Chord readies Hugo portable DAC/headphone amp for CES 2014

Stars of CES 2014 winner

Chord Electronics has released details of its new Hugo DAC/headphone amplifier. The company's "reference-class" device will be officially unveiled at the International CES 2014.

The Hugo claims to offer "studio-master-tape sound quality, advanced connectivity and uncompromising file playback capability", with thorough support for high-resolution audio.

As well as being a portable DAC, the Hugo can also be used within a static sound system, acting as a source component, and claims to build on the success of the multi-award-winning QuteHD.

There are five digital inputs in total, with two USB inputs (an asynchronous and a driverless USB), digital coaxial and digital optical inputs, and an A2DP with aptX Bluetooth connection.

The Hugo can decode sample rates from 44.1kHz to 382kHz (PCM), with DSD 128 playback for high-res DXD music files.

The DAC comes with its own proprietary software in order to support both Mac and Windows operating systems.

The Hugo – named because you can take Hugo wherever 'you-go' – is battery-powered, with a built-in battery charging circuit onboard which takes approximately two hours to charge, meaning the USB connection draws no power in operation.

As a result, the Chord Hugo can work with Apple and Android devices, allowing you to play music straight from your iPhone or iPad.

Everything is encased in aircraft-grade aluminium, and Chord's signature 'porthole' can once again be found on top, offering a view into the circuitry within.

The Chord Electronics Hugo will cost £1200 when it goes on sale, and will receive an official press unveiling at the International CES 2014.

MORE: CES 2014, news, rumours and what to expect

by Max Langridge

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Max is a staff writer for What Hi-Fi?'s sister site, TechRadar, in Australia. But being the wonderful English guy he is, he helps out with content across a number of Future sites, including What Hi-Fi?. It wouldn't be his first exposure to the world of all things hi-fi and home cinema, as his first role in technology journalism was with What Hi-Fi? in the UK. Clearly he pined to return after making the move to Australia and the team have welcomed him back with arms wide open.