Chord Electronics 2go/2yu Network Bridge Page 2

If you're planning to use the Hugo 2 and 2go permanently docked, it may be worth noting that Chord offers a choice of two leather cases for the pairing. These are of superb quality, in black with red stitching, and start from £100. That may seem steep, but it could prove to be a worthwhile investment if you're thinking of taking almost £2800-worth of hardware 'on the road'.

sqnote Firm Resolve
You might struggle to find the 2TB microSD cards the 2go can handle, and even the 1TB cards I found will cost you around £200 a pop. However, with a 200GB card loaded with music, and the 2go connected to my network, I was ready to listen to the 2go/Hugo 2 combination, as well as feeding the 2go/2yu pairing to iFi Audio's excellent NEO iDSD [HFN Mar '21] via coaxial digital and USB. And here those observations picked up in PM's Lab Report came into play, for while the 2go did sound very fine docked to the Hugo 2, with a crispness and detail to recordings such as James McMurtry's The Horses And The Hounds [New West Records, NW6518], allied to fine bass weight and definition, it soon became clear that the 2go/2yu/NEO iDSD combination was just edging it when it came to resolution and the sense of musicians before the listener. This, given the fact the iFi Audio DAC is a fraction of the price of the Chord Hugo 2, was suitably intriguing.

Exploring further, I tried connecting the 2go/2yu via optical, then coaxial, digital to the Hugo 2's inputs, and was surprised to find this slightly awkward configuration improved on the 'docked' 2go/Hugo 2 combination. Clearly there's some good stuff going on within the 2yu beyond simple digital format conversion.


(Top to bottom): 1. side view of 2go showing wired Ethernet port; 2. 2x2TB microSD card slots plus Micro USB charging port; 3. Micro USB audio and charging outputs connect to... 4. matching 2yu (and Hugo 2) inputs; 5. 2yu has USB-A, opt, RCA and BNC digital outs

That's not to detract from the quality of the Hugo 2, and fed from the 2go it does make a very compact and convenient streaming solution. Playing Anna Fedorova's Shaping Chopin recital [Channel Classics CCS 43621; DSD256], the combination was as impressive when driving a highly revealing pair of headphones as it was when plumbed into my main system. This exemplary recording is as striking for the solid, three-dimensional impression of the piano as it is for the sense of the concert-hall acoustic, and these – along with the beautiful control and expression of Fedorova's playing – were thrillingly resolved by the Chord Electronics package.

New Dimension
When listening on headphones I enjoyed the added perspective of the binaural version of Duo Rozemond & Bekker's Vox set [Cobra Records COBRA0082; DSD256]. The 'straight' stereo recording of this violin and accordion piece – with occasional voice – is impressive enough, but the binaural version via 'phones quite literally brings a new dimension to the sound.

It's hard to judge the sound of the 2go, or indeed the 2go/2yu pairing, without reference to the DAC(s) with which it's used. I settled on plumbing the duo into the iFi Audio Neo iDSD, which just had the edge over the Hugo 2 used with the 2go, and found myself delighting in Gerry Rafferty's posthumous solo album, Rest In Blue [Parlophone 0190296700149]. Its stripped-back sound puts all the focus on the late singer's voice on tracks both familiar and less so. I relished the dark, moody reading of 'Dirty Old Town', and the joyously countrified version of 'Stuck In The Middle With You', the insight offered into the recordings serving to elevate the superb character of the vocal and instrumental timbres on offer.

On The Beat
And this combination of close focus and sheer vivacity also serves well Emmylou Harris & The Nash Ramblers' 'lost' live set Ramble In Music City [Nonesuch 075597917406]. It explodes into life with the opening 'Roses In The Snow', and then just carries the listener on through the entire concert, complete with superb harmonies, sprightly fiddle, and that lovely warmth behind Emmylou's slightly fragile voice.


The 2go streamer can also be connected via its Micro USB charging and audio ports to the 2yu digital interface, offering USB and S/PDIF outs

It's hard not to be drawn in by the sense of accomplished musicians doing what they do best, and having a great time in the process, and the speed and detail here are much in evidence when the band charges into 'Amarillo' at breakneck velocity. It's hardly surprising, then, that this set-up can also power out beat-driven music in wholly convincing fashion, as it shows with Toyah's Posh Pop [Edsel EDSL0087], slamming into the opening 'Levitate' and giving the bass and percussion plenty of weight and speed while keeping Mrs Fripp's vocals upfront and full of character.

The pop here may be posh, but the mixes occasionally verge on the down and dirty. The whole enterprise has a somewhat old-fashioned feel about it, coming from a time when the kitchen sink was frequently thrown into the production to make it even bigger and bolder. Yet the assured Chord components have it all under control. Whether you play or stream, the 2go and 2yu is a persuasive pairing, and a viable, pocketable alternative to more conventional streaming transports.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
Used with the Hugo 2, the 2go creates a very transportable digital music solution, but things really start to shine when you add on the 2yu, whether upstream of the Chord DAC, or DACs from other companies. Building on the Mojo/Poly pairing, this is an innovative – and slightly quirky – digital front-end for both playback and streaming, and one likely to be of interest beyond its use in an all-Chord set-up.

Chord Electronics Ltd
Supplied by: Chord Electronics Ltd
01622 721444