Digital feed... OPTIONS

Long time observer, 1st time poster. Hallo Naim friends!
@Simon-in-Suffolk mostly this is a query for you good sir but I am open to all information…

I’m looking at picking up the v.1 Chord Hugo to improve on the DAC section of my UnitiQute. Currently the UQ is taking a network stream from Roon via a Sonore UPNP bridge, and working well. But naturally wanting to squeeze the best out of my modest setup, the Hugo looks to have potential!

So I’m wondering if the SPDIF (coax) out of the UQ will be an adequate feed in to the Hugo- which would then come back to the Qute via RCA in… as you do.

I realise this is hardly 552 territory- but the Minstrels are quite “special sauce” in a small room like mine, and seem to be well matched to the UQ, so really just wanting to give it a nudge and get it right. Source first? I do recall reading that somewhere…

Frank, you can’t feed the S/pdif out of the UQ to a separate DAC and then back into the UQ. You could of course go from the Sonore to the Hugo and then from Hugo to UQ.

Not possible? The Sonore UPNP bridge only has one output (LAN/ network) which feeds the UQ… and the UQ has a BNC SPDIF out on the back… hmmmm !

Yes, you’d need one of the Rendu versions to do what Richard suggests.

1 Like

If you think it through… you choose a digital input for the Sonore. You feed the Qute’s spdif output to hugo. You connect hugo to analogue input. You select analogue input. Digital input from Sonore switches off. Hence why it doesn’t work.


That makes actual perfect sense, thank you! Looks like I skipped IT class :wink: So then- to use a v.1 Hugo going into the RCA inputs of the UnitiQute, what would be the best device to feed the Hugo a Roon feed? I have seen that @Simon-in-Suffolk recommends a good SPDIF over everything into the Hugo, how might I achieve this given Roon is my main source? Another Sonore device maybe?

Just another suggestion, unless you are really set on a Hugo, would be to look at the Atom to replace the UQ. Roon compatibility from the off without the need for other devices.

1 Like

Perhaps you should consider swapping the Sonore, the Qute and the potential Hugo for a Uniti Atom. I don’t use Roon so can’t help on that but I do know that the Atom is Roon ready. Keeping things simple is usually the best way forward.

The UQ sounds great, and I think the Royds may respond well to a better source. 2nd user Hugo, around £400 now. Atom, closer to £4000…

Sorry- make that £1800- but still… :space_invader:

As you already have the Sonore bridge which gives you Roon on the legacy Naim products why not look for a nice used SuperUniti to replace the Atom?

This will improve the source and the amp which I’m sure your Royds will love.

@trickydickie Not with an Atom, just UnitiQute v.1… my local Naim dealer, with all his opportunities etc, lived with the UQ/ Minstrel setup for more than a few years,and he has a good ear I think. I use Roon 100% and want to improve on a small budget, the Hugo looks inside the price parameters but it seems the inputs/ connections of each device will not play together, so…

Sorry, yes I meant UnitiQute.

My thoughts were that a used SuperUniti can be had for £1300 to £1400.

If you factor in the sale of the Qute then you won’t be far off the price of the used Hugo (probably £600 to £700) which won’t work as you originally proposed.

Good advice. However the seller is asking £400 for the v.1 Hugo, which is do-able. Perhaps @Simon-in-Suffolk could chime in and advise the ideal way to get the best SPDIF Roon stream into this DAC? I’m assuming it will be another Sonore product- but stand to be corrected -thanks much!

As @james_n has said a Microrendu would do this, but that’s another $400.

You could use a Chromecast Audio into the Hugo but my experience is that these make poor digital sources and it is likely to be counterproductive.

Also you need to be sure that you like the sound of the Chord DAC. Many people do but to me they kill the music and I much prefer a Naim DAC, warts and all.

If you happen to have a Mac Mini there is an easy low cost solution: I fed the Hugo1 very happily with Audirvana installed on a Mac Mini, the MM also being the music store (so no streaming across a network when playing my own music), With Audirvana in its optimised mode, bypassing the MM’s audio drivers and circuitry, and using a dedicated USB bus for the output. The USB output then went via a Gustard U12 isolator/convertor, from which there is a choice of S/PDIF or optical to the Hugo. An isolator between is essential because the Hugo is sensitive to the inevitable RF in A computer USB output - the Gustard is very good, and only cost something like £125 last time I looked.

Roon could no doubt do much the same, on a Mac Mini or other, though whether Roon’s sound quality is as good as Audirvana when used that way as a renderer I have no idea - a few years ago it was said by some not to be as good but I never compared, and if the case there could be a variety of reasons including Audirvana’s approach avoiding standard computer drivers etc. But if you have Roon on a computer of any sort it would be easy to try - just be sure to use a good isolator between the computer’s USB and the Hugo.

For me I highly rate the Naim streamers… a ND5XS2 is certainly worth looking at.

And I should add I usually use aNaim DC1 SPDIF lead, BNC to RCA for Hugo 1

Hi Simon, I thought you upgraded to the Wave High Fidelity digital cables with the Oyaide BNCs

Those were for the double digital connections between mscalar and Dave.