Chord Electronics are premièring a new product at CES in Vegas right now. The Chord Hugo TT is basically ‘desktop’ Hugo with improved connectivity and performance, plus remote control, an alphanumeric LED display and a USB-B digital input.
We expect the product to retail for £2,995 but will confirm this.
Chord Electronics builts on the extraordinary success of its genre-defining Hugo DAC/headphone amplifier, with the new larger desktop-orientated device offers. It also offers wider connectivity including a USB-B input, XLR outputs, two 1⁄4-inch headphone outputs, plus improved performance and features.
The original Hugo, which has become one of Chord Electronics most successful products, was launched at CES exactly one year ago, aimed at both home and mobile users. Hugo TT, however, is firmly pointed at home users and adds some exciting new functionality.
Hugo TT gains a new larger chassis, remote control, an alphanumeric LED display with input/sample rate data, and improved sonic performance thanks to supercapacitors.
- It is not a “Hugo in a posh frock”
- Chord have taken a Hugo board, and added Galvanic isolation on the USB input, Galvanic isolation – this allows much better SQ as it completely isolates Hugo TT from RF noise and in-band noise, giving a smoother and more natural SQ. The elimination of in band noise corruption improves soundstage depth. The isolation is also isochronous, so jitter is completely eliminated as the timing now comes from the FPGA. Sound quality tests have shown no sensitivity to the USB cable – it just needs to supply error free data.
- Larger batteries, super caps and 10,000,000 microfarads, this gives much greater headroom, more power, greater dynamics.
- We have added two USB “b” inputs
- Coaxial digital is now 75 ohm BNC
- We have plenty of space around the RCA outputs
- We have added a full balanced output which runs from balanced signal internally.
- Increased Class A bias reducing distortion with low impedance loads.
- Improved reference circuitry giving lower noise floor modulation, thus improving refinement.
- A really powerful Bluetooth antennae with a range up to 25m
- Hugo TT is approximately 10” by 10” and has a real feel of weight and quality about.
Advanced sample rate capability
The Hugo TT is ready to take advantage of today’s advanced studio-master-quality (DXD) -music files allowing music lovers to experience music in true high definition, along with the best possible reproduction of CD-quality music. Hugo TT supports up to 32-bit/384kHz audio via coax and USB, and 24-bit/192kHz over optical, plus DSD64 on all inputs and DSD128 via coax or USB (all via DoP).
In a key upgrade over the original Hugo, the Hugo TT benefits from a high-quality asynchronous B-type USB connection for both the SD and HD USB input. With two further digital inputs: a (new) BNC coaxial and optical (TOSLink), any connected component with a digital output can benefit from the Hugo TT’s advanced sound quality.
To fully integrate with today’s digitally stored media, the new Hugo TT 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, music can still be enjoyed.
Spartan 6 FPGA
The Hugo TT retains the same high-performance Spartan 6 FPGA that enabled Hugo to
redefine the DAC genre in 2014. It has the same specification and measured performance as
its mobile sibling, a device that “broke all records” for dynamic range in leading UK hi-fi magazine review, in the summer of 2014.
Being a home-orientated device, the Hugo TT has been designed to run continuously from the supplied charger, however Chord’s engineers have also improved the battery and added Supercap energy storage, a technology seen in F1 where supercacitors back-up the car’s batteries by sharing the load and charge demands, thereby protecting them. They serve a similar purpose in the Hugo TT, extending the battery life as well as improving dynamics and demanding transients in recorded music.
Hugo TT key features
- Remote control allowing input (source) selection and volume control
- Alphanumeric LED display to show settings
- Double the battery capacity of Hugo
- 10,000,000uF (microfarads) of supercapacitor energy storage
- Fully balanced outputs using XLR connectors
- Single-ended RCA outputs
- BNC coaxial digital input
- Optical TOSLink input
- Full-sized B-type USB inputs for both SD USB and HD USB feeds
- 2x 1⁄4-inch jack headphone outputs
- 1x 3.5mm jack headphone output
- Advanced digital volume control
- Crossfeed filter network
- Battery-powered for power supply isolation
- Input selection identification and remote volume up or down indication is via alphanumeric display and colour-changing LED display
- 26K tap-length filter
- THD: 140dB
- Headphone output: 110dB SPL into a 300ohm headphone load
- 1x Optical TOSLink 24-bit/192KHz-capable
- 1x BNC coaxial input 32-bit/384kHz -capable
- 1x HD/SD USB B-type input up to 32-bit/384kHz
- 1×3.5mm headphone jack
- 2×6.35mm (1/4-inch) headphone jack
- 1x (pair) stereo RCA phono output
- Fully balanced via XLR connectors
Price and availability
The Hugo TT DAC will be available in February priced at £2,995