Coda no 16 amplifier

ted_b

Well-Known Member
Feb 4, 2011
113
7
405
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
26
0
106
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

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2013
15
13
235
Maryland
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

Active Member
Mar 8, 2020
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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

New Member
Sep 10, 2022
12
4
3
49
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?
 

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