Hugo Victor

Needing to liquidate some assets so I thought I’d try a ‘bake-off’ between my 555PS on the 272 and a (S/H) Chord Hugo 2 from 272 direct into 250DR. Chord Clearway digital and RCA-XLR.


There, I’ve said it.



These Chord thingies are really rather good (Mojo aside which i didn’t take to). Headphone listening has really grabbed me so i’m looking at whether to downsize the main system to put more into a headphone setup hence trialling a Qutest.

Just missing a remote…

And that on the day of the SN3… I thought the new Nait was the way to go for my beloved Hugo 2. I had been thinking about the Hugo straight into a 250DR, but didn’t explore further given the importance ascribed to the preamp…

Time to reconsider my position? How would you describe the difference between the two options?


…In the ear of the beholder.


That is rather cryptic…

Very interesting. I have had an approximately similar experience - I have a Hugo 1 that I previously used for mobile and on a whim I thought I would try it into an analogue input of my 272 (with no PSU) and 250 DR. In my opinion the Hugo is better than the 272 for DAC duties and since I first tried the Hugo (about a month ago) I haven’t listened to the 272’s DAC (apart from watching the telly) - its been Hugo DAC and 272 acting as an analogue preamp since then. My impression of the Hugo 1 compared to the naked 272 was better separation, wider soundstage, and more convincing overall.

I am using a home-built music PC running Daphile OS with the USB cable going through an audioquest jitterbug into the Hugo and the output of the Hugo going into the DIN analogue input of the 272 via a Chord Shawline RCA -> DIN (I acutually tried to buy a clearway but the shop didn’t have one so I got the shawline instead - sounds good to me).

Are you actually saying that the Hugo 2 into the 272 with no PSU beats the 272 with a 555 PS? That would be interesting! Since the success with the Hugo I have been sorely tempted by a Qutest to replace the Hugo when I have a bit of money.

I’m using the SPDIF out from 272 into Hugo 2 direct into 250DR.


Lot’s of views about pre or no pre with a Hugo 2. I’m really saying best listen for yourself Naim_The_Dragon.


So the Hugo becomes the Pre and volume control?

I home demoed the Hugo 2 when it first came out, at that time I had a Core/272/XPSDR/250DR. First I tried it From the Core digital out, as a DAC into Analogue inputs on the 272. Nice, but not a lot better than the Core feeding the 272 via DC1 or UPNP…so not worth it to me to spend the money here. Next I used it as a Preamp, fed from the 272’s SPDIF out, directly connected to my Anthem MCA 50 amp, and i was stunned at how much better this sounded than using the 272’s preamp. The small connections, and the small physical size of the H2 were a turn off for me though. This demo convinced me that I wanted a TT 2 to use as a Preamp, bigger size, more connection options, and twice as good as the H2. First chance I got, I traded my 272/250 DR on a 2016 NDS, with the intention of adding a TT2/MScaler when funds allow it…still currently saving.GraehmH, I thought you had been down this road before, with a TT1 driving a 250 directly ?

Yes. I only have one ‘source’ so Hugo 2 doing volume - very effectively to my ears, although the flame-proof suit is at the ready.


Yes. Necessity is the mother of invention…The Hugo 2 sounding so good direct is the unexpected bonus.


I’ve always believed that a Naim pre and power amp are part of the same thing and that the power won’t work as intended without the pre giving it the right operating environment. Using the 272 as just a streamer sounds rather wasteful of its DAC and preamp but of course if it’s an interim step it may be sensible to keep it. I found the 272/250 by itself to be rather good. I remember how happy and content you were when all those little boxes were replaced with the 272/250 and having followed your system over the years it would seem that going back to a fiddling phase might best be avoided.

Buying a Pro-Ject Stream Box S2 Ultra (at £599) or SOTM SMS 200 Neo (at £379) would allow selling off both the 555DR and the aged 272… Both Stream Box and SOTM get very good reviews. Apparently, Andrew Everard (who knows his Naim) likes the Stream Box very much; and Ed Selley has recently produced a very good review for the SOTM. FWIW, after the review Ed bought an SOTM for his home set-up, which includes a SN2 and a Hugo 2…

P.S. Especially, the SOTM SMS 200 Neo is tempting for what it offers at £379, I think – it’s just that the faceplate has the “wrong” colour… :wink:

These boxes can be very good, but they can also lead you down a rabbit hole by introducing subtle issues wrt grounding and clean power.


Fair point – when you previously uploaded a chart of your old system, I didn’t understand half of it… :crazy_face: I would have loved to see and listen to the system.

I guess “the art” is to be content at some point, instead of trying to achieve the last 0.1% improvement. Paraphrasing @Allante93, just enjoy the music – The Why! :wink:

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Sounds like a familiar argument that materialized back in 2015 when Naim was debuting it’s reference Pre-Amp!

Halloween Man came to my rescue and stole the show! I think it was along the lines of bypassing the Pre-Amp would sound better, even if it was the S1!

Very interesting argument!

Especially if the analog TT and the digital CD were out of the equation.

Being a novice of streaming I might have archived it!

Yes, I agree. The problem is that by even being on here we have proved that we are somewhat OCD!

The great thing was I found ALL of that could be replaced by a dCS Network Bridge or a Linn Klimax. I am sure the Naim streamers would work as well, but I have not tested them at home. If Graeme chooses to go down the widget route I just want to warn him where it may lead!

For sure, OCD is an issue. Certainly, it is something I cannot fully escape. It’s good in my work where one needs a fairly high level of attention to detail when producing papers – reviewers can be cruel… :cold_sweat: At home, my OCD drives my wife mad on occasion, and my son’s OCD drives me mad from time to time. And he’s just 6… :thinking: :wink: