Chord Electronics has launched an all-new ground-up design analogue preamplifier, the ULTIMA PRE 3. The new preamp is an entirely fresh design both inside and out, and benefits from the latest unique Chord Electronics’ preamplifier technologies, plus a striking new fascia design, all masterminded by the company’s 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. 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.
Benefiting from five analogue inputs (two balanced and three unbalanced), plus a separate AV bypass input, all five of the ULTIMA PRE 3’s inputs enjoy individual buffering and are selectively filtered against potential ingress from radio frequency interference. Selection switching is performed via sealed relays, controlled by microprocessors.
Externally, the ULTIMA PRE 3 benefits from a completely redesigned front panel. The new fascia offers a perfectly symmetrical design, centered on a circular power on/off sphere, using 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 volume and input selector control knob, plus a combined balance and AV bypass control.
All casework is precision CNC 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.
In addition to its five inputs, the ULTIMA PRE 3’s rear panel features both balanced and unbalanced outputs, a 12 V trigger and IEC power inlet, plus a convenient 5 V/3 A USB Type-A output to power peripheral devices, including Chord Electronics’ DACs such as the Qutest and Hugo 2.
The new ULTIMA PRE 3 is perfectly suited to a wide range of power amps, including the ULTIMA 5 and ULTIMA 6 stereo power amplifiers. It can also be used with the ULTIMA 2 and ULTIMA 3 monos.
The hand-built ULTIMA PRE 3 is available now in either Jett black or Argent silver. It will make its European show debut at High End, Munich, 2022.
The ULTIMA PRE 3 is available right now for a RRP of £6,000