DESIGNED ground-up, Chord Electronics’ new Ultima Pre 3 preamp features the latest developments in advanced power supplies and a new circuit design.
The brainchild of Chord founder-owner John Franks, the Ultima Pre 3 “harnesses more than 30 years of British amplifier-building expertise and takes advantage of the very latest developments in advanced low-distortion power supplies”.
We’re also told that “these new devices offer exceptionally low noise and outstanding amplifier operation… coupled with the company’s latest circuit design, the Ultima Pre 3 offers new levels of preamplifier performance.”
The Ultima Pre 3 features five analogue inputs (two balanced, three unbalanced), plus a separate AV bypass input. All main inputs enjoying individual buffering and are selectively filtered against radio frequency interference. Selection switching is performed via sealed relays, controlled by microprocessors.
Additionally, the Ultima Pre 3’s front panel design is a breakaway from Chord’s older models.
“The new fascia offers a perfectly symmetrical design, centred on a circular power on/off sphere which uses the company’s familiar polychromatic indicator lighting, giving a clear and simple indication of the amplifier’s playing status. The power sphere is flanked by a newly-designed combined volume and input selector, plus a combined balance and AV bypass control.
“All casework is precision-machined from solid aircraft-grade aluminium, including the Integra legs. A black acrylic side-block alternative to the Integra legs is also available as a no-cost option. The upper panel features a pleasing vented design, which is enhanced with a dimmable LED light.”
On the Ultima Pre 3’s rear panel, apart from the inputs and outputs, there’s a 12 V trigger and IEC power inlet, plus a convenient 5V/3A USB Type-A output to power peripheral devices, including Chord Electronics’ DACs such as the Qutest and Hugo 2.
“The Ultima Pre 3 is perfectly suited to a wide range of power amps, including the Ultima 5 and 6 stereo power amplifiers, and the Ultima 2 and 3 monoblocks.”
Hand-built in the UK and retailing at £6,000, the Ultima Pre 3 comes in either Jett Black or Argent Silver finish.