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ampnut
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CHORD 14000 ULTIMATE REVIEW : Partisan Comments By John Atkinson ?

Over the years I have enjoyed reading Stereophile. The magazine offers unique ( and comprehensive ) reviews by including Both - Subjective reviews and objective tests - the latter by Editor John Atkinson.

JA has often revealed technical inadequacies or sometimes even poor design or implementation, in the reviewed products.

I was therefore RATHER surprised to see his comments during the Chord 14000 Ultimate Review.

This US $ 75,000 Ultimate Power Amplifier from Chord is (supposed to be ) a 1000 Watt / 2000 Watt power amplifier into 8 ohms / 4 Ohms.

Wallop is certainly part of the design goal, since Paul Bolin in his opening remarks says : "Priced no less than $75,000/ pair, the SPM 14000 is rated to produce power as do very few other amplifiers on the planet: it is very ( emphasis by Paul Bolin) conservatively rated at 1kW into 8 ohm load, 2kW into 4 ohms and will "easily exceed" ( again quotes by PB) 2800W (give or take a few watts) into 2 ohms. "

In the test bench evaluation, here is what John Atkinson said:
" ... Into 8 ohms I measured 525 Watts (27.2dBW) which is almost 3 dB below the specified power of 1 kW ...... The shortfall is probably insignificant in my opinion, ... "

REALLY J.A. ?

525 Watts instead of 1,000 Watts is an "INSIGNIFACANT" short fall in a $ 75,000 power amplifier pair ??

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Re: CHORD 14000 ULTIMATE REVIEW : Partisan Comments By John Atki


Quote:

REALLY J.A. ? 525 Watts instead of 1,000 Watts is an "INSIGNIFACANT" short fall in a $ 75,000 power amplifier pair ??

Yes, if you consider that in normal use with typical speakers, you will be unlikely to get close to the 525W Chord's unclipped power delivery. The difference between 525W and 1000W might be academic, whereas in the case of a 100W amp that only delivered 52.5W into 8 ohms, the shortfall in clipping power would indeed besignificant.

Remeber that in normal use with normal music, even a big amplifier will only be asked to deliver a few watts 99% of the time.

Regarding your use of the word "partisan," I am getting tired of such cheap shots. If you enjoy Stereophile, as you say you do, then why question what we do in a confrontational manner?

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

ampnut
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Re: CHORD 14000 ULTIMATE REVIEW : Partisan Comments By John Atki

1. I have little doubt that the Chord ultimate is a superb amp. PB has said so, and I have no reason to doubt that.

2. A dont think any of us needs to pass judgement on what is adequate or even more than adequate power from an amplifier. The answer to what is enough power is for the user to decide. Some systems are more than happy with 10 Watts of power.

As I said, one of the claims to the amplifier is its HUGE output power... matching that by other manufacturers like MF etc who also have similar powered Power Amps on the market.

3. JA's pre-conditionoing too was not at 0.333 power, as he has clearly said.

However, there is No Indication whether pre conditioning limited the output power of the Chord. I suspect it will not deliver rated power even when started cold..

4. JA, I believe you over stepped your brief to test the amplifier objectively, and HIGHLIGHT the results, good or bad.

Your comments seem to pardon / forgive that the amplifier could not deliver 475 out of its Promised 1000 Watts into 8 ohms. Refering this ( almost 50%) shortfall as 'INSIGNIFICANT" in an OBJECTIVE test is I believe in-appropriate. The same comments from PB in his SUJECTIVE piece would be less objectionable.

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Re: CHORD 14000 ULTIMATE REVIEW : Partisan Comments By John Atki

JA clearly pointed out the amps shortcoming in delivering its rated power. The fact that he commented on the relatively benign -3db that the shortcoming produced should be viewed for what it is...virtually insignificant considering the massive amount of power the amp produces to begin with.

This is a problem for the manufacturer to comment on and they missed the opportunity by not taking advantage of the "manufacturer's comments" section in Stereophile.

You seem to be in a "kill the messenger" mood on this one. JA put the facts on the table for everyone to consider for themselves.

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Re: CHORD 14000 ULTIMATE REVIEW : Partisan Comments By John Atki

Rainy Day Women #12 & 35

Although I believe Dylan had a different type of bitch in mind, it would seem applicable to Sphiles' critics. Hang in there guys, some of us love what you do.

RG

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Re: CHORD 14000 ULTIMATE REVIEW : Partisan Comments By John Atki

Wow, you can really sidestep a DEFECT. If it takes 10X the power to be twice as louc, then the difference between 525 W and 1000 IS significant. Continuing to loose credibilty. $75,000 !!! For a product that doesn't meet it ADVERTISED specs, that why teh FTC power rating rules where implemented, but hey, as usual, this is CONsumer audio, nothing matters but the BS. Maybe teh "insignificant shortcomings can be made up by using better cables? Perhaps it's aC line cord isn't pricey enough, I would expect a $75,000 Amp to have nothing but the best line cord, does it? Continuing into the realm of nonsense, goes StereoPhile. I get big laughs.

