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Old 01-08-2018, 12:42 PM
Soundmig Soundmig is offline
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Default Gumby vs. Hugo 2

One of my Audio buddies wanted to hear the Gumby, so this weekend I took it over to his place and we listened. His system consists of a T+A integrated amp, MacBook Air - steaming Tidal, Chord Hugo 2 DAC, AQ Columbia IC's, Marrow Audio Bi-Wire Speaker Cables and Roksan Darius Speakers. We listened to a few of my favorite tracks and his favorite tracks using the Hugo 2 while the Gumby was plugged in and warming up for about an hour (unit is fully broken in with over 700 hours "on" time and more than 200 hours playing time).

This was a very interesting contrast in two very different sounding DACs. The Gumby was more subdued sounding (darker) with a bit less extension into the upper and lower reaches of frequency and slightly less "apparent" dynamics. The Hugo 2 was brighter, more "open" sounding, a bit more dynamic and threw a bit larger soundstage. My friend (Ryan) felt that the Gumby was "more listenable" and drew you into listening to the music more. He also felt that it struck a more natural balance. I could tell that he was really torn between which sounded better (as was I). But, at the same time, the Hugo 2 was more "open" sounding, threw a larger soundstage and was slightly more dynamic and more "exciting". I've always been a fan of Chord DAC's and the Hugo 2 is an excellent performer. At twice the price it should be better than the Gumby, but all I can say at this point is that it is different.

I asked Ryan how much he has used the Hugo2 ... he replied that he bought it on the 29th of Dec. and only had about 20 hours "on" time on it. So my impressions are heavily tempered with "ya but" sentiments right now. Knowing how much the Gumby changed over the first 400 hours or so, I suggested that he bring it to my place once he has about 400 hours on it. He agreed, and we will do that comparison again once the Hugo 2 has more "run time" on it. I will follow-up once we have done that comparison.
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Last edited by Soundmig; 01-08-2018 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 01-08-2018, 12:56 PM
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Would be interesting to redo the listening session after the Hugo2 is fully broken in as well.

Thanks for the post!
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Old 01-08-2018, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cohibaman View Post
Would be interesting to redo the listening session after the Hugo2 is fully broken in as well.

Thanks for the post!

+1.
Looking forward!
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Old 01-08-2018, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soundmig View Post
One of my Audio buddies wanted to hear the Gumby, so this weekend I took it over to his place and we listened. His system consists of a T+A integrated amp, MacBook Air - steaming Tidal, Chord Hugo 2 DAC, AQ Columbia IC's, Marrow Audio Bi-Wire Speaker Cables and Roksan Darius Speakers. We listened to a few of my favorite tracks and his favorite tracks using the Hugo 2 while the Gumby was plugged in and warming up for about an hour (unit is fully broken in with over 700 hours "on" time and more than 200 hours playing time).

This was a very interesting contrast in two very different sounding DACs. The Gumby was more subdued sounding (darker) with a bit less extension into the upper and lower reaches of frequency and slightly less "apparent" dynamics. The Hugo 2 was brighter, more "open" sounding, a bit more dynamic and threw a bit larger soundstage. My friend (Ryan) felt that the Gumby was "more listenable" and drew you into listening to the music more. He also felt that it struck a more natural balance. I could tell that he was really torn between which sounded better (as was I). But, at the same time, the Hugo 2 was more "open" sounding, threw a larger soundstage and was slightly more dynamic and more "exciting". I've always been a fan of Chord DAC's and the Hugo 2 is an excellent performer. At twice the price it should be better than the Gumby, but all I can say at this point is that it is different.

