Chord unveils Ultima 2 and Ultima 3 mono power amps, plus Huei phono preamp

posted on Tuesday, 14th May 2019 by Steve May

Hi-fi  High-end  High Res Audio 


Chord Electronics used the Munich High End show to introduce a number of new high-end products. As part of its 30th anniversary celebrations, it has trickled down technology from its flagship Ultima amplifier, to create two new mono power amps, the Ultima 2 and Ultima 3.

The 750w Ultima 2 is a direct replacement for the SPM 6000 Mark II, while the smaller 480w Ultima 3 replaces the SPM 1400 Mk2. They sit in the Reference Range and Full-size ranges respectively.

Predictably these battleships are not cheap: the Ultimate 3 sells for £11,000, while the Ultima 2 is £18,360. But then, build quality is suitably high. The new models tip the scales at more than 80 kg apiece.

The new amplifiers feature a remodeled fascia, machined from aircraft grade aluminium; a 28mm thick front panel features a recessed polycarbonate power button that illuminates for Standby and Operation.

Buyers have a choice of either black or silver finishes. Both models can also be specified with Chord’s distinctive stackable Leg System, which allows them to stack with various other full-size chord Electronics kit, as well as Choral units like the Dave DAC preamp and Blu Mark II CD transport.

Ultima _2_Front Cropped

Connectivity includes both balanced and unbalanced connections, with chunky loudspeaker terminals and a 12 volt trigger for control.

Chord’s Ultima topology is a unique amplifier design from owner and Chief Designer John Franks; it’s his first all new amplifier design in three decades. Key to its design is an incredibly high Peak output current which promises outstanding dynamics and clarity. The brand hails it as the most advanced amplifier technology in the world.

Both new Ultima amplifiers have been designed and engineered in the UK, handbuilt in its East Kent factory, the Pump House.

Huei _Top Crop

Chord has also unveiled a new phono preamp, the Huei. Supporting both moving magnet and moving coil cartridges, the Huei has high and low gain switching settings accessed from front panel controls.

The Huei is also precision machined from solid aircraft grade aluminium, and adopts a similar form factor to the company's Qutest DAC. Once again there's a transparent window which offers at view into the Illuminated electronics inside. Distinctive front panel spheres offer direct access to gain and impedance settings, as well as cartridge selection.

The Huei features both balanced and unbalanced outputs, and will retail for £990 when it goes on sale late summer.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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