Portable audio gains some serious new product
Chord Electronics used the first day of CES 2017 to announce two new products as part of their portable range and also demonstrate a product that shows a continued commitment to CD as a format.
The first of the three launches is a bolt on for the hugely capable Mojo DAC. The Poly is a self contained network module that attaches directly to the Mojo and enables it to communicate wirelessly – something it can't do out of the box. Once placed on a network, the Poly will read shared content on the same network and can be controlled by third party control apps such as Bubble and PlugPlayer. Also potentially of great interest is the ability to mount a micro SD card to allow it to effectively become a standalone audio player. The card reader supports SDXC, so a notional maximum of 2TB is possible. With a battery life of 9 hours, the combination would offer the possibility of an interesting rival to a DAP. Poly will cost £500 and go on sale in March.
Further up the range, Chord has revamped the enormously successful Hugo. The replacement – imaginatively enough called Hugo 2 – keeps the same form factor as the original but smartens up the aesthetics and adds some impressive new functionality. The filtering system from the £8,000 DAVE DAC allows you to tweak the presentation of the device to suit your preferences. With Mojo taking the strain of being Chord's true portable device these days, the corners have become a bit sharper and buttons have been moved around. Perhaps the most significant revision is the inclusion of a remote control – a reflection of how many Hugos have found themselves used full time in audio systems. Hugo 2 will go on sale in March and cost £1,800
The last announcement is rather more niche but still seriously impressive. The Blu 2 CD transport takes the humble 16/44.1kHZ output of a CD and upsamples it to a heady 768kHz where it can be natively processed by the DAVE DAC. Chord says that the Blu is capable of bringing high res-like performance to CD and for fans of the format represents the ultimate expression of what is possible.
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