Chord Hugo 2 DAC headphone amp
Both Hugo 2 Colors In Stock!
Chord Electronics advances the revolutionary Hugo digital to analog converter (DAC) and portable headphone amplifier with the next generation Chord Hugo 2.
Perfect for on-the-go high fidelity, while being comfortable in support of a conventional audio system, Chord’s new Hugo 2 rocks.
Chord’s new Hugo 2 digital to analog converter (DAC) and headphone amplifier continues to inspire a revolutionary high fidelity in portable music listening from the innovative makers at Chord Electronics in Kent England. Timing accuracy, noise reduction, and dynamic range are a few of the sonic performance improvements headphones, and stereo listeners will feel as much as hear with the Chord Hugo 2 DAC and Amp.
The most advanced field-programmable gate array (FPGA) and highly advanced watts transient aligned (WTA) filters bring vast improvements to the Chord Hugo 2 sound via headphones, in-ear monitors (IEMs) or stereo gear.
Chord Hugo 2 Digital Inputs and Outputs
The Chord Hugo 2 has four digital inputs: optical, coaxial, HD USB and extended-range Bluetooth with file playback up to 768kHz and DSD512 (Octa DSD) via HD USB input so very high resolution coming in means great sound going out. Two RCA, 3.5mm, and 6.35mm headphone analog outputs cover playing music to just about every headphones, in-ear monitors, and pre-amplifier imaginable.
Chord Hugo 2 Do-It-Yourself (DIY)
The Chord Hugo 2 brings power and do-it-yourself (DIY) beauty to portable DAC and headphones amplifiers high fidelity sonic performance. Like warm and soft or precise and dynamic when you listen to music? Chord Hugo 2 provides a four-function filter to change the sound and sonic performance by manipulating a simple switch. The Hugo 2 creates listening power and flexibility for listeners - a future audio gear trend we suspect.
Chord Hugo 2 and Headphones
If you like the new Focal “speakers on your head” headphones listening experience you’ll be glad to know the Chord Hugo 2 retains Hugo’s popular digital crossfeed function with three options. Hugo 2 cross-feeds a 400-millisecond delay in shaping music from left and right output to the different channel based on advanced binaural audio research to emulate the effect of listening to music in a room with a stereo and speakers.
Chord Hugo 2 Portable DAC Can Stay Home Too
The Chord Hugo 2 features a new precision-machined aircraft-inspired aluminum case. A sharper lower profile with four now larger but still round control buttons makes the Hugo 2 a more portable DAC and headphones amp than its predecessor. Clearly, the new Hugo 2 design speaks to the portable DAC success achieved by the Chord Mojo DAC. The company anticipates greater “indoor” usage too by including a full-featured remote control.
Chord Hugo 2 Battery Life
Battery life makes a significant contribution to any portable DAC or headphone amplifier. Chord Hugo 2 battery life is around seven hours with two “automatic charging” modes via dedicated Micro USB charging port: fast or 1.8 amperes and slow coming in at less than one ampere. The Hugo 2 includes a battery charge indicator and status gauge.
Chord Hugo 2 and Moore’s Law
We loved and agreed with this note from Richard Dale on Head-fi.org:
It's very impressive how Moore's Law is giving Chord more powerful, less power-hungry FPGAs year by year and they are taking great advantage of it. The technology in the regular DAC chips, such as ESS, isn't progressing at such a rapid rate. I listened to the audio recording that Chris put up of John Franks and Rob Watts talking about the new kit. It was incredible to hear that Rob Watts dreamed of a million tap filter in the early 80s and never believed it would be possible, and now 35 years later he's able to announce a product with such a thing in it.
Chord Hugo 2, Smartphones and Dragon Audio Cables
Now that the Chord Mojo isn’t the only portable high fidelity digital to analog converter (DAC) and headphones amplifier buyers and listeners will be glad to know the Chord Hugo 2 adds new depth, soundstage, and intimacy to music via iPhones, iPads, or Android smartphones and tablets. Apple iPhones and iPads will need a camera adapter (CCK) via USB since Chord Electronics continues to balk at paying Apple licensing fees.
We recommend our Apple CCK + Silver Dragon USB for customers who love precision and detail when listening to their music and Apple CCK + Black Dragon for music lovers look for more warmth and better lower and mid tones in their portable DAC listening experience.
Android phones and pads can connect directly to the new Chord Hugo 2. We recommend Silver Dragon USB for Android smartphone listeners who look for precision and detail and Black Dragon USB for those seeking warmth and robust low to mid-tones.
The Power of Upscaling
To upgrade your Chord Hugo2 to the next level, we recommend adding the Chord Hugo M Scaler.
