Chord Hugo TT 2

Hi Guys!

I gave the Susvara a good listen last night with the HTT2, definitely 4-5 hours, and stayed up a bit too late enjoying the sound!

Here are some initial thoughts on the HTT2.

I was surprised how far I had to turn up the volume with the Susvara, I thought there would be more power/gain than there is (and yes I was on the High gain setting.) I am using the XLR outputs on the rear via an adapter as well. Interesting.

The HTT2 doesn’t have the same grip on the drivers, especially in the low end, as a good speaker amp with the Susvara. HOWEVER the HTT2 still works well with the Susvara, about on par with the iFi Pro iCAN in terms of power and grip on the Susvaras hard to power drivers. The thing is, I haven’t heard the Susvara sound as “good”, as clear, and as detailed, as I am hearing it with the HTT2 due to the superb DAC and lack of adding additional components in the chain to drive the headphones.

Compared to the DAVE direct output, there is no contest with the Susvara. With headphones that are easier to drive, the DAVE is definitely still the way to go, should you have the funds available and don’t mind spending that much on a single piece of gear. I think for hard to drive headphones, as you don’t have to put an amp in front of the HTT2, it is a better idea than the DAVE. At half the price, that is an attractive proposition.

As I was waiting for my HTT2 to arrive, I was using the iFi iDSD BL into a cheap Marantz speaker amplifier to drive the Susvara as I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a temporary set up. This set up had better control of the drivers, especially in the low end when playing difficult complex sub bass patterns in electronic music, BUT with regards to every other metric, the HTT2 absolutely smokes this previous set up. The iFi Micro iDSD BL set up sounded so thick and warm, and was missing those last details that high(er) end set ups bring to the table. The HTT2 is much brighter than the iDSD to Marantz set up, but it is not sibilant (thank god.) The clarity and detail from the HTT2 is superb, and I have only heard better from the DAVE while I still owned it.

The minimal loss of “authority” in terms of driving the Susvara with the HTT2 vs. a speaker amplifier is absolutely worth the trade off for the extra clarity, detail and texture the HTT2 brings to the table.
Regarding the comparison of the HTT2 to the DAVE in terms of DAC performance, not driving the Susvara, I will do my best from memory.

The DAVE is smoother in the treble, a tiny bit less warm and thick sounding than the HTT2, and it also brings more detail to the table. As Jude said in his original video about the HTT2, “The DAVE is still the flagship and sounds the part.” I agree with this.

However, you should go for the HTT2 IF

  1. If you own hard to drive headphones (Abyss, Susvara, HE6se etc…) you should definitely purchase the HTT2 over the DAVE, unless you can afford a very transparent speaker amplifier to put in front of the DAVE. I couldn’t afford to own the DAVE, an amp like the Etude, and the Susvara and Abyss, so I chose to sell the DAVE and purchase the HTT2. I am still very happy with this decision.

  2. You do not want to spend DAVE levels of money on a DAC/Headphone amp, and would prefer to allocate more money towards your headphones etc…

  3. You want a cool big lighty up marble to control the volume.

The HTT2 is a superb all in one device. There truly isn’t much it can’t do. Drive speakers? Sure. Drive low efficiency headphones to sensitive IEMs? Sure no problemo. Want a superb DAC? Sure, here you go. Want to use the MScaler as well? Great! It will work seamlessly.

The HTT2 is an all around performer. It does not have the ultimate DAC quality of the DAVE, no. It makes that trade off to be what I would consider one of the best, and flexible all in one headphone source components in existence for half the price of the DAVE. Two thumbs up from me


What a great informative write-up. Thanks.

Awesome comparison. I’ve had my eye on tt2 Thanks

That’s a nice write-up!

And I’m glad your Hugo TT 2 arrived before Christmas! My M-Scaler seems to be being stubborn that way - should have been in my hands a month ago - but it still hasn’t even shipped out from the UK yet.

As I mull another serious culling of gear here, something I always contemplate around this time of year, I’m seriously tempted to pick up a Hugo TT 2 myself and get rid of the stacks of other secondary gear I have lurking around. Your write-up does nothing to quell that desire! :wink:

It has two things that would have been really nice on DAVE … specifically much higher output power capability and the option for proper balanced drive. Those are DAVE’s biggest weaknesses - some of the most interesting cans in my collection just need more power to sound their absolute best than DAVE can muster. Which is a bit of a first-world problem, because it sounds fantastic anyway … I’m just picky. Hopefully a DAVE “2” (which I know from Rob is a long ways off) will have a similar output stage capability to the Hugo TT 2.

