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British manufacturer Chord Electronics has launched a ground-up-design analogue preamplifier, the ULTIMA PRE 3, available to order now for £6,000 (USD tbc). The company says the hand-made preamp is a fresh design inside and out. As well as bearing the latest Chord technologies, the PRE 3 has a new fascia design. With a low-distortion power supply, the preamp puts out “exceptionally” low noise and uses Chord’s latest circuit layouts.

The new unit deploys five analogue inputs – two balanced and three unbalanced – plus a separate AV bypass input. All five of the main inputs enable individual buffering and are selectively filtered against potential ingress from radio frequency interference. Selection switching is performed via sealed relays controlled by microprocessors.A new symmetrical fascia centers on a circular power on/off sphere which uses the company’s polychromatic indicator lighting scheme for showing the amplifier’s playing status. The sphere is, in turn, flanked by a new combined volume and input selector, as well as combined balance and AV bypass controls. All casework and legs are made up of solid aircraft-grade aluminium. The vented-design upper panel is enhanced with a dimmable LED light.

Rear panel connections include balanced and unbalanced outputs, a 12 V trigger, an IEC power inlet and 5 V/3 A USB Type-A output to power peripheral devices, including Chord Electronics’ own DACs. Chord says the ULTIMA PRE 3 is suited to a wide range of power amps, including its own ULTIMA stereo and monoblock models. Available chassis colors are jett black or argent silver. For more information, go to the Chord Electronics website, or visit the company’s booth at High End, Munich, 2022.


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Published by

Martin Dew