Coda no 16 amplifier

ted_b

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Feb 4, 2011
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When I evaluate a power amplifier I am typically looking at three things:

1) objectively, does it have enough current to drive the intended set of speakers to their best

2) somewhat objectively, does it let everything through, from each end of the spectrum, and especially microdetails in the mids and upper registers (tone and air). Some call this transparency.

3) quite subjectively, does it have synergy with the rest of the system upstream, and as stated above, does it present itself fully to the speakers. This aspect is the most difficult to find, as it can be quite telling. A robust and transparent amp can expose things upstream, or just not fit with what is upstrream.

In all cases, these 3 things are important to discover in one's own system, in one's own room. Amplifier eval is not done well when relying on showroom sound or even forum feedback (usually). The showroom is good for confirming fit and finish, and forum feedback is important to help whittle down the prospect list to a group of somewhat qualified candidates.

I've spent the last 3 weeks evaluating the wonderful Coda No. 16 stereo amplifier. A dear friend and professional reviewer turned me on to the Coda, so I bought one sight unseen (my length of eval was not going to work if I somehow found a demo). And I'll cut to the chase; this is the most transparent power amplifier I've ever heard, and one that can drive my Aerial 20Ts to wondrous depths.

As we all likely do, I use a small (say 20-30 album) sample of my most favorite, most recognizable, and often most difficult musical passages to evaluate new equipment. The samples typically challenge various aspects of playback, and the only downside is that one can get a little tired of the same music...so it's important to reach outside that sample size when you've got a good handle on what it's doing with the heard-it-a-million-times stuff. The Coda No. 16 amplifies EVERYTHING on those recordings, and more often than not I heard new microdetails that (by definition of the word "new") I had NEVER heard before. Amazing, frankly.

So if this amp is that good (and it is) why am I selling it? Well, because my system synergizes much better with a set of monoblocks from Gato (Gato 222s). The Gatos are clearly not quite as dynamic, not nearly as Hubble Telescope transparent and resolving, and maybe not even as effortless as the Coda. But they sing! They are toe-tapping blocks of electrons, working some weird synergistic magic on my Aerials (I was recommended to try them by the Aerial founder himself, Michael Kelly). The color and tone and air and warmth (without losing the top end) is pure silk.

HiFi News reviewed them and said "I'd say the Gato PWR-222s delivered some of the silkiest sounds I've heard in recent times, wrapped up in a (non-magnetic) suit that would do Savile Row proud". They sound like a set of high current tube amplifiers, except you don't get the upkeep and somewhat distorted veiled sound of so many tube amps.

So...if you already have a wonderfully colorful and tonally rich system sound, and need more transparency and balls then the Coda No. 16 stereo amp should be on the top of your list, I've not heard a better amp. Me, I have accidentally stumbled across a synergy that I'd never thought possible, and I'm sticking with it. Should I swap out an upstream piece for something with valves, then the Coda No. 16 will be bought sight unseen (sort of :) ).
 
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zonto

Well-Known Member
Apr 13, 2017
29
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When I evaluate a power amplifier I am typically looking at three things:

1) objectively, does it have enough current to drive the intended set of speakers to their best

2) somewhat objectively, does it let everything through, from each end of the spectrum, and especially microdetails in the mids and upper registers (tone and air). Some call this transparency.

3) quite subjectively, does it have synergy with the rest of the system upstream, and as stated above, does it present itself fully to the speakers. This aspect is the most difficult to find, as it can be quite telling. A robust and transparent amp can expose things upstream, or just not fit with what is upstrream.

In all cases, these 3 things are important to discover in one's own system, in one's own room. Amplifier eval is not done well when relying on showroom sound or even forum feedback (usually). The showroom is good for confirming fit and finish, and forum feedback is important to help whittle down the prospect list to a group of somewhat qualified candidates.

I've spent the last 3 weeks evaluating the wonderful Coda No. 16 stereo amplifier. A dear friend and professional reviewer turned me on to the Coda, so I bought one sight unseen (my length of eval was not going to work if I somehow found a demo). And I'll cut to the chase; this is the most transparent power amplifier I've ever heard, and one that can drive my Aerial 20Ts to wondrous depths.

