British company Chord Electronics has a solid reputation for innovation, technical excellence, reliability, industrial design and superb sound quality across a full range of analog and digital products. To maintain a leading position, Chord frequently develops its own technologies simply because off-the shelf components are too generic and fall short of the required performance. Less ambitious audio companies fine tune customized variants of normal components - but this is only incremental improvement.
True innovation demands getting to the root cause of the limiting factors and understanding what the real requirements are. Collaboration with industry experts such as Robert Watts, whose unique mathematical algorithms for many of the subsystems used in FIR filter, noise-shaping and Pulse Array D to A conversion technology - equally important aspects of DAC design - is essential.
Chord's Hugo M Scaler the the latest example of innovation that leap frogs the competition. Using massive processing power, FPGA-based WTA(Watts Transient Alignment) filtering is now used to pre-process digital signals before they are passed onto the DAC. The precision of the digital information from CD transports and music servers is vastly improved. CD's native 44.1kHz resolution is upscaled to 705.6kHz, with a maximum upscaling to 768kHz for 96kHz/192kHz PCM digital files. While ideal for Chord's own DACs that can process these very high sampling rates, the Hugo M Scaler can also be used with other latest generation DACs. The sonic benefits of better textures, bass definition, and particularly organisation of the sound stage can be easily demonstrated by switching between 'pass through' and 'upscaling' modes.
When the DAC 64 was released at CES 2001, the commentary was not just about technically excellent linearity, low noise floor, jitter and distortion measurements but about the analog like sound and relatively low retail price compared to other far more expensive DACs. Chord's DAC 64 mk2 was one of the few prestigious components bestowed with Stereophile magazine's A+ rating. The creativity, dedication, passion, financial discipline and enthusiasm found in a successful small company like Chord Electronics is what brings exciting new ground breaking products into the market place like the Qutest, Hugo 2 and Hugo TT 2, all using trickle down technology from the Dave reference DAC and proprietory custom coded FPGA chips. The Hugo M Scaler is described as a 'unique and extraordinary' product and a 'digital revelation'.
Chord also takes a trickle down and modular approach with amplification. The SPM 1200E mk2 (often found in recording studios) and SPM 5000 mk2 stereo amplifiers, and super high power SPM 14000 mk2 mono blocks all offer unrestrained power and precision giving a natural clarity of sound across a full range of listening levels - late night minimal volume to full throttle party. Advanced switch mode power supplies with self-compensating virtual gyroscopic-like balanced positive and negative voltage rails respond to sudden transient demands that regular transformers cannot muster. These amplifiers do a better job of conveying all the timing and dynamic information from the latest generation Chord Electronics DACs than most others.
Pride of ownership is enhanced by the distinctive visually interesting industrial design. Aircraft grade aluminum casing and laser etched labels give the products very durable finishes which hold up over years of use, Chord Electronics has professional level components installed in The Royal Opera House London, and many recording studios including EMI's Abbey Road, Sony and Decca in New York, and Skywalker in LA.
Chord Electronics is our highest level electronics line and is a must listen to product for those wanting the very best in sound quality and customer service. Chord products are hand-built to order with typically a 6-8 week lead time. Custom engravings and finish options are available.