The new Coda S5.5 amplifier: It's a "Petite Beast"!

I have in-house the New Coda Technologies S5.5 amplifier for review for Stereo Times website. It will be awhile before I write the review. However, I'm so impressed by the performance of this petite amplifier, it only weights 45 pounds, that I wanted to give a heads up to you GON members if you are in the market for a balanced pure class A amplifier, delivers 50 watts @ 8 Ohms, and can drop 100 Amperes of current on a peak!

The world class build quality of Coda amplifiers is on display with the S5.5, along with the most beautiful purity of tonality, precise sound-staging, complete liquidity offered by pure class A design, and what might be the best top end regarding details, decays, and a natural shimmering without brightness or any edge at all.

The S5.5 uses extremely wide bandwidth output transistors instead of the usual TO3 devices used in most transistor designs. I own the Coda #16, which is great, but the midrange/high end is taken to another level of musical enjoyment with the S5.5. The S5.5 has a sense of speed/aliveness that is exciting to listen to that you experience in live music. The amp is dynamic as hell, has driven with ease any speaker I have tried it with, hence my nickname of the "Petite Beast". Remember, 50 watts pure class A, can drop 100 amperes of current and only weights 45 pounds.

Teajay (Terry London)


I just recently discovered Coda and unfortunately live in an area without a dealer (Seattle area) so I cannot hear them.  I currently have an Accuphase E-380 integrated and am considering adding the S5.5 to my system and using the E-380 as the pre-amp for the short term.  The E-380 only has RCA out for the pre-amp section, would that be an issue with the S5.5?  If I like the S5.5 I would probably get a dedicated pre and sell the Accuphase. 

Does anyone have any insights on how the S5.5 would sound compared to a class A/B Accuphase?  I am very happy with my Accuphase but the allure of a Class A amp sounds really good!

My speakers are Spatial Audio M4 Sapphire's (4Ohm, 88db).



Hey Tim,

First, there should be no problem using the preamp RCA's output to drive the S5.5.

I'm quite familiar with Accuphase's overall presentation, which I'm a fan of, relatively warm/velvety with overall good tonal balance leading to a very musical experience. The Coda S5.5 is more silky, much faster, deeper/tighter bass frequencies, a much more airy extended top end, and it's overall dynamics are quite superior to what you get from your E-380. The S5.5 is never bright or analytical but offers accurate fidelity in both tonality and dynamics.

Hope this helps, Teajay

Thanks Teajay, very helpful indeed.  Sounds like this may be a great addition to my system.  I assume no issues driving a 4ohm 88db speaker?

I love my Accuphase but do feel the top end is a bit rolled off and the bass isn't quite as good as it should be, great mid range though. 

I started off thinking I would get the #8 amplifier, which looks great as well, but came across this discussion and think the S5.5 is what I am looking for.


Correct, no issues at driving your speakers, not with 100 amperes of current and 100 watts into 4 ohms. I have reviewed/owned the #8, great amplifier, like the S5.5 better for the reasons stated in this thread.



Hey fthompson251,

I'll be writing my review for the StereoTimes website in the next couple of months. I have two reviews to write before I do the S5.5 write up. As I stated at the beginning of this thread I was so impressed by the performance of the S5.5 I wanted to give the GON members a "heads up" on this amplifier. You can read my past reviews on the Coda #8 and #16 amplifiers, along with the 07X line-stage to get information on my experience with their gear. These pieces are superlative in their own right, but the S5.5 is turning out to be one of my favorite SS amps for the reasons stated on this thread. I have gotten feedback from three GON members who have recently purchased the S5.5 who are delighted with its performance in their systems.

Teajay (Terry London)

Has anyone hooked up a REL line level sub to the S5.5? With my Accuphase I put the ground into one of the black speaker terminals, but if the S5.5 is a balanced design I think I would float the ground wire and not connect it? Will be hooking up a REL S/812 to the amp.

Will be calling Coda tomorrow to talk with Doug about the amp, think I am getting close to pulling the trigger and ordering one!

