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tobes
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Chord SPM 1400 test results

I find it somewhat bemusing that JA brushed off the Chord amplifiers inability to meet it's power output specification - at any load resistance.
Admittedly JA measured about 500W/8ohms - more than enough for most any application - but the manufacturer claims double that and Paul Bolin's text claims "it is very conservatively rated at 1Kw into 8ohms".
If I bought a 100W amplifier and it only produced 50W I'd be a bit pissed off - yeah, it's only 3db extra but you've payed for that.
If I payed $75,000!!! for an amp that claimed a 1KW output, I'd bloody well expect to get that (or something close)....certainly not *half* of the claimed output power. I don't think this is an unreasonable expectation, especially given the price.
Paul Bolin says it's as the best solid-state amp he's heard....great, but why does the manufacturer feel the need to lie about the output spec?

On a different subject, I received my print copy of the March Stereophile in the mail today (I'm in Australia).....still no sign of the digital Zinio version. Don't think I'll be renewing the Zinio subscription, I signed up expecting a 'hot off the press peek'....but it's basically redundant on it's current release schedule.

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

The Zinio subscriptions are brand new and obviously haven't had the kinks worked out yet. I can understand the annoyance, but I'm sure things will get worked out.

Chords absence in the Manufacturer's Comments section is a missed opportunity to address the considerable variance in specifications.

tobes
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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

I wonder if it's possible that the Chord was faulty?
There was also an anomoly in the amps output impedence, which measured nearly 8 times higher than the manufacturers spec.
Could this highish output impedence (and the consequent variation in frequency response) be the reason Bolin prefered the amps balance to the Halcro? ie a few bumps in the right places?
Not that I'm in the market (or ever will be) for such an outrageously expensive amp......but if I were....I'd take the Halcro at a third the cost. That amps specs back up it's apparently stupendous sonics (and it meets and exceeds it's specifications), and it will likely sound better as the rest of the system moves towards nuetrality.

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results


Quote:
I find it somewhat bemusing that JA brushed off the Chord amplifiers inability to meet it's power output specification - at any load resistance...If I bought a 100W amplifier and it only produced 50W I'd be a bit pissed off - yeah, it's only 3db extra but you've payed for that.

I think the difference is that it is unlikely that the extra 3dB will matter with the Chord's unclipped +500W delivery but will do so with a 50W/100W comparison. But yes, I was disappointed in the shortfall, even given the +120V AC supply when I did the power measurements.

Regarding the Zinio edition, I am sorry it is late (again). However, I would have thought the lower price for overseas subscribers an incentive to use this service.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

tobes
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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

OOops, forgot to log on for that last post.
On the Zinio thing....having sampled a couple of issues, I can't see it replacing the paper copy for me. It's still easier and more relaxing to thumb though the print version - and I can plonk myself down in front of my system while I read.
It is handy to have a copy on my computer in addition to the print version. If the schedule gets sorted, it might still be worthwhile....the price is pretty minimal.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

I have not received my issue yet, but I am finding more and more that many amps are perilously close to failing the 1/3 power preconditioning test...it seems to me. Obviously this is a hard test for any amp, but the manufacturers are the ones specifying the wattage, hopfully for more than marketing purposes. JA is careful not to hold his hand on the amp for long after these tests as this is a safety issue for sure, especially if you have curious little children. I know that in the 70's the watts race was a big deal, but I think audiophiles are mostly over that issue. Most of the reviews on gear are about how something sounds and not whether you could use it for a power generator. In actual use many of these issues go away, but still inadequate heat sinks and power supplies will make passing the FTC test hard.

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results


Quote:
I am finding more and more that many amps are perilously close to failing the 1/3 power preconditioning test...In actual use many of these issues go away, but still inadequate heat sinks and power supplies will make passing the FTC test hard.

The hardware is the most expensive part for the manufacturer, so if you use inadequate heatsinking for the FTC test, your amplifier will still be okay 95% of the time and you can make it cheaper than its similarly rated opposition. But I still think it's cheating -- I believe such amplifiers should not be rated at their clipping power but at 3x the output power they can sustain without overheating, which will be lower than clipping.

John Atkinson
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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results


Quote:
is it possible that the Chord's inability to produce it's rated power is related to the migration from UK's 240V mains to the 120V US mains? There wasn't some 'voltage select' switch that you missed?

