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Chord Hugo vs. Qute EX + linear PS or batteries


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I'd like to buy either a Chord Hugo or a Chord Qute EX to be powered by my Red Wine Audio Black Lightning battery supply. I like that the EX comes in black and that it has a full-size USB port but the Hugo has newer DAC technology. Has anyone compared the two DACs with the Qute EX powered by a linear PS or by batteries?

 

BTW, any idea when the next Chord DAC is coming out?

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I'd like to buy either a Chord Hugo or a Chord Qute EX to be powered by my Red Wine Audio Black Lightning battery supply. I like that the EX comes in black and that it has a full-size USB port but the Hugo has newer DAC technology. Has anyone compared the two DACs with the Qute EX powered by a linear PS or by batteries?

 

BTW, any idea when the next Chord DAC is coming out?

 

I have extensively compared the QuteEX with a specialised linear supply and also lithium battery power... The Hugo is significantly more refined, true to the source and dynamic in all respects and in numerous systems, both fully active and passively powered.

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I have extensively compared the QuteEX with a specialised linear supply and also lithium battery power... The Hugo is significantly more refined, true to the source and dynamic in all respects and in numerous systems, both fully active and passively powered.

 

Might be worth bearing in mind that on the HeadFi thread, Rob Watts has advised against using third party power supplies:

 

Chord have had a couple of failures of the over voltage protection, which is used to protect the charger. This has been because people have not been using the supplied charger, and using PSU units with too high a voltage, which then damages the protection circuits. The protection is there for transient events, not constant over voltage.

 

.. Do not use other PSU's apart from the supplied charger - there is no benefit in sound quality with using other chargers, and there is a risk of damaging Hugo in using other PSU's.

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Presumably Rob Watts was talking about the Hugo, not the QuteHD/EX. The former does not benefit from a linear psu, while the latter does, very noticeably.

I think Rob Watts is talking about the QuteHD/EX. It's pretty standard manufacturers disclaimer to use only the supplied power supply and that warranty may/is void if third party PSU are used. (Though the quoted post is in the Chord Hugo thread)

 

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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rossb, I read your post and you compared the QuteHD+LPS with the QBD76 and then the QBD76 to the Hugo. I can infer some comparison between the QuteHD+LPS and the Hugo, but may I ask for your impressions between these directly? Would you agree with CoolHand above?

 

In all honesty the Hugo kind of creeps me out. I don't like the way it looks or that it doesn't come in black or that it only has mini-USB or that there are fit issues with RCA cables or even that there is a headphone amp built in. I'd also prefer to power it with my own LiFePO4 battery supply. But if it's the best DAC out there under $3K then I'll buy it.

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In all honesty the Hugo kind of creeps me out. I don't like the way it looks or that it doesn't come in black or that it only has mini-USB or that there are fit issues with RCA cables or even that there is a headphone amp built in. I'd also prefer to power it with my own LiFePO4 battery supply. But if it's the best DAC out there under $3K then I'll buy it.

 

It's so small you can just hide it somewhere on your rack and won't even be seen. And what does having a headphone amp built in have to do with sound quality? You last line of it being the best DAC should be the biggest reason for you to purchase a Hugo. I think once you've heard that Hugo you will forget about the other concerns.

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Earlier in the thread, I compared the Hugo and Qute HD/LPS directly.

 

A few months ago, I would have agreed with CoolHand, without question. However, since then I have changed my views. I now think there are some things the Hugo does better, and some things the QuteHD does better. It is down to personal preference. I can certainly understand someone preferring the Hugo. Personally, I prefer the richer tonal colours and texture of the QuteHD with linear psu, but I understand that this is trading off some of the resolution of the Hugo. Others may prefer the resolution and smoothness of the Hugo. You really need to hear both to compare.

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Earlier in the thread, I compared the Hugo and Qute HD/LPS directly.

 

A few months ago, I would have agreed with CoolHand, without question. However, since then I have changed my views. I now think there are some things the Hugo does better, and some things the QuteHD does better. It is down to personal preference. I can certainly understand someone preferring the Hugo. Personally, I prefer the richer tonal colours and texture of the QuteHD with linear psu, but I understand that this is trading off some of the resolution of the Hugo. Others may prefer the resolution and smoothness of the Hugo. You really need to hear both to compare.

 

rossb, check your PM's

The Truth Is Out There

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Earlier in the thread, I compared the Hugo and Qute HD/LPS directly.

 

I think I found it here:

 

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f6-dac-digital-analog-conversion/chord-hugo-re-examined-20739/#post327488

 

Between the Hugo and the QuteHD it is more interesting. My comparison above remains true - the Hugo is smoother, more refined, particularly in the treble. However, the QuteHD (with Teddy Pardo PSU) is a shade more dynamic, and fuller and more colourful in the midrange. I think I am starting to prefer the QuteHD.

 

I suppose the only thing to do is to demo both in-home.

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rossb, I read your post and you compared the QuteHD+LPS with the QBD76 and then the QBD76 to the Hugo. I can infer some comparison between the QuteHD+LPS and the Hugo, but may I ask for your impressions between these directly? Would you agree with CoolHand above?

 

In all honesty the Hugo kind of creeps me out. I don't like the way it looks or that it doesn't come in black or that it only has mini-USB or that there are fit issues with RCA cables or even that there is a headphone amp built in. I'd also prefer to power it with my own LiFePO4 battery supply. But if it's the best DAC out there under $3K then I'll buy it.

The Chord Hugo has 2 micro USB inputs (1 doesn't need a driver, limited to 16/48) not mini USB.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I own both (Qute EX and Hugo) and have written extensively about each (but still due a Hugo review soon). A few misconceptions to clear:

* Hugo is battery powered and cannot be powered any other way.

* Hugo charger imparts absolutely no noise back into the Hugo direct signal path, due to Hugo's isolation topology, so keeping the charger plugged in is fine. However, as with any ac wallwart it may backflow noise into the rest of your system so use care to isolate it as well as possible. I have found no such issues.

* The Qute series (HD and EX) shines with a linear power supply like the Hynes (my opinion, but shared by nearly everyone). I would make sure your budget includes one if going Qute series

* The Hugo has undergone some chassis changes so make sure, if you buy one used, that the chassis is the revised one (larger holes for most inputs/outputs). If its new, you are insured to get the revised, of course.

 

The Hugo is clearly battling the category it has been put in; meaning, as a portable DAC it is often overlooked sonically. And even if you see past that, it's portable topology is a real pain in the ass (small input/outputs, micro USB connector requiring Audioquest adapter, volume bypass is not a real bypass). However, to many of us it is also a game changer sonically. But one needs to demo it and feel that way about it in order to deal with its form factor quirks.

 

Rossb did the best alternative; he shelled out for the latest QBD76HDSD which has the rela estate to include all the best inputs/outputs, and has enough of the Rob Watts FPGA magic (more taps than Qute, less than Hugo) that its beefy power supply and better analog stage clealry creates a better DAC than the two in this thread. But it's cost is nearly 4X (depending on where you buy it). Myself, I am saving up for the next QBD iteration that Rob and Chord are working on...but not sure i can hold out till 2015. :)

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Ted

You don't have to use an Audioquest adapter (I'm not saying don't use it) but there are alternatives such as the PPA A to Micro B slim usb cable.

 

Yes, I'm the one who turned Paul on to the Hugo. :) Yes, I will likely get that but already own three great USB cables: PPA black (original, now comes as red), TotalDAC D1 and JCAT. The adapter is really very benign. But yes, to begin again one should buy the PPA micro slim as a great alternative to using an adapter..

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