Greetings mate, and Welcome aboard!
Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music (NOT gear) all over again, so…
Let’s dive into the Chord Mojo vs. Hugo and see which one comes out on top.
By the end of this article,
you’ll know exactly which one is worth your money and why.
Note: I’m linking the Mojo II because the original isn’t available anymore.
- 1x Micro USB 768kHz/32-bit Capable Input
- 1x 3.5mm Jack Coaxial 768kHz/32-bit Capable Input
- 1x Optical TOSLINK 96kHz/24-bit Capable Input
- 1x 1amp Micro USB Charging Port Input
- 2x 3.5mm Headphone Jacks
- Output Power @ 1kHz – 600Ω 35mW
- Output Power @ 1kHz – 8Ω 720mW
- Output Impedance: 75mOhms
- Dynamic Range: 125dB
- THD @ 3v: 0.00017%
- Weight: 180g (0.4lbs)
- Dimensions: 82mm (l) x 60mm (w) x 22mm (h)
Chord Hugo 2
- Chipset: Chord Electronics custom-coded Xilinx Artix 7 (XC7A15T) FPGA
- Tap-length: 49,152
- Pulse array: 10-element pulse array design
- Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz +/- 0.2dB
- Output stage: Class A
- Output impedance: 0.025Ω
- THD: <0.0001% 1kHz 3v RMS 300Ω
- THD and noise at 3v RMS: 120dB at 1kHz 300ohms ‘A’ wighted (reference 5.3v)
- Noise 2.6 uV ‘A’ weighted: No measurable noise floor modulation
- Signal-to-noise ratio: 126dB ‘A’ Weighted
- Channel separation: 135dB at 1kHz 300Ω
- Power output @ 1kHz 1% THD: 94mW 300Ω
- 740mW 32Ω
- 1050mW 8Ω
- Weight: 365g
- Dimensions: 2.1cm (H) 10cm (W) 13cm (D)
- Boxed Dimensions: 8.5cm (H) 12.2cm (W) 22cm (D)
To begin, both the Mojo and Hugo 2 are built incredibly well, but I will caution you that the Mojo specifically can run a bit hot due to its Class-A components.
The Hugo is larger and boxier, with hard, rectangular edges and a bulkier overall aesthetic.
The Mojo is smaller, has rounded-off corners, and is much more practical for on-the-go use.
it’s a great portable device but also works well on your desktop.
Both utilize those unique globe balls albeit in slightly different ways.
The green-eye-looking thing you see controls the volume and basically turns like a bowling ball on top of a ball return.
With the Mojo, you’ll press the globe balls to increase or decrease volume.
I find both fairly intuitive and also fun to use.
The balls near the bottom of the Hugo represent your filter, input, X-PHD, and the On/Off button.
Below that, you’ll find the charging port on the right and the play port on the left.
The X-PHD adjusts the crossfeed between left and right channels, and the input button scrolls between sources while the Mojo does not.
The filter button changes the frequency response, and the power button all the way to the right is rather self-explanatory.
The Mojo provides a power button and volume buttons.
So basically, if you’re using a Hugo 2 with a Gaming console and then switch to listening via USB from your PC, you’ll have to press the button until sound plays.
For me, this was a little weird. It was like putting a blindfold on and swatting at a pinata.
Yeah, you’ll probably hit it, but it’s a bit of an educated guesstimate. Still, not that big of a deal I suppose.
I’ve only heard a few Amp/DACs thus far that have truly blown me away.
One was the Bryston BHA-1 playing back Over the Hills and Far Away through an original HIFIMAN HE400i.
It was the first time I felt like I was hearing the music in a way that the artists intended.
It had this astonishing realism that I really have yet to experience since in its fullest capacity.
That is until I heard the Mojo.
I got those same sorts of feelings, as every intricate sound came to life and came together in a way that made you go:
“Yeah, this is what music is supposed to sound like.”
I got that same sort of vibe listening to Time by Pink Floyd out of the same Bryston.
It was like David Gilmour’s backing guitars were actually breathing. As if they actually had a life of their own.
With the Mojo, I got this same feeling with the song On Again by Honors.
It was as if the female vocalist was speaking/singing directly to me. That’s how intimate it was.
It felt like she was right in front of me almost, ready to give me a kiss. 😛
I was using the MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Closed, which I also highly recommend pairing with the Mojo.
Simply put, I enjoyed the Mojo a bit more from a musical standpoint than I did with the Hugo 2.
