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CHORD Hugo TT2 Review

Updated: Dec 24, 2023

The Chord Electronics Hugo TT2 is a high-end DAC, preamp, and headphone amplifier capable of DSD512 and PCM 32BIT/768kHz decoding.

Disclaimer: "STEREOSCOPE" Distributor graciously provided the CHORD HUGO TT2 for this review.


Experience High-End Audio with CHORD Hugo TT2: Is It Worth the Investment?


The Chord Electronics Hugo TT2 is a formidable piece of audio equipment that combines a DAC, preamp, and headphone amplifier into one sleek and powerful aluminum package.

Priced at £3995 (yes, expensive), it delivers an exceptional audio experience that caters to headphone aficionados.





Performance and Musicality:

One of the standout features of the Hugo TT2 is its exceptional timing, precision, and detailed audio reproduction. It manages to maintain a musical quality while delivering an impressive level of detail, making your music come alive.

This combination of technical prowess and musicality is a testament to its engineering.


Versatile Connectivity:

The Hugo TT2 boasts an array of connectivity options, making it a versatile addition to any audio setup. It can function as a pure DAC to feed other amplifiers, a dedicated preamp for power amps, and a powerful headphone amplifier.

This versatility makes it suitable for a wide range of audio setups, from traditional Hi-Fi systems to high-end headphones.


Amplifier:

The headphone amplifier in the Hugo TT2 is particularly noteworthy. It offers a substantial output power, delivering 7.3W into an 8Ω load in single-ended mode and a staggering 18W in preamp mode when balanced. This power ensures that it can drive even demanding headphones with ease, making it an excellent choice for audiophiles with a variety of headphones.


DAC Technology:

The DAC technology in the Hugo TT2 is top-notch. Building on Chord's previous DAC designs, it features an advanced 16FS WTA 1 filter with 98,304 taps, offering remarkable filtering capabilities.

With support for DSD512 and PCM 32BIT/768kHz decoding, it is future-proof and capable of handling high-resolution audio formats with ease


Impressive Power Delivery:

The TT2's power supply has been enhanced, replacing the battery with six supercapacitors. This upgrade ensures stable power delivery, especially during high-gain situations, and helps minimize distortion. It's a crucial factor when driving demanding headphones or powering high-end Hi-Fi systems.


Sleek and Functional Design:

The Hugo TT2 retains the classic Chord Electronics design with its low-profile square-like shape and precision-machined aluminum casing. The control interface is intuitive, and the circular panel on top provides a glimpse into the inner circuitry while indicating sample rates with changing colors.

CHORD Hugo TT2 Review; Sample Frequency in kHz

Comprehensive Connectivity:

The front panel offers well-spaced buttons for intuitive control, and there are multiple headphone outputs, including 3.5mm and 2x6.35mm options. The rear panel features various inputs and outputs, including dual BNC, optical, USB, and balanced XLR options, catering to a wide range of audio sources and devices.

It also supports wireless operation up to aptX level, although it lacks aptX-HD or LDAC capabilities.



User-Friendly Controls:

The Hugo TT2 comes with a remote control that is specific to the device, ensuring no interference with other components when stacked.

CHORD Hugo TT2 Remote Control

Precise Volume Control:

The large front orb controls volume and uses a color-coding system for easy reference. It offers precise 1dB increments, ensuring a smooth and accurate volume adjustment process.


Packaging and Accessories:

While the packaging is functional and robust, the inclusion of accessories could be more generous, considering the price point. It comes with a power cable, a USB Type-B to Type-A cable, and a 1m optical cable. However, the absence of BNC and XLR cables may disappoint some users, but not me :-). I have ordered a couple of coaxial cables (Digital Coaxial Audio Cable with Custom Length, and RCA (Female) to BNC (Male) Adaptors).




In summary, the Chord Electronics Hugo TT2 is a high-end audio component that excels in performance, versatility, and design. Its impressive power, advanced DAC technology, and intuitive controls make it a worthy addition to any audiophile's setup, whether you're a speaker enthusiast or a headphone lover.

The Hugo TT2 delivers an exceptional audio experience that justifies its premium price tag.


Additional Info:

The Hugo TT 2 comes with the following inputs:

1 x USB. Capable of PCM support: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 358.8kHz, and 384kHz. DSD support: DSD 64 to DSD 512 – native via Windows

2 x Optical SPD


IF connections. Each capable of receiving PCM signals of 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, and 192kHz

2 x Coax BNC SPDIF co


nnections. Each capable of receiving PCM signals of 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 358.8kHz, and 384kHz


Connectivity:

Input: 1x USB Type-B, 2x Coax BNC, 2x Optical.

Output: Stereo XLR, Stereo RCA, 2x 6.5mm Headphone jack, 1x 3.5mm Headphone jack.

Digital Output: 2x DX BNC (expansion outputs).


Filter Technology:

Utilizes a powerful Xilinx Artix 7 FPGA, custom-coded by Rob Watts, with 86x 208MHz cores.

Employs a 16FS WTA 1 filter with an impressive 98,304 taps.

This filter technology significantly surpasses traditional chip DACs with 256-tap filters.

Supported Sample Rates and Formats:

PCM Support: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 352.8kHz, 384kHz, 717.6kHz, and 768kHz, 16 - 32 bit.

DSD Support: DoP DSD 64 to DSD 512, native via Windows.

Volume Control:

Digital volume control.

Line-Level Mode:

This can be activated within the menu.

Driver Support:

Driverless with Mac OS X and Linux.

Driver required for Windows OS.


Performance:

Dynamic Range: 127dB 'A-weighted.

Noise: 4 uV 'A' weighted (high gain), 1.7 uV 'A' weighted (low gain) with no measurable noise floor modulation.

Distortion: 0.00008% @ 2.5 V 300Ω; 0.00016% @ 6 W 8Ω.


Power Delivery:

A brand new high-power discreet output stage coupled with second-order noise-shaping integrated between the DAC output and filter is also employed to massively reduce distortion. Further improvements have also been made to the power delivery. Hugo TT 2 refused the Li-Po battery power supply of the original and uses six supercapacitors capable of delivering huge, linear dynamic currents when the music demands it with a peak output of 5A, 9.3V RMS.


Output Power:

Unbalanced: 288 mW RMS 300Ω; 7.3 W RMS 8Ω.

Balanced: 1.15 W RMS 300Ω; 18W RMS 8Ω.


Power Consumption:

Full power: 30W.

Standby: 10W.

Output Impedance: 0.042Ω.

Stereo Separation: 9V RMS 300Ω -138dB.

Dimensions: 5.2cm (H) x 23.5cm (W) x 23.8cm (D).



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