The Best of the Best 2003: Audio/Video

  • Ken Kessler

Today, an audio system can emphasize aesthetics without compromising sonics because manufacturers of traditional (read: massive and utilitarian) audiophile electronics have learned to downsize without downgrading, to focus on style and design without neglecting performance. No company accomplished this feat better in the past year than Chord Electronics, whose Choral system represents a perfect blending of aesthetic sensibilities and audio purist virtues.

Available with a custom rack that begs to be placed on a sideboard or Parsons table, the Choral system consists of four identically sized modules, each about 13 inches wide by 21/2 inches tall by 61/2 inches deep: the DAC64 digital-to-analog converter, the Symphonic phono stage, the Prima preamp, and the Mezzo stereo power amplifier. Each component has been machined from solid metal and bears a distinctive window that allows a glimpse of the glowing blue innards—a charming and seductive detail reminiscent of the glass backs on fine wristwatches.

The next addition to the Choral will be the CD player, which is planned for fall, but until then, the recently relaunched Oracle CD Turntable complements the heavy metal styling of the Chord package. Record spinning is provided by the Wilson-Benesch Circle turntable, a compact, high-tech machine constructed of carbon fiber, various metals, and polymers.

To make the most of the Chord’s 30 watts per channel, the system is mated with a pair of powerful yet compact solid metal Krell LAT-2 speakers. All wiring for this system comes from the Siltech Classic series, and the final touch is BDI’s Aurora 8624 stand, which offers cord management in addition to strength (the top shelf accommodates 325 pounds). The steel–and–frosted glass frame complements any decor.

BDI, www.bdiusa.com, available at Bedfellows, 818.985.0500;
Chord Electronics, 972.234.0182, www.chordelectronics.co.uk;
Krell, www.krellonline.com; Oracle Audio, www.oracle-audio.com; Siltech, 617.522.7740, www.siltechcables.com; Wilson-Benesch, 972.234.0182, www.wilson-benesch.co.uk

Read Next Article >>
The recent release of the Limited-Edition Linn Sondek LP12 (www.linn.co.uk) celebrates the 40th...
High-definition content looks better than ever on these cutting-edge 4K displays.
Photo by Berlyn Photography
Going to the movies is a treasured pastime for many American families. But for celebrities and...
Photo by VZPhoto
Harnessing the control and clarity of digital audio…
Photo by VZPhoto
Big McIntosh sound quality in a small headphone package…
The new integrated amp features balanced audio circuitry and hybrid amplification…
The companies’ third collaboration, the P’9983 features premium materials…
The second-generation speakers raise the bar set by their predecessors…
The new home-theater component works with multiple speaker sets and 4K video signals…
Photo by Benjamin Lozovsky
The design-driven event offered attendees a night of art, music, and technology…