I have recently purchased a Chord Hugo 2 for listening to music via my laptop when I at my desk or when travelling. I am now thinking of using the Hugo 2 on my main system as a headphone amp. With this in mind is it possible to connect the Hugo 2 directly to my NDX 2 output? The NDX 2 seems to have a BNC digital output and the Hugo 2 a 3.5mm digital input. So, my questions:-
- does a cable exist to connect these two components?
- has anyone tried this arrangement and if so what is the sound quality like?
- would I be better off forgetting the NDX 2 / Hugo 2 direct connection and connecting my headphones via my 282 and a Naim Headline?
Any thoughts and ideas would be much appreciated!
Hi, you can get coax cables with BNC at one end and 3.5mm jack at the other end. Flashback make one which would work. Alternatively you could use an optical cable, although coax would be my choice.
Chord DACs have long been a popular upgrade for Naim streamers. With the right cable you could run it between your NDX2 and 282 as well.
@Simon-in-Suffolk use Ndx2/ Chord Hugo(1). He will probably respond to you too.
As far as whether it sounds good to you only you can decide, the NDX2 is a top class distal transport and front end, and Chord make some top class DACs.
As far as interconnects, I use Naim DC1 (BNC to phono) between NDX2 and my Hugo Original.
I use phono to DIN Highline for input into my 552 from my Hugo Original.
Thanks @ChrisSU, I will look on the Flashback website for the appropriate coax cable. It will be an interesting experiment comparing NDX2 - Hugo 2 rather than Dell laptop - Hugo 2! That said, the main reason for this exercise is to use my headphones on my Naim system.
Hi Simon, do I remember correctly that you were previously using a relatively cheap non-Naim coax cable between NDX and Hugo? Have you developed a preference for the DC1?
Thanks @Simon-in-Suffolk (and @frenchrooster). Interesing to see that you are using your Hugo original with your NDX2 and obviously getting good results. The main purpose of this approach is to use headphones on my main system (rather than going via a 282/Headline). Theory says the short path of NDX2/Hugo 2 should be better than going via a 282 & Headline, but not all theories are correct - my ears will have to check this out!
There seems to be a wide variety of opinion on the benefits of a Hugo in a Naim system. I thought my Mk1 Hugo was a relatively modest but worthwhile upgrade to my NDX, whereas others (including Simon) felt it was a huge step up. There has been some speculation about whether there is some sample variation in the Chord DACs causing this.
Still, you have nothing to lose by trying it, other than that you will also need to get hold of an RCA to DIN cable to connect it to the preamp.
I’m not so sure about that! The ability to drive your headphones properly may be the key factor here, and the Headline may have the power to drive more demanding headphones better than the Hugo, but it’s not a comparison I have ever made.
Thanks for the thoughts. I will over the comming weeks collect the necessary cables and try to make a comparison myself of the various connections. Hopefully I can then add my thoughts to the Naim / Chord DAC debates. I guess at the end of the day though it is all down to personal taste - as ever!
Let us know how you get on.
I use a Gotham AG SPDIF cable , or a Naim DC1, depending on the length I require. Currently I need a slightly longer cable, and the DC1 is therefore what I use.
Thanks Simon, just wondering, as I have a DC1 but really didn’t find it any better than a more modestly priced coax cable, and with the extra length, cable dressing was a nightmare for me so I stopped using it.
Hi Chris, FWIW, I find the DC1 does provide a slightly different sound than the Gotham, when connected between NDX2 and Hugo… whether that is down to some capacitive loading and cable length I don’t know. It’s only subtle, but the DC1 seems to help create a slightly richer sound…and the Gotham a slightly more airy/sprightly sound.
The Hugo 2 designer, Rob Watts, advocates an optical connection over digital coax for his DACs. Rob covered the topic somewhere in the mammoth Hugo2 thread on Headfi. It’s a cable you probably already have.
Most here seem to prefer coax, but that may be more about the Naim end of things, as this is generally Naim’s preferred digital connection method.
Hello Fordy, thanks for your comments - I will read Rob Watts article.
Unfortunately the NDX2 doesnt have an optical output, only optical in, so connection to the Hugo 2 optically is not an option. Also, the cable “pack” that comes with the Hugo 2 doesnt have a BNC / 3.5mm terminated lead so I have had to purchase one. Oh well, its only money and as I cant spend it down at the local having a nice beer a connecting cable is probably the next best thing! Cheers.
Hello Simon, slightly off subject here, but as you have a Hugo and I know you are technically very savvy, have you any thoughts on the following issue. When I listen to my Hugo 2 fed from my laptop (Qubuz) and listening to 24/192 recordings I get a very low level interference in the background. It starts about 30 seconds into the track, and for lack of a better description, sounds like somebody squeezing a packet of crisps! If I drop the rate to 24/96 the interference disappears.
I am not technically very savvy, but I thought perhaps it might be due to the processor speed or RAM capabiliites of my laptop (which is a 7th gen i5 processor and has 8GB of RAM). As I am still waiting for my new cable to connect the NDX2 and Hugo 2 I dont know if the same problem will occur on this combination. Any thoughts or ideas?
I’m not entirely sure that this is your issue, and Simon will no doubt have more insight, but most devices only claim to support up to 24/96 with Toslink, and although 24/192 works for some, it often doesn’t, or is marginal. You may or may not find that a different cable helps if this is the case.
Hi Chris, I dont think the cable between my laptop and the Hugo 2 is the issue as I am using the Chord supplied micro USB to USB A lead. If I understand correctly this type of connection is good for all bitrate / depths - or is this not the case?