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Chord CPM 2800 MKII amplifier to feature Hugo FPGA DAC tech

  • If you were thinking of adding a Chord Hugo, or the recently released Hugo TT, to your existing amplifier you might want pause for a moment. The Kent-based audio electronics firm has dropped a Friday 13th shock-surprise into our laps: in bringing their CPM 2800 digital integrated amplifier to second generation status they’ve only gone and dropped the Hugo’s FPGA D/A conversion technology – complete with Rob Watts’ custom code – right into the amplifier’s pre-stage.

    Not only does this (likely) add the Hugo’s terrific handling of transparency and delicacy (see my review here) to the CPM 2800 MKII but it brings the portable’s connectivity along for the ride; aptX Bluetooth for wireless streaming and a second USB ports for hard-wiring of Android and iOS devices. Unlike the Hugo, the CPM 2800 MKII’s USB inputs are galvanically isolated.

    At the business end of the amplifier sits Chord’s “award winning proprietary ultra-high frequency power supply” that promises 120 wpc and 170 wpc into 8 and 4 Ohms respectively.

    Heavy duty gold-plated binding posts, HT bypass, a display panel that can be read from the listening position and remote control round out this integrated’s feature set. Oh, it’s built like a tank too.

    The CPM 2800 MKII will sell for £6690 and gets its first taste of daylight at the 2015 Bristol Sound and Vision show next weekend (20th – 22nd February).

    Further information: Chord Electronics | Press Release


    Detailed CPM 2800 MkII specifications:

    Preamp section

    • Unbalanced inputs: 3
    • Balanced inputs: 2 (3-pin female XLR inputs both with RCA phono-style input sockets wired asymmetrically in parallel)
    • Digital inputs: coax (support for up to 32-bit/384kHz); TOSLink optical (24-bit/192kHz); galvanically isolated Class 2 USB input up to 384kHz; DSD64 supported on all inputs, DSD128 supported via coax or USB input (all via DoP)
    • Wireless input: Bluetooth aptX and A2DP
    • AV bypass: 2x RCA phono-style inputs
    • Intermodulation distortion: -100dB all inputs
    • Signal to noise ratio: -93dB all inputs
    • Frequency range: 2.5Hz – 200kHz (-3dB)
    • Harmonic distortion: 10 Hz –91dB; 1kHz –93dB; 10kHz –90dB and 20kHz –87dB
    • Channel separation: 10 Hz –90dB; 1kHz 90dB; 10kHz 90dB and 20kHz 85dB
    • Channel balance: 0.01dB
    • Input impedance: unbalanced 47kOhms; balanced 94kOhms (Line 1 and Line 2)


    Power amp section

    • Output power: 120Wrms per channel @ 0.05% distortion into 8 Ohms; 170Wrms per channel into 4 Ohms
    • Dynamic Headroom: 180Wrms per channel into 8 Ohms; 220Wrms per channel into 4 Ohms Frequency Response: -1dB, 0.8Hz to 46kHz (8 Ohms); -3dB, 0.8Hz to 77kHz (8 Ohms); -1dB, 0.8Hz to 39kHz (4 Ohms) and -3dB, 0.8Hz to 75kHz (4 Ohms)
    • Signal to noise ratio: better than –103dB, ‘A’ weighted two thirds Channel separation: -80dB
    • Output impedance: 0.03 Ohms
    • Output inductance: 2.6mH
    • Output connections: 2x rhodium binding posts
    • Slew rate: 70V per S, 1kHz 20V square wave Gain: 23dB
    • Stability: unconditional
    • Dimensions: 420mm (W) x 355mm (D) x 133mm (H) Weight: 16Kg
    John Darko

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram


    1. What is with Chord? I have followed audio for the 40 years that they have been in and out of the states.Their prices were always high and their appearance somewhat jazzy but not great in an architectural sense. 6690 British pounds is a lot os dough and the distributor is on the verge of going over Niagra Falls from the US to the Canadian side.He distributes but does not seem to have a single dealer in the US proper.
      At $1.54 US dollars to the pound the cost would be $10,302. It does not even come close to the styling of the Rowland Integ. or the Pass INT 30.Frankly,all of their equipment has been futuristic UGLY..I don’t care if it has the Hugo DAC inside.There are plenty of good and maybe better Dacs out here cheaper than the Hugo.When will they leave us and the rest of the world alone and concentrate on the British Isles which seems to appreciate their Chutzpah. John

      • “There are plenty of good and maybe better Dacs out here cheaper than the Hugo”.

        Care to exemplify, John?

        • I can’t exemplify because there is no way in today’s audio world that I could have access to a wide range of DAC’s. Next best would be to rely upon reviewers like your self and I don’t mean to impune your credentials but like most reviewers today EVERYTHING is good or great! Going around at Audio show also has very little merit.
          I think that the benchmark of success goes to individuals and companies that have survived this madness and people who have real credentials that are apparent for all to see.
          The best example that I can give in digital audio, are people like Gordon Rankin,Mike Moffat,Jason Stoddard etc.,etc.
          To me Chord seems like a lot of smoke and mirrors and there are other British products and manufacturers that I have much more respect for. John

          • Does this not recall advertising world thinking that there’s no such thing as a bad product, only a bad price? I can tell you with some certainty that the Chord Hugo is one of the best – if not THE best – DACs in its price category right now. I concur: Messrs Rankin and Moffat remain forces to be reckoned with but the Hugo still sounds better than the Rankin-coded AQ Dragonfly and the Schiit Bifrost.

            If you can name even ONE DAC below $3k that bests the Hugo then I’m all ears (as I’m sure many other readers would be).

            • I respect and appreciate your recommendation.You and Art Dudley are the only two writers that I have a great deal of admiration and respect for. Recently, I have gained great respect for the editor of Mono and Stereo.He had the Chutzpah to say in print that he did not warm to the sound of the much acclaimed Devialet.Are all of the other writers Hood winked by the French charm! I think so. John

    2. sells Hugo products. Mr Speakers had a level-matched demo of his Alpha Primes powered by a <$500 Schiit combo and a Hugo DAC at the NYAS'14 and I have to admit, I was blown away by the Hugo. I may never be able/want to buy a DAC that expensive but they do make cheaper options. BTW, that integrated looks so minimal in a good way.
      3 things I think deserve mention with Chord- 1) they make their own DACs rather than off-the-shelf options, 2) something for the nit-pickers, they use 64-bit chips, which means volume attenuation is superlative (no loss at low volume) that would be PERFECT for use with software like JRiver and 3) they use field-programmable gate arrays which makes their DACs future-proof (a la PS Audio).
      You know, after spending many years in the UK before coming over to the US, I empathize with the Brits because they're always paying way too much. Most companies tend to charge the same amount in USD or GBP regardless of the conversion rate.

      • Chord’s deployment of an FPGA with custom code surely puts them at the forefront of DAC development. The Hugo is no ‘also ran’.

    3. I currently have a Metrum Hex and love it, however as when any new product gets lots of buzz, I’m thinking of trying out the Hugo or this Chord DAC. Has anyone ever compared any Chord models to Metrum DACs? Is it worth having a shootout, or should I just enjoy my Hex? !

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