This is the Ultima Pre 2, Chord's second ever Ultima preamplifier. It borrows the same design aesthetic as Chord's 2019 Ultima 2 and Ultima 3 - namely a bolt-free fascia with a 28mm-thick aircraft-grade aluminium front panel.
It has a larger chassis than Chord's other preamps, and has the latest proprietary ultra-high-frequency power supply and ultra-low-noise circuitry onboard. That gives it a noise floor performance of below -130dB.
Connectivity includes four pairs of fully balanced inputs, four pairs of unbalanced inputs, as well as two completely independent record loops. Each input has six levels of gain, which can be selected to prevent large changes in volume when switching inputs. In other words, it won't go from whisper quiet to DEAFENINGLY LOUD unexpectedly.
Two headphone outputs will help if you're trying to spare the neighbours. There's fully balanced A/V bypass circuitry for direct connection to A/V processors, while 12V remote triggering outputs around the back can activate your power amp or A/V processor on power-up. One-touch set up. Nice.
It's available in Jett Black or Argent Silver finishes, and stacks with other Chord AV gear. It's available to order now for £12,500 and will be making its world debut at the Bristol Hi-Fi Show 2020.