Chord Electronics to showcase ‘ground-breaking’ gear at Bristol Hi-Fi Show
British digital audio expert, Chord Electronics, will debut five new British-designed, engineered and built products at this year’s Bristol Hi-Fi Show: the new ULTIMA PRE 2 preamp, ULTIMA 5 and ULTIMA 6 stereo power amps, plus the new 2go streamer/server and 2yu digital interface.
At the show, which takes place from 21 – 23 February at the Marriot City Centre Hotel, the Kent-based company will be introducing the myriad sonic benefits of the recently launched ULTIMA amplifier circuit topology, the specialist’s first completely new design in three decades, with demonstrations of the advanced dual-feed-forward error-correction technology throughout the weekend.
Also making its European debut at Bristol, will be the new 2go streamer/server and the new 2yu digital interface, two products that herald a new era of Hi-Res streaming, network audio and digital library playback for the company in 2020 and beyond.
Modernised to complement the new ULTIMA mono power amplifiers, the new ULTIMA PRE 2 uses the company’s striking new aesthetic, which benefits from a redesigned bolt-less fascia, featuring a 28mm-thick aircraft-grade aluminium front panel.
Forming part of the company’s flagship Reference range, the new ULTIMA PRE 2 benefits from a substantially larger chassis than the company’s standard preamps and features the latest proprietary ultra-high-frequency power supply and ultra-low-noise circuitry, delivering an incredible noise floor performance of below -130dB.
Highly flexible for today’s high-end audio systems, it offers four pairs of fully balanced inputs, four pairs of unbalanced inputs, plus two completely independent record loops. Each input has six levels of gain which can be individually selected to prevent large changes in volume when switching between inputs; all settings are microprocessor-stored, even when the power is removed.
2go is a high-performance streamer/server designed to transform Hugo 2 into a fully featured Wi-Fi- and Ethernet-enabled device, bringing the proven sound quality benefits of the company’s class-leading proprietary DAC technology to network audio.
In addition to Hi-Res music streaming, 2go benefits from 2x 2 TB-rated SD card slots for digital storage and playback, enabling Hugo 2 as a high-capacity solid-state digital music server (using MPD), all from a compact, space-saving and highly portable device.
Chord Electronics has also developed 2yu, a digital interface that connects to 2go to provide four digital outputs (USB, optical, coaxial and BNC), effectively making 2go and 2yu a standalone Chord Electronics streamer/server, to be used with any compatible DAC or digital-input device. This means the 2go/2yu duo can also benefit from the Hugo M Scaler’s 768kHz upscaling.
Crucially, when using 2go with Hugo 2, (once charged) all forms of digital playback can benefit from battery power alone, negating the need for external power supplies, expensive mains conditioners, distribution boards and cables etc., and removing the potentially degrading influence of AC mains noise and artefacts.
Finally, Chord Electronics will showcase its ‘ground-breaking’ next-generation ULTIMA amplifier topology to (full-size) stereo for the first time, with the introduction of two new power amplifiers, the ULTIMA 5 and ULTIMA 6.
The new models, which benefit from John Franks’ ground-breaking dual-feed-forward amplifier topology, directly replace their predecessors: ULTIMA 5 (300 watts) will replace the legendary SPM 1200 MK II (widely considered to be the definitive Chord Electronics amplifier), with the ULTIMA 6 (180 watts) replacing the SPM 1050 MK II.
The newcomers progress the gradual roll-out of Chord Electronics’ 30-years-in-the-making ULTIMA topology, which was first introduced in the Etude power amp, the flagship ULTIMA mono power amplifier and subsequent ULTIMA 2 and ULTIMA 3 monoblock power amps.
ULTIMA 5 and 6 share the same DNA as the flagship and reference-level monos, yet benefit from greater practicality and affordability, due to differing power outputs.