In short, then, the Chord Electronics’ ULTIMA 5 is monumentally capable. It has a reasonably uncommon combination of on-paper promise (all that innovative engineering, all those colossal numbers), visual drama (especially if you’re into the whole steampunk/Alan Moore aesthetic) and implacable performance that makes the asking price look as if entirely reasonable. It certainly doesn’t make any demands of you in terms of the type of music you prefer to listen to; the ULTIMA 5 plays no favourites and is as happy to explain the motivations of a king-sized symphony orchestra in full attack mode, as it is those of a rapper with a sampler and an 808.
If you value energy as much as precision in the way your music is described, if you value precision as much as scale, and if you value scale as much as insight, well… the Chord Electronics ULTIMA 5 has you covered. As part of an appropriate system (for which read ‘appropriately expensive and equally capable’), it could conceivably be all the stereo power amplifier you will ever need.
Type: Class AB sliding bias stereo power amplifier
Analogue inputs: One pair gold-plated unbalanced RCA jacks; one pair gold-plated balanced XLR jacks; one 12v trigger input (Chord Electronics auto‑start)
Analogue outputs: One pair high-current gold-plated speaker terminals
Power output: 300 watts RMS per channel @ 0.005% THD into 8 Ohms
Bandwidth: (-1dB) 0.5Hz–100kHz
Sensitivity: Not specified
Distortion: As above
Signal to Noise Ratio: -100dB
Damping factor: between 5,000- 12,000
Dimensions (H×W×D): 150 × 420 × 360mm (as reviewed, with optional side blocks)
Manufacturer/distributor: Chord Electronics
Tel: 01622 721444