Chord Hugo or Oppo Sonica DAC?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by KDoggy, Jul 5, 2017.

  1. KDoggy

    KDoggy
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    I'm looking for a preamp/DAC and want to spend a maximum of £800.

    I was thinking of Oppo Sonica DAC which on paper sounds amazing but What HiFi recently gave it only 3 stars.

    The other option is a second hand Chord Hugo.

    Has anyone heard both and what is their personal opinion?
     
  2. muljao

    muljao
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    Are these the only ones you are thinking of? Do you intend putting them in as a main system with computer or as headphone amp etc. I only ask as though I have not heard these specific ones sometimes bit more info opens up other options
     
  3. KDoggy

    KDoggy
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    They would primarily be part of a main system.
    Thank you.
     
  4. muljao

    muljao
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    Is your main system worth spending 800 on a dac? What I mean is if you have a 200 pound amp and 100 pound speakers it might not make sense
     
  5. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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    Also... completely ignore what hifi.
     
  6. muljao

    muljao
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    How come? Just wondering
     
  7. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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    I find it to be a comic. Advertising seems to correlate with enthusiasm for products and the language used is emotive, lush and simplistic.

    And of course they review cables and stands as if they make a difference. Always giving their 'reasons' in flowery prose more suited to puerile poetry than useful information.

    They sometimes have decent pictures though.
     
  8. KDoggy

    KDoggy
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    My system is more than adequate. At the moment I have Kef R700 fed through my Marantz SR7010 but I'm going to get a £1.5k integrated to use for music as well as power the fronts for movies.

    What I need to know is which of these 2 DACs is better? The Hugo might have the edge musically but I think the Sonica may be the better overall package. I'm hoping someone who's heard both can advise.
     
  9. dollag

    dollag
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    I think you may be surprised how good the dac is in the SR7010. I would suggest to get your integrated first and take it from there. I have done some a&b comparison with my chord Mojo (i am aware the dacs you are looking at are superior but just the mojo is a special little thing trust me) and I struggled to hear a difference (tried this comparison with a pair of R500's and LS50's)

    Of course with either of these Dacs you'll most likely hear an improvement in SQ but imo it's a very large outlay for a minimal upgrade.
     
  10. KDoggy

    KDoggy
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    dollag I already own the Mojo and agree, it's a magic little thing .

    Whilst the SR7010 does a very respectable job with music, I find a dedicated DAC like the Mojo vastly superior. Judging by some reviews it's of comparable quality to Hugo for a fraction of the price! I am however looking for a more permanent component of my HiFi setup and keep the Mojo purely as a portable device.

    I think the Sonica might be my best option seeing that it has native Tidal support and that plays a major part in my music listening.
     
  11. dollag

    dollag
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    That's fair enough.It's all about what your ears tell you :)

    I have have been blown away by the SR7010 for music. Having a second dedicated hifi system to compare it to helps identify how capable the reciever really is, albeit the creek i feel is also pretty special for the price. As your in the market for an amp i cannot reccomend it enough. your budget allows for the Evolution 100a :D

    Is there no chance of getting a home demo with the Sonica?
     
  12. KDoggy

    KDoggy
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    I'm not sure I'll have to check with a couple of dealers regarding a home demo for the Sonica...

    The Creek Evolution 100a sounds really good and had home theatre bypass which is essential for my setup. Don't know why I've never heard of it?

    The 2 options I've been considering are Musical Fidelity M5si and Marantz PM14-S1 SE. Do you own the Evolution 100a then?
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2017
  13. Mark.Yudkin

    Mark.Yudkin
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    AFAIK, the Oppo Sonica has the same DACs and balanced design (for stereo) as my Oppo UDP-205. If so, I would not have given it only 3 stars.

    However, I've not compared it with a standalone Chord Hugo, nor am I likely to do so, as I'm not at all sure I'd want to spend that sort of cash on a stand-alone DAC.
     
  14. KDoggy

    KDoggy
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    It's more than just a DAC though, it's also a network steamer and preamp.
     
  15. dollag

    dollag
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    No I have the Evolution 50a. The same amplifier just more power. I use the Creek with my LS50's and Pro-Ject turntable and an airport express. It's a great amplifier and listened to a few alternatives before buying. the MF M3si was on my shortlist.

    I would defo give it a listen or at least put in on your shortlist.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
  16. Mark.Yudkin

    Mark.Yudkin
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    So is the UDP-205 (well a streamer, not a steamer :), and not an analogue preamp, it only has a volume control for its digital sources, whereas the Sonica also has one analogue input). Mind you, I actually stream audio through the Rotel RT-1570, which also gives me FM / DAB / Internet radio.
     
  17. KDoggy

    KDoggy
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    Well I'm also using it to steam my vegetables haha .

    Jokes aside, the UDP-205 may be an amazing machine but it also costs 1.4k. Doesn't seem to have any streaming capability from what I've seen either.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
  18. Southern soul

    Southern soul
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    The Hugo sounds great but does have its flaws, for me the bug bearer was the micro usb, small openings for aftermarket cables and the small fiddly buttons... on the plus side it did sound rather good.

    I wouldn't take any notice of what hi fi, they gave the Leema dac a 3 star review and its one of the best dacs I've heard.
     
  19. Mark.Yudkin

    Mark.Yudkin
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    I own one (see sig), so can confirm that it can play DLNA sources streamed over my home network. Unlike my TV and Rotel, it doesn't have internet radio.

    If you're in the market for an upmarket DAC, the Oppo UDP-205 seems to be a UDP-203 plus a Sonica.
     
  20. KDoggy

    KDoggy
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    I've looked into the UDP-205 and looks like the Sonica with the added 4K Blu Ray.
    I think the Sonica will be a better choice as it's got everything I need and it's considerably cheaper than the UDP-205, albeit minus the disc player.
     
  21. unclepuncle

    unclepuncle
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    I have a Sonica Dac and it's very good, virtually state of the art as a DAC/Streamer, though the digital preamp part is a weakness (as it always seems to be).
    I feed mine out to a high end valve preamp for volume control duties, bypassing the Oppo's volume control, then onto a Primare A34.2 power amp.
    If you are getting a decent integrated shortly then you won't need to use the preamp (volume control) side of the Sonica.

    I was previously using an Auralic Mini (amazing bit of kit for the money and the on-board hard drive slot is genius - wish the Oppo had it) and was feeding that into a Calyx 24/192 DAC. The Oppo has better resolution and is more dynamic - for £800 new it's really very good.
    Oppo has cut some corners to achieve the price - no physical remote, poor display compared to rivals, basic unfussy build quality and styling, but the insides are superb.
     
  22. KDoggy

    KDoggy
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    Thank you for the advice. Yes I'm more and more inclined towards the Sonica. I read somewhere there is an optional physical remote for it? Do you know if the balanced XLR interconnects make much difference compared to unbalanced RCA? If so I'll look for an integrated amp with balanced inputs. I've been considering the Musical Fidelity M5si and Marantz PM14-S1 SE and both don't have XLR but the next amps up (M6si and PM11-S3) do, albeit much more expensive.
     
  23. unclepuncle

    unclepuncle
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    I am using the rca outputs. My valve preamp doesn 't have xlr inputs so I can't do a comparison.
    I did initially try the Sonica direct into the Primare power amp using the balanced xlr outputs (I'd actually advertised and had a buyer lined up for my valve preamp) but as I say the volume control of the Sonica was nowhere near as good as going through the preamp - sounded quite harsh and fatiguing to my ears. My preamp is worth about £3.5k so we are really comparing apples with oranges.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017

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