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Review and Measurements of Chord Hugo 2 DAC and Headphone Amplifier

Thomas savage

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#81
I guess I find it strange that a DAC can be judged without listening to it. I would love to review different DACs but how dull if you don’t listen to them.

BTW - you are confusing two different companies Chord (cables) with Chord Electronics(Mojo, Hugo, Dave)
If your after entertaining subjective flowery prose this is not the forum to be on.
 
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#82
I guess I find it strange that a DAC can be judged without listening to it. I would love to review different DACs but how dull if you don’t listen to them.

BTW - you are confusing two different companies Chord (cables) with Chord Electronics(Mojo, Hugo, Dave)
There are plenty of subjective reviews about the Hugo 2 and now there is an objective one too. So we have reviews for subjectivist, objectivists and all those in between.

I’m not confusing them at all, I’m very aware they are different companies, just pointing out that the publication gave a very expensive set of cables an award. I’ll let people will reach their own conclusions over how important these “awards” are.
 

svart-hvitt

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#83
There are plenty of subjective reviews about the Hugo 2 and now there is an objective one too. So we have reviews for subjectivist, objectivists and all those in between.

I’m not confusing them at all, I’m very aware they are different companies, just pointing out that the publication gave a very expensive set of cables an award. I’ll let people will reach their own conclusions over how important these “awards” are.
You wrote:

«There are plenty of subjective reviews about the Hugo...».

I am not to venture into semantics here, but «subjective reviews» are not exactly the same as «paid-for reviews». There is, in fact, a crucial difference.

:)

What concerns the Chord; it measures good so it is per theory expected to sound good as well. That’s what’s nice about audio science and theory.
 

March Audio

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#84
@BE718 , I am in agreement with you. The main reason I use HQ Player is its nice integration with Roon, my speakers are active DSP Genelec 8351 that ideally take 24/96 in. The change of filtering is just an added bonus. I think the poly-sinc is the most natural in lack of a better word. But I am not sure (at all!) I would notice if blinded... Maybe one of the «analog» sounding filters with bigger artefacts are easier to identify blinded?

My point is: Would you be able to make a Chord DAC using a Benchmark with HQ Player? This reminds us of older tests when designers copied special amps, right?

Besides, Jussi Laako of HQP has criticized Chord of bullshit marketing of the tap thing. That is interesting. So either Jussi is bullshitting, or Chord is.

PS: Just one more thing: To have a better understanding of HW and SW also makes better, more intelligent designs. It doesn’t makes sense to have different HW, HW protocols (like HDMI etc.) if changes could be made in SW. It’s really waste to have too much special computing in hardware. Just think about waste management from an environmental point of view if producers insist on doing things in HW instead of SW. More focus on SW could prolong the life of electronic equipment, from DACs to TVs.
Aaahhhh sorry, I see where you were going now :) . I suppose yes you could implement whatever design of filtering you like in software
 
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#85
I'm new here.

I decided that I needed decent computer speakers.

I use Foobar2000 WASAPI Event or DSD WASAPI EVENT to play audio files via USB2 to Chord DAVE via RCA phono cables to Chord TToby via ordinary copper speaker cable to Focal 1008 be speakers.

I haven't tried the Hugo 2, but I used the Hugo TT before I switched to the DAVE - there is a significant difference. The sound is a helluva lot better defined.

What exactly DOES influence the sound?

Jitter, taps, clocks, upsampling, oversampling, bit rate?

Looking for clues / ideas on how to get the sound as good as possible.
 

amirm

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#86
I'm new here.

I decided that I needed decent computer speakers.

I use Foobar2000 WASAPI Event or DSD WASAPI EVENT to play audio files via USB2 to Chord DAVE via RCA phono cables to Chord TToby via ordinary copper speaker cable to Focal 1008 be speakers.

I haven't tried the Hugo 2, but I used the Hugo TT before I switched to the DAVE - there is a significant difference. The sound is a helluva lot better defined.

What exactly DOES influence the sound?

Jitter, taps, clocks, upsampling, oversampling, bit rate?

Looking for clues / ideas on how to get the sound as good as possible.
Hi there. Welcome to the forum. Unfortunately the biggest thing that impacts the "sound" is looking at the device. :) I am serious. Time and time again we can readily and easily show that when people evaluate audio products they vote differently when they are doing it while having knowledge of what they are listening to. That, and volume differences.

Our measurements and audio science explains that well designed DACs like Chord Hugo 2 and I assume Dave should sound very much the same sans the above factors.

Just do a few rounds of a test where you don't know which is which and see if the outcome is as you expect.
 

svart-hvitt

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#87
I'm new here.

I decided that I needed decent computer speakers.

I use Foobar2000 WASAPI Event or DSD WASAPI EVENT to play audio files via USB2 to Chord DAVE via RCA phono cables to Chord TToby via ordinary copper speaker cable to Focal 1008 be speakers.

I haven't tried the Hugo 2, but I used the Hugo TT before I switched to the DAVE - there is a significant difference. The sound is a helluva lot better defined.

What exactly DOES influence the sound?