I did think about that, but no, all seemed fine. The review sample was much traveled, BTW, and was part of the pair demonstrated at the 2005 CES. I did wonder if it was broken, but the fact that it passed signal okay ruled this out.

I also wondered if one phase of the balanced input had become disconnected, which would give a 6dB reduction in maximum power, but no, that seemed okay also.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results


Quote:

...The hardware is the most expensive part for the manufacturer, so if you use inadequate heatsinking for the FTC test, your amplifier will still be okay 95% of the time and you can make it cheaper than its similarly rated opposition....

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

OK, I gotta yank your chain just a tidge.

At 74,000.00 for two channels, would they have sold significantly fewer units even if they had gone "crazy" and spent another grand on a heat sink?

Heck, I bet for one large, you could equip those those babies with freakin' tail fins and brake lights!

I'm pretty sure that consumers in that target category wouldn't stop and say, "Whoa, 74 grand I can see, but no way does 75 grand justify such extravagance with regard to heat sinks. That's just throwing my money away! Halcro, here I come! Honey...pass the Beluga"

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

ROFLMAO

RG

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results


Quote:

Quote:
...The hardware is the most expensive part for the manufacturer, so if you use inadequate heatsinking for the FTC test, your amplifier will still be okay 95% of the time and you can make it cheaper than its similarly rated opposition

At 74,000.00 for two channels, would they have sold significantly fewer units even if they had gone "crazy" and spent another grand on a heat sink?

I was making a general point about current amplifier design practice. In the case of the Chord Ultimate, its heatsinking may look great and is undoubtedly expensive, but does not appear to be efficient at doing what it it needs to do.

I had a similar criticism about the Chord integrated amplifier we reviewed a few years ago (see www.stereophile.com/integratedamps/701chord/ ).

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

Try a VanAlstine DH500 Hafler rebuild into an OmegaStar EX ckt. New MOSFETS, new ckt boards....In MONO using his 2 new Ultra Hybrid phase inverters, something like 900W available I think, I use 4 of em'. Feeding my Legacy Audio FOCUS 2 Ulta Phase inverters (hybrids) 4 Omegastar EX Hafler DH500, you want POWER and nothing near the absurd prices of this obviously over rated (FTC violation?). Frank is also building me 2 Hafler P500 amps they will do about 1200W each with the larger AC transformer, and if ya want over 1000W pc into 1 OHM why not a rebuilt Hafler Xl-600 from VanAlstine. $75,000 for a power amp, yeah, that's worth it, AVA is super reliable, never had a failure yet, when a product don't produce what's advertised, and thee prices, how could it justify it's exsistence? Why not $100,000 power amp, with only 8W output. Someone will buy it, with teh right BS line.

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

Inadequte cooling and not meeting advertised specs is WHY FTC imposed teh rules. Pro audio stuff better do what is says, or the company ain't gonna survive. When a crowd wants to hear it's band, and some electronics fail or don't deliver, the people using them will not tolerate it. Why do audio nuts think it's OK, for a product to not meet spec, is OK? the world of audio for teh consumer is filled with such illogic, and Bs, it's numbifying.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

I find the power considerations more marketing error than anything else. My only performance concern would be the noise level, but the reviewer was not aware of any noise issue impeding his enjoyment of the Chord Amp in any way. There is some pretty heady company at this level, ie Halcro, BAT, Levinson, VTL, Bryston, Lamm, and many others.

It would a nice problem to have to be seriously considering buying any of them. I would have to believe that buying at this level is more about the sound than the science or specs. It sure would be for me.

All of these amps are effortless, revealing, enthralling, and get just about anyone's toes a tapping. The question becomes if someone dropped $80 grand in your lap is the nearest Chord dealer where you are headed?

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results


Quote:
The question becomes if someone dropped $80 grand in your lap is the nearest Chord dealer where you are headed?

That's a great way of putting it, Jim. I do it like this:

Does this sound 75 grand better than that.

RG

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

I'm sitting here reading the review of the Moon and thinking...I could just pocket $65,000 and maybe not think I was missing much. Your point exactly.

