Hugo 2

No problem, though you do need to address it, and some computers are worse than others, while of course it also,depends on how revealing the rest of the system id. But the solution is simple: use an isolator. I used the remarkable inexpensive Gustard U12, which was very effective, however therre are other solutions.

I read somewhere, I think it was Rob Watts, that the reason for the lack of isolation on Hugo (and Mojo) is because it was actually designed to feed from a smartphone, and galvanic isolation apparently places too much of a power demand on the phone. (2Qute has it because it is not intended for portable use, but at the expense of different output circuitry which may be the cause of it sounding different, and I don't think it has a volume control, so can't be used direct to a power amp.)

The announcement of a Hugo 2 is great news.  No doubt the original will sound veiled, broken, and un-listenable once the 2 has been experienced.  That's good news for me, as I should be able to pick up an original for a couple of hundred quid, and finally decide whether it lives up to the hype.

Halloween Man posted:

Not necessarily songstream, I kept my Hugo TT after auditioning Dave as I preferred it.

 

Really?  That's annoying.  Still, while you may put your own preferences first, there are plenty that won't.  Rob Watts says this, and step ladder that, and before we know it, the original will be going for peanuts....I hope.

Halloween Man,

An interesting set of observations!

The Mojo is better than the Hugo

The Hugo TT is better than the Hugo (I assume, given that you bought one)

The Hugo TT is better than the Dave.

Is the Mojo better than the Dave?

So to your ears, I assume that you would rate the Chord DACs from best to worst as:

1. Hugo TT 

2. Dave (or Mojo)

3. Mojo (or Dave)

4. Hugo

Your ears obviously do not lie to you, but this does indeed seem very strange and pretty unlikely, but I guess not entirely impossible.

I have to admit that the only Chord DAC I have heard is the Hugo (Mark 1), but since I own one, I am devastated to hear that:

"Not having galvanic isolation means it's not really fit for purpose for home\main system duties"

Fortunately, my ears tell me otherwise.

Hmack, No Dave would be last, I just didnt get on with it. Dave is very different and not for everybody.

I prefer mojo sound signature to hugo through headphones. mojo also measures better than hugo.

I suspect if mojo had rca outs and galvanic isolation then i might prefer it to tt in my main system using noisy computer usb out. I don't think Hugo 2 is fit for purpose in a main home system as many people, including myself, use noisy computers as source and this degrades sound quality if no galvanic isolation on USB. Some people might like the sound of noise and distortion, I don't.

its all down to preference and source. Yours may well be different to mine.

I think the preferences are to do with presentation and music preferences -just like some people prefer to hear music without bass and others can't stand it.

Personally I prefer Dave to TT to Hugo, but still think Hugo sounds really good (My comparison was once at a dealer fed from MacMini/Audirvana (with Gustard for Hugo), into Bryston 4B sst power amp into PMC Fact12, and the other at home with exactly the same components except PMC EB1i speakers.

As for the isolation, if you use a computer source there is a very good chance thatbthe music is not reaching its full potential, even though it may sound good if the computer's electrical/RF noise isn't too bad (it can vary between individual machines). Some people may actually like the effect of the resultant noise floor modulation the RF causes in the Hugo, which IIRC Rob Watts has said can be perceived as a greater brightness in the treble, also reducing soundstage.

Halloween Man, did you manage to listen to the 2Qute? A revised 2Qute rev 2 with the same specifications as the Hugo 2 (with the exception of headphone features) but with galvanic isolation will be interesting. The plus point is the 2Qute does not run on batteries which is more ideal for home use. Also, the 2Qute will have a USB Type B input which will be useful.

Hi Ryder You have to be careful with 2qute as the output is fixed at 3v which some members have said is not a good match synergy-wise for naim.

You can solve the galvanic isolation issue that occurs with Hugo or Hugo 2 when using a noisy usb source by connecting via optical instead, use Intona USB isolator, or use a quiet or galvanic isolated source such as iPhone or Naim Uniti Core (has galvanic isolation on digital out) etc.

I own a Mojo for portable use and use it with my iphone and headphones. I use TT in my main system connected via usb to macbook.

GraemeH posted:

One man's 'very close' is another man's 'very far apart'.

I've owned and listened extensively to 2Qute, Hugo & (now) TT. The latter two are 'very close' but the 2Qute 'very far apart' ime/ho.