Since some of you asked me on DM about the mono S5.5, here is what Doug at CODA told me today.

It is not the best way to use the amp. A stereo amp bridged to mono suffers sonically and has to work much harder. There is a technical explanation on Audiogon for other stereo amps set to mono. Same logic applies to the CODA S5.5

I am still looking for a slightly brighter amp than my CODA #16 and preferably from CODA. I may be in luck and also unlucky at the same time. There is a new CODA flagship coming out next month. It will be sonically in-between the S5.5 and the #16 (assumption from Doug). It is a 2 chassis amp and I think the name is SYSTEM 150. That is the good part the bad part is the cost; it will be about $28k. Maybe time to get that second job again.

I will definitely have a listen to this amp next month at Destination HiFI in Los Angeles (local to me). My other choices are little bit lower in the want factor than another CODA amp.




BTW - Anyone with a S5.5 using it with the Magnepan LRS+ speaker. I am curious if the S5.5 can drive the $1000 LRS+. If it can then that would be a great "value" system.

I was using a Sanders Magtech for a while on it, and it was great. For a lark, I recently tried the CODA #16 on the LRS+ in my small office. I am amazed how good this sounds. I am so distracted as I try to work. The Magtech was great but the #16 takes it to another level of engagement. I like the Sanders Magtech more than the CODA #8 v1 (which I owned).

If the single stereo S5.5 can drive it and sounds like the #16, then I need to reevaluate because right now the #16 stays with a $1000 speaker. Which is a bit crazy.


@yyzsantabarbara I'll be very interested to hear your thoughts on the new flagship. I'm absolutely in love with my #16 and wonder if Doug would update internals with improved parts used in newer creations?

It was an interesting discussion. He went really deep into the details of what was happening since the old SYSTEM 100 to the new SYSTEM 150.

Strangely, I had a Deja vu moment as I listened. I recalled a similar discussion with Roger Sanders last year when I spoke to him about buying the Magtech. Doug eventually pivoted to Roger Sanders role in discovering something that led Doug and his team to make different choices for parts in the new amp. I won’t get into details and likely not repeat it properly.

One way to learn more about the new amp is to research the old SYSTEM 100. I read a Stereophile review of the old CODA S5 amp (from 2005) and that mentioned the SYSTEM 100. I had never heard of the old amp.

The new one is like the old one which used a 2 chassis configuration. The top part is the size of the 07x preamp (not a preamp) and the bottom is the size of the #16 (I think). They can be stacked.

There are improved internals in the amp, though Doug said he lamented the loss of an old part (the Sanders connection). The 2 chassis implementation is likely what will make it better than the #16 (some important aspects of voltage benefit). The 2 parts cost $19950 and $8000 each = $28k. Comes only with meters.


I have been listening so loud with my LRS+ and the #16 that I need to be careful. Everything sounds so good on LRS+ using the #16. My friend, a golden ears type, listened to my Livingroom speaker and was raving about it. Even the next day he was texting me about the sound. I have a feeling that the #16 had a lot to do with it. To my not so golden ears, I wanted the #16 to be a little less warm on the Livingroom speaker, thus the interest in the S5.5 and now the SYSTEM 150. For me the #16 on the Livingroom was 95/100 to my golden ears friend it seemed like 99/100.



Just placed an order for a black S5.5!  Will take several weeks before it is ready to ship.  Really looking forward to adding this to my system!

@yyzsantabarbara That's good feedback which I value a lot knowing your experience with the 16 which was a big factor into picking one up of my own. I'll have to make a trip to Destination one of these days. 

@christianb5s4 Post some info on it if you go down. I won't be able to go until mid-June.

I am sure that it will be a great amp. Anything that is similar to the #16 is going to be something I will like. Pretty sure I would like the S5.5 and the new one for that reason.

