Chord Electronics BerTTi Power Amplifier Review

I recently had the pleasure of listening to a stunning system presented by Chord Electronics of the new Ultima line of electronics at the UK HiFi Live Show at Royal Ascot, it was an impressive demo proving how musically adept the new Ultima range of preamps and power amps perform paired with the now iconic DAVE DAC doing the number crunching, I came away with lots to talk about and an excellent sense of how well the new Ultima technology performs musically, not long after I then reviewed the Editor Choice awarded Anni Headphone and desktop amplifier which has same tech that has trickled down from the new Ultima line, my review can be found here.

Just after I published my review news broke of the release of its latest desktop power amplifier the new BerTTi which was announced and luckily enough for The Speaker Shack we managed to get our hands on this latest stereo amplifier for review featuring the new Ultima amplifier topology which John Franks has engineered into his latest line of products. Chord Electronics also sent me the brilliant Hugo TT2 DAC and M Scaler to partner with the new BerTTi amplifier. I reviewed the Hugo TT2 and M Scaler back in 2021 and found this to be one of the most competent DAC’s I have had the pleasure of listening to and reviewing, winning another Editors Choice award from The Speaker Shack.

Build Quality and Features

As with all Chord Electronics kit the BerTTi is built to an extremely high standard and manufactured out of aircraft grade aluminum which can be purchased in either the matt black finish which I have for review or in the silver finish. This is the most affordable power amplifier that Chord offer featuring the latest Ultima dual-feed-forward topology and is a fully balanced design with a modest 75 watts of power output into 8 ohms and 110 watts into 4 ohms, it has a bolstered dual power supply and an additional auxiliary power rail for the front end for increased performance. This is an advanced design with error correction monitoring and immediately corrects the signal at the output stage, allowing for plenty of power and such high fidelity in a compact design.

The BerTTi features gold plated speaker binding posts and has both balanced and unbalanced inputs, I am using the balanced inputs into the Hugo TT2 DAC, it has a 10A IEC input at the rear with a master power switch, it also has a 12v trigger switch for automatic on or off if needed, the front of the unit has an illuminated button for powering on and off and has the BerTTi logo embossed on the top of the unit following the usual Chord Electronics signature of excellence, for such a small amplifier it feels weighty which is always a good sign of the quality held within the small architecture, I love the fact that the size is similar to both the M Scaler and Hugo TT2 meaning they can be neatly stacked and look incredibly cool and compact when placed on top of each other.

For connecting up I am using Chord Company cables as I currently do for my own system except this time round I am using dual BNC Chord Clearway cables to connect the Hugo TT2 DAC and M Scaler so that upsampling of my sources can be maximised to provide 705kHz for red book CD and for high resolution sources up to 768kHz, the BerTTi amplifier is connected via the fully balanced L & R connections to the Hugo TT2 DAC which also acts as the preamplifier for this system.

This is an all digital front end and therefore I am using sources streamed via my BlueSound Node using Spotify, Quobuz and music stored on my NAS drives, also connected is my Cyrus CD8SE with PSXR for CD playback, listening to a variety of music as usual with some of my favourites to evaluate performance.

Sound Quality and Performance

The first album that I am listening to is the latest to be released by Khruangbin and is from one of their concerts which was held at the Sydney Opera House back in November of last year, this is a high resolution version in 24bit 96kHz and sounds superb. Track 3 August 10 / Master of Life is one of my favourites on the album and thanks to this Chord combo upscaled to 768kHz and has masses of detail and depth to the soundstage and is amplified perfectly by the BerTTi amplifier, my ProAc’s sound sublime and thanks to the quality of this system lap up the quality on offer allowing them to shine, the amount of detail dug out from this track and the sheer scale of the soundstage that they manage to throw out it quite staggering, it perfectly paints the 3D picture of the concert, hearing whistles and cheers from the crowd all around my room, with the underpinning bass line of the bass guitar having layers of texture to the sound and then the added reverb on the electric guitar which sounds quite epic, the musical ability of this system and the BerTTi amplifiers performance is never in doubt and even though this amplifier is said to be from the desktop range of components, it’s performance is proving to be as big as any amplifier I have had in my main system allowing for great dynamics and scale to the performance, but with upmost musical fidelity portrayed.

