The new design, which has been developed and implemented by Chief Designer, owner and Managing Director John Franks, features a completely new topology for Chord Electronics amplifiers since its inception in 1989. The new amplifier presented for the first time at High End 2018 is expected to be available autumn 2018 for 3,900 British Pounds, or approximately USD $5,000.
The Choral Etude has been designed to both complement and exploit the full potential of the company’s award-winning high-resolution DAVE DAC, which has a built-in preamp functionality. "The amp topology has even faster power delivery than existing Chord Electronics designs, offering unrivaled dynamics, a life-like delivery of transient information, plus effortless control over loudspeaker drive units," Chord states. That should explain in part why the new amp was named Étude, a French term for Study, usually attributed to a small musical composition, designed as "an exercise to improve the technique or demonstrate the skill of a player."
The Choral Etude, which is the latest addition to the company’s eight-strong bijou Choral range, (which includes the recently launched BLU MKII FPGA-based upscaling digital transport), combines a high power output with vanishingly low distortion across the entire audio band, right up to 30kHz.
The design is based upon multi-feedback and dual feed-forward error-correction amplifier technology that intelligently adjusts and compensates the individual linearity of the 250-watt lateral structure high-power proprietary MOSFETs, (arranged in two banks of four).
The amplifier’s power, which is conservatively rated at 150 watts into 4 ohms and 300 watts in bridged mono mode, comes from three proprietary Chord Electronics’ ultra-compact switch-mode high-frequency power supplies; one operates the auxiliary rails and the other two feed the high-current active power rails. The power supplies’ advanced internal shielding ensures that the signal path is not adversely influenced.
The Choral Etude is technically advanced, with a signal-to-noise ratio in the order of 108 dBV and an incredibly high damping factor of 10,000 across the whole audio band. The amplifier is extremely fast and able to pass low-level signals up to and beyond 400 kHz.
Connections include balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA inputs, plus high-quality gold-plated speaker binding posts offering 6mm spade and 4mm banana connectivity. The amplifier is bridgeable, offering 300 watts into each channel/speaker, all from a compact chassis.
As part of the Choral range, the new Choral Etude will share the same aerospace-grade machined aluminum chassis and casework, and will be available in both silver and black finishes. The company promised to provide more technical details about its new amplifier topology later in the year, when the Étude will be available.