Chord Electronics debuts ULTIMA 3 power amp at UK Hi-Fi Show Live

Chord betting on ULTIMA 3 at Ascot

by Andy Bassett

Announced back in May, the ULTIMA 3 mono power amplifier from the UK’s Chord Electronics will be making its UK debut at the UK Hi-Fi Show Live 2019.

Appearing in the Windsor Forest room at the Ascot Racecourse between 26-27th October. the ULTIMA 3 will be demonstrated for the first time in the UK and represents the apogee of 30 years of the company’s amplifier R&D.

The original top of the range ULTIMA power amp first introduced Chord’s new amplifier topology a year ago and now the ULTIMA 3 benefits from the introduction of the flagship’s design DNA, including new state-of-the-art dual-feed-forward power amp technology, for just over a third of the original’s £30,000 asking price. The ULTIMATE amplifier technology evolved and improved from its very first paper technical specifications until finally, Chord MD John Franks incorporated his very own advanced concepts in ultra-high-frequency power supplies.

The 480 watt ULTIMA 3 replaces the company’s SPM 1400 MKII and sits in the Full Size range. It features a newly designed fascia which consists of a solid 28mm, non-resonant, aircraft-grade aluminium panel and the power button sports dimmable illumination for both operation and standby modes.

The ULTIMA 3 mono amp uses 32 proprietary TO3-style dual-die lateral-matched MOSFET (metal oxide silicon field effect transistor) power devices which use advanced circuitry and high quality components to create an ultra low distortion, high voltage amplifier which operates at a speedy 300 volts per microsecond. These MOSFETs are continuously monitored using output stage error-correction circuitry and the amplifier’s fully balanced input circuitry features DC-tracking servos and full temperature compensation.

The result is a mono power amp with an extremely high peak output current (i.e. the speed at which the dynamic peaks can be delivered) which leads to improved dynamics, fidelity and timing.

The ULTIMA mono power amplifiers are hand assembled over a period of days and have been engineered for the very finest Hi-Fi systems those which, by their very nature, have the most demanding and difficult-to-drive speakers. The amp offers both balanced and unbalanced connections plus high-quality loudspeaker terminals.


The ULTIMA series casework is finished off by a side block stacking system called the Integra Leg system. This allows for other Chord devices to be handily and eye-catchingly added. Indeed, the ULTIMA 3 will be on show at Ascot alongside Chord’s flagship front-end, the BLU MKII digital/CD transport - which includes the company’s latest FPGA-based 768KHz upscaling technology - its reference level DAVE DAC, plus the company’s CPA5000 preamp.

The Chord Electronics showcase system will be complemented by (fellow Kent based) KEF’s Blade 2 loudspeakers in a system that celebrates some of the best British audio engineering available while echoing the event’s high-end ethos.

Technical specifications

Output Power: 480W RMS per channel @ 0.05% distortion into 8Ω;
Frequency Response: 1dB @ 0.2Hz to 46kHz and -3dB 0.1Hz to 200kHz
Signal to Noise Ratio: Better than -84dB
Channel Separation: Better than 90dB
Input Impedance: 100kΩ Unbalanced/Balanced
Output Impedance: 0.04Ω
Dimensions with included Integra legs: 481mm x 176mm x 377mm

The ULTIMA 3 mono amplifier is available now for £11,000 (each) and can be specified with either the famous stackable Integra Leg system in Jett Black, Argent Silver or Nickel finishes or the highly polished black acrylic side block option.

If any site readers or members are planning to visit the UK Hi-Fi Show Live (Oct 26-27th), please drop into the discussion thread and let everyone know what caught your ear and eye.

Source: Press release
Image Source: Chord Electronics
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