Chord Anni Review: The smallest big amplifier around

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Every bit long as you’re not expecting Anni to be a full-size integrated amp squeezed into a box smaller than a carton of milk, you lot’ll be fine. This is a remarkably authoritative and revealing niggling amplifier


  • Organised, detailed and confident audio
  • Singular aesthetic
  • Sturdy build quality


  • Just two inputs
  • Gets warm
  • Singular ergonomics

Key Features

  • Trickle downwards Ultima engineering science
    Claims to be able to drive any headphone load


These days, the products turned out by Chord Electronics tend to fall into one of two categories: big, significantly over-designed and expensive, or pocket-size, significantly over-designed and expensive. The Chord Anni desktop amplifier falls into that second category – simply with just a hint of the first category.

Desktop headphone amplifiers are far from a novelty, but more than unremarkably they a) contain some digital-to-analogue conversion and b) aren’t designed to besides piece of work as full-system integrated amplifiers too. But then Chord Electronics was never a ‘me also!’ company, so while desktop headphone amps aren’t uncommon, desktop integrated amps are.

Anni promises to make a far meliorate fist of amplifying your headphones or your desktop speakers than an unassisted computer can manage. It as well thinks it can slot into a full-size organization and do a worthwhile task there too… in commutation for quite a lot of coin, of grade. Does this make Anni sense at all?


  • Great britain
    RRP: £1195
  • The states
    RRP: $1795
  • Commonwealth of australia
    RRP: AU$2500

The Chord Anni is on auction at present, and in the United Kingdom it sells for £1195. In the United States you should await to part with $1795 or thereabouts, while Australian Chord-fanciers will take to fork out AU$2500 or so.

Patently, you’re not brusque of choice where integrated amplifiers at this sort of money are concerned. Simply if y’all’re after something that’s of tidy enough proportions to function equally a desktop amp, well, your shortlist is considerably shorter.

If it’s a venerable British hi-fi brand you’re after, both Cyrus and Rega will sell yous a relatively pocket-size integrated amp. But adjacent to the Anni they’re yet both biffers. At that place’s a chance that Anni is currently your own choice where super-compact desktop amps are concerned.


  • CNC-milled aluminium casework
  • the usual Chord ‘coloured balls’ control system
  • integrated fan

Safe to say yous’d be hard pushed to mistake a Chord Electronics product for that of any other brand. No thing if it’s a £400 DAC or an £18K monobloc ability amplifier, the company has developed and refined a distinctive look – it’due south a fleck like I imagine H.G. Wells’ hi-fi might have looked.

Chord Anni top surface

Anni is a pocket-size box, but that hasn’t stopped Chord deploying its signature pattern flourishes. From the milled aluminium casework (which feels as skilful equally it looks) to the pair of spherical acrylic controls that light up in different colours depending on what they’re upward to, it’s Chord business organisation as (un)usual. Fifty-fifty the model name itself is reliably daft – just have a expect at the Company’s other desktop-orientated equipment and y’all’ll encounter what I hateful.


  • headphones and speaker outputs
  • 10 watts of power
  • runs warm

Chord has deployed its fearsomely complicated and demonstrably effective ULTIMA dual feed-forward topology as the efficient, loftier-performance cherry on top of Anni’s Form A/B amplification. In theory, this offers mistake-monitored power, and though measured output is a less-than-promising x watts, Chord is determined Anni can bulldoze pretty much any headphones or desktop speakers you care to mention.

Chord Anni physical connections

In terms of getting information into Anni, at that place are 2 analogue RCA inputs on the rear panel. The volume command on the front panel likewise functions as a push button/push selector between inputs ‘1’ and ‘ii’. Likewise on the rear panel are a couple of 4mm assistant plug-friendly outputs for apply with a pair of speakers, along with a power output port for connection to the mains. In that location’s also a 12V DC output for connecting Anni to the identically proportioned Qutest desktop DAC and/or Huei phono stage.

Chord Anni buttons

Bated from the volume control, the front end panel as well features 6.3mm and 3.5mm headphone outputs – they tin can exist used simultaneously if required. 1 of the coloured balls controls power on/off, while the other is a gain control intended to give Anni the best chance of adapting to the different electrical loads of headphones of differing sensitivities.

Naturally enough, given the dimensions of the box, on the inside Anni is pretty much full of essential equipment. This includes an integrated fan but despite this and the generous number of ventilation holes in the casework, the Chord is a warm operator.

Sound quality

  • detailed and revealing presentation
  • bluntly startling scale and dynamism
  • tin can run out of breath quite hands

The Chord Anni is intended to conform a few different applications, and then for this test it’s used every bit a stand-alone headphone amplifier fastened to a MacBook Pro, equally a headphone amp when fastened to a Chord Qutest DAC, and to power a pair of modestly enervating (85dB sensitivity) ELAC Solano BS238 standmounting loudspeakers. In every circumstance, it proves worthwhile.

If you’re familiar with the audio of Chord Electronics distension, the level of detail retrieval and transparency the Anni deals in when handling a TIDAL Masters file of Kendrick Lamar’due south
King Kunta
won’t come as all that much of a surprise. Neither volition the forensic levels of insight into the dense, patchwork mix. What might crusade a raised countenance is the assertiveness of the Anni’southward sound, and the relative burliness of its presentation. x watts doesn’t sound like much (because information technology isn’t), but the Chord has no difficulty in showing a recording who’s dominate.

Chord Anni fascia

Obviously there are limits, especially when driving loudspeakers. The Anni can’t get especially loud, and when you exercise wind the volume upwards towards ‘max’ a off-white corporeality of its sonic composure abandons it. Only as long every bit you’re sensible, and retrieve your amplifier has its ceiling, the Anni is a gregarious and musical companion.

And no matter if you’re listening to headphones or a pair of speakers, the Chord presents a believable stereo epitome and a frankly unlikely impression of scale. It revels in the dynamism and bulldoze required to bring a file of Charles Mingus’
Boogie Cease Shuffle
to life and has the dexterity necessary to allow the recording flow rather than stomp. It’southward an eloquent performer, and if you lot don’t expect window-rattling volume levels information technology’s utterly fit for purpose.

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Should you buy it?

Yous’re serious nigh desktop sound
Looks expensive if judged in purely physical terms, only the sound is worth every penny

Yous tend towards the fatter-fingered
Anni’s volume control is uncomfortably close to both headphone outputs

Concluding Thoughts

‘Niche’ only begins to describe the Chord Anni. Merely if you have desktop sound seriously, and specially if you’re already sold on Chord’s range of miniaturised hi-fi powerhouses, you’ll find Anni’due south got exactly what you demand.

How nosotros test

Nosotros test every amplifier we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. Nosotros use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll e’er tell yous what nosotros find. We never, ever, take money to review a product.

Find out more than about how nosotros test in our ethics policy.

Tested using different file formats

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Does the Chord Anni feature a DAC?

No, in gild to convert digital files to analogue, you’ll demand to partner the Anni with a suitable DAC.

Full specs


United states of america RRP



Size (Dimensions)



Release Appointment

Amplifier Type



Frequency Range



Stated Power

Chord Electronics Anni




Chord Electronics

160 x 97 x 43 MM

625 Thou




3.5mm, half dozen.3mm headphone outputs, two stereo RCA analogue inputs


5 60000 – Hz

Class AB

8 ohms

10 W


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