Top 5 Desktop DACs of 2023 | Moon Audio
Top 5 Desktop DACs of 2023 | Moon Audio
The Chord Electronics Hugo TT 2 is a high-end digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and headphone amplifier. It is a part of Chord Electronics' prestigious Hugo line of audio products, known for its exceptional sound quality and innovative design. The Hugo TT 2 is bigger, better, and more advanced in every way and it sets a new benchmark for tabletop DACs, eclipsed only by Chord’s flagship DAVE.
Cable Recommendations: We recommend dual BNC connectors for maximum resolution. Our Silver Dragon Digital cables are available with Furutech FP-3-117 (R) connectors and will enable output of the full audio resolution to your Hugo M Scaler, DAVE, or other high resolution-device.
Exceptional Sound Quality: The Hugo TT 2 is renowned for its exceptional audio performance. It uses Chord Electronics' proprietary FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) technology (found in Chord DACs like the Mojo and the Chord DAVE) to process digital audio signals, providing highly accurate and detailed audiophile-grade sound reproduction. The DAC can handle a wide range of audio formats, including high-resolution files, ensuring that you can enjoy your music with incredible clarity and precision.
Versatility: This DAC is versatile and can be used in various audio setups. It can function as a standalone DAC, improving the sound quality of your existing audio system, or as a preamplifier or headphone amplifier for high-end headphones and IEMs. It also has a range of connectivity options, including USB, coaxial, optical, and Bluetooth, making it compatible with a wide range of audio sources.
Build Quality: Chord Electronics is known for its exceptional build quality, and the Hugo TT 2 is no exception. It features a sleek and robust chassis made from aircraft-grade aluminum, which not only looks impressive but also helps dissipate heat efficiently, ensuring long-term reliability.
Crossfeed Functionality: The Hugo TT 2 includes a crossfeed filter, which is a feature that simulates the way sound naturally interacts with your ears. This can create a more natural and spacious soundstage when listening to headphones, enhancing the overall listening experience.
Remote Control: The Hugo TT 2 comes with a dedicated remote control, allowing you to adjust volume and source selection without getting up from your listening position. This adds to the convenience and user-friendliness of the product.
Customization: The Hugo TT 2 offers a level of customization for your audio experience. You can choose between different digital filter settings to fine-tune the sound to your preference, giving you more control over your listening experience.
Ergonomic Design: It has a top-mounted OLED display that provides visual feedback on your settings and current input source, making it easy to operate.
Upgradeable: Chord Electronics has a reputation for providing firmware updates to enhance the performance of its products over time, ensuring that your investment remains current and competitive.
The Chord Hugo TT 2 has been radically redesigned from the ground up. It features beautiful new casework by Chief Designer, John Franks, as well as 5 times the processing power of the original Hugo TT — double that of the multi-award-winning Hugo 2. Hugo TT 2 includes over 20 years of digital development by Rob Watts and takes advantage of the very latest technology.
As expected, it delivers radically improved technical specifications and measurements across the board and exhibits drastic sonic benefits over its predecessor with 768kHz PCM and DSD 512 playback. This powerhouse DAC supports most headphones, including harder to drive ones like the Sennheiser HD800S and most planar magnetic headphones, such as the Audeze LCD-3 and LCD-4.
Compared to the 256-tap filters of traditional chip DACs, Hugo TT 2 is an infinitely more powerful Xilinx Artix 7 FPGA, custom-coded by Chord Electronics’ Rob Watts with 86x 208MHz cores running in parallel to create an advanced 16FS WTA 1 filter with 98,304-taps. That doubles the power of its multi-award winning transportable brother, Hugo 2 (49,152). Hugo TT 2 also upgrades from a 4-element design to a 10-element design, which works in harmony with the radically upgraded FPGA and code to deliver unrivaled audio.
A brand-new, high-powered discrete output stage coupled with second-order noise-shaping integration between the DAC output and filter massively reduce distortion. Further improvements have also been made to the power delivery. Hugo TT 2 eschews the Li-Po battery power supply of the original and ushers in six supercapacitors capable of delivering huge linear-dynamic currents when the music demands it with a peak output of 5A, 9.3V RMS.
Hugo TT 2 also brings home the beloved four-stage user-selectable filter controls introduced with Hugo 2 and retains the three-stage user-selectable digital crossfeed function for headphone users who want to improve the perception of depth, similar to that of speakers.
To upgrade your Chord Qutest to the next level, we recommend adding the Chord Hugo M Scaler. Using technology first seen in the flagship BLU MKII digital/CD transport, the Hugo M Scaler is a standalone upscaling device containing the world’s most advanced digital filter. When used with a dual-BNC-input Chord Electronics DAC, it is capable of redefining digital audio sound quality.
The Hugo M Scaler is a highly advanced standalone upscaler capable of redefining sound quality from digital audio. It uses Rob Watts’ 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 Chord's dual-BNC-input DACs: DAVE, Qutest and the Hugo TT 2. The Hugo M Scaler brings the unrivaled advantages of our 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.
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 the 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.
Precision-machined aluminum casing with steel ball-bearing buttons, gloss black acrylic signal window, glass viewing portal, and dot matrix display. Available in a choice of two colors – silver and satin black
The Hugo TT 2 features dual 1/4-inch headphone jacks and a mini jack on the front. On the back of the unit there are a USB digital input, optical digital inputs (x2), BNC digital inputs (x2), BNC digital outputs (x2), RCA analog outputs (x2), and XLR analog outputs (x2).
On recieving your product, Chord Electronics Ltd. provides a comprehensive three-year warranty* for the Hugo TT 2. This covers defects in materials and workmanship through fair wear and tear. The warranty will be void if any other PSU other than that supplied is used. *The warranty is transferable with proof of purchase, however, warranty on ex-demonstration units begins from the retailer‘s date of purchase.
The input selector button changes color based on your selected input. White is USB, yellow is BNC 1, red is BNC 2, green is optical 1, blue is optical 2, purple is automatic, and turquoise is dual BNC.
The Hugo TT2 is different from many DACs on the market, as it doesn't off-the-shelf Delta Sigma DACs that are common in many of its competitors. Instead, it uses the Xilinx Artix 7 FPGA and , custom-coded by Chord Electronics’ Rob Watts, to process your digital music with 86x 208MHz cores, giving you an incredibly detailed sound to your setup.
While the original Hugo was designed to be a portable unit, the TT added to the end means that this is the "tabletop" unit. That said, it's more than just a desktop version of the Hugo 2. With double the tap filters, this "tabletop" unit is a powerhouse that adds details upon details to your audio setup.
For the best sound, you'll want to use the Chord M Scaler with the dual BNC input. After this, the USB connection will give you the highest-quality signal, although some people prefer the sound of the optical/coaxial inputs. We suggest that you try a couple of different options to find the best choice for you.
You can, but it's important to remember that these are line level inputs, so they are a lot more powerful than the headphone outputs on the front. Difficult-to-drive headphones like the HiFiMan HE6 and Susvara will work somewhat well, though we strongly recommend just using the headphone outputs for listening with headphones.
Yes. Using the pre-outs on the Hugo TT, you can connect to all sorts of headphone amps (both Chord amps and other manufacturer's amps).>h6>How do I use the Hugo TT 2 with speakers?
The pre-outs from the Hugo TT 2 will work well enough with active speakers to give you a great all in one setup. If you want to hook this unit up to passive speakers, you will need a separate amplifier. In this case, Chord sells the TToby to be paired specifically with the Hugo TT 2. That said, you can use any company's stereo amplifier with the Hugo TT 2.