The sound of the Hugo is much cleaner and more sterile, but here’s the kicker: it doesn’t necessarily sound better to me.
the Hugo is a bit overly cold and clinical.
There are times when you’ll feel as though the soul is sucked out of the music.
it sometimes comes across as too clean, while the Mojo most certainly has a bit more of a warm-ish tilt due to its higher output impedance.
In theory, the closer to 0 the Output Impedance, the more perfect the signal.
The Hugo is a great example of this concept not quite working out in reality, as its 0.025 number is a bit too low.
For clarification, 0.1 – 0.7 seems to be a great middle-ground in terms of a sound that’s clean and neutral without sucking the life out of everything.
Amps of the past – JDS’s Objective 2 (0.1), the AudioQuest DragonFly Red (0.5), and even some that are still in circulation like JDS’ ATOM and ATOM HEVI (0.7), do a good job of keeping it clean without making music sound like nails on a chalkboard.
Unfortunately, the Hugo takes it a bit too far and I think most people would agree here.
While we’re on the subject, let’s look at the Similarities and Differences between them now before giving a final verdict.
Similarities & Differences
- Both provide coax and optical output.
- Both have exceptional build quality, although the Hugo 2 is certainly heavier and clunkier.
- Both are a breeze to set up once you understand how they prefer to be handled. More on that in the Chord Mojo DAC Review! In fact, hooking up the Hugo to my PS4 was a breeze. I basically plugged everything in and it worked immediately without me even having to go into the settings!
- Both support PCM files of up to 768kHz.
- Both are excellent for Gaming.
The Hugo 2 does indeed provide a bit better of a conversion, a little more clarity and detail, and certainly more raw sterility.
Does this make it better? Depends on who you ask. In my opinion, it doesn’t.
It just means it’s a bit cleaner, and maybe not as enjoyable as a Mojo.
The Mojo, while still technically proficient, has a tilt of warmth which makes it immensely more enjoyable in my estimation.
The Mojo is much more affordable for a wider variety of people.
This makes it a logical choice among-st audiophiles and casual hobbyists alike.
As discussed above, The Hugo 2 has an “input” button to scroll between sources while the Mojo does not.
The Hugo 2 provides RCA/Analog outs while the Mojo does not. This may be important to you depending on what you’re using as a source.
As touched on in the open, The Hugo 2 is much less portable than the Mojo.
I can put the Mojo in my pocket and move around with it quite easily.
The Hugo 2 is much more cumbersome and I wouldn’t really recommend lugging it around, although it is possible.
It’s not huge or anything, but definitely larger than the Mojo.
Both provide 2 separate headphone jacks, but the Hugo’s is a 1/4″ jack and a 3.5mm one.
The Mojo provides 2 3.5mm jacks.
The Hugo 2 provides an (X-PHD) for adjusting the crossfeed between left and right channels, the input button that we discussed above, a filter button for changing the frequency response, and a power button.
The Mojo provides a power button and volume buttons.
Speaking of volume buttons, the Mojo’s volume controls are in fact buttons while the Hugo 2’s volume control is that large all-seeing eye thing in the center.
You don’t press it; you instead scroll with it using your finger and it changes colors depending on how loud the sound gets. I really liked it!
Going off that, the Hugo 2 looks like some sort of new-age space alien UFO thing. It’s got a strange aesthetic.
The Mojo 2 is a bit less flamboyant but still looks like something out of Austin Powers 😀
The Hugo 2 does provide a bit better micro detail, cleanliness, and air, but it’s a very small difference and it took quite a bit of A/B testing for me to come to that conclusion.
Most people won’t hear that big of a difference in passing, and that’s the honest truth.
It is my opinion that you should save your money and just purchase the Mojo without hesitation.
It provides 98-99% of what the Hugo 2 is capable of at a fraction of the price.
Yes, there are subtle differences between various amps, but by and large, it’s much easier to discern the differences in headphones than anything else in this hobby.
It’s a bit more of a pleasant conversion as far as the DAC is concerned.
The Hugo 2 seems like it’s trying really hard to impress you at times, and while it doesn’t fall flat, it’s overall less of an enjoyable listen due to its sometimes extreme sense of sterility.
- Related: What is a USB DAC?
It has a bit more of a warmer, laid-back vibe to it (while still retaining all of those great details) which I think will resonate with more people including myself.
So why spend more money than necessary?
Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Chord Mojo vs. Hugo 2 Comparison and came away with some valuable insight.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!
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Would you spend over $2,500 on the Hugo? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…
All the best and God bless,