Chord Electronics has unveiled three new products at CES 2017: Poly, Blu Mk II and Hugo 2, all will be available early this year.

Poly is a new network module which is set to introduce high-res wireless streaming, SD card and network music playback to Mojo, with both smartphone control and playback at £499. Chord say “Poly is based on a condensed high-level PC, with data server, DLNA receiver, Wi-Fi hub, Bluetooth module and SD card (using MPD) functionality, and highly sophisticated software. Poly acts as a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth hub and can access music in a number of ways including streaming over Wi-Fi, network storage devices (NAS) and collections stored on SD cards using Mail Player Daemon. Bluetooth connectivity and AirPlay functionality provide real flexibility with smartphones and enable mutilple Mojo/Poly combinations to be used throughout the home, providing a high-quality multi-room streaming playback solution” They go on to say: “Poly is compatible with the latest high-resolution-audio file types and supports PCM files up to 768kHz resolution and DSD64 to DSD512 (Octa-DSD).  Poly’s high-quality SD card reader/player frees up smartphone memory and storage, so vast libraries no longer need be kept locally on phones”. Chord Electronics and its design partners have made Poly’s high-speed technology fully mobile: Poly includes a rechargeable LiPo battery giving around nine hours playback from a sub-four-hour charge using the device’s fast-charging circuit. Both Mojo and Poly can be simultaneously charged using Poly’s Micro USB connector. Poly is precision-machined from aircraft-grade aluminium and hand assembled in the UK.

Blu MkII, an upscaling CD transport which uses the very latest FPGA technology to implement advanced proprietary filtering and upscaling techniques at £7,995. Known for its amplifiers and its FPGA-based (Field Programmable Gate Array) DACs, Chord Electronics has implemented the latest FPGA technology into a next-generation CD transport. The new Blu MkII, which will replace the original Blu, incorporates a powerful new FPGA core. Chord Electronics say that their Digital Consultant, Rob Watts, “has harnessed the power of the new Xilinx XC7A200T FPGA, which has a standout 740 DSP cores, to develop sophisticated WTA (Watts Transient Alignment) filtering and upscaling algorithms which can output digital data at 705.6kHz (16 x CD’s 44.1kHz native resolution). When partnered with the critically acclaimed DAVE DAC/preamp, with its 705.6kHz-capable digital inputs, the Blu MkII sets a new technical benchmark for CD performance, while redefining sound quality from the medium. At the heart of the Blu MkII, lies Rob Watts’ new WTA M-Scaler technology, which incorporates the most advanced filter of its kind in the world. Rob Watts has developed completely new filter architecture for the Blu MkII, to ensure maximum memory efficiency and to allow the FPGA to run with sufficient speed. The enormous processing power of the Xilinx XC7A200T FPGA has enabled a key breakthrough in tap-length (the technical indicator of how complex the interpolation filter is). To perfectly reconstruct an analogue signal, an infinite tap-length filter is required. The original Chord DAC 64 (1999) had 1,024 taps; Hugo (2013) 26,000 and DAVE (2015) 164,000. Each successive increase in tap-length, together with continuous improvements to the WTA algorithm, has given significantly better sound quality”

Like all Chord Electronics’ products, the Blu MkII is hand-made in the UK and features a precision-milled chassis, crafted from aircraft-grade aluminium.

Technical specifications

  • Digital outputs: AES (to 176.4kHz); 1x optical, single BNC S/PDIF and dual BNC S/PDIF (768kHz-, 384kHz- and 192kHz-capable)
  • Digital inputs: 1x BNC S/PDIF
  • Frequency response: DC to 20kHz +/- 0.0000001dB
  • In-band ripple DC to 20kHz: +/- 0.0000002dB
  • Stop band rejection: -135dB
  • THD and noise 24-bit input: -144dB (defined by input)
  • WTA tap-length, 16FS filter: 1,015,808 taps
  • Dimensions: 335mm x 105mm x 170mm (WxHxD)
  • Weight: 7kg

Hugo 2 is a dramatically redesigned version of Chord’s portable DAC, featuring all-new casework and flexible new features at £1,800.  Chord say of the Hugo 2, “Featuring a newly designed precision-machined aircraft-grade aluminium case, Hugo 2 is distinct from its predecessor with its sharper, lower profile design and four spherical control buttons. The spheres, which are top-mounted to allow for possible future expansion side-modules, illuminate with colour-coding information and control power, input, filtering and crossfeed functions. The top-mounted volume-control sphere has been retained and made larger for more intuitive operation. The stylish new design and additional functionality has been introduced in anticipation of greater indoor use within both desktop and conventional home audio systems, despite Hugo 2’s obvious portability. The inclusion of a full-function remote control adds further flexibility and the practical line-level output mode of the original has also been retained.”

 

Technical specifications:

Inputs

  • 1x Optical TOSLink 24-bit/192kHz-capable
  • 1x RCA coaxial input 24-bit/384kHz-capable
  • 1x HD USB input 32-bit/768kHz and DSD512-capable
  • 1x aptX Bluetooth (extended range)


Outputs

  • 1x 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 1x 6.35mm (1/4 inch) headphone jack
  • 1x (pair) stereo RCA phono output

Specifications

  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz +/- 0.2dB
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: <0.0001% 1kHz 3V RMS 300 ohms
  • THD and noise at 3V RMS Ref 5.3V: 120dB @ 1kHz 300 ohms A Wt
  • Noise 2.6 uV A Wt: no measurable noise floor modulation
  • Signal to noise ratio: 126dB A-weighted
  • Channel separation: 135dB @ 1kHz 300 ohms
  • Maximum output level (to clipping at 1% distortion): 94 mW 300 ohms; 740 mW 33 ohms; 1050 mW (8)  
  • Output impedance: 25 milliohms (0.025 ohms)

Technical features

  • Advanced digital volume control
  • Crossfeed filter network
  • Four-stage frequency-shaping filter
  • Fast-charging batteries via Micro USB giving around 7 hours operation
  • 49,195K tap-length filter (near double the original the Hugo)

 

 

 

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