As we all likely do, I use a small (say 20-30 album) sample of my most favorite, most recognizable, and often most difficult musical passages to evaluate new equipment. The samples typically challenge various aspects of playback, and the only downside is that one can get a little tired of the same music...so it's important to reach outside that sample size when you've got a good handle on what it's doing with the heard-it-a-million-times stuff. The Coda No. 16 amplifies EVERYTHING on those recordings, and more often than not I heard new microdetails that (by definition of the word "new") I had NEVER heard before. Amazing, frankly.

So if this amp is that good (and it is) why am I selling it? Well, because my system synergizes much better with a set of monoblocks from Gato (Gato 222s). The Gatos are clearly not quite as dynamic, not nearly as Hubble Telescope transparent and resolving, and maybe not even as effortless as the Coda. But they sing! They are toe-tapping blocks of electrons, working some weird synergistic magic on my Aerials (I was recommended to try them by the Aerial founder himself, Michael Kelly). The color and tone and air and warmth (without losing the top end) is pure silk.

HiFi News reviewed them and said "I'd say the Gato PWR-222s delivered some of the silkiest sounds I've heard in recent times, wrapped up in a (non-magnetic) suit that would do Savile Row proud". They sound like a set of high current tube amplifiers, except you don't get the upkeep and somewhat distorted veiled sound of so many tube amps.

So...if you already have a wonderfully colorful and tonally rich system sound, and need more transparency and balls then the Coda No. 16 stereo amp should be on the top of your list, I've not heard a better amp. Me, I have accidentally stumbled across a synergy that I'd never thought possible, and I'm sticking with it. Should I swap out an upstream piece for something with valves, then the Coda No. 16 will be bought sight unseen (sort of :) ).

Thanks for sharing your impressions! Reading between the lines, would you say that the Gato amps have a warmer, less neutral sound signature than the Coda? That could make sense as the Gato amps have a MOSFET output stage instead of a bipolar junction transistor output stage like the Coda. What do you have upstream of the amplifiers in your system?

Also it bears mentioning that Michael Kelly is the U.S. distributor for Gato Amps, so he does have a vested interest in their sales. Now that could of course have followed because he also noticed the same synergy between the speakers he designs and those amps, but thought it worthwhile for future readers in the thread.
 

ted_b

Well-Known Member
Feb 4, 2011
113
7
405
Yes, I mentioned Michael Kelly's past interest in another thread, sorry (he is no longer the distributor; too much hassle for few sales overall, yet recommended them anyway; he was quite upfront).

My 2 channel dac is a Holo May KTE and my preamp is an SPL Elector. And yes, I would say the Gatos are warmer if I were to oversimplify. But often that moniker drags in the stereotypes of rounded off highs, bloat, lack of control. These are not Gato atrributes, but this is a Coda thread, so I'll keep this OT.
 
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lancelock

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Dec 8, 2013
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www.lancelock.com
I didn’t think I would part with it, but my new modded 1960’s Altec Lansing 1570B mono blocks are so damn good. I will sell the Coda 16. I will drive a couple of hours to meet someone but I do not want to ship this 110 lb. Beast.

Lance
 

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tobiasrankin

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I didn’t think I would part with it, but my new modded 1960’s Altec Lansing 1570B mono blocks are so damn good. I will sell the Coda 16. I will drive a couple of hours to meet someone but I do not want to ship this 110 lb. Beast.

Lance
What speakers are you running with it?
 

Jackl3y

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Sep 10, 2022
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I’ve not been able to find the answer anywhere but what’s the difference between the continuum series and the CS series? Just biasing?
 

zonto

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Apr 13, 2017
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I’ve not been able to find the answer anywhere but what’s the difference between the continuum series and the CS series? Just biasing?

I think there's a lot to unpack here. Coda Technologies was originally incorporated as Continuum Electronics back in 1985. See their About Us page.

They use the Continuum moniker in multiple products, including preamps (e.g., the Continuum CB or Continuum CP preamps currently sold). I assume your question relates to amplifiers.

