Chord Hugo: the world’s first portable Hi-Res Audio DAC will quadruple the price of your phone

This tiny headphone amp will pipe studio-quality tunes into your ears, no matter where you are
Chord Hugo

DACs and headphone amps are wonderful tools, boosting the quality of your phone or computer’s audio – but they tend to be a little on the bulky side, particularly those that support Hi-Res Audio files.

Where you go, Hugo(es)

Chord Hugo

Not so the Chord Hugo. Lightweight, compact and powered by a built-in rechargeable battery, it’s decidedly portable. Hence the name – you can take this DAC wherever “Hugo”. Groan.

Chord says Hugo, which is encased in aircraft-grade aluminium, is the first portable DAC to support Hi-Res Audio. It can decode PCM music at sample rates from 44.1kHz to 382kHz and is fully compatible with DSD 128 format music files. It features five digital inputs (including two USBs) as well as Bluetooth wireless streaming support, and will work with Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices.

The device will be officially unveiled at CES 2014, which starts next week. We’ll be in Las Vegas to report on all the gadgety goings-on, so we’ll try to get some ears-on time with the Hugo to see if it really does possess those audiophile chops. Well, it better for the price: Chord says it’ll set you back a cool £1,200 when it goes on sale.

In the meantime, you can brush up on your Hi-Res Audio knowledge with our article about how it's going to be one of the defining tech trends of 2014.