The M Scaler is an instant upgrade to any existing DAC you have. It has the ability to upgrade your standard definition digital input signals and output them to your DAC at a max resolution of 352.8 or 384kHz via a single BNC SPDIF output or via a 176.4 or 192kHz via an Optical SPDIF output. If you have a Chord Electronics DAC that utilizes Dual Data Digital inputs, such as the Chord Qutest, Hugo2, Hugo TT2 or the Dave, then you can increase this output resolution to 705.6 or 768kHz via the M Scaler Dual BNC SPDIF outputs. The Hugo2 requires a special cable for the 3.5mm dual data input, so we've developed aBlack Dragon Mini Coax Cable to connect it to the M Scaler.
Keith Howard wrote a wonderful profile on Rob Watts' theories of why the upsampling filters are so critical to remarkable digital audio playback. Read the Hifi Critic article here.
Chord Hugo 2 Buzz
"There isn't another DAC around at anywhere near this sort of price able to communicate so torrentially, so unambiguously, or so effortlessly. It's expensive, but the boost in performance is worth every penny." - What HiFi?, Best DAC £1000+
"The finest DAC I've ever seen/heard/used." - John Darko, Knock Out Award
"If I sound deeply impressed by the Chord Hugo2, that’s because I am. At this moment in time I really can’t think of any other transportable headphone amp/DAC that can directly compete with Hugo2, or that even comes close. " Read Full Review - Chris Martens, hifi+
Chord Hugo Features
Hugo 2 includes the latest FPGAs and WTA (Watts Transient Aligned) filters with new features:
- 7 Hour Battery Life
- 49,152 Taps
- 768kHz Micro USB Input
- 384kHz Coax Jack Input
- 192kHz Optical Input
- Bluetooth Apt X Input
- 1x 1/4" Headphone Output
- 1x 3.5mm Headphone Output
- Unbalanced RCA Outputs
- DSD512 (8x) Native
- Native DSD Support
- 4x Playback Filters
- 3x Crossfeed Function
- 3-Year Warranty
- Clamshell precision machined aluminium casing with polycarbonate,buttons, acrylic signal window, and glass viewing portal. Available in a choice of two colours – natural silver, and satin black
- 2x Rechargeable custom Enix Energies 3.7v 9.6Wh Li-ion (lithium-ion (2600mAh) batteries*
- Tap length filter:
- 49,152 – 10 element Pulse Array design
- Play time:
- In excess of seven (7) hours
- Nominal four (4) hours via Micro USB at 1.8amps (fast charge) – Nominal eight (8) hours at 1amp (slow charge)
- Connectivity (input):
- Micro USB (White): 44.1kHz – 768kHz – 16bit – 32bit
Coax via 3.5mm Jack (Red): 44.1kHz – 768kHz – 16bit – 32bit
Optical (Green): 44.1kHz – 192kHz – 16bit – 24bit
- Connectivity (input wireless):
- Bluetooth (Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR with APTX) (Blue): 44.1kHz – 48kHz – 16bit
- Connectivity (output):
- 1x ¼” jack headphone output
1x 3.5mm jack headphone output
1x stereo (L & R) RCA output
- PCM support:
- 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 358.8kHz, 384kHz, 717.6kHz, and 768kHz.
- DSD support:
- Native playback supported. DSD64 (Single) to DSD512 (Octa-DSD)
- Volume control:
- Digital, activated in 1dB increments. Last known state saved upon shutdown, with exception of line-level mode
- Line-level mode:
- Activated via dual press of middle ‘Source’ and ‘Crossfeed’ buttons. Line level = 3v via all outputs. Reset by power cycle
- Power saving mode:
- Auto-shutdown after ten minutes of input inactivity
- Driver support:
- Driverless with Mac OS X and Linux, driver required for Windows OS
|Chipset:||Chord Electronics custom coded Xilinx Artix 7 (XC7A15T) FPGA|
|Pulse array:||10 element pulse array design|
|Frequency response:||20Hz – 20kHz +/- 0.2dB|
|Output stage:||Class A|
|THD:||<0.0001% 1kHz 3v RMS 300Ω|
|THD and noise at 3v RMS:||120dB at 1kHz 300ohms ‘A’ wighted (reference 5.3v)|
|Noise 2.6 uV ‘A’ weighted:||No measurable noise floor modulation|
|Signal to noise ratio:||126dB ‘A’ Weighted|
|Channel separation:||135dB at 1kHz 300Ω|
|Power output @ 1kHz 1% THD:||94mW 300Ω
|Dimensions:||130mm (L) x 100mm (W) x 21mm (H)|
|Boxed Dimensions:||220mm (L) x 122mm (W) x 85mm (H)|
I started the week at the quiet folk/jazz end of my listening preferences. I prefer to listen to albums such as Elton John’s Madman Across the River, U2’s Joshua Tree, Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, and Sweet Baby James by James Taylor when evaluating new gear. These albums and a handful of others etched such grooves in my brain hearing what new equipment is/isnot doing becomes easier.