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

Yes, and the Moon exceeds it's power specs quite comfortably - putting it in the same power class as the Chord in reality. The Moon's lower output impedence also means it is measurably flatter into real speaker loads.
It certainly looks like a bargain buy next to the Chord.
IMO, you would have to be incredibly rich *and* silly to even consider the Chord. The fact that this amp actually has a market says it all.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

It just show us that the law of dimishing returns kick in all the time. One thing keeps striking me as how honorable "Phile" is in terms of their reviews. At the end of Michael Fremer's speaker review he hoped that the measured performance didn't embarrass him as he really like the sound. As all the Stereophile reviewers are well versed in what IS great sound and have great experience in auditioning the good, the bad, and the OK, and clearly tell us what they heard.

Then JA comes along and "spills the beans" about what the man in the white lab coat found out. Sometime good and others, not so good. He can usually tell us why the reviewer heard what they did...and sometimes not. It only proves that you can't measure everything and correlate it to some sonic signature. The WavAc review comes to mind. At $350K it is some amp. Any, hey, Mickey liked it. it just measured more like a loudspeaker freq response wise.

Kudo to JA and Staff.

Review...Measure...let the chips fall where they may.

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results


Quote:
One thing keeps striking me as how honorable "Phile" is in terms of their reviews.

Thanks, Jim.


Quote:
It only proves that you can't measure everything and correlate it to some sonic signature. The WavAc review comes to mind. At $350K it is some amp. Any, hey, Mickey liked it. it just measured more like a loudspeaker freq response wise.

I am still puzzled by the Wavac. At last month's CES, I went into the room with Peak Consult speakers and the Continuum turntable to take a listen. Magnificent sound, big wide sweep of a soundstage, very appealing, very enjoyable.

After a while, I felt that while I was still enjoying the sound, there was something _very_ familiar about the presentation. I looked to the side of the speakers and there were the Wavacs!


Quote:
Kudo to JA and Staff.

Again thanks Jim. Working this weekend on the final edit of the Robert Silverman Diabellis Variations CD that will be released in April. There are a couple of creaks from the pedal action of the Steinway that are worrying me. However, Wes Phillips says to forget about them on the grounds that they are what the listener would have heard live, the piano being a real thing made out of wood and steel and not a synthesizer!


Quote:
Review...Measure...let the chips fall where they may.

I couldn't have said it better.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

I have raed teh review of this pricey item(s), it cracks me up. there is so much verbage of words and descriptions that simply blur teh fact that these things don't meet published specs, can't pass the FTC 1/3 requirement, and I though only tube amps where worthy of such a throne here at Sterophile? This thing sounds like a glorifed sculpture with electrical design as an after thought. This thing is barely as poetnet as my set of VanAltine rebuilt Hafler P500. Which are a "mono block" hey, that term is worth $5K in value. running 2 P500 AVA OmegaStar into my 4 Ohm speakers, are at around 1200W RMS with abilty to do much more 1600 and up. there is no, amplifier by anyone able to justify the price of these things, only the makers accountant. the specs are horrible, my AVA has much better specs, I would bet the Chord is no better sounding than my 2 P500's. My P500 have a slew rate of 800V/uS..these CHORD things are slooooooooow. It matters. And no mention of a warranty period on these, for this price should be infinite, no expiration. Only in CONsumer audio.... My entire system is "quad" amped running about 4200W RMS. Someone did a poor job on these things they don't meet spec, I also don't see a UL listed labeling either...CE is a different cert. For $75K this thing whould have every possible sticker on it UL, ETL, UL/C DIN VDE, geeez, my Dell power brick has a cert from every angency in teh world.

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results


Quote:
I have raed teh review of this pricey item(s), it cracks me up. there is so much verbage of words and descriptions that simply blur teh fact that these things don't meet published specs, can't pass the FTC 1/3 requirement,...

Mr DUP,

What audio journal was it that made you aware of these facts?

Kudos JA/Stereophile.

RG

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

It was worded around the fact it didn't past muster. All the verbage convolutes the impact that this thing can't meet FTC rules in amps. About how this disc sounded and this sounded, compard to this and that, wouldn't this $75K product that is sold in teh U.S. with specs issued by the maker become a non conforming per the rules that others must meet? Then to give it kudos on how wonderful it is. not a good write up at all.