G

Second that. 2Qute with different power supplies wasn't good at all for me. Hugo is much more natural. TT filled in the spaces a bit more versus Hugo. Stuck with the Hugo due to price differential. 

Not sure if its been mentionrd before, but the reason for bo galvanic isolation in Hugo, Hugo2 and Mojo is because they are designed with mobile use in mind, and according to Rob Watts the current draw on usb from a phone would be excessive with galvanic isolation. Maybe a pity there aren't two usb inputs, one isolated...

Innocent Bystander posted:

Not sure if its been mentionrd before, but the reason for bo galvanic isolation in Hugo, Hugo2 and Mojo is because they are designed with mobile use in mind, and according to Rob Watts the current draw on usb from a phone would be excessive with galvanic isolation. Maybe a pity there aren't two usb inputs, one isolated...

Watt?  Why would it make any difference? 

Innocent Bystander posted:

Not sure if its been mentionrd before, but the reason for bo galvanic isolation in Hugo, Hugo2 and Mojo is because they are designed with mobile use in mind, and according to Rob Watts the current draw on usb from a phone would be excessive with galvanic isolation. Maybe a pity there aren't two usb inputs, one isolated...

there is a simple solution though.... Just unplug the laptop from the charger, job done.

SongStream posted:
Innocent Bystander posted:

Not sure if its been mentionrd before, but the reason for bo galvanic isolation in Hugo, Hugo2 and Mojo is because they are designed with mobile use in mind, and according to Rob Watts the current draw on usb from a phone would be excessive with galvanic isolation. Maybe a pity there aren't two usb inputs, one isolated...

Watt?  Why would it make any difference? 

Ask Rob Watts. Just a guess, but I assume galvanic isolation works by the source driving an optical transmitter, which takes more current than direct connection.

analogmusic posted:
Innocent Bystander posted:

Not sure if its been mentionrd before, but the reason for bo galvanic isolation in Hugo, Hugo2 and Mojo is because they are designed with mobile use in mind, and according to Rob Watts the current draw on usb from a phone would be excessive with galvanic isolation. Maybe a pity there aren't two usb inputs, one isolated...

there is a simple solution though.... Just unplug the laptop from the charger, job done.

And if you either a) aren't using a laptop, or b) want to keep listening longer than the maximum a laptop battery might last?

Innocent Bystander posted:
analogmusic posted:
Innocent Bystander posted:

Not sure if its been mentionrd before, but the reason for bo galvanic isolation in Hugo, Hugo2 and Mojo is because they are designed with mobile use in mind, and according to Rob Watts the current draw on usb from a phone would be excessive with galvanic isolation. Maybe a pity there aren't two usb inputs, one isolated...

there is a simple solution though.... Just unplug the laptop from the charger, job done.

And if you either a) aren't using a laptop, or b) want to keep listening longer than the maximum a laptop battery might last?

I should have added: I don't think disconnecting the mains from the laptop stops the RF getting into the usb signal to the DAC - it removes one potentially major source of RF generation, the SMPS, but the computer itself will generate RF as well. IIUC Rob Watts' mention of disconnection from mains is to break a connection of the source with ground, for absolute isolation when connecting to Dave (possibly TT?) which has galvanic isolation.

analogmusic posted:

Rob Watts uses laptops with his Dave, so if it is good enough for the man who invented Dave, I'm not going to question that.  

As he said, he removes the charger from his laptop for critical listening.

There are some laptops with 12 hour battery life....

I think that is the point, RW does that with Dave, which has inbuilt galvanic isolation - I am not awate  that he has made any suggestion that running a laptop on batteries prevents RF interference in Hugomand Mojo. And FEIW I think he also found that for perfection two usb regens are beneficial even with battery driven laptop and the inbuilt galvanic isolation. But perfection there is, I think, where as a designer he is listening for the tiniest nuance of differences - at the end of the day it depends on the listener's ears, and of course in practice the rest of the system. I know that to me, with my Mac Mini, in my system, the effect of RF into Hugo was very obvious and I didn't like it: if Gustard hadn't removed it I would have abandoned Audirvana, simple as that, but with it it leapt ahead of my ND5XS as renderer. I can't comment on battery laptop with Audirvana as I don't have one. BUt if I was buying a store/renderer now I would seriously consider other things like Melco and Core, and compare their performance, and not necessarily a mac laptop with long battery life dedicatabke to being a source.