Chord’s Hugo 2 has cojones.
There isn’t a musical transition, dynamic reach, or sudden musical shift the Hugo 2 can’t handle and smooth if ever so slightly. I only understood a fraction of Drew’s explanation about why the Hugo 2 more than doubled the detail, clarity, and smoothness from its immediate predecessor the Chord Hugo. There was something about “tap count” and then I lost the thread.
I may not be as smart as Drew, but my ears know what they like. My ears and brain LOVE the Hugo 2. It’s rare to find a DAC capable of helping both ends of the sound spectrum. Usually, DACs good at shaving brittleness from digital sound are limited when it comes to speed or support for dynamic range. Not so much with Chord Hugo sequel.
Capable of keeping up with Edge’s guitar on Joshua Tree, Cannonball Adderley’s baritone saxophone on Kind of Blue and Mud Slide Slim (James Taylor), the Hugo 2 delivers subtle muscle. “Subtle muscle” sounds like an oxymoron, but you’ll recognize it when you hear it. Bono’s Joshua Tree voice has never sounded warmer, more complete and present. Edge’s guitar raspier smooth and Larry Mullen’s drums more supportive.
The Chord Hugo 2 agrees with Bono, “You have to scream without raising your voice”. Too Good!
Paired with the right headphones the H2 shines like no other DAC/AMP I've ever heard. Maybe one day, I'll go for its older brother, the Dave. But for now, with my more modest budget, the H2 is a wonder that I'll enjoy for years to come.
S great to work with!
I work in the musical instruments and music (recording artists) industry so I obviously care about audio quality very much. I work with high-end manufacturers and world-class artists so I can say that I'm quite critical and demanding about what I expect out of "great sound".
After some research, I settled on the Jerry Harvey Audio Layla CIEM and the Sennheiser HD 800 S for my headphone needs and the Chord Electronics Hugo and Mojo DAC/headphone amps. I'm looking at the JH Audio CIEM (custom molded) and the Mojo for travel usage and the Hugo and HD 800S for home usage.
I have to say that I really can't be happier about the choices I've made. The Hugo has everything I'd want or need - including the ability to connect to my audio system which also doubles as musical instrument and studio amplification needs. I'm no hardcore audiophile and can't afford to be one but I appreciate great sound more from an MI industry professional and working with great musicians.
I tested the Mojo and Hugo with "midrange" ($300~600) headphones that I've had for some years as well as the "high-end" gear like Layla and HD 800S. Obviously, the "high-end" headphones blow away the "midrange" headphones and earpieces I've been using but I was also very interested in how the Hugo and Mojo do with the midrange stuff to develop a reference point. My previous DAC/headphone amps have been the JDS O2/ODAC and J5D which I had been happy with and consider very good performers for the money.
The Hugo (as well as the Mojo) just seem to lift a blanket off of the music. The clarity and the musical "sheen" around the notes you hear are quite amazing. This is just with the "midrange" headphones and earpieces. Of course, when I put on the Layla CIEM and the HD 800S through the Hugo it's lights out and I feel like I'm in aural heaven.
Being in the MI industry, I do know that there's a point of diminishing returns with high-end gear. Seriously, what's the difference between a $3000 guitar and a $6000 guitar or a $15000 guitar? Not a whole lot as far as the sound is concerned. I look at the Hugo as that $3000 high-end guitar that can go right up against the $6000+ guitar. The Mojo is the $1000 guitar that performs almost as good as the $3000 guitar. That's how I look at it.
The controls of both the Hugo and the Mojo take a little while to get used to but they're cool. And the flexibility of the in's and out's is a real plus. Now I can listen to music together with my wife and/or the kids with the multiple headphone outs and enjoy the pristine sound of the Hugo or the Mojo.
I can't say I've compared the Hugo to DACs that cost twice as much or more. I'm sure that's where we get into the point of diminishing returns. It's about paying 2 or 3 times more on something to get 2~3% "improvement". It's cool. I can relate. All that matters is that the buyer/user is satisfied. I went out on a limb to get the Hugo myself but I feel confident that it was money very well spent and that it actually provides value. It sounds awesome with all the clarity, definition, soundstage, musicality, and the sweetness on the highs that I find so important.