The Chord Hugo 2 DAC is an impressive digital-to-analog converter that has garnered acclaim within the audio industry. Boasting advanced FPGA technology and cutting-edge WTA filters, the Hugo 2 offers top-of-the-line technical and sonic performance. This portable DAC and headphone amp has won the coveted title of Best DAC (£1,500+) in the What Hi-Fi? Awards 2022, and has been awarded the Best DAC prize every year since its launch in 2017.
The Hugo 2 DAC is a highly versatile device that can be used at home or on the go, with headphones or within a conventional audio system. Its line-level output and full-function remote control provide flexibility for full-size and desktop systems. The device offers four digital inputs (optical, coaxial, and HD USB) plus extended-range Bluetooth, with high-resolution file playback up to 768kHz and up to DSD512 (Octa DSD) via its HD USB input. The Hugo 2 also features analog outputs, including 2x RCA, 3.5mm, and 6.35mm headphone outputs.
One of the standout features of the Hugo 2 DAC is its four-function switch filter, which offers a degree of user-selectable frequency-shaping. This brings warm and soft or transparent and incisive presentations, giving additional flexibility and user control. For headphone listening, the device retains the popular digital crossfeed function of the original and offers three operation modes. The system duplicates the effect of listening to speakers and is based on advanced binaural audio research.
The Hugo 2 DAC features four spherical control buttons that illuminate with color-coding information and control power, input, filtering, and crossfeed functions. Its battery playing time is around 6 hours + (depending on headphones), and two modes of automatic charging are included using the dedicated Micro USB charging port; an indicator shows charging and battery-charge status.
The Chord Hugo 2 DAC is known for its high-quality construction, with laser-cut brand and model logos providing a touch of sophistication. It includes all the inputs and outputs you could realistically require, such as digital optical, digital coaxial, mini-USB, aptX Bluetooth, 3.5mm, and 6.3mm headphone socket outputs, and a pair of stereo RCAs for connection to an amplifier.
The Chord Hugo 2 DAC delivers a smoothly neutral listen that arranges the pieces into a convincing whole where the bass is balanced against treble in the most unforced and crystal-clear manner. With its mastery of timbre and supernatural way with the attack and decay of individual notes, Hugo 2 brings absolute believability to ensemble music. It is a device that digs deep and hits hard, bringing forth crispness and clarity to the sound while delivering an unequivocal layout to the soundstage.
The Hugo 2 DAC is a must-have for audiophiles who demand the best, whether they are listening on the go or in a stationary environment.
- High-resolution file playback up to 768kHz and up to DSD512 (Octa DSD) via its HD USB input.
- Four-function switch filter for user-selectable frequency-shaping.
- Analog outputs include 2x RCA, plus 3.5mm and 6.35mm headphone outputs.
- Battery playing time is around 6 hours + (depending on headphones) and automatic charging using the dedicated Micro USB charging port.
- Winner of Best DAC (£1,500+) in the What Hi-Fi? Awards 2022, and a What Hi-Fi? Best DAC winner every year since its inception (2017-2022).
||Chord Electronics custom-coded Xilinx Artix 7 (XC7A15T) FPGA
||10-element pulse array design
||20Hz – 20kHz +/- 0.2dB
||<0.0001% 1kHz 3v RMS 300Ω
|THD and noise at 3v RMS
||120dB at 1kHz 300ohms ‘A’ wighted (reference 5.3v)
|Noise 2.6 uV ‘A’ weighted
||No measurable noise floor modulation
|Signal to noise ratio
||126dB ‘A’ Weighted
||135dB at 1kHz 300Ω
|Power output @ 1kHz 1% THD
||94mW 300Ω, 740mW 32Ω, 1050mW 8Ω
||2.1cm (H) 10cm (W) 13cm (D)
||8.5cm (H) 12.2cm (W) 22cm (D)