As I understand it, the use of "Continuum" with respect to Coda amplifiers relates to an entire series of amplifiers, their lower-end line. See: https://coda.cc/amplifiers (referring to the No. 8 stereo and mono versions and the CSIb integrated as part of the Continuum line). On the stereo amplifier side in the Continuum series, the latest model is the Continuum No. 8. From what I can tell, the main difference between the Continuum No. 8 and previous amplifiers in the lower-end Coda line (like the CSX and similar) is in the amplifier gain stages. See this quote from Coda, contained in Terry London's review of the 16.0 on Stereotimes:

We were initially working on the N0. 8, which we introduced early in 2019, we had altered our amplifier gain stages around a newly available low noise FET transistor. We found that the new device provided a much lower noise floor than the prior generation FETs that were available. The response we have gotten has been consistent and very positive. We substituted that part into our preamps which also were similarly altered. Naturally, when we started the 16.0, we incorporated the same components in that circuit as well with the same result. As manufacturers, we constantly look for interesting components and since all of our designs use FET based input sections every product in our line has benefited. . . .

The other difference I know of is that the Continuum No. 8 (and the Coda 16.0) were the first Coda amplifiers to offer VU meters on the front panel.

Now of course, there can always be other rolling changes, some of which may be motivated by shortages in the global supply chain, etc. Things like a different power transformer with identical / substantially similar specs, etc. I have seen a listing or two of pre-No. 8 amplifiers on USAM and similar where the same low-noise FETs rolled out in the No. 8 were included in those amps, perhaps as an upgrade for which the owner paid Coda.

I believe that both the CS series amps and the No. 8 all offer the option for different biasing, as outlined in the Continuum No. 8 manual:

RATED POWER
V3:
400 Watts x 2 into 8 Ohms
800 Watts x 2 into 4 Ohms
Class A ~8 Watts

V2:
250 Watts x 2 into 8 Ohms
500 Watts x 2 into 4 Ohms
Class A ~12 Watts

V1:
150 Watts x 2 into 8 Ohms
300 Watts x 2 into 4 Ohms
Class A ~18 Watts

Coda could obviously confirm. Drop them an email and let us know if you learn anything else!
 
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AZWink

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Jan 10, 2017
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I think there's a lot to unpack here. Coda Technologies was originally incorporated as Continuum Electronics back in 1985. See their About Us page.

They use the Continuum moniker in multiple products, including preamps (e.g., the Continuum CB or Continuum CP preamps currently sold). I assume your question relates to amplifiers.

As I understand it, the use of "Continuum" with respect to Coda amplifiers relates to an entire series of amplifiers, their lower-end line. See: https://coda.cc/amplifiers (referring to the No. 8 stereo and mono versions and the CSIb integrated as part of the Continuum line). On the stereo amplifier side in the Continuum series, the latest model is the Continuum No. 8. From what I can tell, the main difference between the Continuum No. 8 and previous amplifiers in the lower-end Coda line (like the CSX and similar) is in the amplifier gain stages. See this quote from Coda, contained in Terry London's review of the 16.0 on Stereotimes:



The other difference I know of is that the Continuum No. 8 (and the Coda 16.0) were the first Coda amplifiers to offer VU meters on the front panel.

Now of course, there can always be other rolling changes, some of which may be motivated by shortages in the global supply chain, etc. Things like a different power transformer with identical / substantially similar specs, etc. I have seen a listing or two of pre-No. 8 amplifiers on USAM and similar where the same low-noise FETs rolled out in the No. 8 were included in those amps, perhaps as an upgrade for which the owner paid Coda.

I believe that both the CS series amps and the No. 8 all offer the option for different biasing, as outlined in the Continuum No. 8 manual:



Coda could obviously confirm. Drop them an email and let us know if you learn anything else!
I currently use a continuum #8 controlled by a Coda 07x FET pre. I can confirm the fact that this is the quietest noise floor of any pairing I’ve ever heard. I would love to hear the #16 with the 07x. Due to the lack of marketing, Coda remains to be an unknown among audiophiles..
 

yyzSB

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May 14, 2017
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The noise floor with the 07x was too high for me with the CODA #8 so I switched over to the Benchmark LA4 preamp and I am happier for it. I am going to buy a second LA4 for my Livingroom system to pair with the CODA #16 or a KRELL KSA i400.
 
