Chord Hugo 2 desktop DAC - QUTEST

likesmusic posted:
Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

.. it’s worth considering for maximum effect for a given number of taps then you need to use the lowest sample rate you can... so that means effectively the most benefit  from theses taps will from 44.1kHz encoded content  and least for 192kHz sample rate......

Do you mean that a 192k original played back through (say) a Hugo will sound worse than the same 192k downsampled to 44.1 played back through the same Hugo? 

No 

ChrisSU posted:
Bob the Builder posted:
ChrisSU posted:
Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Tnx - i set my Hugo to around  350mV pk to pk for best sound on my 552

That makes even the lowest 1V output on the Qutest seem high - maybe it explains why the 3V 2Qute never caught on with those who have a Naim NAC? 

I'm in a very small minority of just one I think that uses a 2Qute into a 282.  It is interesting what Simon said about Hugo units sounding different from one another because the one I tried didn't sound as good as the 2Qute and if I hand preffered it I could have done a straight swap for it.

The gain issue doesn't really bother me it just means that the volume dial gets used a bit less which is a bout the same as my phono stage anyway.

I find the 2V NDX output onto 282 has a very limited range, and precise use of volume control using system automation is not possible. I'm assuming 3V would be worse, which would make it unusable. I guess power amp/speaker sensitivity will come into play here, so maybe it will vary between systems.

Erm if it is unusable then how am I presently using it to stream Tidal via my macBook pro and have had the dial up to 12 o'clock without a problem and I have switched it over to the GCC and have it also turned up to 12 o'clock streaming Linn Jazz radio. I have had an ND5XS which also has 2v I would imagine and that also could be turned up high on the dial.

If you are in the market for a reasonably priced dac then I would try a 2Qute for yourself and not listen to forum chatter because with the release of the Quetest the 2Qute is presently selling for about £600 an absolute steal in my opinion.

Bob the Builder posted:
ChrisSU posted:
Bob the Builder posted:
ChrisSU posted:
Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Tnx - i set my Hugo to around  350mV pk to pk for best sound on my 552

That makes even the lowest 1V output on the Qutest seem high - maybe it explains why the 3V 2Qute never caught on with those who have a Naim NAC? 

I'm in a very small minority of just one I think that uses a 2Qute into a 282.  It is interesting what Simon said about Hugo units sounding different from one another because the one I tried didn't sound as good as the 2Qute and if I hand preffered it I could have done a straight swap for it.

The gain issue doesn't really bother me it just means that the volume dial gets used a bit less which is a bout the same as my phono stage anyway.

I find the 2V NDX output onto 282 has a very limited range, and precise use of volume control using system automation is not possible. I'm assuming 3V would be worse, which would make it unusable. I guess power amp/speaker sensitivity will come into play here, so maybe it will vary between systems.

Erm if it is unusable then how am I presently using it to stream Tidal via my macBook pro and have had the dial up to 12 o'clock without a problem and I have switched it over to the GCC and have it also turned up to 12 o'clock streaming Linn Jazz radio. I have had an ND5XS which also has 2v I would imagine and that also could be turned up high on the dial.

If you are in the market for a reasonably priced dac then I would try a 2Qute for yourself and not listen to forum chatter because with the release of the Quetest the 2Qute is presently selling for about £600 an absolute steal in my opinion.

I was merely commenting on what is usable in my system. 9 o'clock would be loud enough to get a bollocking from the wife, 10 o'clock would be serious party levels, and I wouldn't dare push it to 12. Thus my assumption that issues such as speaker sensitivity might cause systems to vary. Maybe digital transports too. (I see you are running Dynaudios, some of which are said to need plenty of power to get them going.) So if I decide to add an off board DAC, it will be one with a lower output, such as Hugo or Qutest.

Emre posted:
No quarter posted:

Hi Simon

When I had the Hugo 2,I found it was ok when I put it between my Core and 272,but where it was really outstanding,was when I took the 272 out of the mix,and used it as a preamp.So it was Core>Hugo 2>amp...the thing is,I used my home theatre amp,an Anthem Mca 50,because I did not have the right cable to use my 250 DR.I ended up returning it though,because it’s small size bothered me,along with the mini coaxial input.This made me decide to save for the Dave.Another thing,not sure if you ever use headphones,but I found the Hugo 2 was a lot better than H1 with headphones.

