Chord Electronics debuts first Ultima integrated am

posted on Monday, 22nd May 2023 by Steve May

High-end  Hi-fi 

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Chord Electronics has unveiled its first Ultima integrated amplifier.

The spectacular new Ultima Integrated is a 125-watt design by Chord Electronics’ founder, owner and chief engineer, John Franks. It features the latest dual-feed-forward error-correction topology, proprietary ultra-high-frequency power supplies and the company’s premium industrial aesthetic.

Franks’ advanced error-correction topology, which monitors and immediately corrects signals before the output stage, is key to the four-input Ultima Integrated, offering astonishing signal accuracy, we’re told.

The Ultima topology is an advanced amplifier design developed by John Franks, the company's founder. It builds upon a technical paper by Dr. Malcolm J Hawksford and further refined by Bob Cordell of Bell Labs. Franks took this theory and developed it to a higher level, incorporating his own concepts in ultra-high-frequency power supplies. This topology is renowned for its high-performance, high-power capabilities.

Like previous Ultima amplifiers, the Integrated is hand-built at Chord Electronics' Kent factory, with each model overseen by a dedicated engineer. The amplifier feature aircraft-grade solid aluminium casework, providing a high-end and non-resonant enclosure for the electronics.

A unique Integra Leg system not only enhances the visual appeal but also allows for stacking with other Chord Electronics products and Choral units, providing versatility and integration options.

The lid of the Ultima Integrated is decorated with a logo-engraved dimmable LED light ring.

All four of the Ultima Integrated’s inputs, one fully balanced and three unbalanced, are buffered and filtered against radio frequency interference; selection switching is via microprocessor-controlled sealed relays.

Integrators should note that there’s also an AV bypass input, plus a balanced preamp output for connection to additional power amplifiers.

The new model is the only full-width model in the company’s range. It joins Anni, from the brand’s Qutest range, the company’s only other integrated amp.

Available in either Jett Black or Argent Silver, the Ultima Integrated has a 28-mm-thick front panel, with a spherical power control which uses dimmable polychromatic lighting. The power sphere is flanked by a newly designed combined volume and input selector, plus a combined balance and AV bypass control.

The Ultima Integrated will launch in September, with a retail price of £8,500.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology specialist who also writes for T3TechRadarHome Cinema Choice, Trusted Reviews and The Luxe Review.

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