What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Classic Kit -

There’s a strong case to be made for quite a num­ber of Chord prod­ucts to ap­pear in this list. But it’s the oddly named Hugo that gets the nod, and we’ll say here and now that it’s a clas­sic-in-wait­ing. Ev­ery­thing that Chord does dif­fer­ently to any of its com­peti­tors is in place here, from the delightfully tac­tile case­work, through the lovely shades of il­lu­mi­na­tion in­di­cat­ing what Hugo is up to, to the in­puts that are just slightly too close to­gether for com­fort.

But what el­e­vates Hugo is the sound it serves up when am­pli­fy­ing your head­phones or con­vert­ing your dig­i­tal au­dio files. Un­like its nom­i­nal com­peti­tors, Chord doesn’t buy in DAC chipsets but in­stead uses be­spoke pro­gram­mable cir­cuits of its own de­sign – and the re­sults are unar­guable, as a brace of What Hi-fi? Awards demon­strates.

“What el­e­vates Hugo is the sound it serves up when con­vert­ing your dig­i­tal files” Chord Hugo

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