@yyzsantabarbara It will be driving Spatial Audio M4 Sapphire open baffle speakers.  The specs are 90db, 4ohm. I may be upgrading to some YG Tor or Talus speakers in the Fall, not 100% sure on that yet.  Will be using my Accuphase E-380 integrated as the preamp initially.


Congratulations, you will love the S5.5! I'm driving 93db 4 Ohm Clayton Shaw Caladans with it, and the Spatials should be amazing as my combo

I don’t post here very often even though I’ve been on Audiogon for well over 20 years. I need to however thank Terry London for pointing me in CODA direction and ultimately making me buy the S5.5. I have a decent system and I use it to almost exclusively to stream music from Qobuz via Roon Nucleus+. I use the Innuos Pulsar streamer, Lampizator Golden Atlantic TRP DAC and Don Sachs tube preamp and amp. My speakers are the big Tekton Ulfberht towers which are 4Ohm and 99dB efficient. I was very happy with the sound and really didn’t need anything else. Well, it doesn’t work that way with me. I started thinking about adding a solid state amp and tweaking the sound a little. I thought about Pass and couple of other options but I remembered talking to Terry in the past about my Ulfberhts and reading his review of another CODA. After another call to Terry I became convinced that the S5.5 might just be the right choice. 100W of pure class A power into 4Ohm speakers seemed plenty enough. My decision was right. The amp is fantastic and I enjoy my setup more now than ever before. The sound is very smooth and extended in highs and lows with tube like midrange. No edginess or brightness. Very dynamic and clean. Wonderful sound staging and depth with very well defined vocals and instruments. I made the right choice and my tube amp will have to wait a while now before I get the itch to listen to it again.

@vthokie83 Very glad to hear you are using with a similar type of speaker and it is a good match! 

@olesno Thank you for sharing your experience as well.  I have hear my speakers with a Don Sachs tube gear and they sound amazing.  If you prefer the sound of the S5.5 over your tube gear that is very high praise for the S5.5!

Going to be a long several weeks waiting!



I need to mention one more thing that recently improved the sound of my system in a big way.  I've been using the Puritan Audio 156 power conditioner for about 4 -years now.  Recently I added the Puritan's own Ground Master City and the Route Master to ground all my equipment.  Last night I even grounded my Ether Regen which I'm using right before the Pulsar.  I had some expectations of improved sound after I read some reviews but I never expected it to be so dramatic.  The sound just became clean and the background completely black.  The separation between the instruments became real.   Highly recommend trying it if you are not using any special grounding setups.  

@vthokie83 what preamp are you using with the S5.5? 


Also, to owners of the S5.5, I have read that to put the amp in stand by you hit the bias button on the front and to take it out of stand by hit it again.  Once you take the amp out of stand by and start using it, does it take a while to warm up and sound good or is it good right away? 

I assume when not using you leave it on and just put it into stand by mode?


I am currently using a Denafrips Hades preamp, which surprisingly has not been a bad combo with the CODA S5.5. I initially thought it would be totally outclassed, but it's held it's own so far....but yes more performance is there to be had.

I have an Aric Audio Motherlode XL preamp on order right now, should be about 6 weeks out by now (intially 12 weeks)? I spoke with Aric about the 10K ohm XLR issue, which is the very edge of the Motherlode's comfort level....and he is modifying it for me to be good with the CODA's low XLR load.

So far I have not bothered with the stand by as I don't mind burning it in a bit more. I spoke with Doug Dale at CODA, and he said the S5.5s get about a week burning in before they are shipped.

Very nice pre-amp you have coming!  I like the tube sound but don't want any tubes in my system,  I have too much tube anxiiety 🙂  So the next best thing is to find a pre-amp that has a somewhat "tube" sound to it.  Sounds like the Coda 07x does.  I think my Accuphase integrated does as well.  Will find out shortly if the Accuphase gets more of the "tube" sound from the amp section or the pre-amp section.  My hope is it is from the pre-amp section and I will be happy with it.

@olesno How do you like your Ulfberhts?  I have looked at Tekton offerings in the past and find them interesting.  Never heard them in person.  What other speakers have you had in the past to compare them to?


