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Shanka's picture
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Chord Hugo
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Hi again,

On my neverending dac quest I listened to the chord hugo the other week, I had read the review here and a glowing report in HFC and saw some very interesting threads in the Naim forum.

I listened in store with a rega cd source to the hugo  feeding a supernait and Spendor D7's and was swapping it with a Naim V1 which is my current dac favourite but has not really  impressed as have stated here before.It is the best I have heard but only by shades and I could not justify the price of buying one so was waiting to get a s/hand model for £800 and have been getting close.

The dealer had not heard a Hugo in a system before either as they had only just got them in, he said he had been quite impressed on headphones but this is a naim dealer . I was expecting the usual slight improvements for a mad price for a tiny box.

I had my usual batch of cd's and started with Neil Young On the beach through the V1 which sounded fantastic, the Spendor's were incredible, it was as good as I have heard on a hifi and I always feel naim source and amplification work well together.

Switched to the Hugo and heard a slight difference at the start then the drums came in and the depth and texture appeared that I had never heard before, then the music started to swirl and flow around the speakers in quite an unusual fashion, the vocals carried more detail but in no way harsh, the depth and width of soundstage was vastly improved. The sweet sphere of sound seemed to have become an ocean.

I was quite taken aback by this as was the salesman, I had in no way anticipated such a change in the whole sound quality , depth and the way the music flowed was staggering.

I tried various othe tracks, rock reggae, classical, many older recordings and every time the difference between the dac's was so obviously apparent that after a few listens the Naim sounded flat, dull ,two dimensional and a bit lifeless.

Roxy Music's Take on me from Avalon was phenomenal, I used to use this for testing vinyl but the cd I heard has never been better to my ears, by quite a long way.

The salesman was also staggered at the difference and this was principally a Naim dealer, I now see what all the fuss is about on the Naim forum ( maybe why there are a lot of ndac's coming up on ebay ?).

For the second time in a month hifi has thrown me a curve ball, I was in no way expecting to be in anyway impressed with this dac, all others I had heard had slight improvements one way or another but the diminishing returns at the higher end of my budget had never really been delivered.

I also don't like the looks of it, it is not black, it is a bit fiddly, aesthetically very unpleasant but the sound was something else.

This was a couple of weeks ago and I have convinced myself that the large difference was due to the system I heard it on and this level of difference would not be as noticable on my system. The Spendor's are a fantatic speaker, totally out of my range but a fabulous sound, I quite liked the A6's but too light in bass at low listening level but the D7's are superb.

I am going back for another session on the Hugo using a lesser system to see if the hugely impressive sound I heard is still there, again comparing with the V1 using the xs amplifier, not one of my favourites, and see where I end up. 

I am fighting hard not to like this product, it is more than I would have considered spending and to me it looks horrible but the sound has seduced me  wanting to go back for more !! 

I will update next week, thanks for reading if you got this far.

 

ps. I apologise for not writing up sooner but the changes on the site have really done me in, everything keeps jumping around, I am certainly not a fan, is this what the kids want !? I am enjoying slipping into old fartdom with out all this flashing and jumping,what a load of twerk !

 

 

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I'm resisting the urge to try

I'm resisting the urge to try one at home - I know if I hear it, I'll want it! After having my mountain bike stolen this week, funds need to be elsewhere.

DavidF @FrankHarveyHiFi, Coventry.

"Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light"

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I have ordered a new credit

I have ordered a new credit card for the 6 months free interest in anticipation.

David you must have heard this in store in some of your systems, can I take it you have been impressed ?

I would have headed up to you but found someone near me who had just taken stock in due to the nature of the little beast.

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So it seems in your opinion

So it seems in your opinion all DAC's do not sound the same, I don't think they do either, interesting write-up.

The music comes out of the speakers ~

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Glad the Hugo is living up to

Glad the Hugo is living up to expectation.

FWIW. I think you should try and get a listen to some Kef R700s.  Diablo

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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Nice try Cno but I have

Nice try Cno but I have already heard them, very good they are too but I am more concerned about that Masterclass on ebay !!

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I think you should try and

I think you should try and hear one, I think this might be one of those 'special' products, I would be intrigued by your thoughts. 

In my time of working with sacd when it was launched this is a far more startling product , I was really taken aback with what it does for music.  

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David@FrankHarvey wrote:

David@FrankHarvey wrote:

I'm resisting the urge to try one at home - I know if I hear it, I'll want it! After having my mountain bike stolen this week, funds need to be elsewhere.