How Do you rate hugo vs 272? İs it worth all the hassle ? After all you are wasting the streamer/dac part of the 272 

I would not use the Hugo 2 between my Core and 272,I did not notice any improvement over the DAC in the 272,so it is a waste in that situation.Where I did notice improvement,was using the H2 as a preamp,directly into my amp.Since i already own the 272,I told my dealer,that if he can find a buyer for my 272,I would put that money towards a Dave,otherwise,I am sticking with what I have.I really liked the H2 for headphones,but am not ready to spend that money right now for occasional headphone use.

Interesting.... I rather liked the TT, it just sounded like a Hugo in a different and probably more suited box... yes in the limit the sound was ever so slightly different, specifically in the lower registers, but was not enough to warrant me to change, especially as I am using a Naim preamp.

Halloween Man posted:

No quarter, I would definitely audition Dave, if you haven't already, before committing to buy. I never thought for one minute that would prefer my trusty old Hugo TT to it, but I did, even though Dave did many things better.

fair enough, but for me once I heard Dave and Hugo TT side by side, I knew I had to buy a Dave... and I did.

I had that sickening feeling though, when you know your finances will be taking a big hit.

Analog, yes, in a way I was relieved I preferred the TT 

Simon, yes, I found the Hugo just a little thinner and brighter than the TT but very similar overall. I only have digital source and go direct to active speakers so no need for separate preamp, TT remote was crucial in my decision. I suspect your preamp may have acted as a bit of a leveller with the comparison.

Halloween Man posted:

No quarter, I would definitely audition Dave, if you haven't already, before committing to buy. I never thought for one minute that would prefer my trusty old Hugo TT to it, but I did, even though Dave did many things better.

I definitely will demo first,which should not be a problem.Another thing I could do,or try,is to keep the 272,and use it as a streamer only,using its digital out to the Dave,which would now be the preamp.This still seems like a waste though,thus the reason I asked my dealer to try and sell my 272/Xpsdr.Not a big deal really,I like my current setup,but I think I would get better sound with the Dave feeding an amp directly.There are even some people driving high sensitivity speaker (omega) directly off the Dave,with no amp,and describe it as the best musical experience they have ever heard,live or through a stereo system.There is plenty of talk about this on the Dave,and Blu2 head-fi forums.

I agree Dave feeding power amp would be worth a try. If you already have a laptop hanging around you could just try that and see how you get on. I use iTunes with apple remote app on my iPhone. Bit perfect playback for apple lossless ripped CDs. Dave also has galvanic isolation on usb like the TT. A big benefit to sound quality when using a laptop via USB and another reason why I choose TT over standard Hugo.

No experience of using Omega high sensitivity speakers. Sounds interesting. However, there is a school of thought, and I'm not saying it is true, that a high quality low noise power amp with enough power will make very little if any audible difference to sound quality. If this is true then it shouldn't matter if you use a power amp to drive speakers or not.

Halloween Man posted:

Simon, yes, I found the Hugo just a little thinner and brighter than the TT but very similar overall. 

Indeed, but only until the Hugo gets to temperature which is optimally warm to the touch, and then it fills out significantly.. if I was being critical it can then sound a tad bloated on some bass heavy material (although that could be my 250 amp), but I have grown to like it.. seems to really work well with Naim amps and ATC speakers.

No quarter posted:

Well Rob Watts is designing a digital amp to go with the Dave apparently (Davina),but I would not use my laptop,I would use my Core as a source into the Dave,same as I tried with the Hugo 2.

You are probably right there,he is working on both a digital amp and an ADC,I mixed up the names...actually,he might not of given a name to the digital amp yet.

No quarter posted:
Halloween Man posted:

No quarter, I would definitely audition Dave, if you haven't already, before committing to buy. I never thought for one minute that would prefer my trusty old Hugo TT to it, but I did, even though Dave did many things better.

I definitely will demo first,which should not be a problem.Another thing I could do,or try,is to keep the 272,and use it as a streamer only,using its digital out to the Dave,which would now be the preamp.This still seems like a waste though,thus the reason I asked my dealer to try and sell my 272/Xpsdr.Not a big deal really,I like my current setup,but I think I would get better sound with the Dave feeding an amp directly.There are even some people driving high sensitivity speaker (omega) directly off the Dave,with no amp,and describe it as the best musical experience they have ever heard,live or through a stereo system.There is plenty of talk about this on the Dave,and Blu2 head-fi forums.