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Re: CHORD 14000 ULTIMATE REVIEW : Partisan Comments By John Atki

Sidestepping DEFECTS, you love it? come on, what is the point of a test, when the test proves the overpriced underperfoming thing is just that. But it has such nice metal work, we all know how that matters. Stereophile dudes need to check out some installations at pro sites, functionality reliability, and the SOUND matter. Some of teh best stuff is the most basic plain metal work. If CHORD takes away the fancy metal will it only sell for a more reasonable $30,000!!!!! What good are Stereophile reviews, the laughs continue. I will be renewing for many years, it's GREAT.

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Re: CHORD 14000 ULTIMATE REVIEW : Partisan Comments By John Atki


Quote:
I will be renewing for many years, it's GREAT.

Thank you "DUP."

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

gkc
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Re: CHORD 14000 ULTIMATE REVIEW : Partisan Comments By John Atki

DUP, I picked your negative response to JA's tests on the Chord simply because it's the latest in the series -- nothing personal. I just don't get the problems some of the forum denizens are having with the review and JA's credibility. Sounds like several tiny farts in a rather large windstorm. I re-read the piece. Mr. Atkinson duly noted a (relatively) minor discrepancy between the manufacturer's specs and his own measurements. 500 watts vs. 1000 watts. Pish. What SHOULD he have been done? Should JA have panned the gear for one glitch (with a non-musical test tone, at that...)among other stellar measurements against more important performance criteria? He noted the "flaw" and moved on, as he should have. The subjective reviewer (Mr. Bolin) said the amplifier sounded great, among the best he has ever listenend to. So what's the issue here? I always enjoy Mr. Atikinson's thorough objectivity when he puts on his measuring hat. He has noted, many times, the ironies associated with running an essentially "subjective" publication that is, after all, most concerned with percieved sound and reliability, and at the same time assuming the role of the blue meanie objectivist who "...seeks in book or manuscript/What he shall never find..." (Yeats) and parses the non-musical blips and readouts. I personally think that, over the years, he has walked the tightrope between music lover and scientist very adroitly. One has to hope, as JA has written MANY times, for worthwhile correlations between listening impressions and hard data that can lead to improvements in the ART of equipment design, but STILL realize that stellar equipment CAN sound great, be reliable, and measure poorly. As a tester, he can only do what he does so well: note the discrepancies and move on. The price? Not an issue. I could afford to buy this amp, in absolute terms, but I have no desire to pay more than, say, 10 grand for ANY amp, regardless of how it measures. There are simply too many great-sounding amps in the 3 to 5 grand range. If somebody else wants to buy it (and, believe me, there are those who will...) for other reasons, Mr. Atkinson's review certainly will accomodate those folks, too. I think the overall piece was VERY objective about the amp's strengths and weaknesses... what more is there? By the way, I just heard the LA Philharmonic do the Mahler 5th at Disney Hall last Friday, from a center seat on row 9: cost me $125. Conducted by a German who knows Mahler (Ingo Metzmacher, of the Bamberg). Lasted 90 minutes or so, and it's now gone forever. Poof! Yet I have the memory of it, and a nice system that can revive that memory, so life is good. I'll just bet Mr. Atkinson would have loved to have been there because I know he loves music. I'm not so sure I can say that about some of the other "objectivists" chasing electrons around the ether. Cheers to all, and happy listening. Clifton

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Re: CHORD 14000 ULTIMATE REVIEW : Partisan Comments By John Atki

This has been a fun subject.

Surely, Chord missing their spec by 50% is quite a pants down maneuver.

It's certainly something that Chord should be called to task on to 'splain.

I wonder, though, if they had just called it a 525 watt amp, would Mr. DUP still be so worked up?

I'm not condoning such a wildly wrong use of spec, but I think there is more to Mr. DUP's upset than that. I think the price tag got stuck in his pants and that is driving much of his rant.

On that, no one is the absolute arbitor of value, so no fair screaming about price. (Like Cliff, I wouldn't buy it at one tenth the cost!) Same goes for the prices on a lot of things I like reading about, though, so no value worries here. Value is personal.

I did notice Mr. DUP seems to really be into watts. He is facile with how many watts this or that AVA can do, so maybe the review really hit him someplace that doesn't hit me so hard. When I see watts thrown around like that, I mostly think of some guy standing next to his car talking about however many bazillion watts he's running, but it lacks any system context, so I've never paid much attention. DUP may be much more sensitive to this than others.

Actually, at 525 watts per side...call it a kilowatt total....the Chord delivers one watt per each 75 dollars.