In the mean time, it’s seriously tempting and if I could lay may hands on a black one before Christmas I’d probably just pull the trigger on it. Not that this is likely, as getting the latest Chord gear in Black always seems to be a challenge until the rush dies down some (I could have my M-Scaler in Silver weeks ago).

Anyway, congrats again, and happy listening!

I hope I understood your post correctly. Amazon on this page shows 2 black in stock.

With Prime it’s 2 day delivery

The Hugo 2 (a totally different unit to the Hugo TT 2) was released in April of last year and it was a couple of months late in actually showing up, and longer still before black units were readily available from stock.

4 months from now, which will be 6 months after units started shipping you’ll be able to get a Hugo M-Scaler or Hugo TT 2 from stock, in black, as well. Right now, even though various retailers show it in-stock in both colors, try actually buying one and you’re almost certain to get a message saying that only silver is actually in stock and there’s a backlog for black.


You know! I knew that. When I googled the tt2 that was one of the links that came up. I did not confirm that the Amazon product matched what I typed in Goole.

1 Like

Well, I should report in that my HTT2 stopped working just over a month ago. Chord sent me a replacement power supply to try, which didn’t fix the problem. It took forever to get said replacement power supply. I am now looking at another month wait at least, as I will have to ship the unit back to Chord. Perhaps something to keep in mind if considering purchasing a HTT2. When it was working, it sure it sound good though!

1 Like

It is very frustrating when an important piece of your gear stops working. Also when having to wait long periods of time because the company may be in another country/continent certainly exacerbates the problem for me. I hope you get your Hugo TT2 back in working order soon.

1 Like

Thanks! I hope so too! :slight_smile:

1 Like

It’s a bit hard to see … but as part of my SR1a-driven system re-think/build, I wound up pickup up both the Blu Mk2 CD Transport/M-Scaler and the Hugo TT 2 DAC/amp …

A few, early, thoughts …

  • Despite many claims to the contrary, including from their designer, I hear no difference at all between the Hugo M-Scaler and the Blu Mk2 when fed from the same source into the same DAC (be it DAVE or the Hugo TT 2). Maybe the galvanic isolation on the USB input for the Hugo M-Scaler helps with systems with problematic USB outputs, but no difference is evident coming off my custom-built source. Which is good, really, as it means you can go with whichever of these units best fits your system/need.

  • The SR1a makes is even easier to tell the difference between having an M-Scaler in the chain vs. not.

  • The Hugo TT 2 is excellent, “even” on it’s own. I am very hard pressed to come up with something definitively better for the price, and definitely not for the size. And the very high power-output available for headphones via it’s rear-panel XLR outputs (can be used as normal outputs or to drive cans), does an excellent job with both the LCD-4 and the AB1266 Phi CC (with DAVE, those both need an additional amplifier to sound their best).

  • I still don’t think that the M-Scaler -> Hugo TT 2 combination sounds quite as good as “just” a DAVE (with no M-Scaler).

  • The M-Scaler -> Hugo TT 2 combination is good enough that I want to add the TToby amplifier to see if it’ll do the job with the SR1a … giving me an option for an SR1a-based system that I actually can take all over the world without involving crates and expensive shipping options …

  • I’d put the Hugo TT 2 in the top-tier of DACs I’ve heard (most of the good stuff at this point). And above a most of those when fed via the M-Scaler.

Expensive, but impressive stuff … and if one didn’t need an amplifier that could take other analog sources/inputs (there are only digital inputs on the Hugo TT2), but also wanted to be able to drive more demanding headphones than DAVE will support (or didn’t want to spend what a DAVE costs), it’s probably the best option out there at the moment (at least that I’ve had proper ears-on time with).

1 Like

Not the hottest I’ve had the combo … but this is driving EXTERNAL amplifiers, not headphones directly, and with 24/88.2 kHz content, and upscaling to 705.6 kHz, this is what you get after an hour (peak was 115.6℉) …

Not far off a Vidar driving the SR1a … even if it’s well-within safe levels.

1 Like

No … you can’t drive the SR1a straight out of the XLR taps on the Hugo TT 2!

1 Like

I hope your A/C is working well in your audio room…just running my gaming PC makes my movie room get pretty :hot_face: lol


They run hot, but don’t put out much heat - where the twin-Vidar’s are a tad cooler, but churn out much more heat.

(That’s one for the physicists among you.)

Fortunately the AC is up to the task … or it wouldn’t be pretty!