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Steezly2000

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Dec 9, 2022
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I have been using the 07x feeding the AHB2 and speakers with RAAL tweeters and as others have mentioned with the RAALs, this is a winning combo. Before I had the preamp, I went between feeding the AHB2 directly from a turntable with a passive attenuator and a DAC with transformer outputs directly and the sound was always a bit lean and harsh. Adding the 07x rounded out the sound. Bass is more full and the highs are now sweet sounding and never harsh. 07x + AHB2 feeding RAALs is an excellent combination.
 
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yyzSB

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May 14, 2017
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I have been using the 07x feeding the AHB2 and speakers with RAAL tweeters and as others have mentioned with the RAALs, this is a winning combo. Before I had the preamp, I went between feeding the AHB2 directly from a turntable with a passive attenuator and a DAC with transformer outputs directly and the sound was always a bit lean and harsh. Adding the 07x rounded out the sound. Bass is more full and the highs are now sweet sounding and never harsh. 07x + AHB2 feeding RAALs is an excellent combination.
I use the Benchmark LA4 + AHB2 monos + Musetec 005 DAC + Benchmark speaker cable occasionally to my RAAL SR1a earphones. I am surprised that this sounds very good. It used to be awful but the Benchmark speaker cable and the Musetec 005 DAC are likely what makes this work.

When I had the CODA 07x preamp in this setup it was even better for the RAAL SR1a. Infact the very best 2-channel gear for the SR1a earphone was the CODA 07x preamp + KRELL DUO 175XD amp (both now sold). However, the new RAAL VM-1a tube headphone amp improved upon both those 2 by a substantial margin. The VM-1a can only be used with the RAAL SR1a earphones and RAAL CA-1a headphones. It is an incredible high quality of sound, as good as anything I have heard, and sometimes the best I have ever heard on any setup. Non-fatiguing uber detail is something that is new to me. Interestingly, a neutral DAC is preferred on the VM-1a amp, and I use the Benchmark DAC3B here, not the smoother Musetec 005.

I prefer my Benchmark LA4 preamp a bit more over the CODA 07x preamp for 2-channel, so I sold the 07x. I decided to keep the AHB2 over the CODA #8 amp and KRELL DUO 175XD amp though my next Livingroom amp will be a CODA #16 or a KRELL KSA i400. I feel the AHB2 are not ideal (power wise) for my KEF Blade 2 Meta that is coming for my Livingroom. In my office system, my KEF LS50 Meta are amazing sounding with the AHB2 mono (really do not need mono) + KEF KC62 sub + Audience FrontRow speaker cable + Musetec 005 DAC.
 
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yyzSB

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May 14, 2017
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After a lot of deliberations, I ended up buying a 2 year-old used CODA #16 and it will be delivered this week. The other options were a used KRELL DUO 575XD mono, used KRELL DUO 300XD stereo, or the new KRELL KSA i400. I owned the CODA #8 and 07x before so I know how the CODA will work with the gear I have in mind. The CODA #16, while heavy, is not as big as my other choices and likely have all the power I need.

The system is in the process of being built. I am thinking of using a Benchmark LA4 preamp with it, Musetec 005 (own 2 of these), tuner(s), and fibre streaming. I was wondering if a Lumin X1 or P1 should also be considered but the lack of physical volume control on those units (family will use this system) was a factor in rejecting them. Though I did think of the option of using a Lumin X1 connect to 1 of the 2 CODA #16 inputs (XLR + RCA) and have the LA4 preamp on the other. There is a toggle switch on the front of the CODA #16 for the input selection. I can leverage this for the 2 "preamps"

Speakers will be KEF Blade 2 Meta or Yamaha NS5000.
 
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kairosman

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Oct 12, 2020
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After a lot of deliberations, I ended up buying a 2 year-old used CODA #16 and it will be delivered this week. The other options were a used KRELL DUO 575XD mono, used KRELL DUO 300XD stereo, or the new KRELL KSA i400. I owned the CODA #8 and 07x before so I know how the CODA will work with the gear I have in mind. The CODA #16, while heavy, is not as big as my other choices and likely have all the power I need.

