Chord Hugo TT tabletop DAC/headphone amplifier

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Digital-to-analog converters,
Headphone amps and amp/DACs
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Chord Electronics Hugo TT

I found the Hugo TT noticeably punchier and more dynamically authoritative than the Hugo, while rendering vigourous transient events with even greater ‘snap’ and impact. What’s odd about this is that on paper the Hugo TT is no more powerful than the Hugo, though in practice it gives the impression that it is; the TT, for example, offers that elusive quality of sonic ‘grunt’ in spades. Just for the fun of it, I fired up the track ‘Dogman’ from the King’s X album of the same name [Atlantic, CD] and gave the Hugo TT its head as it drove a pair of ENIGMAcoustics Dharma D1000 hybrid dynamic headphones. The result was a gloriously muscular, hard-driving sound that perfectly captured the boisterous exuberance of which this power rock trio is capable—especially so when it came time to reproduce the thunderously powerful low-frequency rumble of Dug Pinnick’s 12-string electric bass. I suspect the Hugo TT’s perceived punch, clout, and dynamic muscle are down to its beefier battery and bank of super capacitors serving up gobs of current on demand.

The Hugo TT offers everything we loved about the original Hugo and then some, serving up a sound that is even more finely resolved, more delicate, more three-dimensional, and, yes, seemingly more potent in its presentation. Owners should, however, plan on using USB cables (and other digital cables) of the highest quality in order to hear the Hugo TT at is finest. And exactly how fine is that? Let me simply say the Hugo TT is one of the two or three best headphone amp/DACs I’ve ever heard, regardless of price.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Type: High-resolution tabletop headphone amplifier/digital preamplifier/DAC

Digital inputs: One TOSLink optical input (24/192-capable), one BNC coaxial input (24/384-capable), one USB B-type input (16/44/48-capable), one High Definition (HD) USB B-type input (32/384 and DSD128-capable, for computer playback with support from the included Chord device driver), and an aptX/A2DP Bluetooth interface (natively handles files to 16/48) offering at least 5m operating range

Analogue outputs: Two 6.35mm headphone jacks, one 3.5mm headphone jack, fully balanced stereo XLR, single-ended stereo analogue RCA jacks

Digital Filters: 26K tap-length digital filters

Controls: Input selection button, crossfeed filter network (three user-selectable levels of crossfeed, or crossfeed defeat), power on/off, advanced digital volume control, with special control sequence that locks Hugo to stand line-level outputs for use as a standalone DAC). Note: Input, sample rate, crossfeed filter settings, volume levels are indicated by colour-change LEDs. A machined aluminium remote control is also supplied

Battery/Super Capacitor array: The Hugo TT batter has twice the capacity of the original Hugo battery, supplemented by a 10,000 super capacitor array. By design, the Hugo TT can remain connected to its AC-powered battery charger at all times, although all audio circuitry runs solely from the battery/super capacitor array

Headphone output: 110dB SPL into a 300-Ohm headphone load

Distortion: THD -140dB

Accessories: USB thumb drive with PC/Windows device driver software, wall-plug power supply/battery charger, a USB B-type digital cable, and a TOSLink cable

Dimensions (H×W×D): 45 × 235 × 225mm

Weight: 3kg

Price: £2,995

Manufacturer: Chord Electronics Ltd.

Tel.: +44 (0) 1622 721444

URL: www.chordelectronics.co.uk

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