Chord BLU MK. 2 Upscaling CD Transport

The Blu MkII is a compact, FPGA-based upsampling CD transport which offers the world’s most advanced filter technology. Used with DAVE, the combination delivers class-leading CD sound quality and technical performance.

The Chord Blu MkII upscaling CD transport sets new standards for CD sound quality by using the very latest FPGA technology to implement advanced proprietary filtering and upscaling techniques.

Chord’s next-generation CD transport incorporates a powerful new FPGA core with extraordinary capability.

Blu MkII’s sophisticated WTA (Watts Transient Alignment) filtering and upscaling algorithms 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 an enormously powerful Xilinx FPGA. Rob Watts’ (Chord’s Digital Design Consultant) has used this to create his exclusive WTA M-Scaler technology, which incorporates the most advanced filter of its kind in the world. The Xilinx FPGA has also enabled a key breakthrough in tap-length (the technical indicator of how complex the interpolation filter is) taking Blu MkII to an unprecedented 1,015,808 taps.

A comprehensive suite of high-performance connectivity is offered and the Blu MkII also features a USB digital input, meaning that it can also be used a standalone high-performance upsampler, for use with other digital sources.

Further features include Chord Electronics’ legendary proprietary high-frequency switching power supply and a dedicated CD-only laser mechanism for an uncompromising performance.

Features

Materials: Precision machined Choral aluminium casing designed by John Franks
CD Resolution: 44.1kHz – 705.6kHz (user configurable)
Connectivity (input):

  • 1x USB input: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 352.8kHz, 384kHz, 705.6kHz, & 768kHz – 16 to 32bit
  • 1x BNC S/PDIF: 44.1kHz – 384kHz (upsampled) – 16 to 32bit

Connectivity (output):

  • 1x Single AES Option: 44.1kHz & 88.2kHz
  • 1x Dual AES Option: 88.2kHz & 176.4kHz
  • 1x Single BNC S/PDIF Mode: 88.2kHz, 176kHz, & 352.8kHz
  • 1x Dual BNC S/PDIF Mode: 176.4kHz, 352.8kHz, & 705.6kHz

 

User Configurable Options

Selectable Upsampling: 1x selectable switch providing three sample rates
Dither: On/Off (Only operational with 16bit source)
Control Options: Manual
Remote Control (Included—Upsampling Modes Not Accessible via Remote Operation)
Connectivity (Output):

  • 1x Single AES Option: 44.1kHz & 88.2kHz
  • 1x Dual AES Option: 88.2kHz & 176.4kHz
  • 1x Single BNC S/PDIF Mode: 88.2kHz, 176kHz, & 352.8kHz
  • 1x Dual BNC S/PDIF Mode: 176.4kHz, 352.8kHz, & 705.6kHz

 

Specifications

Chipset: Chord Electronics custom coded Xilinx XC7A200T FPGA
Tap-Length: 1,015,808 (16FS filter)
FPGA Current Draw: 10amps
Frequency Response: 0Hz (DC) – 20kHz +/- 0.0000001dB
In-Band Ripple 0Hz-20kHz: +/- 0.0000002dB
Stop Band Rejection: -135dB
THD and Noise (24bit Input): -144dB
Noise 2.6 uV ‘A’ Weighted: No measurable noise floor modulation
Signal to Noise Ratio: 126dB ‘A’ Weighted
Power Supply: 90v AC – 24v AC Auto-Switching
Power Consumption: 30w
Weight: 7kg
Dimensions: 10.5cm (H) 33.5cm (W) 16cm (D)

In my DAVE review, I concluded that that DAC’s “superb re-creation of soundstage depth, its sense of musical drive, and the clarity with which it presented recorded detail were addictive.” Listening to this new sample of the DAVE, that is what I heard. But with the DAVE working with CD data upsampled to the maximum rate of 705.6kHz or 768kHz, there was now even more image depth, an increased sense of drive, and even more clarity.

Stereophile, John Atkinson, February 2020

Quite candidly, the M Scaler makes substantial, across-the-board improvements to almost every qualitative aspect of the sound—so much so that you might feel like you are either A) listening through an altogether different and better headphone amp/DAC, or B) listening to delightfully re-mastered and/or much higher resolution versions of your favourite recordings. Once you hear the M Scaler in action, there’s no going back.”

HiFi Plus, Chris Martens, September 2019

“Digital disruption is the change that occurs when new digital technologies and business models affect the value proposition of existing goods and services.

If the goal is to get digital music to be as lifelike as possible – this is it. In fact, I would even put the 4X (blue) mode against any D/A converter out there. When you’re looking to find that balance in your system – the Hugo M Scaler serves as the perfect digital foundation to build upon. Not only as an upscaler, but as a future-proof digital cornerstone.

The Chord Electronics Hugo M Scaler offers up the highest level of tangible perspective. Not only in tonal contrast but in dynamic strength, depth, body, and timbre. My system has never sounded this articulate and goosebump-inducing since I’ve started this hobby. This is the next level. This is digital disruption.”

Audio Bacon, Jay Luong, May 2019

Download the Chord BLU MKII’s Manual to Learn More

Chord BLU MKII User’s Manual