I asked Ryan how much he has used the Hugo2 ... he replied that he bought it on the 29th of Dec. and only had about 20 hours "on" time on it. So my impressions are heavily tempered with "ya but" sentiments right now. Knowing how much the Gumby changed over the first 400 hours or so, I suggested that he bring it to my place once he has about 400 hours on it. He agreed, and we will do that comparison again once the Hugo 2 has more "run time" on it. I will follow-up once we have done that comparison.
If I were to make a prediction, the Hugo will "smooth out" and sound more like the Gumby as it runs in; it might change quite a bit in character. Your description of how Hugo sounds sounds like pretty much every DAC I've owned or heard with only a few hours on it.
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Old 01-09-2018, 07:55 AM
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The Hugo is not "a run of the mill DAC"

Have a read through it's specifications
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:17 AM
Soundmig Soundmig is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imprezap2 View Post
The Hugo is not "a run of the mill DAC"

Have a read through it's specifications
Agreed ... the sound was quite promising and I look forward to hearing it after my good friend has more hours on it
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Old 01-10-2018, 12:15 PM
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Chord just introduced "Qutest" DAC which would be of more interest to those with a 2 Channel setup since it does not have the headphone amp circuitry. Performance should be on par with Hugo 2 (or better?). Price should be in the $1600 range.


https://chordelectronics.co.uk/product/qutest/






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Amplification: Luxman L-590AX Mark II.
Luxman D-06u SACD.
Roon/Tidal.
Bryston BDP-Pi

PrimaLuna Dialogue HP EL34

Speakers: Harbeth 30.2 40th Anniversary




Headphones:

ZMF Auteur Blackwood, Audeze LCD-3, Audeze LCD-2C, Sennheiser HD600, HD650, Fostex TH-X00EB, E-MU Teak

Headphone Amplification: SPL Phonitor 2730, Audeze Deckard, PrimaLuna Dialogue HP, Luxman L-590AX Mark II, Woo Audio WA6

Source/DAC. Roon/Tidal.

Last edited by PHC1; 01-10-2018 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 01-10-2018, 12:38 PM
mulveling mulveling is online now
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When comparing prices, keep in mind that the Hugo2 includes a headphone amp (some report a good match with Focal Utopia headphones), portability (batteries), and a nicer (non-Schiity) chassis. A lot of the excitement around the Hugo (Hugo..as in "You go") derives from its ability to provide truly high quality audio that just happens to be portable.

The Qutest looks very interesting. A Qutest vs. Gumby vs. Yggy shootout would be awesome.
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Old 01-10-2018, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mulveling View Post
When comparing prices, keep in mind that the Hugo2 includes a headphone amp (some report a good match with Focal Utopia headphones), portability (batteries), and a nicer (non-Schiity) chassis. A lot of the excitement around the Hugo (Hugo..as in "You go") derives from its ability to provide truly high quality audio that just happens to be portable.

The Qutest looks very interesting. A Qutest vs. Gumby vs. Yggy shootout would be awesome.
While the Hugo 2 does have a rather good headphone amp section, it is not a replacement for an outboard amp of high quality. I certainly would not use a Hugo 2 built-in headphone amp vs any of my amps. Chord's Dave would be an exception but I am in no hurry to pay $10k for "Dave".
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Main System:


Amplification: Luxman L-590AX Mark II.
Luxman D-06u SACD.
Roon/Tidal.
Bryston BDP-Pi

PrimaLuna Dialogue HP EL34

Speakers: Harbeth 30.2 40th Anniversary




Headphones:

ZMF Auteur Blackwood, Audeze LCD-3, Audeze LCD-2C, Sennheiser HD600, HD650, Fostex TH-X00EB, E-MU Teak

Headphone Amplification: SPL Phonitor 2730, Audeze Deckard, PrimaLuna Dialogue HP, Luxman L-590AX Mark II, Woo Audio WA6

Source/DAC. Roon/Tidal.
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  #10  
Old 01-10-2018, 01:06 PM
mulveling mulveling is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PHC1 View Post
While the Hugo 2 does have a rather good headphone amp section, it is not a replacement for an outboard amp of high quality. I certainly would not use a Hugo 2 built-in headphone amp vs any of my amps. Chord's Dave would be an exception but I am in no hurry to pay $10k for "Dave".
Agreed; I'm not a portability seeker myself. And if I'm spending money on audio components I usually want to see size and mass commensurate with its price! But some folks highly value portability, like my friend who has Sennhseiser Orpheus/Aristaeus and Stax 009 / DIY T2 setups at home (plus many more), but loves the Utopia for how ridiculously well it does driven by good portable sources/amps (of course he has the gold digital Walkman!).

Last edited by mulveling; 01-10-2018 at 01:08 PM.
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