Chord Electronics Hugo
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To celebrate the 20th anniversary of our ground-breaking and game-changing DAC 64, we have launched Hugo – the world’s most advanced DAC/headphone amp. Based on the same FPGA DAC technology that has helped establish Chord Electronics as an authority in digital audio, Hugo is a reference-level portable – a world first in audio history. Discover why What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision awarded if five stars here.
Called Hugo (because you can take Hugo wherever “you-go”), the new device offers studio-master-tape sound quality, advanced connectivity and uncompromising file playback capability, all from a palm-sized player. Hugo is the world’s most advanced headphone amp/DAC and the most advanced 32-bit DAC we have ever made, offering five digital inputs including A2DP aptX Bluetooth, plus advanced 384kHz PCM and DSD 128 playback for today’s high-resolution DXD (Digital eXtreme Definition) music files. See the video here
Crucially, Hugo can be used as both a portable headphone amp/DAC as well as a reference-level standalone DAC in a static system. Hugo brings the renowned digital audio expertise of Rob Watts and Chord Electronics to serious headphone listening, enabling music lovers to experience a world of super-high-resolution music via their headphones or suitable loudspeakers. It offers unsurpassed performance and technology and is unrivaled in the marketplace, thanks to its bespoke technology, FPGA circuitry and advanced file-playback capability.
Hugo is ready to take advantage of today’s advanced studio-master-quality (DXD) music files. It can decode sample rates ranging from 44.1kHz to 384kHz (PCM), allowing audiophiles to experience music in true high definition, along with the best possible reproduction of CD-quality music. Hugo also benefits from two advanced USB inputs: one for legacy USB devices, plus a high-definition USB port for operation up to 384kHz. Thanks to two additional digital inputs, coaxial and optical, any connected component with a digital output will also benefit from Hugo’s advanced technology.
Building on the strengths of the (two years’ running) What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision ‘Best DAC’ the QuteHD, the new Hugo also has A2DP Bluetooth capability and uses a custom-made module with the aptX codec to feed a digital signal directly into the DAC circuitry, so even without cables, high-quality music can still be enjoyed.
In addition to 384kHz PCM files, the Hugo can also process DSD 128 data using the latest DSD-over-PCM standard (DoP). Whether using Mac OS or Windows OS, Chord Electronics’ own proprietary driver software is provided, removing the restrictions of current operating system audio playback.
Hugo has a built-in battery-charging circuit giving 10 hours’ play time, with a full charge reached in approximately two hours. Hugo takes no power over its USB input (as this is severely limited with many partnering products) and only takes signal data, therefore, it is fully compatible with all iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Further features include an advanced reference-grade digital volume control that does not lose bits and changes colour with volume changes.
Like all Chord Electronics products, Hugo is built to last. The casework is precision- machined from aircraft-grade aluminium, with a bright silver hard-anodised finish. Complementing the design is a top-mounted ‘porthole’ that gives users an intriguing insight into the internal circuitry, which changes colour with differing incoming sample rates.
RCA coaxial input 24-bit/384kHz-capable
Driverless USB input 16-bit/48kHz-capable (designed for tablets/phones)
HD USB input 32-bit/384KHz and DSD128-capable (for computer/laptop playback; see driver details below)
Crossfeed filter network
Battery powered for approximately 12 hours operation
Input, sample rate and volume level indication by colour-change LEDs
26K tap-length filter (more than double when compared to the QuteHD DAC)
Headphone output: 110dB SPL into a 300ohm headphone load
Output power – 1KHz 1V sinewave both channels driven 0.1% distortion
600 ohms 35mW
300 ohms 70mW
56 ohms 320mW
32 ohms 600mW
8 ohms 720mW
THD – 1KHz 3V output: 0.0005%
Dynamic Range: 120dB
Output impedance: 0.075 ohms
Damping factor >100
Dimensions: 100 x 20 x 132 mm (WxHxD)
1x 6.35mm (1/4 inch) headphone jack
1x (pair) stereo RCA phono output