There are lots of amp that deliver less "value" and escape the "Wrath of DUP." Why is that?

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Re: CHORD 14000 ULTIMATE REVIEW : Partisan Comments By John Atki

As in quality speakers ya needs quality WATTS to move air. Not 1000W of car audio amp for $195. dudes. So i guess my incoming Legacy WHISPERS don't need the watts I have to offer them? I heard WHISPER on a small 250W p/c amp, sounded limited, missing something. Even though they are very efficient, nothing but watts opens up teh sound. CONTROL. I use 4 amps in mono to drive my current FOCUS. The improvment over single amp to bi-amp to QUAD , was ALWAYS an improvment, not just in volume but in ease, less strain, bass becomes more defined, controlled at realistic lsitening levels, not background Frank Sinatra crap. 4200W out of 4 mono AVA/Haflers is making it REAL. I attend a live event, that's what I want at home. $75,000 for a 500W p/c amp is teh most absurd thing so far this month in Sterephile. What kind of AC outlet did you plug it into, maybe that restrited it? didn't you use some "audio grade" outlets? some magic crystal wire? $75,000 for an under performing non FTC meeting consumer product guidline, and you want me to beleive in Stereophile articles, I am re subscribing for 5 more years!!! I love the gags, called "REVIEWS!!! Keep em' coming. I hope I see teh $100,000+ turntable review by Michael Fremer, now this guy is reality based!!!!

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Re: CHORD 14000 ULTIMATE REVIEW : Partisan Comments By John Atki

DUP, I bet when you turn it up with your new speakers and system, Legacy will want to change the name of their speaker from "Whisper" to something more appropriate!

I'm trying to ponder the potential for your neighbors to wish you harm when you really let 'er rip.

Maybe instead of "Whisper," they'll change the name to "WHAT?"

You must shake your foundation!

_____________________________

About "value," though. You know, there are most likely almost exactly as many 'civilians' who would scream about the lack of value in your system, too. Or mine, any of us who consider ourselves rational audiophiles.

For every person like you yelling about a Chord, there will be just as many looking at what you post and say, "Damn, that guy's got no clue. My Cerwin Vegas will kicks the Whipser's butt for 800 dollars...and all I need is my Sansootchie 8.1 300 dollar receiver to do it!"

I don't mean to pry, but how much total do you think you'll have invested in your system once the Whispers arrive?

And that's NOT crazy?

Yup, some car guy will look at that and say, "For one tenth that I can get more "real" watts driving my van's woofers and generate 140 dB! Whipsers and AVA, my ass."

Outsiders think we're all crazy. Everything over a grand is nuts to them. How can you get outraged and draw the line at a 100k turntable when you've crossed the line into audio insanity yourself?

I mean that in the fun hobby way, not that you're really nuts, even though you may be.

Cheers.

Hey, let us know when the Whispers are up and running, I'll be curious to see how it goes.

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Re: CHORD 14000 ULTIMATE REVIEW : Partisan Comments By John Atki

I don't just listen to the WATTS, it need to be QUALITY Watts, i can buy a $300 1000W amp, and it'll be garbage. Hafler/AVA OmegaStar EX WATTS at 1200W for 2 of my Hafler P500 running in mono using the VanAlstine Ultra Hybrid phase inverters (2), the other pair of AVA rebuilt Hafler 500 into OmegaStar EX ckts ar e"only about 900W each in mono from the phase inverters. It's not unreasonable, just read teh Legacy FOCUS users manual on teh Legacy audio website..Find it read it, 10X teh power for 3dB or double the volume. Therefore to get live REAL LIFELIKE peaks of REAL music, not Frank Sinatra crap, it takes lotsa Watts. and good clean watts fat watts to drive speakers of even teh high efficencys of Legacy WHISPER or FOCUS. When teh real deep bass comes while a slam of a snare drum, while the guitar wails from Albert King, it takes WATTS, to deliver it unscattehed and lifelike, The AVA does it, delivering it's specced performance. And they cost only a few grand each...$75,000 products not meeting written specs means they are an overpriced DEFECTIVE unusable product. Let me see them get a way selling the stuff and telling teh pro user, oh well, we where wrong on our specs, but we don't refund teh $75K !!! It's almost FRAUD. But Sterephile does a doublespeak around teh DEFECTS!!! Take some AVA Hafler electronics for a spin then one gets to see why these usueless revies of over hyped underperforming overpriced junk gets me going. For $75,000 they can't make it work to the advertised specs? they sure spent time on soem useless frills of metal work. I'll take teh basic 19" rack faces, that produce lotsa clean useable REAL power, meeting what I bought and paid for. Why can't J.A. get Chord to respond to their defective products? By ignoring this DEFECT, they are not helping any reader get usaable information on products.

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