Chord DACs

I am interested in trying some sort of Chord Dac

Does anyone have any experience of them ?

Thanks for any help

CD5XS via Black Cat Silverstar 75 Digi Cable to Naim Dac via Grey 5 Pin to Supernait 2 via NACA5 to Magneplanar MG1's

Original Post
ChrisSU posted:

There's a great deal of discussion of Chord DACs on the forum, particularly the Hugo, but the discussion is pretty much all about using them with a streaming source such as the NDX, or a computer, rather than a Cd player.

Not sure that the OP has indicated desire to use with a CD player? However, I would expect the benefit brought to other digital sources would likely be realised also for CD.

As suggested, much on this forum - possibly too much to wade through. Hugo in particular has been regarded as sounding better that Naim's DACs seemingly by the vast majority who have compared them, though of course it is a matter of what you, the indicidual, desire of a supystem. COmmon comments are thatbit sounds more 'natural', 'organic' or 'analog'. 

Mojo perhaps surprisingly given its low cost seems to get nearly as good reviews, though fewer in number. HUgo 2 is said to be better than original, not only because it includes a remote (Mojo and Hugo 1 don't). These all are at risk of sound quality degradation from RF modulation of the rendered digital music stream they are fed, so with the majokrity of computer-type sources need RF isolation to achieve their best. (RF can affect a wide range of DACs, but the susceptibility of these ones in particular is because their USB inputs were designed to be frd from mobile devices like phones, with limited current capability sso an isolator wasn't built in.) However, unlikely to be a significant problem from a specialist digital soucprce such as a Naim streamer or, I guess, a decent CD player.

The hierarchy continues, Hugo TT better than Hugo (and Hugo 2), though in my own comparison (with Hugo 1) it was only a small difference sonically, though it added better connectivity, removed reliance on a battery, and added a remote control. However when I auditioned TT against my Hugo I also auditioned Dave, and the wow factor was literal - my son sitting next to me uttered the word under his breath within just a few bars of the first piece. Once heard I just had to get it, so I did (though I did an extended home audition over a couple of weeks comparing Hugo, TT and Dave trying to convince myself TT was good enough).

 

like all Naim sources, Chord sources need a good interconnect to give their best. The best ones are ones by Naim, but Chord (Tuned Aray) or Vertere also very good. (I really like Vertere cables)

Not sure what to add to the extensive posting on Hugo. Not sure the forum can tolerate more Hugo talk 

They are all very good DAC's, can't go wrong with Mojo, Hugo 2 or Dave.  All them give musical goosebumps.

After reading loads about the Hugo and pretty much all I read was very positive I just have to try one.  From what I can make out the Hugo is a 'special' item and somewhat of a game changer

I am not interested in it's headphone section or it being portable etc, I am only interested in using it as a Dac for one of my CD transports in my main system

I think I have secured a Hugo and all being well should be with me in the next week

If I don't like it then I can sell it for what I paid for it   

 

yeti42 posted:

Avoid the 2qute, too sterile. I haven’t tried the others though.

Pair it with the right interconnects and usb cables and it's absolutely superb.
It does not differ from Hugo, but with 3V output and no volume control it can sound a little hot depending on the amplifier you're using.

M37 posted:
yeti42 posted:

Avoid the 2qute, too sterile. I haven’t tried the others though.

Pair it with the right interconnects and usb cables and it's absolutely superb.
It does not differ from Hugo, but with 3V output and no volume control it can sound a little hot depending on the amplifier you're using.

IIRC most people on here who have compared Hugo with 2Qute say Hugo sounds better, which is probably due to its different output stage, though if an electrically noisy source is used e.g. a computer with no isolator in between, then 2Qute might sound better because it has galvanic isolation.

Can the Hugo be powered 24/7?

I just received something from Chord that seems to suggest it shouldn't be left on all the time, so should I charge the batteries and then unplug it from the mains and use it on the batteries ?

Thanks for any help, much appreciated

Nina posted:

Can the Hugo be powered 24/7?

I just received something from Chord that seems to suggest it shouldn't be left on all the time, so should I charge the batteries and then unplug it from the mains and use it on the batteries ?

Thanks for any help, much appreciated

Hugo 1 the answer was yes, but advice was to periodically unplug and allow battery to run down (I did weekly). Hugo 2 I don't know - if you haven't already check the Chord website, or Haed Fi official Hugo 2 forum where the Hugo's designer is a regular contributor. (I think naming here is OK where links to another forum would not be, but apologies to the moderator if I'm wrong.)

