Hugo mk1 MCRU PSU

I thought I’d share my recent experience of swapping the Hugo mk1 power supply with a MCRU power supply.
I recently had replaced my Chord Hugo with a Chord DAVE. DAVE to my ears brought many advancements such as better defined bass, seemingly more resolved upper mids… and greater dynamics but was less ‘musical’… and ultimately I decided to trade back to my Hugo…
The musicality was back, but the softer extremes and slight lack of natural definition returned … but I had noticed when running off batteries alone… the definition seemed to subtly increase…
Therefore I explored changing the PSU… I tried a MCRU dedicated two stage Hugo mk1 linear PSU.
This proved ideal… it seemed to let the Hugo offer many of the tight dynamics of DAVE along with strong, deep and defined bass definition… along with those natural layered definitions in the upper frequencies that DAVE offered… but I retained my Hugo mk1 musicality…
So if anyone loves their Hugo as much as I do, wasn’t convinced musically about DAVE and has a high definition / 552 based system, then indeed they might want to try this PSU… it gets the Hugo very close to DAVE’s performance whilst retaining all that is good about the Hugo’s musicality.


Apart from being not convinced about the musicality of the DAVE, it can be a case of lacking the funds for the DAVE. I will keep the Chord Hugo mk1 in mind if it can be noticeably improved with a PSU. I am currently enjoying my Chord QBD76 a lot when combined with the 282/HCDR/250DR.

So Simon, it was just swapping out the SMPS with this Linear power supply.

No other internal changes to the Hugo?

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There are many people on the Head-fi Chord forums that swear that they hear improvements to their DACs by adding linear power supplies.Yet Rob Watts insists that the supplied one is better, well on the newer DACS anyway. People even use battery packs to power the Mscaler and DACS to great effect also. I use TT2, and I am waiting for my Mscaler to arrive, so eventually I plan to explore this. Simon, do I just google MCRU power supply to find the one you are using? I should add, that you void your warranty if you use anything but the supplied power supply. This might not affect H1 owners, but does affect TT2/Dave owners if they are still warrantied

No other changes… so in terms of presentation enjoyment from least to best
Hugo with supplied original SMPS wall wart
Hugo only on its batteries
Hugo on MCRU two stage linear power supply.

Yes it appears not to be just the linear power supply, but perhaps lowering the PSU source impedance The bass definition and punch with the MCRU over batteries is rather noticeable… and is apparent within a few seconds.
Yes google/bing/yahoo etc… MCRU have a good website and shop based in Huddersfield… I believe they offer 30 day returns.

My Hugo is well outside of its warranty, and has had its batteries replaced twice now… once with Chord in warranty and the other independently… I have since discovered the secret to long battery life is to keep your Hugo as cool as you can

Thats an incredibly cost effective upgrade Simon and they seem to offer a psu for most products of this type👍

It does appear so… but I clearly can’t vouch their PSUs with other products will have as positive results as with Hugo mk1

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Use of their power supply with an M Scaler immediately voids Chord’s M Scaler warranty. However, it is also supposed to deliver more musical goodies than the standard Chord SMPS item.

This is slightly problematic for us as it is connected to the same dedicated, isolated radial as the Naim equipment. The M Scaler improves on what DAVE delivers but this is partially offset by polluting the dedicated mains feed that the Naim boxes like so very much.

Best regards, BF

What I understood from RW many postings, is that the Hugo is always running from it’s own internal batteries?

Maybe replacing the SMPS has a beneficial effect of the related Naim electronics?

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I used the MCRU PS on my Hugo mk1 a few years ago SiS. Can’t say I noticed any difference.

Your system with the 552 is of course more revealing.


The batteries are always there and are being trickle charged when on I believe… but almost certainly the will be some coupling to the external PSU… and it really is quite beneficial. No I have modified or adjusted any of my Naim components, and I still system ground through my CDX2.

Wow… fascinating… perhaps your supplied Hugo PSU was better than mine, I find it strange than the clear benefits would only be audible through a 552… but possible I suppose as we take what the 552 does increasingly for granted when you own one … I won’t say it’s like night and day… but more a clear difference between over cast and sunny.
My son and I were enjoying a few albums at 96/24 last night and I was appreciating the up lift and improved feel to the tracks.
It appears MCRU offer 30 day money back, so I guess if it made no difference, or made things worse, you can simply send back…

BTW I keep the primary PSU with the transformer in well away from the Hugo and my 552, whilst the secondary regulator box I place next to the Hugo.

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