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Chord’s Anni is a petite headphone/loudspeaker amplifier

  • First, came Hugo. Then Dave. This week, Chord Electronics continues its occasional series of personified hi-fi products with Anni: a headphone amplifier housed in an aluminium Qutest-sized chassis. The optional Qutest Stand System (QSS) puts Anni next to the Qutest DAC and/or Huei phono stage for an electronics stack with a low footprint.

    Front-facing 3.5mm and 6.4mm sockets (that apparently can be run simultaneously) straddle a centre-mounted volume pot that doubles as an input selector. Like the Qutest and Huei, Chord’s colour-coded spheres provide access to additional settings. For Anni, that means power and gain control.

    From the press release: “Anni offers Chord Electronics’ recently announced dual-feed-forward error-correction circuit topology whether using headphones or compact loudspeakers. Anni’s advanced technology allows it to drive any headphone load, error-monitored and compensated amplification at all times.”

    Now comes the twist: Anni is also a loudspeaker amplifier. A pair of Naim-esque banana-plug-sockets sit on her back panel to deliver 10wpc of ULTIMA loudspeaker amplification, technology presumably trickled down from Chord’s flagship range of the same same.

    Back to the press release: “Anni is powered by a 15V external power supply and benefits from a 12V DC output, capable of powering the Qutest DAC and Huei phono stage when used with the new Qutest range power adaptor (supplied).”

    That’s the news. What’s the story?

    That 10wpc is not a typo. A listener will need to sit very close to her loudspeakers in order to enjoy robust SPLs from the ATC SCM 7 (84dB) and KEF LS50 Meta (85dB) seen in Chord’s press shots. That implies Anni is intended for desktop use. But desktop listening effectively red cards vinyl playback (and therefore the Huei) on all but the largest and most rock-solid of surfaces. (Anni, are you OK?) Furthermore, deployed as an amplifier in a lounge room listening scenario, Anni would be best paired with much more efficient loudspeakers. Think: Klipsch, Zu Audio, DeVore Fidelity. (Are you OK, Anni?)

    Anni is shipping now (in black only) with a street price of £1195.

    Further information: Chord Electronics

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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