Chord Electronics Hugo TT 2 DAC/Preamp/Headphone Amp Review

September 15, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The M Scaler provides two BNC digital inputs, two optical digital inputs, and one galvanically isolated USB Type-B input. Digital outputs include one optical output, one coaxial SPDIF via a single BNC connector, and one dual BNC, which is the output of choice for best performance. While the Hugo M Scaler can conceivably be used with any DAC, the manufacturer makes it clear it is really optimized for use with Chord Electronics DACs that provide high-bandwidth dual-BNC inputs able to take full advantage of the Scaler’s capabilities. Once I heard the M Scaler in action I thought that its sonic benefits were both transformative and profound.

Using a group of very high-performance reference headphones from Final, HiFiMan, Meze, and MrSpeakers, I listened to the Hugo TT 2 both with and without the M Scaler and here is what I learned. Heard in isolation, the Hugo TT 2 sounds exactly like what it is: one of the finest headphone amp/DACs available today. While it is not quite on a par with the more than twice as expensive DAVE, the Hugo TT 2 takes worthwhile steps forward relative to its predecessor in resolution, clarity, focus, and coherency, while also offering quieter backgrounds and more dynamic muscle. In short, the Hugo TT 2 can more than hold its own in comparison to like-priced competition. However, fold the M Scaler into the equation, and the picture changes dramatically for the better.

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