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results


Quote:

I find the power considerations more marketing error than anything else.

Jim, I would not condone this power short fall so easily, as a marketing issue, or even probably in-adequate heatsinking.

Do note that this monster amp Re-Generates the power, using a switch mode supply, before feeding it to the Power output section.

Could it be that the SMPS does not have the muscle ?

Ofcourse, my above question is Very Speculative, but it IS a remote possibility.

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results


Quote:
The WavAc review comes to mind. At $350K it is some amp. Any, hey, Mickey liked it

Yeah, and that $ 350 K beast also fell WAAAAY short on promised power.

Your comments on the SUPERB sound of the Waveac are SUBJECTIVE, and certainly valid. Howevcer, OBJECTIVE testing has a rather different role to fulfil ......

Infact the unclipped power capability of the 350K waveac would rule out MANY commercial speakers to partner it with...

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

VanAlstine/Hafler P500 rebuild....1200W RMS mono, 1600 RMS for a while, don't cost $75,000, but a mortal few K$. Super reliable, and I would bet, sounds as good or BETTER than the Chord. What is teh slew rate of teh Chord AVA OmegStar EX is something liek 800V/uS I think freq resonse is incredible..the metal work is superb...19" rack face from Hafler, Dave, aduio guru, these amps keep on going and going. After being REBUILT, with new high speed MOSFETS, new dkt boards, the super transformer in teh P500 supplies incredible power. Using GOLD plated RCA input. Performace alone, using a Stereophile price stanadrds, easliy worth $50,000. But then it's a product engineered for soudn by real experts, not marketing types, 1200W RMS into my 4 OHM Legacys...WOW....super fast, lifeleike REAL. Don't need no stinkin' under performing overpriced scuplture with non performing electronics. I use 2 for teh woofers 1200 X 2 pristine, linear, REAL watts. We don't need no stinkin' CHORD. AVA, pride of placement, in mortal soudn systems, that perform as sold. Maybe teh CHORD had a bad AC lien cord, some of the crytsals where mialigned.

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

Dear Mr. DUP,
Imagine my surprise, to pop into the forum on a quiet Sunday and see this poor, dead beast STILL being flogged. Legacy Focus? I thought it was the Whisper, which made for wittier ripostes. Anyways, what do you use those things for, replicating air raid sirens? Look. I have been a Stereophile subscriber continuously since 1996...on and off since they were reviewing JansZen Electrostatics in the '70's. I have NEVER read an unqualified rave of ANY component. The reviews are always thorough, TWO-SIDED, located PRECISELY in space and time, connected to specific playback software, balanced between "subjective" listening tests OVER TIME and "objective" measurements (the mechanics of which HAVE evolved over time and will continue to do so), and minutely detailed with every single aspect of sound, praised or damned, that the average or even expert consumer might encounter while seeking an optimal system. I bought my first component system under Stereophile's guidance, when I returned home from the Viet Nam War, for crissakes! Even though the system was flawed (they ALL are), I felt that my use of Stereophile's guidance saved me money, time, and the chagrin of choosing WORSE had I just gone shopping on my own. I bought a Van Alstine "Transcendence" preamp a few years ago, the top of the line. I felt it was a good value, but it had a "splashy" glare at around 4-6 kHz that wore on my nerves. This is subjective; one of my friends loved it. Nothing I ever bought on a Stereophile recommendation EVER wore on my nerves, because EVERYTHING I needed to know got exposed during their reviews. Everything I need to know about the Chord has been exposed in JA's and PB's comments. Everything. And that was BEFORE you started ranting about running enough power to destroy any space aliens that might be lurking above the ozone layer. Basta! PLEASE take your system to Washington, park on the White House lawn, and play "The Yellow Rose of Texas" at full volume, all 20,000 watts and 75 channels: maybe the President will get happy feet and get so involved doin' the Texas Two-Step that he'll forget to sign off on the $200 zillion worth of pork waiting for his approval by the end of the month. Peace and love, Clifton.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

I agree with Clifton. I own and use daily a Hafler amp in my home office system that is my vintage 70's system. I wish MY problems with life were Hafler owners telling me I was stupid to buy a Chord amp and most likey all the other gear that would go into a system of the Chord's price and caliber.

