Chord unveils Ultima flagship pre-amp and mono power amp

posted on Friday, 9th November 2018 by Steve May

Hi-fi  High-end 

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Chord has taken the wraps off Ultima, state-of-the-art flagship amplification. Comprising a reference-quality preamp and two monoblocks (each priced at £30,000), Ultima is hailed as the brand’s most accomplished amplifier proposition in its 30-year history.

Ultima’s technology is based on a technical paper by Dr Malcolm J Hawksford (emeritus professor at Essex University) which was taken up and refined by Bob Cordell of Bell Labs. Chord Electronics’ owner and Chief Designer, John Franks, then took the theory and developed it; a progression of Cordell’s advanced dual-feed-forward error-correction topology incorporating Franks’ own advanced concepts in ultra-high-frequency power supplies, which have been a cornerstone of the company’s proprietary-technology amplifiers since its inception in 1989.

Each 86kg mono amplifier is hand-built at Chord’s Kent factory, The Pumphouse, over a period of several days, with each build overseen by a dedicated engineer.

Chord _Ultima _Pre _Rear Trim
Chord _Ultima _Pre _Front _Left Trim
The casework is aircraft-grade solid aluminium, providing a non-resonant enclosure for the electronics. The casework is complemented by the unique Integra Leg system which offers both striking visuals and the ability to stack with various other full-size Chord Electronics products as well as the Choral units, such as the Dave DAC preamp and Blu MKII CD digital transport, when using the dedicated Choral Ensemble stand. The system’s power output is rated at 780 watts into 8 ohms.

The Ultima preamp includes three pairs of fully balanced outputs and three unbalanced outputs; inputs include four unbalanced and four balanced with six-step gain adjustment; selection is made via remote control or from the front panel, which features separate frequency EQ adjust controls for the left and right channels.

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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