I like my Ulfberhts a lot.  My pair has one Be tweeter installed and I made that decision right before I ordered them about four years ago.  Never regretted it. They are big but they literally disappear in my room with the right performance.  All you hear is vocals and instruments in space, unattached to the speakers.  In my opinion they are highly undervalued.  Outside of the Ulfs some of the other speakers I had within the last 20 years were... KEF Blade 2, Gershman Black Swan or Piega.  Also Gallo Acoustics and Legacy long time ago.

@vthokie83 shoot. I thought the Motherlode XL preamp would've been an OK match as is. What is he modifying it to? Currently it's 300ohm balanced right? 


The inputs to the CODA S5.5 is what we are discussing. The RCA unbalanced 50K ohms are no issue, it is the 10K ohms on the XLR inputs. It was not a big deal really, I believe Aric is adding a couple of 1.0 uf caps.....maybe another change? Cost an extra $200 for the mods, and Aric is perfectly comfortable with the pairing with the mods added.

If you have any questions, reach out to Aric....he's quick to reply by email, and a great guy to talk to on the phone

@olesno I will have to make sure to give serious consideration to Tekton if I decide to upgrade my speakers.  Not sure they would pass the WAF though 😀

@minatophase3 They are big and heavy and visually imposing.  I got used to them and my better half likes to listen to music with me so it wasn't a WAF issue at all.  Mine are piano black so they look cool too.  


Yeah. I currently have the No.8 which is also 10k balanced.  I was just using the 20x  for impedance matching and it seemed legit to me. $200 for extra room is a good deal though. I'll reach out to them. Thank you.  

Hello there - this thread is a textbook example of how a discussion should be conducted - to learn and provide tangible experiences that may help fellow users. Bravo. I'm following this discusssion very closely as I'm interest in the S5.5 as well and would like to build my current system around it. I now use a CODA CSiB integrated which has been my first foray to the brand. I must say, I love their sound, build quality, and even the looks. Like one poster early on said, maybe @yyzsantabarbara, "the CSiB is what got him into separates..." I feel the same way and want to head down that path too. Right now I have the CSiB feeding Klipsch Cornwall IV's, Holo Audio Spring 3 KTE DAC, and my weak link, Bluesound NODE 130 streamer with upgraded LPS. I'll be upgrading to an Innuos Pulse very soon, but wondering like others which pre-amp to go with; especially considering the Cornwall's are here to stay. Although I'll likely consider some Volti's down the road. Like its been said, I could certainly use the CSiB as the pre-amp and I'd been fine with that, but also open to other options. Short list looks like Holo Audion Serene, Backert Labs Rhumba Extreme, and possible LTS MicroZOTL tube pre-amp. Any thoughts or suggestions are very welcome. Thanks to @johnah5 for starting this discussion and folks like @vthokies83, @yyzsantabarbara, and many others for providing such great hands-on experience with the CODA products. Thanks and looking very FW to that S5.5 review!

Soundstage-wise, are all images at the speaker level and behind …or do images also project forward of the speakers. I’m principally thinking of solo vocals or instruments in this regard. Thx:)

I have no personal experience with the Serene or the MicroZOTL (though I considered it), but the Rhumba Extreme 1.4 is the real deal. In the end I chose the Aric Audio Motherlode XL, but it was not an easy's really good.

@jceahodges I also have the Spring 3 KTE Dac and a friend of mine has the Serene pre-amp.  Once I get the S5.5 I will have him bring over the Serene to see how it does with the S5.5.  Will report my findings. 

@minatophase3 The Holo Serene Coda S5.5 pairing would be very interesting. Please do share your impressions when you try them together.

I had the CODA 07x with the #8. It was not my personal favorite. I am not a huge tube fan. Though my headphone amp is an incredible tube amp (RAAL VM-1a).  I changed to the Holo Serene and the CODA #16. This combo is perfect for my ears with the Magnepan LRS+.

