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Chord Hugo M Scaler - Stereophile Review (measurements also)

Tks

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Review

Measurements

Conclusions
As David Rich, then with The Audio Critic, wrote in the 1990s, "in the next century, all audiophiles will be listening to will be different digital filters." Chord's Hugo M Scaler illustrates Dr. Rich's point: It replaces the various reconstruction filters used in other manufacturers' DACs with Rob Watts's enormously long WTA filter. That filter does sound superb, and, as a bonus—in addition to upgrading the sounds of older DACs—the M Scaler adds a USB input with Roon compatibility to DACs that don't have one, like my Levinson. At $4795, the M Scaler is relatively expensive; I recommend you audition the M Scaler with your own DAC before getting out the credit card. But "[improve] the recreation of the original music signal," as Chord claims, the M Scaler definitely did, with all three D/A processors I tried.


The front panel offers six of Chord's traditional glass-sphere buttons, which illuminate in different colors according to what the M Scaler has been asked to do. Only four of these are currently functional; the rightmost pair, marked "DX," are intended for a future product design.
One thing I found funny, is this seems to be entry-level device, or the sort of annoying nonsense car companies do these days, where they leave blank-buttons with no function in the cars' dash controls, unless you pony-up for all the options.
For $5,000 and for a device that does what SoX basically does in software. This is HILARIOUS. Imagine this being a design that's going to be recycled into another product. What were they thinking? And what would anyone be thinking getting this in the first place honestly?

As the review goes on, it takes a funny twist

In the promotional literature for the M Scaler, Chord writes, "The Hugo M Scaler . . . takes the digital file and repairs it, adding back the information lost between the samples, then it sends the repaired file to the DAC. . . . With 705,600 samples per second, a huge amount of important information that was lost when creating the 44.1 digital file is now recovered. The more samples, the closer you get to the original analog signal. . . . The Hugo M Scaler in essence places 15 additional new musical samples in between each original musical sample, resulting in an astounding improvement in the recreation of the original music signal."

My eyebrows raised, I kept reading. Referring to the figure reprinted here, the text states that "The Hugo M Scaler takes a rough stairstep CD quality waveform and transforms it into a smooth analog-like waveform. That quantum leap in sampling brings a breathtaking leap in detail, accuracy and realism to your music."



Hmm. The measurements I performed to accompany our reviews of the dCS 972 and Purcell definitively showed that upsampling doesn't add information above the Nyquist frequency—22.05kHz with CD data—of the lower sample rate. So what is the M Scaler doing?

In one of the first articles I wrote for Stereophile, "Zen & The Art of D/A Conversion," which was published in September 1986, I discussed how the recovered analog signal is not directly described by the levels of the digital samples. Instead, the interaction between those samples and the impulse response of a digital low-pass reconstruction filter recreates the analog waveform—not just at the sampling intervals but between them (footnote 3). By processing the incoming data with a low-pass filter featuring an extremely long impulse response, the M Scaler makes it possible for the accompanying DAC to more accurately reconstruct the analog signal. In effect, it replaces the DAC's digital filter with its own, as the DAC's filter is now operating at the higher sample rate, and its cutoff is one or more octaves above the original data's Nyquist frequency.
 

majingotan

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I listened on the Blu MK2 (MScaler with CD player) with DAVE vs DAVE alone (Blu MK2 passthrough) with Headamp BHSE and Dan Clark Voce just a few days ago on a quiet room. Seriously, there's absolutely no audible difference that I detect between Blu MK2 passthrough vs full 768 KHz oversampling with DAVE. Can't even tell if the thing is actually changing something in the signal as I see DAVE's sample rate go up, but no audible sound difference that happens during the oversampling

IMG_1731.JPG
 
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Tks

Tks

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Thread Starter #3
I'm still upset about half the buttons not being functional :-|
 

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