The system is in the process of being built. I am thinking of using a Benchmark LA4 preamp with it, Musetec 005 (own 2 of these), tuner(s), and fibre streaming. I was wondering if a Lumin X1 or P1 should also be considered but the lack of physical volume control on those units (family will use this system) was a factor in rejecting them. Though I did think of the option of using a Lumin X1 connect to 1 of the 2 CODA #16 inputs (XLR + RCA) and have the LA4 preamp on the other. There is a toggle switch on the front of the CODA #16 for the input selection. I can leverage this for the 2 "preamps"

Speakers will be KEF Blade 2 Meta or Yamaha NS5000.
Good choice ie #16. BTW I have the P1 and the Leedh digital volume control is VERY good, the P! reviewers all agree too... your family can learn no? lol maybe not?
 

yyzSB

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May 14, 2017
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Good choice ie #16. BTW I have the P1 and the Leedh digital volume control is VERY good, the P! reviewers all agree too... your family can learn no? lol maybe not?
Do you also have the #16 with the P1?

Some people that have posted on the Leedh say that it is very good, but they still prefer their preamp volume. For $2700 the LA4 is something I will get (i have 1 already in the office). It worked great with the CODA #8. I am hoping to get a home demo of the X1 to see if it is worth having as another DAC in the Blade 2 system. The streamer on the X1 can be used via USB out to go into my Musetec USB input (the best one).

With regards to the family and volume control I think I want to follow the KISS principle.

The next decision is the harder one, the speakers. I like the Blade the most but the NS5000 maybe a better fit in my space.
 

yyzSB

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May 14, 2017
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A question about the speaker connectors on the CODA #16. There are 2 sets of outputs that are active at the same time. What is the reason for having 2 sets? The KEF Blade 2 Meta has HI and LO frequency terminals for amp connections. Is there something that I should consider doing with the #16 to take advantage of this. I know bi-wiring maybe a good thing to do, but that only requires 1 set of cables.
 

zonto

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Apr 13, 2017
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I’d imagine it’s to give flexibility when biwiring. You can biwire with a cable that has four conductors housed within the same sheath (like Mogami W3104 cable with its 4x12awg conductors). This is called internally biwiring. Or you can run two separate cables from the amp that each have two conductors (like Mogami W3103 with its 2x12awg conductors). Some people may want to run different types, sizes or brands of cables for low and high, etc.
 
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kairosman

Member
Oct 12, 2020
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Vancouver, Canada
@yyzSB Also some people run two different amps one for the lows and one for the highs, like SS for the lows and tubes for the highs.

No I don't have a #16 I have the P1 into a Gryphon Diablo 300 at the moment but had the P1 previously into a BAT VK-225SE using Leedh, sounded great

I have a CSiB in a second system and heard the #16 at my dealer with my speakers and was super impressed, didn't buy it ultimately because of weight/heat/cost but if my living room changes I would go for the #16
 
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yyzSB

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May 14, 2017
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I bought a used Lumin X1 last week from someone I sort of know via email audio conversations. I will get it next month. I will hook it up to my Benchmark LA4 preamp but have the option of going with the LEEDH volume control. The seller also mentioned the danger of not having a physical volume control when other family members use the system.

Now the next thing I must do is figure out what speaker cables to use between the CODA #16 and most likely KEF Blade 2 Meta. The dealer who gave me some advice on the Blade 2 Meta told me the lower cost Analysis Plus is his top choice between the KRELL XD amps and the CODA #16.

It was a coin flip for me to go with the CODA #16 over the KRELL XD. I had the CODA #8 before as did 2 KRELL XD amps. I preferred the XD amps over the #8 but I liked the #16 a lot more than the #8.

I used Audience FrontRow speaker cables with the CODA #8 and it was rather good, so I was thinking of doing that or the Audience AU24SX. I cannot try these cables with the #16 because the FrontRow have SpeakON terminations (I had a customized CODA #8).

These were the cables recommended by the dealer for the KRELL XD and Blades. I wonder if they would be good with the CODA and Blades.
Solo Crystal Oval 8 Speaker Cable - Analysis Plus

The person selling me the #16 used the following cables with Aerial 20T V2 speakers.
The Adrenaline Speaker Cable - A Division of Kirmuss & Associates, LLC (kirmussaudio.com)

I have some WyWire "Silver" speaker cables in storage and those are what I will use until I figure out what cable to get. Only cables I have that will fit. I also have at home the Audience AU24SX, Audience FrontRow, and Benchmark speaker cables, but none will fit or are too short.

Any other recommendations?
 
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