Track 12 Evan Finds The Third Room is an excellent example of how musically adept this amplifier is allowing for great rhythmic timing and funk to be played out with the foot tapping induced rhythm and performing perfectly, shimmering extended notes played via the guitars gets the crowds appreciation with roars and cheers from them and you can’t help but love the music you are hearing, with lots of emotion and feeling to the music you get an excellent sense of the concert being played out, the drums attack and pace is also relentless and hard hitting with plenty of snap and power in how it is delivered with the BerTTi commanding a vice like grip on my ProAc speakers.

On to my next album and one that I have not listened to for quite some time but it is an exceptional album from this legendary French duo and it is from the 2010 movie Tron Legacy which I own in high resolution 24bit 44.1Hz, I loved this remake to the classic movie Tron and this is also one of my favourite movie soundtracks, featuring the brilliant music from Daft Punk this complete edition has 31 tracks in total and the full orchestral music sounds immense mixed with the electronic and synthesised genius of daft punk and is the perfect listen for review purposes.

I start off with track 4 Recognizer which is a masterpiece in music as the mix of big orchestral music and synthesised sounds is seamless and with the right system can sound immensely impressive and thankfully this Chord Electronics system is of high enough calibre to capture it perfectly, the BerTTi amplifier as I have mentioned is modestly rated at 75 watts of power output into 8ohms, but with the Ultima topology it delivers scale and bass with such conviction and power that it belies the BerTTi’s appearance and size, bass from my ProAc D2Rs is astonishing and the quality of it too as they manage to dig deep to produce the thunderous parts in this track with aplomb and this is with the volume at high levels showing how well it can handle complex and challenging material but retain all of its composure when pushed, it’s captivating performance draws you into the music allowing you to enjoy the sheer quality of what you are hearing. Track 7 Rinzler is another great example of how well this amplifier presents the huge dynamics that this soundtrack has to offer with the big drums and huge transients of the hard hitting percussion, reminding me in some parts to the brilliant blade runner soundtrack, but it’s not just the power and dymanics that is impressive it is also the BerTTi’s ability to portray the music with a startling clarity and musicality like in Track 10 Adagio For Tron with a wonderful sonic picture being painted, instruments have their own space within the soundstage, the violin sounds simply stunning centre stage and projected quite perfectly in front of me. Track 13 Derezzed has always been a track that I have previously brushed over as it has always sounded too hectic/muddled and confusing to listen to but not with the BerTTi and this Chord Electronics combination as it sounds impressive and as in the name purely electronic in nature. Track 15 Solar Sailor sounds so good and in particular the bass notes and the different textures which have so many layers to them with an almost pulsating feel to the sound. Every track on this album sounds so impressive and sonically it is just brilliant and the BerTTi amplifier has pumped new life and appreciation into this great album for me.

On to my final album and it is the brilliant CD Convergence by Malia and Boris Blank which was released back in 2014, this again has the electronic genius of Boris Blank from Yello but with the beautiful vocals of Malia performing the songs. Track 1 Celestial Echo starts off with the drums resonating from left to right before the beautiful vocals of Malia comes in with such clarity and definition, with such a vast soundstage her vocals are placed perfectly centre stage with the music and instruments behind her, the immediacy of the music and her vocals gives me goosebumps as closing my eyes she is in front of me, the BerTTi amplifier is such a formidable performer and manages to produce the music with a realism of being there in the moment allowing the emotion of the song to be fully heard as intended, Track 6 Raising Venus sounds wonderful with Malia’s vocals placed centre stage but also in the background as her backing and the way this is emulated with the music is impressive and creates a beautifully crafted soundstage, the way the BerTTi manages to capture and project the music is just magical and is musically one of the most proficient amplifiers I have had in my room and listening to the reimagined version of Track 7 Fever gets my feet tapping to the musical pleasure that I am hearing.

As a whole this system excels musically with the superb combination of the Hugo TT2 DAC and M Scaler allowing the performance of the new BerTTi amplifier and the Ultima tech to realise their full potential.

Conclusions and Final Thoughts

Well this has been an incredibly enjoyable review and as you can tell I absolutely love the new BerTTi amplifier from Chord Electronics, I love HiFi that comes in the smaller form and this is the perfect example of how it should be done. The new BerTTi will fit into systems where space is a premium but not at the expense of quality and as long as your partnering equipment is of high enough calibre it will allow your music to be heard in full but with the Hugo TT2 and M Scaler the performance is of the highest quality and gives you the ultimate high fidelity to your music !

The Speaker Shack awards the new BerTTi Stereo Amplifier with an Editors Choice Award and is another incredible product from this exceptional British brand of HiFi.

Price at time of review: £3,995

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