Preview: CODA Technologies new generation number#8 Stereo Amplifier

I have always had a keen interest in hearing a CODA amplifier in my own system for a long time. This company has been in existence for over twenty years. It's if they were a "stealth" product, very few American reviews, built many highly regarded amplifiers for other companies as an OEM source, and most of their products are loved/sold in the Asian/European markets.

I finally was able to set up a review for on their new generation single chassis number#8 amplifier.  Internally, their has been some very important changes in the power supply, along with "kept in house" different part selections through out the entire circuit pathway.  Externally, the #8 has a pair of blue light power meters and is quite a good looking piece of gear. The build quality and parts used are at the highest level.  The number#8 amplifier is 150 watts into 8 Ohms and 300 watts into 4 Ohms.  The first 18 watts is pure class A.  Regardless of the volume levels I play the amp never leaves its class A rating.  Like all Coda amplifiers a special quality is the #8 ability to provide 150 Amperes of current if needed!

Well, the beauty of what this amplifier has brought to my system has lead to all night long listening sessions.  I have owned/reviewed other great SS amplifiers. However, the #8, being driven by the new Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL preamplifier has some special qualities, here are a few:

1) It might be the quietest amplifier I have ever had in my system.  This allows all the micro-details to float out and be heard.  Yet, the #8 never sounds edgy/electrical/mechanical as other very detailed amps can.
2) It's lighting fast and provides the speed and aliveness you find in live music to a higher degree then other amps I have had in my system.
3) The overall tonality is "silky-smooth" with not a touch of grain/dryness.
4) The macro-dynamics overall and the control of the bottom end are superlative.

In my review I'll get into all the details why this is a killer amplifier!  I also think its a "bargain" at it's retail price of $6,500.00.  So, if your in the market I strongly suggest you might want to hear the #8 before you purchase another amplifier.  It's that good.

Hey smodtactical,

Very, very close in performance with the XA-60.8s. The #16 surpasses both its less expensive sibling and the Pass Labs amplifiers.
@smodtactical I cant speak for the 60.8 but I did have the 30.8 and the No8. The 30.8 sound better to my ears.
"How big is the gap in performance between the #16 and the #8"

Enough that everyone, including me, heard it very easily. Respectfully, many of your questions were answered in my Stereo Times review, along with the posters on this thread and the #16 amp thread that started with the #8, loved it, and then went up to the #16 and had no regrets that they did because of the higher level of performance.
Hey smodtactical,

Well, everyone’s entitled to their opinion. I had the Kinki piece in for review, actually quite good for the $, and it was not as good as the Coda CSIb for my ears in my system. Also, remember OCD was at that time selling the Kinki through his retail business, so maybe he liked it better because of invested interest. I have no "skin in the game" since I just review, not sell. Therefore, my opinion is totally based on my personal taste/take on a piece of gear in the context of my two systems and matching it with other gear/speakers to get a comprehensive take on its performance.
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Oh wow didn't know he sold Kinki LOL. Also maybe his speakers were darker sounding too.
@teajay Did you hear the old 15.5 amp? How was it vs the 8 and 16?
Have you decided to buy the 16 and have it in your reference system?
I wonder if 1 reason the coda 8 sounds so good are some of its components?
The filter capacitance is 80,000 uf, peak current is 100+ amps and transformer 3 KV.

In comparison even a pass 350.8 is 80,000 uf, peak current of 35 amps and transformer size of 1.2 KV.
The 16 takes things further to 280,000 uf, peak current 150+ amps and same transformer at 3KV.
What makes a fruit cake taste good (if there ever was one)?  This ingredient or that?  The quality of this ingredient or that?  The quantity of this or that?  The number of ingredients?  The order in which they were added to the mix?  The time it was stirred?  Temperature and length of baking?

You see where this analogy is going.  Pass and Coda are both venerable brands--the Coda founders are ex-Threshold, so they both have long experience in the profession.  They will do some things differently and both achieve excellent, if somewhat different, results.  Which cake tastes better to you?

Personally, I'm waiting and hoping to be able to hear David Belles' new Virtuoso power amp.  I tend to like his recipes...
Point well taken. Its the totality of the ingredients and the 'baking' or overall design that will dictate the end  result.
For me the no 8 is a natural competitor with the X150.8 since they have some similar specifications. I think i will buy one of these 2 amplifiers. Its such a tough choice. From those that heard the no 8 it likely easily wins but X150.8 just looks incredibly well made and of course way better re-sell value. Really tough choice.
Hey smodtactical,

Yes, I have purchased the # 16 for my reference system.  If you think the Pass Labs is well built, and it is, take a look at the parts/ boards/ caps in the Coda #8 you might be surprised.
I'd love to see the caps and the other side of the main board that is in the coda. Its kind of upside down or has caps facing down though.

