35 YEARS IN THE MAKING, CHORD ELECTRONICS REDEFINES DIGITAL AUDIO
“The world's most advanced filter technology”- That's the headline to come out of the Kent, UK-based audio specialists Chord Electronics' headquarters this week.
Unveiling its Hugo M Scaler, a standalone upscaler for digital audio streams, Chord says:
Hugo M Scaler uses the world’s most advanced filter technology to upscale standard 44.1kHz digital audio up to 705.6kHz (16x CD’s 44.1kHz native resolution), ready to be passed to a suitable DAC; Hugo M Scaler extends its upscaling performance to 768kHz (from 96kHz input data) for dual-BNC-input Chord Electronics DACs: DAVE, Qutest and the new Hugo TT 2.
I had the pleasure of sitting with Robert Watts, Chord's Digital Design Consultant at StereoNET's Melbourne office last year, as he passionately described his background and what he is trying to achieve in digital audio. Quite simply, it's his life work and without doubt, will be his legacy.
John Franks (left), Robert Watts (right) at StereoNET's Melbourne demo facility.
The Hugo M Scaler borrows from the M Scaler technology already found in its Blu MKII CD Player, developing it further and dropping it into a dedicated box, and while optimised for Chord's own latest DACs, it can also be used with other DACs with suitable inputs, “subject to their decoding capability.”
Watts says the Hugo M Scaler's advanced upscaling technology can improve the sound quality of all (digital-source) set-ups, whether headphone or desktop-based or within conventional hi-fi systems.
Inputs include 2 x BNC, 2 x Optical, and a galvanically isolated USB Type-B, which is also compatible with DSD and PCM Data (up to DSD 256).
On the output side, there's Optical, S/PDIF and galvanically isolated dual BNC. As per Chord's tradition, utilising the dual BNC output will allow upscaling to the maximum resolution (768kHz from 96kHz data) for direct connection to the 768kHz-capable dual BNC digital inputs featured on Chord's DAVE, Hugo TT 2 and the new Qutest standalone DAC.
Previously you needed to buy Chord's Blu MKII CD Player for this upscaling ability and to reach the maximum resolution from its DACs, even if you did not need a CD source.
The Hugo M Scaler's form factor as you would expect, mates perfectly with other products in the TT range including Hugo TT 2 and TToby.
John Franks, Chord Electronics' CEO, added:
The upscaler benefits from an adjustable sample rate output (with pass-thru mode) enabling user-defined control, subject to the technical limitations of the output type: 192kHz optical; 384kHz BNC and 768kHz dual BNC), plus a video mode for lower latency, bringing useful flexibility with a wide range of partnering components. Further extending its functionality is auto video and source selection.
With the Hugo M Scaler release, Rob Watts has achieved his goal of 35-years to achieve more than 1Million taps. Simply put, and according to Watts, the more taps there are, the more accurately a DAC can reproduce the reconstructed analog signal from the digital input.
Designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK, the Chord Electronics Hugo M Scaler will be available in Q4 2018. Australian pricing has been confirmed at $7,495 RRP.
For more information visit Chord Electronics.