Jitter, taps, clocks, upsampling, oversampling, bit rate?

Looking for clues / ideas on how to get the sound as good as possible.
@Tony Hartley , you wrote:

«What exactly DOES influence the sound?

Jitter, taps, clocks, upsampling, oversampling, bit rate?»

Well, because all of the above are facts that can be altered and measured, we’d need psychoacoustic studies (blind tests) to find out if changes in the above are audible, and if a change is for the better or the worse. Complicating things further is the claim that some of the above is better for some kinds of music (acoustic, classic vs studio captures, rock) than others. Archimago has tried to do some tests; look it up. His test on filters supported (implicitly and in my view) the hypothesis that one type of filter is better for acoustical.

During recreational listening I doubt these factors matter. Remember, it’s very hard to prove that even (1) hires is distinguisable from redbook 16/44 and it’s even harder to prove (2) that hires is preferred to redbook.

In other words: Much ado about little.

For full disclosure: I like to tweak a little with filters etc. where I can control a change from A to B. I think some tweaking is part of the human, male DNA...

;)
 

Jimster480

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#88
Hi there. Welcome to the forum. Unfortunately the biggest thing that impacts the "sound" is looking at the device. :) I am serious. Time and time again we can readily and easily show that when people evaluate audio products they vote differently when they are doing it while having knowledge of what they are listening to. That, and volume differences.

Our measurements and audio science explains that well designed DACs like Chord Hugo 2 and I assume Dave should sound very much the same sans the above factors.

Just do a few rounds of a test where you don't know which is which and see if the outcome is as you expect.
Very true, people will often believe that something sounds better after they have paid for it or because they like it.
This used to happen to me alot as a kid. In Time I realized it happening and have done my best to avoid it.
 
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#89
490,000 taps is a lot of latency... What is the upsampled rate? 490,000 samples / 192,000 samples/sec is 2.55 seconds... But I assume the FIR is at the oversampled clock frequency so in reality latency is a small fraction of that, but still likely pretty long.
It would be, but the Hugo 2 uses a 49,152 tap filter (against 256 fs upsampled data). The original post is, and several posts based on that error are, off by an order of magnitude. @amirm Probably wants to correct this as it doesn't do any favors vs. those wanting to question the measurements.

I'm not sure about the measured output impedance either. I got 0.027 ohms when I measured it, which is not that far from the manufacturer's claims.

Generally I've found that when presenting measurements it's useful to keep things as accurate as possible and when errors are pointed out, especially ones that are not the subject of debate or conjecture, that they're corrected. Not because those deviances are necessarily material, just that they look bad and tend to taint the perception of validity of the stuff that *is* material.
 

Frank Dernie

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#92
....unless you listen.
About 5 or 6 years ago I decided I ought to buy a new DAC since the one I was using maxed at 48kHz and people were going on about "high rez".
I am a big believer in level matched listening comparisons at home at my leisure (that is how I satisfied myself that properly made speaker cable and interconnects sounded the same regardless of price 15 years previously).
I compared several DACs a Weiss, the Resolution Audio Cantata, Linn Klimax and the DAC part of a Metric Halo pro ADC/DAC. I could perhaps detect a tiny bit more detail in the mechanical noise of the pedal being operated in one favourite piano recording on the Cantata. The Weiss sounded a touch harsh when I first tested it but not always. Otherwise they were indistinguishable to my ears.
Now in the case of the difference between 44/16 and 96/24 I was concerned that there was a possibility that each file was a different mix, and/or that the DAC treated the two sizes of file sufficiently differently for them to sound different for reasons having nothing to do with resolution. An acquaintance converted the 96/24 file I had to 44/16, then back again such that I had 2 files to compare that were definitely the same mix and would be treated equally by the DAC, but one of the files would have had all data outside 44/16 stripped out of it.
I couldn't tell the difference between these files either.
So, it could be expectation bias, I cant hear above 16kHz and the music dynamic range was within 16 bits so I maybe subconsciously didn't expect a difference. It could be that I have cloth ears - which would be good luck since the differences were too subtle for me and I can forget equipment paranoia :). It could be that any differences between DACs are so tiny as not to be noticed on the sort of music I listen to.
Anyway I no longer have DAC anxiety (though I bought the Hugo when it first came out to have a good portable solution that is well made).
I also am completely comfortable with 44/16 music though I do have some super downloaded files bigger than that.

