I had another session with the Hugo last week this time using Rega Apollo cd ,Naim xs amp into B&W cm8's, I was also listening to the Naim V1 as a comparison.
I took a different selection and had a few favourites as poorer recordings to see if the Hugo would still bring out more of the recordings which I can confirm it did.
I tried Ronnie Lane's roll on babe that sounded great with the v1 but the extra detail and movement of music with the Hugo was staggerring, this was actually the case on everything I played through it and again on this 'lesser' system the benefits of the Hugo shone through.
Again after 4 songs I totally lost interest in the V1 as it just sounded flat and dull.
I have not heard such a stark difference between dac's before , it is striking, when I listened to sister morphine by the rolling stones the music sounded as though it had completely escaped the speakers and was coming for me, the soundstaging is amazing.
During the session the Hugo was connected to the mains so by all accounts and as mentioned above there is a further improvement when running off battery alone.
I am probably going to get one of these wee boxes and tolerate it's looks and quirks because it just makes my music sound so incredible.
I would not urge anyone else to do the same is it is a ridiculous price for what it is but I would urge anyone else interested to have a listen and share their views, I have been smitten and staggered by the Hugo and will be breaking many of my buying rules when I do buy one, the curse of curiosity.
I'm still interested in the Hugo even though I plumbed for a QuteHD. I see it more as a portable / personal rig set up with my HD800s. Yet I can still see the draw of placing it as a DAC in a static set up.
But it is at a price point that makes the Astell & Kern AK120 ii quite interesting too.
I've had a bit of trouble getting the QuteHD to run smoothly on USB via Audirvana Plus (crashes, jitter, cutting in / out). I took Audirvana off I-Tunes integrated mode and it's been fine via drag and drop playlist mode. I also pulled back the upsampling to just 2x i.e. l listen to FLAC on a 88.2 khz upsample. OOPS ... IT'S JUST HAD A HUGE DICKY FIT IN THE MIDDLE OF A TRACK !!!!!)
The QuteHD is by far the best computer based music I've heard. I'm amazed by the amount of detail it uncovers. So if the Hugo is better, bring it on. Chord Electronics appear to be on a roll as far DAC development is concerned.
One thing I can say, I have two listening rooms and two systems. My DAC XP Signature automatically upsamples based on the quality of the source signal and it can process huge detail from a CD T that can already read huge detail off a CD. The QuteHD is a lovely sound (rich, full and treacley) but it can't quite get the same sound from a CD that my DAC XP Signature can. It could be a system matching issue / personal listening preference though.
Also I've played CDs for hours on the 44.1 khz setting and the QuteHD just ploughed on and on error free.
(Agree about Naim ... one of my local dealers always demos with Naim sources ... and the V1 wasn't for me).
Out of curiosity ... how hot does the Hugo run? After a couple of hours the QuteHD seems to get very hot ... and I suspect a bit tired too ... which makes me think this is what creates the DAC misbehaviour on USB.
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
Very interesting write up, thanks. I trawled through the ?Naim forum thread a few weeks ago, so I'm not entirely surprised. A Naim dealer I trust confessed it well outclassed Naim's offering, but obviously cannot advertise as much.
So glad to see too a proper report based on audition, rather than dogma about all digital sounding the same, and naturally all cables! Hope you are using a reject printer USB!
Krell CD and amp, Michell/Rega/Grado record player, Hitachi and Sony tuners, Nakamichi cassette, SBT streamer, Sonus faber spkrs. Sony and Samsung BDP & TVs. Qobuz > iPad > AudioPro Allroom Air One
I have no idea how hot it gets but I picked it up to have a look at the switch button which is a bit fiddly on my first listen and didn't notice it was hot after about one hours use but could not say for sure if it was running off mains so not much help.
I have not heard the qute in either version so can not say how it compares but I can highly advise an audition of the hugo. From other reviews and chord's website I think it should be 'better' but would be intrigued to hear from someone first hand, maybe David at Frank Harvey may have heard both ?
I will be using with SBT so can let you know the hoped for improvement, i don't use this with a dac at present.
I am finding my SBT getting a bit clunky in operation especially if I use spotify ( will use the Hugo's bluetooth in future for this ) I don't know if its down to Logitech or the machine, just seems to go slow sometimes, possibly it's the operator. I will use a coax for this but Belkin do a good cable , usually £5 for 5 metres, a bit fancy but there you go !