Just ordered my Hugo 

When I get it I will charge the battery then use it on battery alone before plugging it back into the mains to re-charge

I have read through lots of feedback of the Hugo on this forum and other sites and it would seem that the Hugo is a fantastic bit of kit, especially for the money

I've read that some people prefer the Hugo to the full Naim Dac as well as the DAC-V1 which, if true, is some achievement considering the price and it's diminutive size

I have also just ordered a very reasonable BNC to RCA interconnect to go between the CD5 XS and the Hugo that should be with me in a couple of days

Innocent Bystander posted:
Nina posted:

Can the Hugo be powered 24/7?

I just received something from Chord that seems to suggest it shouldn't be left on all the time, so should I charge the batteries and then unplug it from the mains and use it on the batteries ?

Thanks for any help, much appreciated

Hugo 1 the answer was yes, but advice was to periodically unplug and allow battery to run down (I did weekly). Hugo 2 I don't know - if you haven't already check the Chord website, or Haed Fi official Hugo 2 forum where the Hugo's designer is a regular contributor. (I think naming here is OK where links to another forum would not be, but apologies to the moderator if I'm wrong.)

Indeed, the advice has changed... what I have noticed is the white charger LED in the Hugo sometimes lights after a few days of the Hugo switched off but plugged in... and I think this can lead to the battery overcharging and shortening its life.

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Indeed, the advice has changed... what I have noticed is the white charger LED in the Hugo sometimes lights after a few days of the Hugo switched off but plugged in... and I think this can lead to the battery overcharging and shortening its life.

Thanks Simon for the advise

Do you still own the Hugo ?

analogmusic posted:

like all Naim sources, Chord sources need a good interconnect to give their best. The best ones are ones by Naim, but Chord (Tuned Aray) or Vertere also very good. (I really like Vertere cables)

Not sure what to add to the extensive posting on Hugo. Not sure the forum can tolerate more Hugo talk 

They are all very good DAC's, can't go wrong with Mojo, Hugo 2 or Dave.  All them give musical goosebumps.

no problem to talk about hugo here, because it is the good topic here.  just wanted to say....but perhaps other will think differently....

Nina posted:
Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Indeed, the advice has changed... what I have noticed is the white charger LED in the Hugo sometimes lights after a few days of the Hugo switched off but plugged in... and I think this can lead to the battery overcharging and shortening its life.

Thanks Simon for the advise

Do you still own the Hugo ?

I do, and I love it still. It really is a remarkable piece of kit... I even give it its own Fraim shelf.

Nina posted:

My Hugo should be with me on Thursday...can't wait to test it to see what all the fuss is about  

When you do the comparison, make sure to turn off the CD player before you flick the switch for S/PDIF and connect the Hugo. Please stay with the already warm NAIT XS2 so that the only difference you are hearing is between the CD5 XS's internal dac and the Hugo.

Also remove the lavender wire from the CD5 XS to the Nait.

I'm interested to hear what you find.

Nina posted:

Just ordered my Hugo 

When I get it I will charge the battery then use it on battery alone before plugging it back into the mains to re-charge

I have read through lots of feedback of the Hugo on this forum and other sites and it would seem that the Hugo is a fantastic bit of kit, especially for the money

I've read that some people prefer the Hugo to the full Naim Dac as well as the DAC-V1 which, if true, is some achievement considering the price and it's diminutive size

I have also just ordered a very reasonable BNC to RCA interconnect to go between the CD5 XS and the Hugo that should be with me in a couple of days

Sorry but I think its a pity all this unused electronics in CD5xs !

I would try it powered with dedicated psu (FC or HC or third party) against transport/Hugo

This is a crazy hobby

Nina posted:

Thanks Christopher for the info

I am really careful when I plug something new into the system to the extent that I also switch off at the wall as well, and even then I let the whole lot cool for 10 minutes before touching anything

Nina, just in case you hadn’t picked up on it already, the volume colour seems to matter when connecting the Hugo to Naim... many around these parts find around turquoise about optimal.

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
Nina posted:

Thanks Christopher for the info

I am really careful when I plug something new into the system to the extent that I also switch off at the wall as well, and even then I let the whole lot cool for 10 minutes before touching anything

Nina, just in case you hadn’t picked up on it already, the volume colour seems to matter when connecting the Hugo to Naim... many around these parts find around turquoise about optimal.

Thanks for that Simon... turquoise it is 

Just out of curiosity and because I tend to get a Chord dac too...

