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Chord Hugo TT2 and M Scaler Review | Moon Audio

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Hugo M Scaler

Was: $5,650.00
Now: $4,750.00
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A premium upscaling device with the world's most advanced digital filter. More details

Chord Hugo TT2 and M Scaler Review | Moon Audio

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The Chord Electronics Hugo M Scaler is a high-end digital upscaling device designed to improve the audio quality of digital audio sources, particularly when used in conjunction with Chord Electronics' DACs. the M Scaler is known for its advanced upscaling technology and its ability to enhance the precision and detail of digital audio playback, especially since it uses technology first seen in the flagship BLU MKII digital/CD transport.

The Hugo M Scaler is a highly advanced standalone upscaler capable of redefining sound quality from digital audio. It uses Rob Watts’ (our Digital Design Consultant’s) unique filter technology, the most advanced in the world, to upscale standard 44.1kHz digital audio up to 705.6kHz (16x CD’s 44.1kHz native resolution), ready to be passed to a suitable DAC; Hugo M Scaler extends its upscaling performance to 768kHz (from 96kHz input data) for our dual-BNC-input DACs: DAVE, Qutest and the Hugo TT 2.

The Hugo M Scaler brings the unrivaled advantages of Chord's ground-breaking FPGA-based WTA (Watts Transient Alignment) filtering technology to digitally connected audio devices, dramatically improving sound quality. Although optimized for use with selected Chord Electronics DACs (for the maximum 768kHz upscaling/decoding benefit), the Hugo M Scaler can be used with other DACs with suitable inputs, subject to their decoding capability. Connect it to your favorite streamer, DAC, and headphone amplifier for an unrivaled audiophile soundstage and sonic experience. It’s one of the most popular Chord products on the market, so be sure to check out our M Scaler Review for more information.

Dragon Cable Recommendation: The Silver Dragon Coax Digital Cable is one of our best-selling cables at Moon Audio and the perfect companion for the Chord M Scaler. To experience the full 768kHz upsampling benefits of the M Scaler, you must connect it in dual-data mode to a Chord Electronics DAC using two BNC cables. The Silver Dragon Coax Digital Cable is a pure silver 75ohm digital cable perfect for both audio and video applications. It is an all silver designed 75ohm digital cable. A characteristic impedance of 75 ohms makes this a perfect match for both digital audio and video.

The Hugo M Scaler’s compact form factor aligns with the TT (Table Top) series and has been designed to be stackable with other units in the range, including the TToby stereo power amp and the Hugo TT 2, to form a highly advanced yet space-saving system. In line with other models in the Hugo and Hugo TT series, the device features a number of illuminable fascia-mounted spherical controls, governing input selection, output sample rate and video mode for lower latency. The control spheres display data visually including input source and the incoming sample rate, using a polychromatic scale.

When partnered with either of Chord Electronics’ 768kHz-capable dual-BNC-input DACs, the Hugo M Scaler sets an astonishing technical benchmark for digital audio performance at its price point, redefining sound quality from digital audio.

Features:

Digital Upscaling: The primary function of the M Scaler is to upscale digital audio signals to higher resolutions before they are sent to a digital-to-analog converter (DAC). It uses advanced algorithms and FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) technology to perform this upscaling process.

WTA Filtering: The M Scaler features Chord Electronics' proprietary WTA (Watts Transient Aligned) filtering technology. This technology is designed to improve the timing accuracy of digital audio playback, resulting in more precise and natural sound reproduction.

Resolution Enhancement: The M Scaler can increase the resolution of digital audio signals significantly. For example, it can upscale a 16-bit/44.1kHz CD-quality audio signal to 32-bit/768kHz or even higher. This can provide a more detailed and lifelike audio experience.

Compatibility: While the M Scaler is often used in conjunction with Chord Electronics' DACs, it can also be used with other DACs that have the appropriate input connections, such as BNC or dual BNC.

Multiple Digital Inputs: It typically includes multiple digital input options, such as USB, coaxial, optical, and BNC, allowing you to connect various digital audio sources.

High-Resolution Audio Support: The M Scaler can handle a wide range of audio formats, including high-resolution formats like DSD (Direct Stream Digital) and PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) at very high sample rates.

Build Quality: Chord Electronics is known for its high-quality build and design, and the M Scaler is no exception. It features a robust chassis and a user-friendly front panel.

Compatibility with Chord Electronics DACs: When used with Chord Electronics DACs like the Chord DAVE, the M Scaler is designed to maximize their performance potential, offering a high-quality, end-to-end digital audio solution.


M Scaler Technology Profile

The Power of Upscaling

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 a Black 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.

FAQ

What does the Hugo M Scaler do?