Hmack posted:

Halloween Man,

An interesting set of observations!

The Mojo is better than the Hugo

The Hugo TT is better than the Hugo (I assume, given that you bought one)

The Hugo TT is better than the Dave.

Is the Mojo better than the Dave?

So to your ears, I assume that you would rate the Chord DACs from best to worst as:

1. Hugo TT 

2. Dave (or Mojo)

3. Mojo (or Dave)

4. Hugo

Your ears obviously do not lie to you, but this does indeed seem very strange and pretty unlikely, but I guess not entirely impossible.

I have to admit that the only Chord DAC I have heard is the Hugo (Mark 1), but since I own one, I am devastated to hear that:

"Not having galvanic isolation means it's not really fit for purpose for home\main system duties"

Fortunately, my ears tell me otherwise.

Over the last few months I've been trying a selection of the Chord DACs on extended trials in my system, in comparison with my QBD76HDSD. Source is Melco N1Z into iFi USB supply then Gemini USB cable.

I've tried DAVE twice now with different sources, Hugo thanks to Nick From Suffolk who kindly provided his one on long-term loan, and now the Hugo TT. In making the various comparisons I've called on other ears to give their opinion. I've now established the following order of preference 1. QBD - I'm obviously most familiar with this one, but to my ears it gives the best balance between detail, drive, and musicality. 2. Hugo - I think, if I had a Hugo, I wouldn't be swapping it for a QBD and vice versa. It really is a most surprising machine, and probably suffers a bit from its tiddly size (how can that little thing be making such fine music?). It really is a genuine, cast-iron bargain. 3. Hugo TT - A smoother, perhaps more detailed presentation than the Hugo, it's very "nice" but ultimately it lacks a bit of balls for me. I can imagine some folk preferring this type of presentation though. 4. DAVE - I really wanted to like DAVE, it's wonderfully detailed, airy, great bass performance but ultimately it lacks musicality, making the music rather uninteresting. As always, the conclusions only apply to my system and preferences.

Having compared Mojo, Hugo, Hugo TT and then Dave, I would agree with the Chord Hierarchy.

As TonyM says, Dave didn't work out in his system, but I haven't heard his system.... It does sound better than Hugo in my system.

PS : I own Mojo, used to own Hugo, and own Dave, so well familiar with how each one sounds.

Anyway at this level of spend (8500 GBP for Dave), better to listen with your own ears, and form your own opinion.

 

On the other hand I could hear a distinct detrimental effect on sound quality in my then system of Optimised MacMini/Audirvana with dedicated USB bus-Hugo-Musical Fidelity P270-IMF RSPM, which, as intimated, was a deal-breaker. It may well be that it depends very much on the source and the rest of the system - however it is easily and cheaply solved, for me by inserting GustardU12 before Hugo, and even if someone thinks a computer sounds good direct into Hugo, they might be missing even better for want if such a simple addition (not to mention ensuring the best renderer and optimising the computer). BTW I didn't compare other solutions, Gustard doing so well, and various reviews having been adversely critical of other solutions other than mega expensive ones.

tonym posted:

[...] 3. Hugo TT - A smoother, perhaps more detailed presentation than the Hugo, it's very "nice" but ultimately it lacks a bit of balls for me. I can imagine some folk preferring this type of presentation though.

Of all the DACs, the Hugo TT is the only one I know. My impressions were exactly the ones posted by Tony, which is why I bought the NDAC (unlike Tony).

tonym posted:
Hmack posted:

Halloween Man,

An interesting set of observations!

The Mojo is better than the Hugo

The Hugo TT is better than the Hugo (I assume, given that you bought one)

The Hugo TT is better than the Dave.

Is the Mojo better than the Dave?

So to your ears, I assume that you would rate the Chord DACs from best to worst as:

1. Hugo TT 

2. Dave (or Mojo)

3. Mojo (or Dave)

4. Hugo

Your ears obviously do not lie to you, but this does indeed seem very strange and pretty unlikely, but I guess not entirely impossible.