What is the reason why the relatively high volume is considered best? Is it to be on the sweet spot of the volume range of the pre-amp, or to have less interference on the interconnect, or because the Chord Dac does not have such a good digital volume adjustment functionality?

Thanks

Nina posted:

After reading loads about the Hugo and pretty much all I read was very positive I just have to try one.  From what I can make out the Hugo is a 'special' item and somewhat of a game changer

I am not interested in it's headphone section or it being portable etc, I am only interested in using it as a Dac for one of my CD transports in my main system

I think I have secured a Hugo and all being well should be with me in the next week

If I don't like it then I can sell it for what I paid for it   

 

Hi, please update once you have listened to the Chord Hugo in your system.

I understand you intend to run the Hugo DAC with the Naim CD5 XS CD player which is perfectly fine. However, it would be useful if could use the Hugo DAC solely to play digital audio files from your PC thus negating the need of the CD player. I presume you would have some lossless or uncompressed audio files and it wouldn't do any harm to try listening to these with the Chord Hugo vs. playing a CD on the player. Try it and see. 

Ardbeg10y posted:

Just out of curiosity and because I tend to get a Chord dac too...

What is the reason why the relatively high volume is considered best? Is it to be on the sweet spot of the volume range of the pre-amp, or to have less interference on the interconnect, or because the Chord Dac does not have such a good digital volume adjustment functionality?

Thanks

Actually its the other way around, with the Hugo, the turquoise colour is quite a low level line out, and so you may find yourself with your preamp at 10oclock for normal listening levels on some content.

I don't know why this should be so - and to be honest there could be countless reasons, so rather than analyse it I just enjoy it

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
Ardbeg10y posted:

Just out of curiosity and because I tend to get a Chord dac too...

What is the reason why the relatively high volume is considered best? Is it to be on the sweet spot of the volume range of the pre-amp, or to have less interference on the interconnect, or because the Chord Dac does not have such a good digital volume adjustment functionality?

Thanks

Actually its the other way around, with the Hugo, the turquoise colour is quite a low level line out, and so you may find yourself with your preamp at 10oclock for normal listening levels on some content.

I don't know why this should be so - and to be honest there could be countless reasons, so rather than analyse it I just enjoy it

Which to me suggests that the Hugo output at that level is better suited than the higher level outputs of many other digital devices, because it is nonsensical having so much gain that the volume control is only ever used over a small fraction of its travel!

I've been listening to Massive Attack's Heligoland today with Naim DVD5 as transport into Chord 2Qute DAC, Supernait2 amp and Epos ES14s with REL subs. I haven't compared directly to Hugo, but 2Qute sounds absolutely fantastic to me. Obviously the Naim amp, but also the Chord DAC and Epos speakers seem to be designed to preserve the timing side of things well. The Supernait2 is just a cracker of an amp. Bliss!

Innocent Bystander posted:
Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
Ardbeg10y posted:

Just out of curiosity and because I tend to get a Chord dac too...

What is the reason why the relatively high volume is considered best? Is it to be on the sweet spot of the volume range of the pre-amp, or to have less interference on the interconnect, or because the Chord Dac does not have such a good digital volume adjustment functionality?

Thanks

Actually its the other way around, with the Hugo, the turquoise colour is quite a low level line out, and so you may find yourself with your preamp at 10oclock for normal listening levels on some content.

I don't know why this should be so - and to be honest there could be countless reasons, so rather than analyse it I just enjoy it

Which to me suggests that the Hugo output at that level is better suited than the higher level outputs of many other digital devices, because it is nonsensical having so much gain that the volume control is only ever used over a small fraction of its travel!

I have a Supernait and an AV2 which both use now and then. I also have a Dragonfly Black which has a relative low output - I think 1.2 volts or so. On the Supernait, it means that I can indeed use the volume knob around 10 which seems to be where the Supernait is happy. On the AV2, I need to go 50+ to get a normal volume level and then the Ovators show a lot of noise.

This tells me that once one has a good preamp, the low output is fine - maybe even preferable as Simon suggests based on his own findings. When one has a lowly rated preamp, higher output from the Dac could be preferable. Will check this once I've a decent Dac.

Ergo, it is very system dependent.

Nina posted:

The Hugo is tiny !

It actually looks like a toy so I hope it sounds better than it looks  

Some people hate its looks - I always thought it was rather cute.

And, as they say, it is not size that matters, but performance! And Hugo is the epitome of that - hopefully your ears will find the same.

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