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.


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

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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

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.

@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. 

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. 
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. 
Question for Teajay. Since you also reviewed the Pass X250.8 how would you compare the performance with the Coda No.8? Thanks
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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. 
@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.
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!

@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.
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.
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.
@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 ?
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:
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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?
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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.
"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.
@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.
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.
wow, XA200.8, max current 50 amps, XA 600.8 50 amps, XA30.8 20 amps, Coda No 8 75 amps! damn that thing has some insane current
As per Terry's request, I will provide my initial thoughts on the Model 16 after around 25 hours of listening to date:

Please pardon the lack of audio superlatives and jargon specific to our esoteric hobby, as I am not a reviewer, just an avid audio dragon chaser.

In comparison to my Pass 60.8's, The 16 requires that I use far less of the volume knob on my preamp to obtain the same level of listening(a great deal less). At lower listening levels, The Model 16 is far more dynamic in its soundstage and presence. At all listening levels, the separation of instruments is more apparent side to side and back to front...the dimensionality is astounding! It is every bit as detailed and articulate as the Pass, but with a tube-like warmth to it, is the only way to explain it. In short, this is by far the best amplification I have had in my set up ever, and there have been quite a few very highly regarded gems that have occupied my rack!

If it matters, I am feeding a pair of TAD CE1 Monitors via a set of Found Music speaker cables. 

I believe that I am more than satisfied for the foreseeable future, and I thank Terry's consultation earlier in the year for his thoughts on my desire to have another Coda back in the lineup!

Happy listening!
Hey laaudionut,

Congrats! I’m sure you are enjoying your new "baby". In another thread on the #16 I tried to explain the difference between the Pass Labs XA-60.8’s and the #16. I still think the XA-60.8’s are wonderful amps, but I like the Coda #16 better. Would you be willing to share what you have found to be different and an improvement over the mono-blocks in your system and for your taste.
I agree with Terry. I had the Coda Model 11 and (regretfully) sold it some years ago. I am less than one week into my new Model 16, and it is nothing short of stunning! This piece will stay in my collection indefinitely! And for reference, I parted with my much beloved Pass XA60.8's to make room for this beautiful beast of an amp.
Hey smodtactical,

Great question. My explanation would be two fold: 1) Coda does not seek reviews where you have to buy advertising or other types of incentives to have a review done. 2) Coda is beloved and sells tremendous amounts of their gear in the Asian and European markets. 

I call Coda the great "stealth" company because they have been in business for over 30 years, build great stuff that competes with anyone else's gear on the market for reasonable prices, and you rarely see them on the second hand market because the owner's tend to keep them for ever. 
YYZ ya I was looking at that 15.5, looks good. But with coda its a bit of a gamble. If I don't like the pairing its basically going to be impossible to sell.
Terry how come so few people have the Coda amp? Barely any reviews except for your excellent review.
@smodtactical Take a look at @soundhound CODA #15.5 that is upgraded to almost #16 level. He has it on sale on USAudiomart. Same price as a new #8.

BTW - I decided to pair the CODA #16 with my Benchmark HPA4 preamp. I think it will be a nice blend of the Benchmark AHB2 and Luxman m900u. A super quiet amp (130 SNR almost good as AHB2), with a sweet top like the Luxman m900u, and more slam than the m900u. PM me if you want to know a bit more I spoke with a dealer that maybe useful to you.

I concur with @kairosman, the #8 was the best until I got the #16.
Thinking about the no 8 with Yamaha ns5000. Any thoughts ?

Was going to go pass 250.8 used but it just sold.
I do not post often as I come here mostly to learn, but having recently purchased a No. 8 amp (Version 1 for 18 watts of Class A bias 150/300/600 watts into 8/4/2 ohms) I thought I'd share my experience.

To keep it short and to the point, it is the best amp I have ever owned. No matter the quality of recording or the volume I am listening at, I am constantly astonished. There seems no limit to it, even LOUD the meters barely register the deep bass plunges, and my B&W 702 S2s are notorious for wild impedance swings.

I paid 6k for it, I would pay double for it and still feel like I got a smoking deal.

Anyways, just my 2 cents.
what are the Coda 8 amplifier specs (input impedance?) cannot find them anywhere
Is there any difference as far as sound quality using balanced/unbalanced inputs?
You should email Coda to confirm, but the input impedance should be 10 kOhms for the balanced input and 50 kOhms for the unbalanced input.

As the amp has a fully differential input stage with a DC-coupled balanced input, that would be the purest signal path. Going through the AC-coupled unbalanced input would route the signal through additional circuitry. Whether this is audible likely depends on your ears and your particular room/equipment and whether you have any ground loops.

See: ("Different types of voltage are handled differently at the input. DC-coupled inputs are the more straightforward: the circuitry just takes the input as it is. The entire signal passes through, more or less untouched. AC-coupled inputs are different. They include a capacitor in the circuit that allow them to filter out very low frequencies.")
what are the Coda 8 amplifier specs (input impedance?) cannot find them anywhere
Is there any difference as far as sound quality using balanced/unbalanced inputs?