Chord Hugo DAC/Headphone Amplifier

Chord Hugo DAC/Headphone Amplifier
Chord Hugo DAC/Headphone AmplifierChord Hugo DAC/Headphone AmplifierChord Hugo DAC/Headphone Amplifier
(£1,249.17 Exc. VAT)
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Silver Mogwai BNC to BNC + RCA Adaptors Digital S/PDIF CableSilver Mogwai BNC to BNC + RCA Adaptors Digital S/PDIF Cable
  • Optical TOSLink
  • RCA coaxial input
  • Driverless USB input
  • Advanced digital volume control
  • Battery powered 
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Chord Hugo mobile DAC/headphone Amp

Includes Silver Mogwai S/PDIF cable!

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Chords ground-breaking and game-changing DAC 64, Chord have launched Hugo - the world's most advanced DAC/headphone amp. Based on the same FPGA DAC technology that has helped establish Chord Electronics as an authority in digital audio, Hugo is a reference-level portable - a world first in audio history. Discover why What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision awarded if five stars here.

Called Hugo (because you can take Hugo wherever "you-go"), the new device offers studio-master-tape sound quality, advanced connectivity and uncompromising file playback capability, all from a palm-sized player. Hugo is the world's most advanced headphone amp/DAC and the most advanced 32-bit DAC we have ever made, offering five digital inputs including A2DP aptX Bluetooth, plus advanced 384kHz PCM and DSD 128 playback for today's high-resolution DXD (Digital eXtreme Definition) music files. See the video here

Crucially, Hugo can be used as both a portable headphone amp/DAC as well as a reference-level standalone DAC in a static system. Hugo brings the renowned digital audio expertise of Rob Watts and Chord Electronics to serious headphone listening, enabling music lovers to experience a world of super-high-resolution music via their headphones or suitable loudspeakers. It offers unsurpassed performance and technology and is unrivaled in the marketplace, thanks to its bespoke technology, FPGA circuitry and advanced file-playback capability.

Hugo is ready to take advantage of today's advanced studio-master-quality (DXD) music files. It can decode sample rates ranging from 44.1kHz to 384kHz (PCM), allowing audiophiles to experience music in true high definition, along with the best possible reproduction of CD- quality music. Hugo also benefits from two advanced USB inputs: one for legacy USB devices, plus a high-definition USB port for operation up to 384kHz. Thanks to two additional digital inputs, coaxial and optical, any connected component with a digital output will also benefit from Hugo's advanced technology.

Building on the strengths of the (two years' running) What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision 'Best DAC' the QuteHD, the new Hugo also has A2DP Bluetooth capability and uses a custom-made module with the aptX codec to feed a digital signal directly into the DAC circuitry, so even without cables, high-quality music can still be enjoyed.

In addition to 384kHz PCM files, the Hugo can also process DSD 128 data using the latest DSD-over-PCM standard (DoP). Whether using Mac OS or Windows OS, Chord Electronics' own proprietary driver software is provided, removing the restrictions of current operating system audio playback.

Hugo has a built-in battery-charging circuit giving 10 hours' play time, with a full charge reached in approximately two hours. Hugo takes no power over its USB input (as this is severely limited with many partnering products) and only takes signal data, therefore, it is fully compatible with all iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Further features include an advanced reference-grade digital volume control that does not lose bits and changes colour with volume changes.

Like all Chord Electronics products, Hugo is built to last. The casework is precision- machined from aircraft-grade aluminium, with a bright silver hard-anodised finish. Complementing the design is a top- mounted 'porthole' that gives users an intriguing insight into the internal circuitry, which changes colour with differing incoming sample rates.

What the press are saying
Hugo has an incredible number of great press reviews, including recommendations from The Daily Telegraph, T3 magazine and several leading hi-fi magazines. You can discover them all here.

You can also download a PDF of Hi-Fi Plus magazine's review by its publisher Chris Martens and find out what former Hi-Fi Choice and Hi-Fi World editor, David Price, has to say about Hugo by exploring Chords downloadable files.

