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New Chord Company USB SilverPlus

Responding to demand from computer audiophiles requesting a Chord quality USB cable, the USB SilverPlus launches with no pretensions to technical supremacy through advanced materials or unique construction techniques. It does however benefit from twenty years’ experience in designing cables that make a real difference.

USB SilverPlus is based on the technical understanding and empirical experience that developing successful cables bring.

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Chord launches new VEE Plug

Inspired by the hand-turned acrylic plugs fitted to the high-end Sarum, Signature and Indigo interconnects, the new VEE Plug delivers demonstrable improvements in performance to all of the Chord interconnects now supplied as standard with the VEE plug.

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New Chord ActivePlus High Speed HDMI

The Chord Company has started to deliver its new high-end HDMI cable to retailers. The new Active SilverPlus High Speed HDMI cable with Ethernet replaces Active SilverPlus.

This new cable, fully certified as High Speed in all lengths – and available in lengths up to 15 metres – includes an audio-optimised audio return and Ethernet capability.

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Active SilverPlus includes an updated version of the in-line high-frequency filter used so successfully on the original Active HDMI. The filter removes high-frequency interference ensuring the best possible picture and sound.

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New Chord CrimsonPlus

It has often been said that designing a budget hi-fi product is far harder than a cost no object state-of-the-art gargantuan product.

To design a budget cable that is genuinely a significant improvement over its predecessor is a tough task. To make it better in communication of music as well as traditional hi-fi requirements is doubly tough. Chord CrimsonPlus rises to the challenge, bows and takes the applause.

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New Chord HDMI Active

To follow the success of Chord’s award-winning HDMI Silver Plus, and the recently introduced, performance-on-a-budget HDMI SuperShield, was always going to be an interesting challenge.  Chord considers that they have ridden the bucking bronco of performance and have produced a refined thoroughbred that will enhance the viewing pleasure of the enthusiast – the new HDMI Active. Interestingly, the most significant improvements with the HDMI Active are the sound quality of the new cable.

HDMI Active

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SuperShield – Chord’s new budget HDMI cable available now

Chord’s new and extremely pretty SuperShield HDMI is available now.

It’s targeted at the entry-level end of the specialist market where the performance:price ratio is absolutely critical.

But entry-level at Chord is just an expression that means a greater challenge

The SuperShield is HDMI 1.3b certified.

It uses 26awg oxygen free copper conductors for high conductivity, and low density gas filled polyethylene insulation for its excellent dielectric properties.

Each of the pairs of conductors are protected by a dual-foil shield, and the overall cable is additionally shielded by a foil and a high density braid, effective to high frequencies in traditional Chord fashion.

Gold-plated connectors, soldered with Chord’s chosen lead-free solder, help to achieve the best performance and complete the package of an extremely cost effective HDMI cable for the new world economy.

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Another DacMagic power supply trial

Decided to use Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, but slightly more unusually, the DVD-A rip so the source is 24/96. Unlike quite a few DVD-As, this one appears to have some content above 22k. Amazing though, that given the total available dynamic range they still needed to ‘clip’ the recording.  Still sounds rather good though.
To start I compared the standard power supply with the Maplin L54BR.  Pleasant surprise, the Maplin delivers a subtlety of delivery that doesn’t emphasise any particular instruments. The original PS, in comparison, seems to make the bass line and the hi-hat a little more obvious in the mix of Dreams and decreases the importance of Stevie Nick’s voice.

Using track 7 , The Chain, showed the original as having a slightly ‘sharper’ delivery, more detail perhaps but certainly less music. The main difference was in the low end but this changed the overall presentation. The Maplin just delivered more music but in a controlled and balanced manner.

I then dug out the 500VA transformer I’d tried before – now in an aluminium box and with a ferrite on the output – in common with the original Dacmagic’s supply.  This PS delivered more power to the presentation, more extension apparently  but was slightly slower. It had better separation of instruments, but not really more music.

The more comparisons of power supplies I do with the Dacmagic the more impressed I am of the overall balance of the design.

I will carry on using the Maplin PS.  It is easier to hide away, as it isn’t a walwart, and more importantly it improves the performance making it just that little more balanced and even handed.

The music playback system was a HP2133 netbook running Foobar and ASIO drivers connected by USB2 to a M-Audio Transit sound card which was connected with a  Chord Optichord to the Cambridge.

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HDMI cable silences my listening room

Having a PC in my listening room was convenient as I have often been experimenting with different audio playback apps, sound cards, and all the various drivers like ASIO and Kernel Streaming.
The problem though was the noise of the PC. All that investment in a great hi-fi system and a signal to noise ratio destroyed by computer fans.
The solution came to me last week and it was simple.
OK, I have an advantage: a cable company as a client. Nigel at Chord was kind enough to send me a 5m HDMI Silver Plus cable and two DVI to HDMI adapters.
The experiment was to move the PC outside my listening room and then to use a 5m Chord HDMI and 5m USB cables to monitor and control the PC.
The worry was running a good monitor at 1920 by 1200 over a 5m HDMI cable. Would the image quality be reduced? The image was absolutely fine and so much so that I temporarily tried a 10 m cable which worked just as well.
Definitely a result. Noise removed from my listening room, the hi-fi sounds significantly better. The computer is no harder to use. I’ll use a USB DVD drive near the monitor for normal stuff but walk the few metres to use the Plextor Premium CD drive for serious ripping.