBow and N Quarter like this.
  13. N Quarter
    My current speakers are 86 DB’s/4 Ohm, so not exactly an easy load. My guess is that they simply work better with a little more power behind them. Greenbow, you can speculate all you want as to which sounds better, but until you actually try the XLR outputs ( like I have) you will not know for sure which you prefer. I am still experimenting myself really, I just reinserted my NDS back in today, I had been running directly off my Naim Core for the last two weeks. I am trying to figure out if I really need the NDS/XPSDR in the chain, if I don’t they are going to be traded in for an Mscaler and the new speakers I want to demo. Other options are a Nagra integrated, LFD amp, or simply do nothing, and keep saving for the Mscaler, since I do not have the cash for any of these upgrades right now. This is why I want to head to the dealer, and try various options, to figure all this out. The problem is, he is a 4 hour drive away (one way), and Saturdays are the only day I can go, which I currently am working.
  14. jlbrach
    tht is an old audio store stereo salesman trick....boost the volume on the item you want to sell
    GreenBow and Hooster like this.
  15. GreenBow
    Yeah that makes some sense, in relation to an idea I had. (It might just be straight right, but only when played balanced louder than SE goes.)

    I'll try explain, but am whacked tonight so might mess up... Like I have to try get it straight in my head before I can explain it. Also I might be totally wrong so take it with a pinch of salt, but this is what I read. I read about this in articles about amplifiers and power output.

    When we see the ohmage of speakers, it's only a nominal value apparently to set a numerical standard. I have read that the impedance of speakers changes as the frequency of the sound changes. Anyway, as frequency of sound drops, the impedance of the speaker drops. This means that the current moves faster, meaning the amplifier has to make more power output. It has to provide more current (at given voltage) to provide same volume. Meaning as the sound goes lower, the amplifier (or TT2) has to put through more power.

    That's why I said what I did a few times in the last pages, which is this. Maybe folk who think the TT2 lacks bass power are listening to it on louder volume levels than I am. (When driving speakers directly of course.) That they are reaching the point where the TT2 can't match the power required to maintain low frequency volume. (Whereas I don't even need to push the TT2 on single ended, because I listen quietly.) …. I think this is why sometimes we read things in reviews related to this. Like when they say some amplifiers cannot control speakers at low frequencies. Either the amplifiers can't provide enough power at low volumes, or can't provide it fast enough.

    The theory is the same for SE vs balanced. On balanced there is more available power to them. In SE they may have pushed the TT2 into a region where it struggled for bass volume reproduction. Whereas in balanced out, they never really reached that threshold, because overall they had more volume at their disposal.

    I mean I really honestly do not need to go over 0 (zero) on the TT2 volume numbers. That probably leaves me well within the region where bass still gets enough power. ……….Moving on, even having said this, I feel more comfortable using the TT2 as a DAC only, with an amplifier. Like if I ever do need more volume, I would prefer to be running an amplifier. Partly for the reasons above. Partly because some amplifiers can sound harsh when pushed very hard. We read about amplifiers hardening up, or the separation going wrong, when amplifiers are pushed hard. It's also said that you should not push amplifiers too hard anyway. That's because even if they are not quite at full volume, they start to distort. That type of distortion destroys speakers.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
    betula likes this.
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