The Huei is not without criticism, but the criticism is functionality-led rather than performance-led. The polychromatic colour-coded controls are a clear indicator of set-up but do require a look-up table to determine precisely what ‘orange’ denotes in terms of loading. Also, even though they can be dimmed, this means the often fit-and-forget phono stage is potentially the most illuminated and colourful part of a whole system. Finally, there’s the power supply. In fact, Huei has a secondary switching power supply internally to create the operating voltages from the external supply, so whether you use linear or switch mode external it doesn’t matter; although changing the power supply will void the warranty! Not many people realise, and it’s not clear anywhere, really, that the main power supply is inside the unit and Chord just uses the external brick to feed ‘raw’ power into the product; the external power supply doesn’t directly power any of the audio electronics. However, the fact remains that audiophiles are allergic to ‘wall-warts’ and I hope this doesn’t put people off what is a stunning phono stage.
There’s clearly the start of a trend here. The Qutest and Huei look to be the start of a range of very small, but immensely strong, components from Chord Electronics. It’s also not hard to see that this emerging collection of attainably priced, high-performance audio products coming to dominate that part of the audio world through the early years of the 2020s. If the Huei is anything to go by; the future’s polychromatic!
MM/MC phono stage
Input Impedance: Moving magnet: 47,000Ω, Moving coil: 100Ω – 3,700Ω, 12-step user selectable
Gain Range: Moving magnet: 21dB–42dB, 8-step user selectable, Moving coil: 49dB–70dB, 8-step user selectable
Input Noise: 1.1nV/Hz
Max Output Voltage RMS: 20v RMS
Equalisation Response: RIAA Curve
Equalisation Accuracy: +/- 0.1dB
Frequency Response: RIAA Curve = 12Hz to 25kHz
Rumble Filter: Rausch Slope -24dB per octave below 50Hz
Output Impedance: 520Ω (resistive)
Input Power Supply: 12v–100v to 240v 50/60Hz PSU
Dimensions (H×W×D): 4.1 × 16 × 7.2cm
Manufactured by: Chord Electronics
Tel.: +44 (0) 1622 721444