Chord Electronics 2go/2yu - (£1,445)​

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Introduction​

In May 2023 I wrote a review of the Chord 2go/2yu, you can find that review HERE. The conclusion was positive, I wrote:

In my main system, via the Naim SBLs, the journey was initially far more of a roller coaster. Once certain factors had been dealt with the differences between this excellent streamer and my usual dCS Network Bridge are subtle. The noted upper mid and treble information tilt with the Chord 2go/2yu results depends upon the recording. It is less kind to sharper recordings but allows a tad more precision and insight into the image, drawing your attention to the leading edge of notes.

Both the Chord 2go/2yu and the dCS Network Bridge are musically satisfying streamers, but their presentations are slightly different. Depending on your system, musical preferences and sources different streamers will make a difference, so auditioning is worthwhile.


And

Considering its size, bulletproof construction and performance the Chord Electronics 2go/2yu is a streamer well worth including on your audition list.

Since then I have been circulating streamers with different reviews, depending on the kit and the synergies. Most recently this was the Denafrips Iris DDC (Digital Data Convertor) and Ares 12th-1 DAC, you can read that review HERE.

As you will read the Iris only has a USB input. Neither the Meridian 210 nor the dCS Network Bridge output USB and so the Chord 2go/2yu was called into action. I wrote:

I spent some time listening to the Chord 2go/2yu direct into the Denafrips Ares 12th-1. I was pleasantly surprised. I have habitually been using the DAC coax inputs for years, these two devices have shown me how the world has moved on.

When I reviewed the Chord 2go/2yu independently I spent little time on its USB output, as historically I have not had the best of experiences with the interface. That will be stopping as of NOW.

Having packed up the Denafrips kit I cast my eye on my M-Scaler and Qutest. The M-Scaler has a USB input that is capable of taking in PCM up to 705.6 kHz. What follows are my observations upscaling to 4x base rate (44.1 and 48 kHz) and 2x base rate (172.6 and 192 kHz) in Roon followed by the full fat M-Scaler. Up until now I had achieved this by using the Dual AES output from my dCS Network Bridge into the dual BNC inputs on the M-Scaler; this WAS the best sound quality I had achieved.

Test Tracks: The Good, The Bad and the Bright​

The tracks were selected to allow:
  • Comparison of local and Qobuz-sourced versions of the same tracks;
  • Comparison of standard and remastered versions of the same track;
  • Comparison of older and modern tracks, with their different mastering priorities;
  • How problem tracks were presented.

Qobuz Playlist: https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/14724923
Problem Files:https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/12623970

Main System Listening​

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The source was Roon, primarily Qobuz, with:
  • headroom enabled;
  • Sample rate enabled 4x (44.1,48), 2x (176.2, 192);
  • Parametric EQ Enabled, deals with some minor bass issues.
Roon hosted on a Vortexbox Audiostore Prestige 2 Server.

I have left the original reviews Main System diagram above, just replace the Audioquest Diamond SPDIF with a Matrix Audio USB cable.

Before diving into the Chord 2go/2yu USB performance I think it is worth noting that upper register sharpness can be caused by a number of things, not least how the music is recorded, mastered and delivered. My main system speakers are Naim SBLs, which were designed around the Linn LP12/Aro. In common with other speakers of the time, such as the Linn Kans, they can be less than kind with the extended frequencies that digital audio delivers.

In a review that will be published shortly, I used the Chord 2go/2yu, Chord M-Scaler & Chord Qutest with the Triangle Esprit Comete, this worked superbly; although there are many recordings with slight sibilant issues.

Before I continue let me address some comments that I made of the Chord 2go/2yu via its coax output:

The precision of the Chord 2go/2yu bass was not altogether welcome. For instance, I love the Tori Amos track Reindeer King. Via my ERA-1 headphones, the left-hand excesses of Ms Amos are wonderfully present, not so much with the Chord stack in my main system where the recording engineer machinations were rather more exposed; the truth can hurt.

NOT via USB. As I noted with respect to the Hugh Laurie track, St James’ Infirmary:

As Laurie’s left-hand goes dowwwnnnn you almost resonate with it. This wasn’t quite so evident via the Chord 2go/2yu; but, that also allowed other things happening in the music to be revealed, even things happening further down the register.

So, the bass does not bloom and override other details happening in the music. This is what is happening in the Tori Amos, you can hear deep into the recording, but the notes do bloom when appropriate.

With ‘Son of Man’ from Tarzan, written and sung by Phil Collins I noted:

I was immediately bowled over by the drumming, and initially, I thought the vocals might just hold to the right side of the sharpness line, but no. Ss abounded.

Now this is a pig of a track via the Naim SBLs and I have never heard it well rendered in my room. Via USB the drum dynamics are a lessoned a shade, but the music is now far more balanced, and the sibilance just about stays on the right side of too hot.

Further, I would say that listening to music on the Chord 2go/2yu via USB seems to me to remove a subtle filigree of glare. The music was more relaxing to listen to. Yes, there were elements of sharpness but these seemed to me to be from the recording, not the reproduction chain. Brass sounded like brass, with rasp. Cymbals rang. Leading edges and decay were well produced. Additionally, there was added mid-range tone, something that really helped the Naim SBLs to sing.

Conclusion​

Is the Chord 2go/2yu an excellent streamer if you happen to be heavily invested in Chord Electronics? No, not at all.

Remember that I was moved to write this mea culpa as a result of using the Denafrips Iris & Ares 12th-1. I thoroughly enjoyed their musicality, but this was also built on a platform provided by the Chord 2go/2yu.

I have additionally used the Chord 2go/2yu via the Chord M-Scaler into the Synthesis Roma DC69 DAC to great effect; even if I cannot use the full power of the M-Scaler, due to the technical limits of the Roma inputs.

The only possible equal to the Chord front end I have heard in my system has been the Mola Mola Tambaqui, and here I would need to do a side-by-side comparison to decide which I preferred.

The Chord 2go/2yu (USB), Chord M-Scaler & Chord Qutest produces some of the best music I have heard from my main system. The sound imaging is a tad more three-dimensional and escapes more from the speakers, reminding me far more of the results I get when playing my LP12/Aro via my Tron 7 G.T., which is high praise.

I now feel that with the USB output from the Chord 2go/2yu any sharpness I am hearing is in the recordings themselves, although slightly exacerbated by the presentation of the Naim SBLs; something that is not present when I use more modern speakers, such as the Harbeth P3, Falcon LS3/5a or Triangle Comete 40th Anniversary.

At the conclusion of my first review I wrote:

Both the Chord 2go/2yu and the dCS Network Bridge are musically satisfying streamers, but their presentations are slightly different. Depending on your system, musical preferences and sources different streamers will make a difference, so auditioning is worthwhile.

Whilst this is true when using their coax outputs the Chord 2go/2yu USB interface extends this. In my system, the Chord 2go/2yu is now simply the better streamer, and that is at less than half the price of the dCS Network Bridge, when it was still available. I would strongly advise an audition if spending at or above the asking price.

My apologies to you, the readers, and to Chord Electronics for not exploring the Chord 2go/2yu more effectively when I initially reviewed it.