Shipping typically 3-5 days


  • Optical TOSLink 24-bit/192kHz-capable
  • RCA coaxial input 24-bit/384kHz-capable
  • Driverless USB input 16-bit/48kHz-capable (designed for tablets/phones)
  • HD USB input 32-bit/384KHz and DSD128-capable (for computer/laptop playback; see driver details)

Technical Specs:

  • Advanced digital volume control
  • Crossfeed filter network
  • Battery powered for approximately 12 hours operation
  • Input, sample rate and volume level indication by colour-change LEDs
  • 26K tap-length filter (more than double when compared to the QuteHD DAC)
  • Headphone output: 110dB SPL into a 300ohm headphone load
  • Output power - 1KHz 1V sinewave both channels driven 0.1% distortion
  • 600 ohms 35mW
  • 300 ohms 70mW
  • 56 ohms 320mW
  • 32 ohms 600mW
  • 8 ohms 720mW
  • THD - 1KHz 3V output: 0.0005%
  • Dynamic Range: 120dB
  • Output impedance: 0.075 ohms
  • Damping factor >100
  • Weight: 0.4kg
  • Dimensions: 100x20x132mm (WxHxD)


  • 2x3.5mm headphone jacks
  • 1x6.35mm (1/4 inch) headphone jack
  • 1x (pair) stereo RCA phono output


  • On a PC (Vista, Win 7 or 8) Hugo will playback music up to 384KHz and support both DSD64 and DSD128, but for this you must install the supplied driver which comes in the box and is also available on this product page.
  • On Apple Mac OS, iOS for iPhone/iPad and Android, no drivers are required and Hugo will work up to 384KHz and DSD64/128 if your playback software/app can support it.

UK Delivery

  • FREE delivery via DPD Local By 12pm on orders to value over £300, including one hour delivery window service 'Predict & Follow My Parcel'.
  • Royal Mail Special Delivery By 1pm costs between £5.00 - £10.00 on orders to value under £300, dependent on weight.
  • Saturday or Sunday delivery available upon request for supplemental charge.

EU Delivery

  • £25 delivery charge 'Flat Fee' via DHL Europe by Road service (3-5 days) which provides comprehensive tracking of shipments online.
  • £60 delivery charge 'Flat Fee' via DHL Europe by Air service  (1-2 days) which provides comprehensive tracking of shipments online.

USA & Canada Delivery

  • Services based on your order being shipped to the U.S. and Canada are calculated as follows:
    £100 delivery charge 'Flat Fee' via DHL international 'Day Definite' service per parcel.
    Receiver is responsible for the payment of local Duties and Taxes.


  • Not all products are available for order into Europe, USA & Canada


  • Full manufacturer's warranty on all new purchases. Standard warranty is typically 2 years with some goods coming with 6 years manufacturer's warranty.
  • Goods purchased in UK and EU are covered by the Consumer Contracts Regulations.
Average Rating (2 Reviews):  
Write a Review and share your opinions!

Chord Hugo
Tuesday, 29 November 2016  | 

Having read all of the online reviews of the Chord Hugo since its release, I can now say that all the accolades are truly well deserved. The Hugo can make a bad recording sound good and a good recording sound superlative. It is not often that one can visibly hear the emotion of a singer.
I have been a serious audiophile and aerospace engineer for over 40 years. Listening to music had become a bit stale though. For me, it seemed to be pretty much the status quo repackaged in a new look to add a little excitement. The Hugo though, has brought the fun back in listening to music. I would even go so far as to say that I have rediscovered music. All of this engineered into a small package quite like none that I have ever seen before.
I will say that the on/off switch is a wee bit small for those of us with large fingers, but it is a minor tradeoff that I will gladly live with as there are no sonic tradeoffs. Overall, the Hugo is a marvelously engineered little gem.
Many thanks to Peter Ruler and his staff. I found them to be courteous, professional and engaging.
I look forward to working with them in bringing my rediscovered passion back into my home audio equipment as well.

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Hugo review
Tuesday, 31 May 2016  | 

Pro: Excellent sound quality - transparent and natural. Electronics get out of the way of the music.
Con: RCA out volume level not fixed. On/off switch difficult to use.
Current settings not retained when switch off.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

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