Getting the best from Chord Electronics’ Hugo 2
The DAC renaissance shows no sign of abating and for music lovers like us, we’re all for it. There are some incredible DACs, both portable and home-orientated, on the market and with carefully chosen cables, it’s possible to fully exploit their potential.
If history is anything to go by, Chord Electronics’ new Hugo 2 DAC/headphone amp will once again set the benchmark for performance. We created a range of high-performance cables for the original Hugo and three years later with Hugo 2, there are even more Chord Company proprietary technology cable options to choose from.
Chord Electronics is a regular user of Chord Company cables at shows and events, and being a fellow British audio specialist, with design and manufacturing here in the UK, there is an obvious synergy between the two (separate!) companies. So, if you’re on the Hugo 2 waiting list (or even have the original), we can offer the best possible cabling solution to get the optimum performance from your device.
Inputs: digital cables
Hugo 2 has 3.5mm coaxial, optical and Micro USB inputs, in addition to Bluetooth. Although we currently don’t make Micro USB cables and certainly don’t have anything for Bluetooth (do check back on April 1st 2018), our high-quality optical and high-performance 3.5mm coaxial cables are perfect partners for Hugo 2, bringing real performance benefits without breaking the bank.
A huge step-up from the free in-the-box cables supplied with Hugo 2, the new C-lite optical cable offers class-leading sound quality and real affordability. An entry-level cable that won’t break the bank, it is available fitted with a specially designed optical mini jack connection that’s been purpose built for use with miniature players — no need for fiddly adaptors.
Additionally, C-lite features mini-jack to mini-jack, mini-jack to Toslink and Toslink/Toslink, all available in a wide range of lengths; from pocket-size portables right up to longer lengths for use in home systems, perfect now that Hugo 2 now comes with a remote control. [Read more]
Clearway Digital (Tuned ARAY 3.5mm coaxial)
Ideal for Hugo 2’s 768kHz-capable coaxial 3.5mm digital input, Clearway Digital introduces the benefits of our proprietary Tuned ARAY mechanical tuning at a great price. Our unique conductor technology lends a wonderful coherence to connected devices, enabling Hugo 2 to perform without hindrance. Clearway Digital can also be fitted with our silver-plated VEE 3 RCA plugs, silver-plated BNC connectors and/or mono mini-jacks for Hugo 2.
Outputs: analogue cables
Shawline ShawCan (Super ARAY headphone upgrade cable)
Two headphone outputs, 3.5mm and 6.35mm, are specified on Hugo 2, meaning two can listen simultaneously. Our recently launched Shawline ShawCan dedicated Super ARAY headphone upgrade cables are available with both plug types, plus a range of termination options for well-known headphone marques, from Hi-Fi Man to Audeze and Sennheiser. ShawCan is our first ever headphone cable and distils everything we’ve learned about cable design and manufacturing over the past 30-odd years into a upgrade product, designed to remove the compromises of the manufacturer-supplied offerings.
Find out more about ShawCan, including whether your headphones can benefit.
Hugo 2 is a headphone amplifier, DAC and digital preamp, and the second-generation model now includes a remote control, testament to the number of music-lovers installing the original Hugo in home systems. Getting the best from the device in a static system, means carefully selecting the analogue interconnects transferring the signal to the power amp/s.
The Chord Company has huge range of analogue cables that suit, of course, but mindful of Hugo’s price point, we’ve selected just three on a great, better and best basis, but don’t let that stop you, explore our entire range.
Great – Clearway Analogue
Despite costing less than £100, Clearway Analogue is hand-built here in the factory and features ARAY conductor geometry. It builds on the success of the What Hi-Fi? award-winning C-line (Best Analogue interconnect 2015 and 2016) and is improved in all critical areas. The ARAY geometry conductors use heavier gauge oxygen-free copper, insulation is upgraded to FEP and the shielding is a dual-layer counter-wound heavy-gauge-foil design. Chord direct silver-plated VEE 3 RCA plugs are included, too. [Read more]
Better – Shawline Analogue
The critically acclaimed Shawline Analogue can’t be made quick enough on the factory floor. Our high-end Tuned ARAY cables have been transforming bigger systems all over the world and now, the Shawline Tuned ARAY is doing the same to real-world systems, letting you hear the music as well as the hi-fi. All Tuned ARAY cables have an extraordinary degree of musical transparency and the Shawline Analogue transforms performance. Painstaking hand assembly comes as standard. [Read more]
Best – Epic Analogue RCA
Epic Analogue takes all the coherence of Shawline, along with its heavier gauge conductors and improved shielding and brings a new level of detail and involvement. Epic is also a Tuned ARAY cable, built from heavy-gauge silver-plated multi-strand oxygen-free-copper conductors with an increased volume of PTFE insulation around each conductor, all terminated with our direct silver-plated VEE 3 RCA plugs. If you want the analytical performance of Hugo 2 it’s there, but so is the musical involvement.
Whether you’re integrating Hugo 2 into a desktop or home system, and using headphones or speakers, we know just how important cables are and have a range of proprietary technology solutions designed to neither add to nor take away from the musical performance. [Read more]
Read more about Chord Electronics Hugo2