There might be many who would be glad to see me leave this forum, but I can tell you if THAT was my system I would spend more time listening to it and less writing on this forum. Geez, and only about 500 watts per channel. I would feel so cheated. I doubt that the "Velvet Fog" would ever sound so velvety!

But, my goal would be to someday really own a Levinson 431. Only a Levinson 431. How pedestrian. The idea is to find some piece of gear that rocks your world so much that you eat peanut butter and jelly for 5 years to save the money to jump in. It will then be available on Audiogon at a great price, put there by the gentleman who BOUGHT the Chord.

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

Jim, Clifton,

You guys just don't get it.

It's 1200 watts X2, per channel.

____________________________

Actually, I'm hoping to receive my April issue and find an 80,000 dollar CD player to take his mind off the Chord.

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

How goes it, Jim? Yeah, the Levinsons are sweet. I've heard many of them, including the newest models. They have a distinctive approach to sound, which brings up a point written about endlessly by those who have reviewed them: ALL of the great manufacturers who have been around for awhile (including Chord, and, yes, Van Alstine) have a unique vision of what music should sound like. And they all sound different. That's why they last. Different strokes for different folks. You can't be all things to everybody, so you stick to your own design convictions... and concentrate on quality. To me, that's what "integrity" means: do what you like, but do it well. The Levinson models are all a bit (only a bit, and RELATIVELY) laid back toward the rear of the room. Which I happen to love. And, boy, do they fill the spaces! Wall to wall and floor to ceiling. There is always plenty of sound at the front edges of the speakers, and everything just blooms toward the rear wall (and corners), just like a live concert. And no glitches. Built like a tank. That's what you pay for, and that's what you get. I hope you find one in your Christmas stocking some day (get a big, strong one, 'cause they're heavy!). Cheers, Clifton.

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

Yo, Buddha. It won't help: he already has an 800 dollar model that can parse the music of the spheres, the bits 'n pits that emanate from the brain of the Almighty. But it WILL put out a signal of at least 100 volts. Cheers and happy listening. Clifton

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

2 AVA REBUILDS into OMEGASTAR EX ckts...Hafler P500, what glorious metal work, THICK pro 19" rack face plate, great strong BIG handles, the P500 HAFLER is so heavy due to it's GIANT AC line transformer, it has 19" rack mounts in the rear of the amp!!! It's heavy duty to the way it should be. glorious BLACK finish, So we use 2 of them in MONO that's about 1200W RMS X 2 into 4 OHMS For the low end. then 2 DH500 Haflers rebuilt to the latest AVA OmegaStar EX ckts with only abour 900W RMS X2...Driven by teh latest Ultra Hybrid AVA pre amp,feeding teh 2 Ultra Hybrid Phase inverters to make teh mono block happen. It's all about teh sonic masterpice, called Legacy/AVA/Hafler. It's alive it's not $75,000. And it meets specs as published. I've been a Stereophile reader since 1968, I've seen the Stereophile fall, from reviews that meant something, to mere entertainment. I need to read about a upgraded continum TT, I'm sure Mickey F. has found a $20,000 speed control that brings it all to a new level. Maybe a CHORD MK II upgraded, to 1000W channel, for real. Now these plug into a 15A or 20A line? Cus you can't get more watts out, than ya put in. Even consumer audio can't pull that trick off.

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

A stock Hafler is nothing like a AVA REBUILD. Try one, you are in for a real ear opening experience. Priced for mortals, built for ultimate sound. Reliable, musical, powerful. Once you hear an AVA/Hafler OmegaStar EX (it now een replaces the old MOSFETS) more linear even faster . What sound!!!!

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

Buddha,

Very funny. I have a couple of 100 watt per channel flood lights off the back of my house, but darn they just don't sound as good as my vintage Hafler amp. They are also a little "bright". I'm thinking up upgrading. They might have been better if I had run dedicated "AC lines" to them. What do you think? LOL

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

SOX, it wasn't anonomous, it was me

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

Now that's what I call a recommendation. Thanks.

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Re: Chord SPM 1400 test results

Jim,
There once was a man from Glass
Whose balls were made of brass;
When he clanged them together,
They played "Stormy Weather,"
And lightning shot out of his ass.
(Low pressure sodium lightning, that is...)
Cheers, Clifton

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