Chord Electronics Hugo TT 2 DAC vs. Naim Reference DAC

I never get to demo anything so it’s Russian Roulette with me. I was going through a stage where I had more resources than brains. Going back to Naim is as comfortable as an old shoe. Same with Harbeth speakers.

As Nelson Pass once said: “Audiophiles are members of the lunatic fringe”.


Hi all.

Further investigating the matter, I see, astonished, so much that I can’t believe it, that the Naim DAC only supports WAV format. Is that so…?

Thank you in advance and greetings.

The Naim DAC will play WAV files directly from a memory stick inserted into its USB socket. If using the latest firmware it will also play FLAC files directly from a memory stick.

However, most users of the Naim DAC feed a digital signal into it from a streamer or cd player. In this case the Naim DAC doesn’t care what the source file format is - it will just read the digital input stream and perform the DA conversion.

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the dsd however is not the naim dac strength…dull and uninvolving.

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Thanks a lot, mattl.

It has a lot of sense.

So, feeded the digital signal into it from a streamer or cd player, which would be my intention, no problem with FLAC, neither with WAV, nor with…

However, if necessary, I hope the device has the latest firmware version; by the way, could tell me what the latest version is, is it 4.11.8…?


Yes, no problem with FLAC, ALAC, AAC, MP3 etc when fed a digital signal into the Naim DAC from a streamer.

Yes, I believe 4.11.8 is the latest firmware level.

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Thank you, frenchrooster.

Fortunately, the vast majority of recordings are still PCM, and even the large portion of the existing DSD is just PCM recoded; in addition, neither PCM nor DSD can do too much if the original master recording is not good.

By the way, how are things out there with drought and water restrictions! Who would have thought a few years ago, right…! I’m very sad, as I much love France and French people.


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i have only 3 dsd albums, so not a big problem. Following the spanish serial movie “ Hiero” now, with nice views of Tenerife.

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Flashback cables have an XLR to banana connector listed.

I am trying my Chord HUGO TT2 direct into ATC SCM11 speakers out of the RCA (with adaptors from the river which cost less than £10) and there is an appreciable improvement, similar to @NO-QUARTER experiences, compared with routing via my non-Naim power amp (which probably needs a service / recap that I could avoid now)…

There is some clipping right at the highest volume setting on the TT2, but the distortion- free volume is more than sufficient for my small listening room.


Hi all.

Thank you for your contributions, which I greatly appreciate.

The truth is that after reading the Music Streaming thread I keep hallucinating, and I realize that my tribulations are immeasurably more humble and worldly.

However, and after quite thought, I think that in the end I will go with the Chord Electronics Hugo TT 2 as soon as the circumstances are conducive; for the moment, I’m still waiting for the new SN3 unit…

If all goes well, I hope, before Christmas I will add the DAC and finish the system. The truth is that seeing the passion, the detail, the time, the effort…, and the amount of money that some spend on HIFI devices, it never ceases to amaze me; and, honestly, considering the Declining Returns Law, and my scheme of priorities in life, that pathway is not for me, less as things are going more and more in this crazy world. As @Mike_S commented in his thread on Solitude in Music, I settle for a redoubt of loneliness in which to order my thoughts helped by the universal language of music. Anyway, simple that it’s one…

I’ll be delaying my limited journey…

Thank you again and greetings to the forum.


I suggest you get adapters for the XLR outputs, that will more than double the power output. I have never experienced any clipping using either output.

@NO-QUARTER it was your post, and other references to Rob Watts’ approach to using the TT2 with B&W standmounts, on another forum that encouraged me to try this simplified set up.

My main setup is now - Melco N1ZH.2/ND5XS2/HUGO TT2/ATC SCM 11(boxes in black, speakers in white :smiley: ). This is a nice compact setup that reduces the black boxes in my relatively small living/listening room, but which I think leverages the strengths of these manufacturers into a cohesive whole - and the ND5 XS2 is not leaving home…

I have temporarily made up an XLR to Banana link with multiple adaptors in the chain as a trial - out of the TT2 XLR connection to the SCM11s and that is sounding very similar to the RCA for me (some clipping right at the very top-end of volume)- but the system is still bedding in to the changes - and the multiple adaptors won’t be helping, so I will be looking for a new XLR/Banana interconnect pair from Atlas or Flashback once I am more convinced.

The RCA outputs I have now resumed to going out simultaneously from the TT2 via a run of 7 metres of BJC RCA interconnects to another nearby room for my second system. This approach has also really lifted the sound quality in that ‘lesser system’ of a legacy TMA amp and B&W AV speakers.

For others reading this post you can use your favourite search engine to find the Oct 2018 post on the fishy forum regarding a Chord demo :- search for ‘How To Drive Speakers From the Hugo TT 2’ - this is a few pages down the post as it covered a full demo - The TT2 doesn’t have analogue inputs so a good [Naim] pre-amp or integrated after the TT2 in the chain, or an A2D unit from phono to digital might work (not yet tested this as I am primarily on digital).



As far as sound quality is concerned, you’ll have to listen to the devices and make up your mind.

But, apart from sound quality, there are obvious differences between nDAC and TT2 in terms of number and type of inputs, power supply, system automation, form, etc.

Depending on your system, environment and perspective, these aspects may play a crucial role.

Another point to be considered is, in my view, the PSU. A second hand nDAC will cost you perhaps 1000 EUR. But a 555PS will cost you much more! I use a bare nDAC into a SN2 and I am very happy with this solution. I would buy a 555PS if I knew that Naim will come out with an nDAC successor that can also be powered with a 555PS. But in absence of an upgrade path, I do not buy a 555PS for a device that came out in 2009!

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Apparently the TT2 is now Roon ready, whatever that means.

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Thank you.

Roon ready, mmmh…, ok. I think, at the moment I don’t need Roon at all, but, well, there it is.


Are you sure it’s not toon tested rather than Roon ready, 2 totally different things?


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According to what I read, it’s only “Roon tested”. I read on Roon’s website about the difference between “Roon ready” and “Roon tested”. But, to be honest, I am still not entirely sure about the difference in everyday application…

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Roon ready means that Roon server can play to it (over the network) directly without any component in between. The new Naim streamers are Roon ready, once you have a Roon core you can play music.

Roon tested means that the Roon software will recognise the product in the chain, and know for example its max sample rate, whether it can handle DSD etc. but Roon core cannot play to it directly (over the network).

Clear as mud!

EDIT: Now that I think about it perhaps my explanation is not correct. I have a Hugo TT2 but the device I use to play to it is an Auralic Aries G2 and this is what Roon “sees” is the Aries. So perhaps Roon tested is certified or work if directly connected to core and Roon ready will connect over the network.



You might be right SJB, that is why I said that I was not sure what that means. Someone on the TT2 head-fi forum posted about it, with a video from a Roon rep, but I did not have time to watch it yet. Somebody else mentioned that the TT2 shows up as an icon in Roon now, which I do not use myself.

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