The First Demonstration of the Day
Struan and Armin from Hi-Fi Corner met up with the Chord team during our time at the Bristol Hi-Fi Show. To our delight, we were met with a beautifully displayed system consisting of their “Choral range” of electronics featuring the brand spanking new Blu MKII CD transport, the familiar DAVE DAC and their Mezzo 75-watt stereo power amplifier, as well as their more portable players; Poly and Hugo 2. Their demonstration system was a serious head-turner - but more importantly it was pure ear candy.
The first demonstration was Chord's brand new up-sampling CD transport, Blu MKII (£7,995) featuring Chord’s new with M scaler technology. When you are in this transport's presence, you know it means business. Packed with all of Chord's latest and greatest, this transport houses their custom coded Xilinx chipset. To really get the most out of this transport it’s recommended to recommend to hook this up to their acclaimed DAVE DAC (£8,499). This is where you can take advantage of the up-sampling both units provide.
The first thing Colin at Chord Electronics demonstrated to us was the Blu MKII playing into the DAVE at regular 44.1khz sampling frequency as well as the DAVE just so everybody got an idea of what both units are capable of. Chord's track of choice - Uncle Lucius', Keep the Wolves Away was sampled for us. (Speakers used for this demonstration were the ATC SCM40's.) From the very beginning, guitar strums oozed authenticity, voice sounding live and bass very present too. Smiles all round. Once we all grasped a feel of the track, the up-sampling came into play.
Next, Chord switch on the up-sampler, which increases the sample rate from 44.1 Khz to a whopping 705.6 Khz, a total of 16x the resolution, we couldn't wait to hear the results. Now in order to reproduce the same volume, the volume was altered by 3dB as the upscaler attenuates. The track was then replayed and the gates to heaven opened. Everything from the guitar to the whistling came across more tight, accurate and therefore more alive. The biggest difference Struan described when turning on the up-sampler was there was suddenly air and space around each instrument, you could close your eyes and picture the room as well as the instruments, “it was detail like I’ve never heard before from a CD”. We'd say the Blu MKII does its job supremely well and we cannot wait to get our hands on it to see what it is fully capable of to show you what it can do to your CD collection.
Cables used for the demonstration were The Chord Company's Signature Super Array Coaxial cables from the Blu to the DAVE, Signature RCA interconnects to go from the DAVE to the Mezzo power amplifier and Epic Reference speaker cable, all of which are available from ourselves.
The Second Demonstration of the Day
Moving down the hall, we got to Chord’s new Poly and Hugo 2.
Poly is Chord's new companion to their portable headphone amplifier, the Mojo, which is one of our favorite portable headphone amplifiers and DACs. The Poly houses Wi-Fi connectivity so it allows you to stream using UPnP (universal plug and play, aka music from your computer or NAS drive), or Apple AirPlay. Other features include the ability to play DSD, Bluetooth connectivity, SD card reader, solid aluminium body (keeping that Chord tradition) and a 9-hour battery life from a 4-hour charge. A very nice feature is that whilst both are charged simultaneously, the Mojo is charged first if it is needing more juice than the Poly. Of course, a new carry case is soon to be available for the duo. Available early April for £499 at Hi-Fi Corner.
Hugo 2 now houses updated internals from the previous model, with new FPGA technology and in-built WTA (watt transient aligned) filters, which can be changed from one of the four buttons located on the handy device. The newly incarnated Hugo also boosts an improved 14-hour battery life too, so you can enjoy your music uninterrupted for longer. Available at the end of March, it will only set you back £1,800.
All in all, we are supremely excited for the new gadgets Chord are releasing and we continue to be impressed by the magical listening experiences they bring.
For further information about Chord Electronics click HERE