I have to admit that the only Chord DAC I have heard is the Hugo (Mark 1), but since I own one, I am devastated to hear that:

"Not having galvanic isolation means it's not really fit for purpose for home\main system duties"

Fortunately, my ears tell me otherwise.

Over the last few months I've been trying a selection of the Chord DACs on extended trials in my system, in comparison with my QBD76HDSD. Source is Melco N1Z into iFi USB supply then Gemini USB cable.

I've tried DAVE twice now with different sources, Hugo thanks to Nick From Suffolk who kindly provided his one on long-term loan, and now the Hugo TT. In making the various comparisons I've called on other ears to give their opinion. I've now established the following order of preference 1. QBD - I'm obviously most familiar with this one, but to my ears it gives the best balance between detail, drive, and musicality. 2. Hugo - I think, if I had a Hugo, I wouldn't be swapping it for a QBD and vice versa. It really is a most surprising machine, and probably suffers a bit from its tiddly size (how can that little thing be making such fine music?). It really is a genuine, cast-iron bargain. 3. Hugo TT - A smoother, perhaps more detailed presentation than the Hugo, it's very "nice" but ultimately it lacks a bit of balls for me. I can imagine some folk preferring this type of presentation though. 4. DAVE - I really wanted to like DAVE, it's wonderfully detailed, airy, great bass performance but ultimately it lacks musicality, making the music rather uninteresting. As always, the conclusions only apply to my system and preferences.

I understand Tony's comment refers only to his system and his ears, but I've owned Dave for eight months now where it'e been the centre of my musical enjoyment (apart from the NAT01) every day, most of those days. I was aware of Tony's viewpoint before I demoed it (at length) and bought it and have consistently struggled to find this lack of musicality. It does everything a Hugo does and then some, particularly in the way it presents the mid-range, full of passion for vocals. The thing that gets me with it is that I'm still in the "what will this sound like" phase - and that tells me I've got past any "gee-whiz-listen-to-the-Hi-Fi" stage that can sometimes flatters to deceive.

What I will say is that it's incredibly revealing and that may upset the balance of a system. I'm hoping to move house in the next six months and I'm keenly aware that my system, put together by ear over the last 19 years in its current position, may not be what I want when plonked down in another room! 

My less than ideal room acoustics was perhaps one of the reasons I did not get on with Dave, there was more bass and the soundstage and imaging didn't sound quite right. Instrument timbres and subtleties were remarkable. With Dave I experienced something I had never experienced before - it was like my brain did not have to work hard to hear subtle details, they were easy to pick out. With TT the subtle details were also there but I could feel my brain working harder to pick them out.

A polarising thing with Dave is its sheer lack of noise and distortion giving a very warm and smooth presentation that some describe as uninteresting. Same thing when comparing Hugo to TT only the gap is a lot closer.

Hi Elkman,

you will get some pretty inconclusive feedback. I prefer the NDAC, without external PSU, to the Hugo TT. Many others prefer the Hugo over the Naim with XPS or even 555PS. Those obviously like what the PSUs add to the DAC. The TT is supposedly better than the Hugo etc. 

Mulberry posted:

Hi Elkman,

you will get some pretty inconclusive feedback. I prefer the NDAC, without external PSU, to the Hugo TT. Many others prefer the Hugo over the Naim with XPS or even 555PS. Those obviously like what the PSUs add to the DAC. The TT is supposedly better than the Hugo etc. 

So, it could be argued that DACs are almost utilitarian where the various price points do not necessarily reflect performance. If Naim were to introduce a new DAC it may not be competitive in terms of price vs performance with the lower priced Chords and manufacturers of other high quality lower priced DACs. Naim could well have a challenging future in this arena unless they can release something blindingly good at a sensible price point.

now now Tony let's not put down the DAVE as being the least musical of all the Chord DAC's as gospel.

You are entitled to your view, but many people with discerning ears, and not so huge wallets paid hard earned money for a Dave and found Dave to be the best and most musical DAC that Chord makes. That is my view anyway. 

We agree to disagree, but anyone spending 8500 GBP on a DAC has to hear for themselves, on that we do agree.

tonym posted:

More evidence that you mustn't be overly swayed by price, specifications, manufacturer's hype, demos not in your own system, or others' opinions.

Quite - i don't get how this becomes so emotive over the various Chord DAC's. We all have different preferences, ears, systems. 

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