The M Scaler is a highly advanced standalone upscaler capable of redefining sound quality from digital audio. It can be used with any DAC to improve the incoming audio signal, be it from your computer or a CD transport. The M Scaler uses the most advanced filter technology in the world to upscale standard 44.1kHz digital audio up to 705.6kHz (that's 16 times a CD’s 44.1kHz native resolution). The M Scaler extends its upscaling performance to 768kHz (from 96kHz input data) when paired with Chord's dual-BNC-input DACs: DAVE, Qutest, or Hugo2, or Hugo TT 2.

What is audio upscaling?

Audio quality greatly improves as you use higher-quality files. Think of how much better CDs sound than MP3 files. The M Scaler takes your already high-quality files and intelligently upconverts them to be on the same level as a master quality track straight from the studio.

What inputs and outputs are included with the M Scaler?

M Scaler is equipped with five inputs: galvanically isolated USB type-B, optical Toslink (x2) and S/PDIF BNC coax (x2). Three outputs are provided: optical Toslink, S/PDIF BNC coax and dual-BNC (DBNC) coax.

How do I connect the M Scaler to my DAC?

To experience the full 768kHz upsampling benefits of the M Scaler, you must connect it in dual-data mode to a Chord Electronics DAC using two BNC cables (provided). Plug BNC OUT 1 into BNC IN 1 and BNC OUT 2 into BNC IN 2. If you only plug one BNC cable into the device you will only experience a maximum upsampling of 384kHz.

|Connecting the M Scaler to a third-party DAC without a supported dual data mode (x2 parallel BNC inputs) will yield maximum upsampling of 384kHz. It is recommend that you connect the M Scaler to your DAC via BNC/SPDIF for the maximum upsampling of 384kHz in this configuration. Connect any output of M Scaler to the input of your DAC.

Can I use the Mscaler with my Mojo 2 or Hugo 2?

Yes, by using our custom 3.5mm coax to dual Mini Coax Digital Cable.

What will the M Scaler do for my Chord dual-BNC input DAC?

The M Scaler will bring the sound of your Hugo TT2 to the ballpark of the Chord Dave. The Hugo TT2 on its own is not as detailed and resolving; it's warmer and more musical. The M Scaler will boost the level of detail and resolution. That being said, the M Scaler will make your Dave sound even better—among the very best we have ever heard.

Why does only the dual BNC work for maximum quality?

Each digital connection/cable has its own limitations. Some connections have an overall bandwidth limit, so a 32bit, 768kHz file will not work over them. An example is a TOSLINK/coaxial, as they aren't able to carry that level of detail in their current format. By using two cables, you double the data transmission possible, allowing you to hit the maximum of 768kHz.

Will the M Scaler work well with non-Chord DACs?

Upscaled audio improves the experience with most DACs on the market. That said, to get the absolute best experience, we recommend using the M Scaler with a Chord DAC. The dual BNC connection is what sets the M Scaler apart from the competition.

Do you have a Dual BNC cable that you recommend for the M Scaler?

Yes, our Silver Dragon Coax Digital Cable (with BNC on both ends) is an excellent pairing for your M Scaler and Chord DAC.

What are the controls on the M Scaler?

On the front left of the unit are three colored spheres: Video (for when you are using the M Scaler in both a home theater and two-channel system); Input (USB/BNC 1/BNC 2/Optical 1/Optical 2/Automatic); and Upsampling (pass-through/low/medium/high). On the right are three DX buttons (DX OP, DX down, DX up). These have been implemented for a future product that will pair with the M Scaler.

INCLUDED ACCESSORIES

  • Mains Power Adapter
  • IR Remote Control
  • M Scaler User Manual
  • 3-Year Warranty

Inputs

  • 2x BNC
  • 2x optical
  • 1x galvanically isolated USB Type-B compatible with DSD and PCM data (up to DSD 256); with DSD upsampled to PCM

Outputs

  • 1x optical
  • 1x S/PDIF
  • 1x galvanically isolated dual BNC (enables upscaling to the maximum resolution (768kHz from 96kHz data)

Additional features:

  • The most advanced digital filter in the world
  • Adjustable sample rate output (with pass-thru mode)
  • Video mode (for lower latency)
  • Auto video and source selection
  • ‘DX’ controls for future product
  • Designed, engineered and entirely made in the UK
  • Precision-milled chassis, crafted from aircraft-grade aluminum

Technical Specifications

  • FPGA: Xilinx XC7A200T
  • Filter tap length: 1,015,808 WTA taps
  • Dimensions: 235 x 40.5 x 236mm (WxHxD)

Compatible with Android, Apple IOS, Windows, OSX, and Linux.

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