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Thread: Chord Hugo DAC

  1. #1
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Chord Hugo DAC

    Last Saturday night a friend of mine brought over his new Chord Hugo portable DAC which sells for about $2500 along with his Wyred 4 Sound DAC 2 DSDse DAC with the Femto Clock upgrade which he is selling.

    I was fortunate to compare both. This is the second time that I was able to hear the Wyred in my system. It is a DAC that I have considered buying. It has a neutral sound and is extremely dynamic and detailed. I listen to a lot of acoustic guitar and the pluck of the guitar strings are very real and natural. Bass is explosive, tight and fast. In fact the Wyred is a very fast DAC in its presentation. It has good air and transparency and it has a completely black background. It takes my system to another level.

    The Chord Hugo is also a very good DAC. It does not look like much and I did not expect it to sound as good as the Wyred. But I was astounded at the sound that came out of this little box. The Chord has a slightly warmer slower paced sound with a lush midrange and more depth to the music. Things just sounded right and it drew you into the music. The music was more involving and emotional. Bass was more natural and musical although it was not quite as explosive as on the Wyred. However, it was still very powerful, dynamic and controlled. There was no fatigue to the sound. I could listen to music for hours with the Hugo. Vocals were the most natural and live sounding that I have heard. The timbre and decay of piano notes were phenomenal.

    Compared to the Wyred it was slightly less detailed and the attack was not as razor sharp, especially on acoustic guitar and piano. (I am not saying that the Hugo is not detailed. It just does not have the level of detail that the Wyred has) The sound stage was not quite as wide but the front to back depth was deeper. Cymbals were also a bit more natural with the Wyred. The Hugo was more involving and engaging to listen to. The Hugo had a more tube like, romantic and pleasing sound, a sound that I could be happy with for the rest of my life.

    Here is a link to the Hugo-

    Chord Hugo
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  2. #2
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Interesting about the Chord Hugo, thanks. I note that it plays DSD files as well as PCM.

    "It does not look like much" but it is 1400 which might imply around US$2000. Chord has a cheaper model, the 2Qute Chordette, for 900.

  3. #3
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    Curious how the AVA DAC compares to the 2? Wasn't the AVA in that same price range new?

  4. #4
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Mr. P, the AVA DAC cost about $1600 new about 5 years ago. It has since underwent some factory mods with new mosfets, BB 0627 op amps and a change from 6N1P tubes to 6CG7's which totaled about $300 more. I have since upgraded the op amps to these sparko discrete OA's. The AVA DAC sounds great. It's strengths are detail and clarity along with excellent air and transparency. It also has a nice top end and good bass. It presents a huge sound stage.

    Discrete Op Amps | Sparkos Labs.comSparkos Labs.com

    The Wyred 4 sound sounds some what similar sound but takes it even further. There is noticeably more detail and resolution. It is more dynamic and musical. Bass has more grunt and power. The Wyred also has a bit faster pace. However, the AVA has a bit wider sound stage. The Wyred also does DSD, comes with a remote control and takes usb and has 4 other digital inputs. It is also fully balanced with XLR's. I believe that the XLR's made a difference in sound as it made my system fully balanced. Certainly the gain was higher.

    If the Hugo DAC had XLR I would consider buying it. I like the lush midrange, tube like sound and hint warmth it brings to my system.

    I still need to hear a Marantz NA 11-S1 and an Auralic Vega DAC. I am also considering this Cary DAC 100T tube DAC-

    DAC-100t Vacuum Tube USB Digital to Analog Converter | Cary Audio
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

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