Flagship amplifiers strike the right Chord

Chord Electronics has unveiled an all-new statement pre-amplifier and power amplifier combination. The Ultimas feature the striking, chunky and slightly steampunk aesthetics typical of the Chord product range, while promising cutting edge performance.

Created to commemorate the marque’s upcoming 30th anniversary, the Ultima line-up comprises a reference-grade pre-amplifier and a pair of monoblock power amplifiers.

The power amps are based on an advanced dual feed-forward error-correction topology, further developed by Chord’s John Franks to incorporate the ultra-high frequency power supplies typical of the marque’s amplifier designs.

Each huge, 86 kg monoblock takes several days to build by hand. The casework is crafted from aircraft-grade aluminium to combat resonance, and employs 64 proprietary MOSFET power devices.

The high-speed amplifier circuitry operates at 300V per millisecond, linked to sophisticated feed-forward and feedback compensation mechanisms. The dual-die lateral matched MOSFETs are monitored by output-stage error correction circuitry.

Rated output is 780 watts into 8 ohms, 1,4 kW into 4 ohms and 2,5 kW into 2 ohms. Peak current output exceeds 500 amps, while peak dynamics are delivered at high speed.

According to Chord, the Ultima pre-amp employs advanced proprietary technology. The dual mono design uses separate ultra-high frequency power supplies for each channel, while the noise floor is below -135 dB.

Facilities include three balanced XLR and three single-ended RCA output sets, while the input complement comprises four XLR and four RCA stereo sets, each offering a six-step gain adjustment.

The internal configuration makes provision for individual shielding of the power supplies, as well as the volume, balance and EQ controls to address RF interference. The pre-amp has two headphone jacks on the front panel.

UK pricing is 30 000 pounds Sterling per unit, which translates into a whopping R555 000 each, or R1,65-million for the Ultima pre-amp and two Ultima monoblocks. And that’s before import tax, transport and VAT …