AMID the digital frenzy of recent years (DACs, streamers, etc), it’s easy to forget that Chord Electronics made its mark three decades ago as a manufacturer of some excellent amplifiers that used switching power supplies. But here’s a timely reminder – the ULTIMA Integrated, which features trickle-down technology from costlier siblings in the ULTIMA line.
The 125-watt amplifier, just launched at High End, Munich, is designed by Chord Electronics’ founder, owner and chief engineer, John Franks. It is the first new Chord integrated amplifier in seven years and the only full-width model in the company’s range now.
“Franks’ advanced error-correction topology, which monitors and immediately corrects signals before the output stage, is key to the four-input ULTIMA INTEGRATED, and offers astonishing signal accuracy for unrivalled fidelity from a one-box integrated device,” the press literature informs us.
“The unit features no fewer than four separate high-power line input phase-corrected power supplies working in harmony to give this new amplifier the high energy power levels and fast transient power that Chord Electronics’ products are known for.”
In addition to its four inputs, AV bypass and balanced outputs, the amplifier’s rear panel also contains high-quality loudspeaker terminals, a 12V trigger and a 10A C-19-type IEC socket.
The amp also takes advantage of “the very latest developments in advanced low-distortion power supplies – devices offering exceptionally low noise and outstanding amplifier operation.
“ULTIMA is the ultimate expression of the finest high-performance, ultra-fast, high-power amplifier technology available today and draws on the company’s three decades of research, design and engineering.”
All four inputs – one fully balanced and three unbalanced – feature individual buffering and are selectively filtered against potential ingress from radio frequency interference. Selection switching is via microprocessor-controlled sealed relays.
All the metalwork is precision-machined from solid aircraft-grade aluminium. The upper panel features Chord Electronics’ established vented design, with a newly redesigned logo-engraved dimmable LED light ring for distinctive visual appeal.
The amp, available in a choice of Jett Black or Argent Silver, can also be ordered with a highly polished black acrylic side block option at no additional cost.
The ULTIMA INTEGRATED, retailing at £8,500, is available to pre-order, and will start shipping in September.