The Marin with the 6pot hope on it? Barstewards Sad

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Shanka wrote:

Shanka wrote:

Nice try Cno but I have already heard them, very good they are too but I am more concerned about that Masterclass on ebay !!

As would I be in your situation.  Dance 4

Let me know if you get it....you already know my thoughts on Class A.  Biggrin

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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Shanka wrote:

Shanka wrote:

I think you should try and hear one, I think this might be one of those 'special' products, I would be intrigued by your thoughts. 

In my time of working with sacd when it was launched this is a far more startling product , I was really taken aback with what it does for music.  

It sounds like the first digital source that (imo) might challange the DS. If I hear it, I will let you know.

My own hunch is that it's the battery that helps it sound so good, as that cuts the impact that dirty mains may have.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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Paul. wrote:

Paul. wrote:

<a href="mailto:David@FrankHarvey">David@FrankHarvey</a> wrote:

I'm resisting the urge to try one at home - I know if I hear it, I'll want it! After having my mountain bike stolen this week, funds need to be elsewhere.

The Marin with the 6pot hope on it? Barstewards Sad

How did you know?!

DavidF @FrankHarveyHiFi, Coventry.

"Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light"

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You don't remember my readers

You don't remember my readers rides thread then Smile

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Paul. wrote:

Paul. wrote:

You don't remember my readers rides thread then Smile

I do! Problem is, I was trying to track down a picture of the bike to give police, and remembered I'd posted in that thread. Took a while tracking down as I couldn't remember the thread title, but eventually found it. Unfortunately it had disappeared! It was hosted by Flickr, and I think it disappeared when they had an issue about a year ago. Any pictures I do have I think are on a previous laptop, which I can't access the hard drive. I've had to supply them pictures of other bikes/parts off the net to give them an idea of what it looks like - unfortunately I only found about three pics of that frame in that colour!

DavidF @FrankHarveyHiFi, Coventry.

"Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light"

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Hi Shanka,

Hi Shanka,

i'm on the market for a new DAC to replace my Rega DAC.

As you I don't like the looks of HUGO DAC, but i'm not a fan of Chord looks...

And your description of the Hugo demo made think that I need to buy a USB / SPDIF converter, as i can't use his USB input, because i can't instal the necessary codec in the NAS.

Rega RP6/Goldring Elite>Clearaudio Basic Plus

Synology NAS>Rega DAC>Pathos Classic One MKIII>Dynaudio Excite X12

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The point of USB input on the

The point of USB input on the Hugo (or any other USB dac) is to use audiophile software and a computer to transmit the data to the field gate array in the Hugo. You only need the drivers for USB.

You can still use your NAS but you need data processing before you can pass it to the DAC.

So either a NAS feeding through your home network into a computer / Mac or alternatively into a high end streamer that can cope with high res or even DSD files. Most streamers run out of puff at 24/192 resolution but those with DSD capability tend to be pricey like the Chord Codex or Marantz NA-11S1. But they do have high end DACs built in so you don't need the external DAC like Hugo etc.

I run a Qute HD from my PC / Mac and I have a DAC XP signature receiving from my streamer. The PC and Mac can do DSD into the Qute HD. The Stream X2 and the DAC XP Signature are both maxed at 24/192 resolution.

Main. Stream X Signature, CD T, DAC XP Signature, X Power, 2x PSX-R, PMC twenty.22  Snug. Stream X, Mac Mini, Qute HD, 8XPdQX, X Power, PSX-R, Pathos Aurium / HD800, MA GX50

 

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I need a assynch USB DAC and

I need a assynch USB DAC and I don't use a PC to stream my music into it! 

Synology NAS does PCM bit perfect 24/192 and thats all I need as I don't have a single DSD album, i've only two dozen of 24/96 and 3/4 albums at 24/192. And in a near future maybe synology will provide DSD playback (just a question of time).

But if i'll buy a M2Tech Hiface2 USB/sdif converter i'll have the ability to stream from the NAS into the Chord Hugo (or other DAC that will need driver instalation for HD playback ) all the contend that I need.

With Hiface2 I'll not need to instal any drivers, because all Linux OS already have the necessary ones.

Rega RP6/Goldring Elite>Clearaudio Basic Plus

Synology NAS>Rega DAC>Pathos Classic One MKIII>Dynaudio Excite X12

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