If this is verified, how could that not embarrass Chord managers who also propose a £75,000 CPA 8000/SPM 14000 combo without a single d/a converter in sight!

CAT345

i have no clue what you are referring to there,but keep in mind,the situation I am quoting from,is basically a near field setup,and the two people on those forums that have sung the praises of the omegas driven off the Dave,also use JL audio subs for the bottom end...which I happen to own two of(Fathom 112s).I also currently live in an apartment building,so can not crank the volume up very loud,I am not saying this scenario would work for everyone,but might work for me.If anyone cares to read the guys review,go to the Chord Dave headfi forum,page 645,it is the top post,his name is ray-dude.This is actually his review of adding the blu2 to the Dave and Hugo 2.I could not find his original review of just the Dave into the omegas with a quick search,but it was not long ago.

No quarter posted:

There are even some people driving high sensitivity speaker (omega) directly off the Dave,with no amp,and describe it as the best musical experience they have ever heard,live or through a stereo system.There is plenty of talk about this on the Dave,and Blu2 head-fi forums.

Considering direct soeaker driving by Dave:

Omega speakers range up to 97dB/W. That is quite a bit more efficient than the majority of hifi speakers, but might only be capable of achieving up to around 101dB absolute max in-room 2m from the speakers, which may equate to somewhere around 81dB achievable average sound level if max peaks (depending on programme material - this allows for peaks up to 20dB above average levels). Not loud listening, nor suited to much greater distances from the speakers, but certainly potentially usable - though I have no idea how they sound.

Full horns can achieve 105dB/W or more, 8dB louder than the most efficient Omegas, so capable of more enthusiastic levels or greater listening distances - but few people have the space for full horn loading down to bass frequencies.

cat345 posted:
No quarter posted:

Not a big deal really,I like my current setup,but I think I would get better sound with the Dave feeding an amp directly.There are even some people driving high sensitivity speaker (omega) directly off the Dave,with no amp,and describe it as the best musical experience they have ever heard,live or through a stereo system.There is plenty of talk about this on the Dave,and Blu2 head-fi forums.

If this is verified, how could that not embarrass Chord managers who also propose a £75,000 CPA 8000/SPM 14000 combo without a single d/a converter in sight!

In what way embarrassing? Quite apart from the somewhat limited range of very efficient speakers and relatively restricted practical listening distances or sound levels achievable  (not to mention whether or not people might like their sound), isn’t it a case of horses for courses?  Is it embarrasing to provide one customer with something that suits them, and another something very different that suits thir different needs or desires? Is it embarrassing for a manufacturer to support vinyl when digital is now so capable? Or Naim produce both the Statement and the Qube?

Innocent Bystander posted:
cat345 posted:
No quarter posted:

Not a big deal really,I like my current setup,but I think I would get better sound with the Dave feeding an amp directly.There are even some people driving high sensitivity speaker (omega) directly off the Dave,with no amp,and describe it as the best musical experience they have ever heard,live or through a stereo system.There is plenty of talk about this on the Dave,and Blu2 head-fi forums.

If this is verified, how could that not embarrass Chord managers who also propose a £75,000 CPA 8000/SPM 14000 combo without a single d/a converter in sight!

In what way embarrassing? Quite apart from the somewhat limited range of very efficient speakers and relatively restricted practical listening distances or sound levels achievable  (not to mention whether or not people might like their sound), isn’t it a case of horses for courses?  Is it embarrasing to provide one customer with something that suits them, and another something very different that suits thir different needs or desires? Is it embarrassing for a manufacturer to support vinyl when digital is now so capable? Or Naim produce both the Statement and the Qube?

Ok, 'embarrass' may be too strong a word as you correctly state that both approaches address a specific situation.

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Hi, yes the the Hugo2 uses a mini jack, and am using a borrowed Chord Clearway cable..

i don’t think the Hugo2 is for me... I can hear it’s doing some things different to the Hugo and possibly a tiny bit of extra insight.. possibly in some mixes.. however I don’t find it as musical as the Hugo1 into my 552, in fact it’s a little boring... and I am not sure I totally like the balance which is a little drier than I am used to, where as the Hugo1 is sweeter.... 

Most of the reviews I have seen of the Hugo2 have been via USB and not SPDIF, and I wonder if the SPDIF performance of the Hugo2 is not seen as a priority... and the mini jack might suggest this...