When I look at the internals of the x150.8 they seem more impressive than the no 8, as does the machining (external heat sinks) and front baffle machining. But Coda definitely looks solid too.
I think coda transformer is way bigger. I think the width of the internal component bay is probably much wider than the pass.
Pass seems more impressive because they are designed to. Pass sinks a lot of money into the bling factor and fancy heatsinks. Coda designs are not as pretty, but they are also cheaper. Compare also Plinius for fancy heatsinks.

The 16.0 and its predecessors run cool for Class A designs because the heatsinks are super efficient. Contrast that with Pass and Plinius that are room heaters.

This tour well predates the #8 and shows more of the bigger amps, but some pictures of assembly for perusal:
@rlovendale Thanks for those pictures and material! Look forward to reading through that.

I am curious about Coda not getting that hot. I was told by a dealer that the reason for this is that they do class A in a different more efficient way? Is that right? Or is it more just better heat sinking ?
Best to ask Coda those kinds of engineering questions. Anyone in this thread could only speculate. I’m curious to hear what you find out.
I did actually ask Doug and he simply said that it does get hot. But didn't really compare it to other class A amps in terms of heat.
@smodtactical Talk to a dealer, like Al, or the dealer in Chicago, . The AudioDoctor in NJ is also a dealer but he seems to have dropped out of A'gon.

They seem to be knowledgeable on the amps.
My new Coda Model 16 becomes nearly just as hot as my Pass XA60.8's. And in terms of build quality...neither Coda or Pass can claim to be better than the other, as they are both pleasing to the eyes and built like tanks. I especially like how Coda rounds off the tops of the heat sinks, as opposed to Pass who leaves them prepared to lacerate any hand or forearm who touch them. Sound Quality: Coda without a doubt!

@laaudionut I looked at your prior posts and saw that you had listened to the beautiful Luxman stack at Excel Audio in Newport Beach. Are you able to give some comparison or thoughts between the Luxman m900u and Coda#16?

I have heard the m900u at Excel and thought it was amazing, I am also not a fan of tubes, but surprisingly, I loved the tubey sound of the m900u. I have not heard the Coda #16. Coviad-19 is making me less interested in driving to LA for a dealer demo of the Coda #16.
I would suggest that the Luxman 900 is a bit more,"relaxed" in its presentation, but I heard it in a completely different listening environment and with different gear. So take my experience with the above considered. 
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Question for Teajay. Since you also reviewed the Pass X250.8 how would you compare the performance with the Coda No.8? Thanks
Hey tellefsen,

The Coda No.8 is quieter, faster, and has overall more powerful macro-dynamics/control in the bottom end then the X250.8. Both are very silky/smooth and musical. 
When I used to make audio cables years ago, I used to own a pair of their Mono blocks. Man I loved their products. Those speakers and Chapman Audio speakers gave me a rock solid referent system. For several years I showed with them at CES. We sounded great. 

@teajay I had a quick matching to speakers question. What should I look for in the spec sheets on a speaker so I'll know I can safely use the coda no.8 without damaging the speaker. For example...the Focal Aria 906s that I currently have. Specs show a Nominal impedance of 8hms, Minimum impedance of 4.6ohms and Recommended amplifier power of 25-120w. I realize the No.8 is overkill buy id like to get my hands on one before there's a price hike(I'm assuming there will be since everyone else is doing it)...but I don't want to burn my speakers before I have a chance to upgrade them. I was considering V2. I assume having a power amp that puts out more power than I currently need is safe...but I honestly don't know. 

I have the #8 V1 and you really cannot burn your speakers unless you play at maximum volume for a long period. You could burn your speaker by using an under powered amp, which the #8 is not with your speakers.


I would recommend V1 which has the most Class A. My speakers are way more difficult to drive and the V1 does a great job.

we are coda dealers and to date have tested the .8 with Atc,legacy, focal,kef and paradigm


the .8 tends to bring out the best in a pair of loudspeakers.

Dave and Troy

audio Intellect. NJ

Coda Dealers

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@audiotroy How does Coda pair with Focals with Beryllium tweeters? Does it lean neutral or slightly warm?