I'm starting to be mindful of where I place the kit I have in a desktop set up. Sometimes my Mac Mini, Qute HD and 8XPdQX have got too close and everything starts getting oven warm.
I've got decent cables ... Chord Prodac, VdH The Wave, VdH Integration. They do make a difference. But I'm not sure I have an audiophile (hate that word) USB. I've used the cable that Chord bundled and I've got a QED gold plated USB (bought at Tescos !!). Both sound the same.
The Qute HD starts to get hot after a couple of hours. I can still pick it up but it's a closed box with no ventilation or fan.
Yesterday I was running on 2x upsampling. It still had a big jitter fit after a couple of hours. But my thoughts are that my amp may have a stray signal in the pathway that gets into the DAC. It does make my Mac Mini twitch / monitor blink when I switch the amp on and off.
Possibly Chord have learned that the internal battery approach allows for smoother power operation and also heat build up is avoided. They're confident enough to say it's their best yet.
I read a comparison with the qute and hugo on hifi+ or hifi world (sorry) and they said the hugo was way ahead but only someone 's opinion.
I have taken the plunge and managed to get one for a reasonable discount and should have it next week, thought I would get some headphones as am expecting a few late sessions and still have change to buy some more music and beer.
Shanka wrote:I read a comparison with the qute and hugo on hifi+ or hifi world (sorry) and they said the hugo was way ahead but only someone 's opinion.
Unless specifications and test data are available to back up the claims, then opinion is all it is.
I'm going to demo that "ugly" little box in this next few weeks, and try to get a home demo as well if I fell the need.
I've to work arround in my mind the aesthetic of "That thing", but if it good as they say, and if I fell for it maybe for christmas I can have a new DAC...
I would like Rega to have ready the new DAC for the years end...
Rega RP6/Goldring Elite>Clearaudio Basic Plus
Synology NAS>Rega DAC>Pathos Classic One MKIII>Dynaudio Excite X12
I certainly haven't bought it for its looks, think all of Chord's dac's look ugly, the sound of the hugo to me was/is stunning, I was hugely suprised.
Intrigued to know how you get on with it, I think it will be a good improvement over the rega but it's always good to hear for yourself.
I'm curiose for all those descriptions comparing the Hugo sounding like vinyl, I've demo better DACs that Rega DAC is but for more 2000€, Primare come to mind, Rega does not have the deph of Primare, neither the tridimentional imaging, but Rega DAC does one thing right, it has a very analogue sound.
Lets see how it goes, if I like it the way I liked the Rega DAC When i demo it, then I will not have a day of rest until I got it on the rack...
ive heard alot of dacs and there is not much in it tbo, does the hugo represent a 900 pound difference to the rega dac... no!
sorry i love chord stuff but it just doesnt warrant the additional 900 quid.
chord didnt help themselves by raising the price by 200 quid the minute it was launched, its not available in black aswell...
Leema Elements Integrated - Macbook Pro - Amplifier - Rega Dac-R - Kef R500 - Tellurium Q Black speaker cables & interconnects - Chord Power chords
There is a new DAC around the corner which should also have an analogue presentation. Based on what i've heard so far it looks very promising.
All the best
Rick @ Musicraft
Musicraft (Derby) - Specialist Hi-Fi, AV & Multimedia dealer
MUSICRAFT wrote:Hi HiFiOutlawThere is a new DAC around the corner which should also have an analogue presentation. Based on what i've heard so far it looks very promising.All the bestRick @ Musicraft
I know Rega will launch a new DAC in the begining of 2015 or sooner even. I've said to myself that woudn't buy a new DAC before hearing the new one from Rega, it will need to be a real step up from the actual one.
Lets see if Chord didn't raise the bar to hight...
I don't know anything about a new Rega DAC. Having said this if they do bring a new DAC then at least they've already got a good solid base to build up from.
Anyway i was referring to another make.
MUSICRAFT wrote:Hi HiFiOutlawI don't know anything about a new Rega DAC. Having said this if they do bring a new DAC then at least they've already got a good solid base to build up from.Anyway i was referring to another make.All the bestRick @ Musicraft
Ok! And what brand are we talking about?