Well I might need to eat humble pie.. that little Hugo 2 has been running in from new for the home demo... and it has come on song... it now has wonderfully expansive, engaging , natural feel, and indeed a slightly more weightier sound than the Hugo.. if this keeps up it could be a keeper...

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Well I might need to eat humble pie.. that little Hugo 2 has been running in from new for the home demo... and it has come on song... it now has wonderfully expansive, engaging , natural feel, and indeed a slightly more weightier sound than the Hugo.. if this keeps up it could be a keeper...

Please, keep posting your experience with the new Hugo (especially in comparison to the old one). I am very interested to learn more about the new Chord DAC; and actually wish to home demo as well (hopefully in the not too distant future). But first I need to secure "approval" from the wife. Though I fear soon leaving the North for London might delay her approval... Anyway that's a different story... 

That is a good sign that You are hearing improvements Simon,when I had the H2 on demo,it also got better after a few weeks of use.I still urge you to try it as a preamp directly into an amp,even any old amp you might have laying around...knowing full well that the 552 is going nowhere.

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
Well I might need to eat humble pie.. that little Hugo 2 has been running in from new for the home demo... and it has come on song... it now has wonderfully expansive, engaging , natural feel, and indeed a slightly more weightier sound than the Hugo.. if this keeps up it could be a keeper...

Interesting thoughts Simon. Any reason why you didn't try the Qutest which does have BNC inputs presumably allowing the use of a DC1? 

Well I am still enjoying the Hugo2... it is indeed a step on from the Hugo... I did swap back to the Hugo.. and now the Hugo2 is back .. it is more insightful and a fuller more organic sound which is addictive, the old cliché of rediscovering one’s recordings does indeed apply here... that coupled with my new 552 seemingly coming fully on song I am in audio heaven... but yes the Hugo2 definitely needs a run in to sound anywhere near it’s best. One criticism, the hiss level is ever so slightly higher than the Hugo1... but not noticeable unless your ear is close to tweeters in the dead of night.

Halloween Man posted:

Congratulations Simon, seems you have taken another step up the ladder to audio nirvana, enjoy 

And compared to the 552, 555, 300 or in fact some ethernet cables used around here (“only £2800” from a recent ethernet cable thread), the Hugo 2 costs peanuts... 

Ok my audition is complete.. and finally the Hugo (original) wins out. It is by a fair degree the more musical and enjoyable to listen to in my system with my ears, and my initial view of being sweeter holds true. Yes it doesn’t quite do the frequency extremes and wow factor  of the Hugo2, but I have concluded that is not important to really enjoy my music compared to the musical insight and natural flow the Hugo brings....

 

Very interesting Simon as you seemed to lean towards Hugo 2 over a week ago. I now have the original Hugo on the NDS dig-out, DC1 BNC>RCA and Hi-line RCA>DIN to 252 (NDS as transport only). I alternate NDS onboard DAC with Hugo depending on music and mood at the time of listening. Close call indeed even if I still prefer the NDS for its resolution, cohesion and tightness. The Hugo indeed sounds often, not always, more fluid and natural. Its slightly warm lightening of the medium and the openness of its soundstage are ravishing.  Note: Always disable the unused NDS outputs and inputs for that matter. 

Chag -

 Chag,I was leaning to the Hugo2 based on some of the things I could hear the Hugo2 doing and I was hearing my recordings in a slightly new way... but after a few days I felt the music was simply not as enjoyable and I was less inclined to listen... perhaps kind of like an amp in needing of a recap, but the sound felt harder even if perhaps more detailed.... any way in the end I put my Hugo back in..and the music and the enjoyment was back with that lovely bubbly flow... it’s hard to describe..but so very real... it might be a Naim/Hugo1 synergy thing... I have no idea.

Thanks Simon-In-Suffolk for your input.  I'm one of those in the Qutest target demographic(I assume), looking for a new semi-affordable DAC to go with my Naim Integrated amp.  With any luck Naim will introduce some updated offerings but in the meantime I'm targeting this DAC.  Clearly the Hugo1 is fantastic but I'm hoping the Qutest being new will be an ever so slightly improvement of the Hugo2 since it's targeted for Standalone systems and I love the fact that you can change the variable output voltage.  I'm looking forward to reading the reviews and more importantly hearing for myself.  

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