So I have listened, and for me there was negligible or no difference between DACs varying by an order of magnitude in price, except the quality of machining of the enclosure - the Linn Klimax is splendid.
The bit about cloth ears is hopefully not true - in the recordings I have made over the last 50 years I can clearly hear the differences between microphones, tape recorders and the effect of level settings on both analogue and digital recorders I have used. I also hear big differences between speakers and their room location. Just negligible in DACs.
 

svart-hvitt

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#94
About 5 or 6 years ago I decided I ought to buy a new DAC since the one I was using maxed at 48kHz and people were going on about "high rez".
I am a big believer in level matched listening comparisons at home at my leisure (that is how I satisfied myself that properly made speaker cable and interconnects sounded the same regardless of price 15 years previously).
I compared several DACs a Weiss, the Resolution Audio Cantata, Linn Klimax and the DAC part of a Metric Halo pro ADC/DAC. I could perhaps detect a tiny bit more detail in the mechanical noise of the pedal being operated in one favourite piano recording on the Cantata. The Weiss sounded a touch harsh when I first tested it but not always. Otherwise they were indistinguishable to my ears.
Now in the case of the difference between 44/16 and 96/24 I was concerned that there was a possibility that each file was a different mix, and/or that the DAC treated the two sizes of file sufficiently differently for them to sound different for reasons having nothing to do with resolution. An acquaintance converted the 96/24 file I had to 44/16, then back again such that I had 2 files to compare that were definitely the same mix and would be treated equally by the DAC, but one of the files would have had all data outside 44/16 stripped out of it.
I couldn't tell the difference between these files either.
So, it could be expectation bias, I cant hear above 16kHz and the music dynamic range was within 16 bits so I maybe subconsciously didn't expect a difference. It could be that I have cloth ears - which would be good luck since the differences were too subtle for me and I can forget equipment paranoia :). It could be that any differences between DACs are so tiny as not to be noticed on the sort of music I listen to.
Anyway I no longer have DAC anxiety (though I bought the Hugo when it first came out to have a good portable solution that is well made).
I also am completely comfortable with 44/16 music though I do have some super downloaded files bigger than that.

So I have listened, and for me there was negligible or no difference between DACs varying by an order of magnitude in price, except the quality of machining of the enclosure - the Linn Klimax is splendid.
The bit about cloth ears is hopefully not true - in the recordings I have made over the last 50 years I can clearly hear the differences between microphones, tape recorders and the effect of level settings on both analogue and digital recorders I have used. I also hear big differences between speakers and their room location. Just negligible in DACs.
@Frank Dernie , Welcome to AA (aa.org), Audiophiles Anonymous.

But as audiophile I cannot but stop being fascinating by the esoterics. A little drink can’t hurt, can it?
 
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Wombat

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#95
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#96
You are posting an opinion poll to support your opinion?:rolleyes: You sure don't get what this forum is about.
My apologies. I bit.

Yes, I do get what this forum is about, and it is apparently not always about rational, intelligent discussion. (I hope you read the entire page of the link I sent.)
It is only about measurements. Since I have none to post, I will bow out.

Regards,
Rene
 

RayDunzl

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#97
It is only about measurements.
For me, it is measuring in support of listening.

I think I've improved my listening that way.

It's a relatively recent development.
 

Wombat

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#98
I think it is clear that this forum is about more than measurement of equipment - see the index for other topics. Amirm has explained this clearly and regularly to make this understood. Unsupported individual subjective listening impressions do not carry much weight here and this seems to upset some members who trust their own hearing to be universal, disregarding research findings to the contrary re hearing reliability.

This forum was established to present the methodical scientific approach to audio which was lacking elsewhere.

P.S. I had read that Archimago article, previously.
 

RayDunzl

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#99
This forum was established to present the methodical scientific approach to audio which was lacking elsewhere.
Maybe there's a practical aspect too...

upload_2018-2-24_20-35-56.png


In terms of 1 meter, that's 10 nanometers.

A human hair is around 75 microns(abbreviated 75μm) or 75,000 nm (nanometers) in diameter.

0.1 nm (nanometer) diameter of a hydrogen atom
0.8 nm Amino Acid
2 nm Diameter of a DNA Alpha helix
4 nm Globular Protein
6 nm microfilaments
7 nm thickness cell membranes

Obviously insane.

ok, let's try -100dB, also in terms of one meter.

upload_2018-2-24_20-42-41.png


In terms of 1 meter, that's 10 micrometers.

10 µm – width of cotton fiber
10 µm – transistor width of the Intel 4004, the world's first commercial microprocessors
10 µm – mean longest dimension of a human red blood cell
5–20 µm – dust mite excreta
10.6 µm – wavelength of light emitted by a carbon dioxide laser
15 µm – width of silk fiber

There we go, at least something we can see...

Now, where's my magnificating glass?
 
Last edited:

Blumlein 88

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Maybe there's a practical aspect too...

View attachment 10911

In terms of 1 meter, that's 10 nanometers.

A human hair is around 75 microns(abbreviated 75μm) or 75,000 nm (nanometers) in diameter.

0.1 nm (nanometer) diameter of a hydrogen atom
0.8 nm Amino Acid
2 nm Diameter of a DNA Alpha helix
4 nm Globular Protein
6 nm microfilaments
7 nm thickness cell membranes

Obviously insane.

ok, let's try -100dB, also in terms of one meter.

View attachment 10912

In terms of 1 meter, that's 10 micrometers.

10 µm – width of cotton fiber
10 µm – transistor width of the Intel 4004, the world's first commercial microprocessors
10 µm – mean longest dimension of a human red blood cell
5–20 µm – dust mite excreta
10.6 µm – wavelength of light emitted by a carbon dioxide laser
15 µm – width of silk fiber

There we go, at least something we can see...

Now, where's my magnificating glass?


 
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