Impressions of Chord TT2 and M-Scaler

I don’t want to be overly technical or long so I’ll jump right in. I read many great reviews concerning the two Chrod pieces (The Hugo M-Scaler and Hugo TT2) and listened to some great reviewers concerning this wonderful DAC and accompanying upsampler. I have a Diablo 300 with an added DAC module inserted by Gryphon Audio in Denmark for an additional $6,000. So you can imagine my hesitancy to go with another fairly expensive one. So I rolled the dice! And so far I’m glad I did! Now before I get to the glowing comments I would like to say if you’re interested in ordering one (at least in black) you’d better be patient. My Hugo TT2 took nearly two months to arrive (but I was able to get the Hugo M-Scaler in fairly short order).

As for the M-Scaler (which I’ve had longer) I can tell you that even at the single BNC maximum of 176.4kHz the absolute liquidity and avidity of sound was exceptional! I was a bit skeptical at first because my Gryphon DAC module which maxed out at 44.1kHz sounded great. But after about 2 weeks of burn-in, I could audibly hear the smoothness of the Hugo M-Scaler. It wasn’t drastic, but noticeable. It took my ears (and I guess brain) time to adjust. Almost like trying on new eyeglasses after your prescription has changed. The edginess I was used to was not there. And that’s coming from a DAC that has the bloodlines of the highly acclaimed Gryphon Kalliope (albeit scaled down a bit). The more burned in it became, the better the sound. Now that is not to suggest my other components didn’t help too. I’m using a Cambridge Audio Azur 851C CD Player and Black Cat Silverstar 75-ohm Digital Cables as well as Audience Au24Sx balance cables to go from the Hugo M-Scaler to my Gryphon Diablo 300.

But, the sound was extremely layered and open. I especially heard this auditioning, Oscar Lopez’s, "Lucia" which has lush layered Latin/flamenco style. Now, I have to admit, the initial sound was not as weighty (or full-bodied as I had hoped). But I will credit that to lack of burn-in hours, or maybe a need for slightly different digital cables?
Personally, I like a slightly warmer sound which I think the Diablo 300 gives naturally. But it still sounds very, very good. However, if I had to nitpick that would be one criticism so far.

I hate to give my thoughts on the Hugo TT2 because to be fair it has only been 2 days since I’ve had it in my system so bear with me and I’ll give updates on changes. What I was told to do by my retailer was to let it burn in using the "Amp" mode for three straight days turned to mid volumes. And I’m in the process of doing that currently. But even as new as it is, I can hear the improvements! It sounds really refined. The details are not overdone or artificial which I feared might happen. The depth of the soundstage is really nice! And the detail is exquisite. And after coming back home (I work nights) and listening to it after running for nearly 15 hours straight, I could hear it sounded less "top-heavy"; the highs were better blended with the mids and bass and I could hear the midrange sound becoming a bit more pronounced and smooth.

I’m sure as with all systems there are strengths and weaknesses in the sound chain that could be the reason for most of my initial observations and I would love to hear others experiences along with your components. But I plan on getting a Synergistic Research Atmosphere UEF Level 3 Power Cable to replace a very nice, Triode Wire Labs Seven Plus Power Cord I have currently running to my Cambridge Audio Azur 851C CD Player to my Torus RM 15 Plus Isolation Transformer.  But any other suggestions are welcomed.

I’ll give updates later.
Congrats on great chord and gryphon gear....highly recommend picking up a used Synergistic Research  Galileo power cable for your source....I found it was big improvement on the atmosphere line....price difference if used not that much

Thanks for the advice!

I'll be receiving the SR Galileo UEF Analog PC's Thursday.  But I must say I'm already impressed with Atmosphere UEF Level 3 Analog PC already.  The holographic and enveloping soundstage is much better than my TWL Obsession PC which I really like!  But it is no match, at all!

I'm looking forward to hearing the aforementioned cables added to this already impressive mix!

mrc4u ,

How is the Hugo TT2 sounding now that you have had more time for break in? 


My Chord Hugo TT2 has definitely changed a bit over the past few weeks.  I'm slower to attribute certain changes directly to it, only because I've switched power cords and personally it's hard to isolate all changes directly to one component (in my opinion) because you have other things to consider like IC's, PC's, source components, etc. 

I was using the Triode Wire Labs Obessesion PC, but now I'm using the Synergistic Research Galileo UEF PC which I've only had for a few days.  So most of my observations are based on the TWL Obsession PC.  With that said the most dramatic change has been less edginess.  In the beginning, it was very analytical sounding. It was rather disappointing to be totally honest because those are definitely not the characteristic of my amp or speakers .  Some folks love that sound, I am no fan of it.  However, after about 2 weeks or so running it continually on average for about 12+ hours/day per Ken and Brooks Berdan in L.A. (shout out to Ken) the sound is more fluid, almost liquid.  The highs are more balanced and blended with the mids and bass.  There's a certain ease now that sounds more natural whereas before it sounded a bit too artificial.  I like the fact that it is very neutral. By neutral I mean it doesn't really have a strong house sound.  It takes the source and improves it.  I have a pretty decent CD player (Cambridge Audio Azur 851C) and I absolutely love the synergy.   I like switching it between "Amp" mode and "DAC" mode where my Gryphon Diablo 300 Integrated Amp does it thing.

I've noticed that with the Gryphon (and the Hugo TT2 in DAC mode) the soundstage is broader and there's more air. It sounds like there's more depth and yet there's still nice articulation, nice detail, and slightly darker (or warmer) sound.   But when I run the Hugo TT2 in "Amp" mode, the soundstage is a bit more focused and forward. The bass is more concentrated and the PRAT seem a touch better and the mids are clearer and better defined.  But there is still this nice neutrality of sound that is inviting and not clinical sounding.

Let me add that I'm running my CD player through my Chord M-Scaler and then through my Chord Hugo TT2 into my Gryphon Diablo 300 Integrated amp.

All in all, I'm highly satisfied!