Chord Hugo TT2


Well-known Member
Hi all

I know its more than a year since its launched. But I thought I would share my thoughts on my newly acquired TT2.

I had owned a Hugo, Mojo and TT, the latter of which was my main DAC. I also attended the launch event of the TT2/M-Scaler combo. Sounded good, but at a dealer, so hard to compare. DIdn't think I needed to replace my TT. Then came lockdown. Some time to listen to my system Got a bit rest;ess and arranged for a home demo of the TT2. I decided not to bother with Dave as I can't afford it.

So you already know the end result. I went to upgrade the TT to the TT2.

Here's what I found during the demo. My system: Emotiva XMC-2 pre/pro, connected to balanced analog input. ATI 6005 power amp. Stereo speakers, B&W 705S2. Mark grant interconnects and speaker cables.

Externally, the two units are almost the same. Same sized chassis. Power supply a bit different. The adapter is like those for a laptop, instead of integrated with the plug, is a box with a kettle plug to the mains. So beefier and hopefully quieter. There is a soft power toggle instead of a switch, so the unit can be switched on via remote control. Instead of some vague key combo, you can now set the unit to be on DAC (fixed volume) or DAC/preamp mode. Some other filters, cross feeds etc which I didn't bother with. At the back, there is now only one USB B-input and 2 BNC inputs for connection to the M-Scaler. Balanced and unbalanced out as per previous.

So aside from these differences, what is different on the inside and how does that translate sonically? The TT2 no longer has a battery and intsead have more super caps. Let's face it, its already a job hauling the Hugo, who would be lugging around a TT? maybe the battery was to smoothen the power supply. Anyway, the TT2 just probably has a better power supply and more super caps. And of course has the upgraded FPGA from the Hugo 2.

So sonically, what's the deal? Super caps, more taps on FPGA. In other words, more of the same. A lot more.

This is the testament of how good the TT is. The tonal signature is there. But here's how i would describe it. The TT is like listening to a live performance, but from the outside looking in through a window. You are close, but not there. The TT2 brings you righ there. The realism is incredible. The previously weighted bass is now sharper and mor textured. Cymbals clash with a crisp, defined decay.

My main test tracks were Chopain's Fantasia Impromptu performed by Vladimir Ashkernazy and Saint Saeans Danse Macabre. In the latter, the performance was like a roller coaster ride. You will have your heart in your mouth as Ashkernazy's fingers race through the running notes and crescendos/decrescendos. I listened to it multiple times, alone and with others, and each time i just thought "he's gonna trip up, his fingers are going to get entangled", even though I know the passages and recording by heart.

In Danse Macabre, there are again many memorable passages. I will point out a few which demonstrates the quality of the TT2. In case you are unfamiliar,, in essense, Danse Macbre is like the Nutcracker Suite, but for the undead. Bit like a Halloween/Day of the Dead (think the movbei Coco) party. It opens with violins in a discordant passage to give a jarring effect of the subject matter. You can hear the initrial distortion of the bow on the strings before the note is played. The sharp transitions between notes to give it that spooky feel. Then the orchestra punches in. Again, to jar you. Danse Macbre was also noted for one of the pieces that had a xylophone solo to represent skeletons dancing. So there is a nice interplay of different musical textures, smooth strings, and sharp percussions intertwined. And the TT2 just deals with each material neautifully, and faithfully. Highlighting the contrast without breaking their coherence as a single performance.

A lot of what is described could aso be used on the TT. But the TT2 is so much more. It keeps you on the edge of your seat. I have read reviews and also heard feedback from dealers how some prefer the TT to the TT2. I can understand why. It is so much more involving. It captures your attention and doesn't let it go.

And I haven't even tried with the M-Scaler!. The difference is easily discernable. A back to back comparison reveals it all.

I was a bit annoyed with the TT2 came out. But I can have no arguments it is head and shoulders better than its predecessor. In many ways, a TT2/M-Scaler combo is superior than DAVE with a few hundred quid change left for BNC cables. We'll see if Chord comes up with a DAVE2 that will surpass not just DAVE, but also the Hugo TT2/M-scaler combo.

I wrote this brief review because I am surer there are loads of you TT owners who agonised over the same dilemma as I did. Is the TT2 worth it? Should I get the M-Scaler instead? For me, I would need to trade in my DAC to get anything new. So the M-Scaler was not an option. At any rate, the TT2 was worth it, and will bring out the best from the M-Scaler. The super caps really give more punch. So I think upgrading to the TT2 would be the more sensible option. But your ears may differ. The most important thing is a home demo.

But there is no doubt, the TT2 is truly amazing.

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