Re­view: Chord Hugo

Buffs your au­dio, but it ain’t cheap

Australian T3 - - CONTENTS - $2,499, head­ love Cut­ting-edge au­dio con­ver­sion and sound. Ac­cepts all au­dio for­mats. Ex­cep­tional build qual­ity hate Ex­pen­sive. Com­pli­cated oper­a­tion. No stor­age T3 says If you’re will­ing to splash the cash, this will deliver stel­lar sound at

If you crave the finest qual­ity sound then por­ta­ble au­dio de­vices can be a tinny nightmare. Slip this slice of por­ta­ble DAC magic into your pocket, though, and you’re good to go.

The Hugo is a small, high­end head­phone amp pack­ing a new 32-bit DAC (dig­i­tal to ana­logue con­verter) that takes the dig­i­tal sig­nal from any source, be that a smart­phone, iPod, lap­top or hi-fi sep­a­rate, and buffs it to a shine be­fore out­putting to your head­phones (or through stereo RCA out­puts if con­nect­ing to speak­ers).

Setup and oper­a­tion is a lit­tle ec­cen­tric and, while Ap­ple and An­droid users are good to go, Win­dows fans re­quire ex­tra driver soft­ware. Un­sur­pris­ingly, though, au­dio per­for­mance is stun­ning with a pleas­ingly nat­u­ral sound whether you’re lis­ten­ing to MP3s ripped from CD or a fancy loss­less for­mat. Ad­mit­tedly, it’s dif­fi­cult to see how a head­phone amp can cost this much, but crafted from air­craft-grade alu­minium, with a mag­ni­fy­ing port­hole that al­lows you to peek at the blink­ing cir­cuitry and colour-chang­ing dig­i­tal vol­ume dial con­tained within, this is a thing of beauty for sonic purists.

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