Amps vs. Preamps: What's the Difference? | Moon Audio

ULTIMA PRE 2 Preamplifier


Chord's top-of-the-line preamp, is a premium hub designed for all your audiophile gear. More details

Amps vs. Preamps: What's the Difference? | Moon Audio

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Featuring unrivaled connectivity and minimal coloration, the Chord Electronics ULTIMA PRE 2 can be the hub of your Hi-Fi system without taking anything away from the incoming signal. The Ultima Pre 2 is part of Chord Electronics' "Ultima" series, which represents their top-of-the-line audio products. The Ultima Pre 2 is the ultimate in preserving your pristine audio quality - be assured that you won't have any degradation when adding a preamplifier to your signal chain. The Ultima Pre 2 not only works well with other Chord Products like the DAVE DAC, Ultima 6 power amplifier, and more but also provides clean line-level audio transmission in any system. With minimal colouration, the front panel of the Ultima Pre 2 and the Ultima Pre 3 provide all the control necessary to access all your connected sources.

Dragon Cable Recommendation: The Silver Dragon Interconnect is one of our best-selling cables at Moon Audio and our top recommendation to pair with the Chord ULTIMA Pre 2 Preamplifier. Sold in Pairs, the Silver Dragon V2 is our top-of-the-line silver conductor-based interconnect. With a braided geometry and amazing shielding, this interconnect is a remarkable solution where noise isolation is key. The Blue Dragon Power Cable is also recommended to provide the cleanest and unbridled power to your high-end amplifier or pre-amplifier.


Inputs & Outputs:
8 Stereo Inputs and 1 Stereo Outputs

  • 4x Stereo Balanced XLR Inputs – Line In 1, Line In 2, Line In 3, and Line In 4
  • 4x Stereo Unbalanced RCA Inputs – Line In 5, Line In 6, Tape 1, Tape 2
  • 1x Stereo Output – Either via Balanced XLR or Unbalanced RCA
  • 2x Stereo Outputs – RCA unattenuated for recording loop
  • 1x Stereo Balanced XLR AV Bypass Input

The fully modernized ULTIMA PRE 2 is built to complement stereo systems of the highest order and represents the finest Chord Electronics engineering inside and out.

Just as a preamplifier should, the ULTIMA PRE 2 adds nothing to the original waveform and instead preserves it with zero coloration. This is thanks to our latest advances in switch-mode power supply design, developed from aerospace technologies, and our ultra-low-noise proprietary solid-state circuitry which is both carefully shielded and equipped with premium system components. As a result, the ULTIMA PRE 2 is able to achieve unprecedented noise floor performance of -130dB, meaning your source will always sound like your source and nothing else.

Where connectivity is concerned, the ULTIMA PRE 2 has hi-fi systems (and more!) covered. Featuring eight inputs, four stereo pairs of XLRs for balanced connections and another four RCA for unbalanced connections, each of these can be gain-matched and individually selected. For outputs, a single stereo pair is available via XLR or RCA, to accommodate a single stereo amplifier such as the ULTIMA 5 or a pair of mono blocks such as the ULTIMA 3s. Naturally, headphone users are catered for, too, for personal and late-night listening with the addition of a high-resolution 6.35mm output on the front fascia.

Where system-triggering is important, (allowing the simultaneous start-up of connected equipment from a single button-press), the ULTIMA PRE 2 is equipped with three outputs which should be more than enough for most systems.

Technical Features

Frequency Range:
2.5Hz – 200kHz +/- 3dB
Total Harmonic Distortion:
0.002% 20Hz – 20kHz
Intermodulation Distortion:
-115dB on all inputs
Signal to Noise Ratio:
-120dB on all inputs
Channel Separation:
20Hz @ 100dB, 1kHz @ 95dB, 10kHz @ 90dB, 20kHz @ 85dB
Channel Balance:
Input Max Voltage:
17v RMS Balanced – 8.5v RMS Unbalanced
Output Max Voltage:
17v RMS Balanced – 8.5v RMS Unbalanced
Output Offset:
0mV (Both Channels)
Potentiometer Performance:
0dB 0.5dB, -20dB 0.2dB, -60dB 0.24dB (13seconds Full Travel)
Nominal Gain:
All inputs subject to six levels of switchable gain – x0.5, x1, x1.5, x2, x2.5, and x3
Input Impedance:
100 kΩ Balanced – 50 kΩ Unbalanced
Output Impedance:
100Ω (Short Circuit Protected)
Operating Voltage:
85v – 270v AC (50Hz – 60Hz) Auto Switching
Power Consumption:
Dimensions Without Integra Legs:
420mm (w) x 355mm (d) x 133mm (h)