In 2014, Chord Electronics introduced Hugo, a revolutionary portable DAC and headphone amp that became a landmark product in the audio landscape. Advances in digital technology, including the latest FPGAs and WTA (Watts Transient Aligned) filters, have enabled Chord to introduce a next-generation version, Hugo 2, featuring flexible new features, plus next-generation technical and sonic performance. Hugo 2 can be used both at home and on-the-go, either with headphones or within a conventional audio system. Its line-level output and full-function remote control adds real flexibility in full-size and desktop systems.
Hugo II offers four digital inputs (optical, coaxial and HD USB) plus extended-range Bluetooth, with high-resolution file playback up to 768kHz and up to DSD512 (Octa DSD), via its HD USB input. Analogue outputs include 2x RCA, plus 3.5mm and 6.35mm headphone outputs.A four-function switch filter offers a useful degree of user-selectable frequency-shaping, bringing warm and soft or transparent and incisive presentations, giving additional flexibility and user control. For headphone-listening, Hugo 2 retains the popular digital crossfeed function of the original and offers three operation modes. The system duplicates the effect of listening to speakers and is based on advanced binaural audio research.Hugo 2 features four spherical control buttons, which illuminate with colour-coding information and control power, input, filtering, plus the unit’s crossfeed functions. Battery playing time is around seven hours and two modes of automatic charging are included using the dedicated Micro USB charging port; an indicator shows charging and battery-charge status.
- Sleek new aircraft-grade aluminium casework
- New levels of technical performance
- Four digital inputs
- User-selectable filtering option
- Crossfeed feature
- Battery life improved
- Lower distortion, better output stage
Sleek new aircraft-grade aluminium casework
Featuring a newly designed precision-machined aircraft-grade aluminium case, Hugo 2 is distinct from its predecessor with its sharper, lower profile design and four spherical control buttons. The spheres, which are top-mounted to allow for possible future expansion side-modules, illuminate with colour-coding information and control power, input, filtering and crossfeed functions. The top-mounted volume-control sphere has been retained and made larger for more intuitive operation.The stylish new design and additional functionality has been introduced in anticipation of greater indoor use within both desktop and conventional home audio systems, despite Hugo 2’s obvious portability. The inclusion of a full-function remote control adds further flexibility and the practical line-level output mode of the original has also been retained.
New levels of technical performance
The latest FPGA and advanced WTA (Watts Transient Aligned) filters have been implemented in the Hugo 2, bringing a wide variety of performance improvements in a number of areas. Performance gains have been made in timing accuracy, noise reduction, headphone amp power and dynamic range.
Four digital inputsHugo 2’s connections and switches now feature laser-ablated function-lettering for improved ease-of-use. The device offers four digital inputs (optical, coaxial and HD USB) plus extended-range Bluetooth, with high-resolution file playback up to 768kHz and up to DSD512 (Octa DSD), via its HD USB input. Analogue outputs include 2x RCA, plus 3.5mm and 6.35mm headphone outputs.
User-selectable filtering option
A four-function switch filter, operated by its own control sphere, offers a useful degree of user-selectable frequency-shaping, bringing warm and soft or transparent and incisive presentations, giving additional flexibility and user control.
For headphone-listening, Hugo 2 retains the popular digital crossfeed function of the original and offers three operation modes from its dedicated control sphere. The system cross-feeds a partial 400 millisecond-delayed and shaped signal from each left and right output to the opposite channel. The system duplicates the effect of listening to speakers and is based on advanced binaural audio research.
Battery life improved
Battery playing time is around seven hours and two modes of automatic charging are now included using the dedicated Micro USB charging port: fast (1.8 amperes) and slow (less than one ampere). An indicator shows charging and battery-charge status.
Lower distortion, better output stage
New digital DC servos have replaced the inline capacitors in the original output stages and reduce distortion further while improving the power-drive performance and capability of the output stage. An element of switch-on delay has resulted, but the performance benefits were felt to outweigh the disadvantage.
- Materials: Clamshell precision machined aluminium casing with polycarbonate buttons, acrylic signal window, and glass viewing portal. Available in a choice of two colours – natural silver, and satin black
- Battery: 2x Rechargeable custom Enix Energies 3.7v 9.6Wh Li-ion (lithium-ion (2600mAh) batteries*
- Tap length filter: 49,195 – 10 element Pulse Array design
- Play time: In excess of seven (7) hours
- Charging: Nominal four (4) hours via Micro USB at 1.8amps (fast charge) – Nominal eight (8) hours at 1amp (slow charge)
- Connectivity (input): Micro USB (White): 44.1kHz – 768kHz – 16bit – 32bit
- Coax via 3.5mm Jack (Red): 44.1kHz – 768kHz – 16bit – 32bit
- Optical (Green): 44.1kHz – 192kHz – 16bit – 24bit
- Connectivity (input wireless): Bluetooth (Apt X) (Blue): 44.1kHz – 48kHz – 16bit
- Connectivity (output): 1x ¼” jack headphone output
- 1x 3.5mm jack headphone output
- 1x stereo (L & R) RCA output
- PCM support: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 358.8kHz, 384kHz, 717.6kHz, and 768kHz.
- DSD support: Native playback supported. DSD64 (Single) to DSD512 (Octa-DSD)
- Volume control: Digital, activated in 1dB increments. Last known state saved upon shutdown, with exception of line-level mode
- Line-level mode: Activated via dual press of middle ‘Source’ and ‘Crossfeed’ buttons. Line level = 3v via all outputs. Reset by power cycle
- Power saving mode: Auto-shutdown after ten minutes of input inactivity
- Driver support: Driverless with Mac OS X and Linux, driver required for Windows OS
- Chipset: Chord Electronics custom coded Xilinx Artix 7 (XC7A15T) FPGA
- Tap-length: 49,152
- Pulse array: 10 element pulse array design
- Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz +/- 0.2dB
- Output stage: Class A
- Output impedance: 0.025Ω
- THD: <0.0001% 1kHz 3v RMS 300Ω
- THD and noise at 3v RMS: 120dB at 1kHz 300ohms ‘A’ wighted (reference 5.3v)
- Noise 2.6 uV ‘A’ weighted: No measurable noise floor modulation
- Signal to noise ratio: 126dB ‘A’ Weighted
- Channel separation: 135dB at 1kHz 300Ω
- Power output @ 1kHz 1% THD:
- 94mW 300Ω
- 740mW 33Ω
- 1050mW 8Ω
- Weight: 450g
- Dimensions: 130mm (L) x 100mm (W) x 21mm (H)
- Boxed Dimensions: 220mm (L) x 122mm (W) x 85mm (H)
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