I have also used the Benchmark LA4 with the #16 and loved it too. It is slightly less warm than the Serene. I like both preamps with the #16, but if I could trade my Serene for a Benchmark HPA4 I would since I would like BALANCE control in my office preamp. I cannot move the Serene to where the LA4 is used (space issues).

Unfortunately, I do not have the shipping box for the Serene.

Both of these preamps do not add much to the sound and are utterly quiet.



@yyzsantabarbara my fiend also had the Benchmark preamp prior to the Serene.  Wonderful preamp and adds very little coloration to the music. Unlike you, I prefer a warmer sound.  I am going to give the Accuphase a fair trial and if that doesn't produce the sound I like I will probably end up with the 07x for the exact reasons you didn't like it 😀.

Nice thing about this hobby is there are so many excellent choices for every taste.

Thanks @minatophase3 can't wait till you get to try the Serene, Spring 3 and S5.5 all together. Hopefully it's awesome. I thought I was a tube guy but turns out I prefer SS more, but with a touch of warmth. Also, appreciate @vthokie83 @yyzsantabarbara for the great feedback and discussion - it's really helpful too.

For anyone worried about the S5.5 driving a tough load, it drives my B&W 804 D4s easily, and the D4s are a VERY complicated load for an amp. Lol JA's measurements in the Stereophile review had the ASR zombies frothing at the mouth.

@minatophase3 In my experience, there's minimal to no change from turning the amp on using the bias feature on my #16. As I understand it, it essentially keeps everything charged but turns off the amp output.

I placed my order for my Coda S5.5 in Black today, thank you @vinylvalet for working with me, what a great stand up guy. Recommended. It will be paired with my Legacy Audio Focus XD's and Wavelet II.  Also thanks to @johnah5 for the heads up Agon post. I think Doug will sell a bunch of these.

Let us know your thoughts when you receive it....would love to hear your impressions

Am I missing something?  The title of the thread says "new" Coda s5.5, but it appears to have been released 7 years ago.

Hey yowser,

This was addressed earlier in the thread. Coda did not change the name/generation of the S5.5. However, some recent important changes were made in the front-end and in using different power transistors. If you have questions regarding this just give a call to Doug who will answer any of your questions.

I'm waiting for you guys getting your S5.5 in the near future to share what you hear. So far, all the feedback in conversations and posts here confirm what I'm hearing in my system. The S5.5 is a great amplifier.


Harbeth recommends a Minimum of 45 watts for my C7es-XD and states that 100 watts really needed to bring out the characteristics of the speaker and a also that even more power would yield improvement especially if in a damped room with carpeting, drapes and  furnishings. That describes my room. So I’m looking for at least 200 watts per channel. Bridging the 5.5s is attractive but as I expected CODA doesn’t recommend it. So my search will continue. Maybe the CODA 8 but then that’s a lot heavier. The Bryston line and the Pass Lab line are carried by my local dealer and he will deliver and set up for a small fee. Wish there was a local CODA dealer. 

Please audition Bryston in your stereo before you consider buying. Often in reviews, Coda is compared with Pass as both designers worked together years ago at Threshold. In most cases, the equivalent spec but much more expensive Pass (someone has to pay for all those full page color ads and other marketing) is close but not preferred over the Coda.

Hey jfrmusic,

My dear friend Mike Kay (Audio Archon) is a Harbeth dealer and finds the S5.5 drives them wonderfully. You are forgetting that it's no only the watts but the current loading that makes a great difference in driving speakers effortlessly.

The Pass Labs and Bryston amps pale in comparison to any of the Coda amps, including the S5.5, which can drop a 100 amps. This is almost double the current loading of either the Pass Labs or Bryston.


As a former long time owner of Harbeth C-7s who tried a number of different tube and solid state amps I can assure you that they do like power. However, focusing solely on WPC misses the mark and a high quality amp like the Coda will deliver plenty of juice—I suspect the 5.5 will work very well with the C-7s.

Post removed