New Stereo Times review on CODA CSiB Integrated Amplifier


My fellow Stereo Times staff reviewer, Richard Willie, has written a superlative review on the Coda CSiB Integrated that has just been posted on the website. Richard does a great job of describing the new "house" sound of this generation of Coda gear, an excellent analysis of the world class build quality of Coda gear, and a very interesting comparison of the Coda CSib to the Pass Labs XA-30.8. A fun read!


amorstereo
I enjoy the CSIB over the integrated SS amps I’ve owned from Luxman (550, 590). It has great control but does it in a way with more finesse than I expected. It never seems to strain and has an illuminated by never bright mid and high region. Bass is the foundation of music IMO and it hits tight and hard with great authority.Used with Devore O/93 Spendor D7 and Gershman Studio 2. Ergonomics could be better but after time you get used to the push button volume controls. Well built.
I owned the CSiB for a while and loved it. It was a coin flip to decide whether the KRELL K-300i or the CODA CSiB stays. The CODA went but I am getting a CODA 07x preamp delivered next week and then I will get the CODA #8 after I sell the KRELL. The CSiB was the gateway drug to getting separates. 

The KRELL and the CODA integrated are both amazing.
Just ordered a Hegel h590.  Maybe this ones better?
Hey yashu,

If you can I would recommend you cancel your order and consider the Coda integrated. Besides build quality, the Coda is built to a much higher standard, the Hegel is many notches below regarding performance compared to the Coda's beautiful presentation of music. 
Yes, with the Hegel, you are paying a premium for an imported product unlike Coda, a much better value. Anyone considering Hegel should try to audition a Coda product first.
I excitedly second the recommendation for Coda, and all of their gear in general! Best value in high end audio...and Doug is great to work with.

The Hegel 590 is very good. It is a jack of all trades unit like the KRELL K-300i. The CODA CSiB is less feature rich. Some people may prefer the more neutral sound of the Hegel. 

In terms of build quality the CODA is Bryston like. They offer a 10 year warranty so you know they have confidence in the product. I think Hegel is 2 years, which was something that affected my decision to go with the KRELL and the CODA. I could be wrong on the warranty.


Great review and thanks for mentioning it in the forums!

We are a CODA dealer and would be happy to help Audiogoners in the Chicago area with any questions.

Thanks!
Mike
Audio Archon - Authorized CODA dealer


How does the CODA CSiB (the latest version) compare to Pass Labs integrateds -- INT-25 or INT-60? I know the history, so no need to rehash that part, but would love to hear from someone who has actually owned a CODA and Pass Labs. 
As of summer 2019 the latest Jfets were incorporated ,and the preamp section too has been upgraded . I recently received the latest one which is excellent 
and exceeds my brothers Pass labs 250.8 amp in a natural flowing presentation as well as effortless dynamics and control.
I asked Coda to take it one step further I had the Latest VH Audio Odam caps ,matched to under .05% per pair installed in the preamp coupling section.I bought  dual synergistic 🍊 
16 amp T fuses on the AC input on back ,these 2 additions make it noticeably better still . Coda is very much under  the radar vs the many Big advertised  companies ,which makes it a true High end bargain .
The latest CSIB Coda is better balanced then the  Pass Labs  int 60 
which my neighbor owns ,I have the latest  Coda  integrated with the highest in 
class A 18 watts -V1 option but it s so much more then that having the largest quietest transformer I know of at 3kv and it’s potted being ultra quiet ,with unlimited current on demand over 100 amps . It’s a true ultra high end bargain ,any comments from anything made before late spring 2019  cannot be compared .now totally a fine tuned beast with soul.
I directly compared the Hegel 590 vs the new Coda our audio club is tri state and in New England get to hear and compare a lot of gear the 590 is good but just doesnot have the dynamics and speed of the Coda ,nor as clear with same realism, and Hegel is designed in Norway built in China.which is a disgrace for that kind of money .I owned the 120 and was considering the 590 I emailed the company and was shocked, and warranty no comparison Hegel 2 years 
Coda 10 years, with 5 years transferrable ,in the first year if it fails they pay the freight both ways. And just look at the build ,excellent by any standard.
military grade double sided heavy Copped trace boards then gold plated ,the others not.no wires all over the place and Huge 3kv transformer Over 100 amps on demand nothing close even at $10k just compare what counts inside in the build quality.
Seems like a great bargain at it's price.
Hey rh67,
Coda is one of the great American companies, being around for over twenty years, that has always been kinda a "stealth" presence in the US. Extremely popular in Europe and the far east, but not talked about here. Doug Dale and his team are great people and master designers and builders.

When I reviewed the #8, #16, and 0X7, they never let my house because of their superior performance compared to my reference solid state gear. The chassis work and the build quality actually puts to shame some of the highest regarded and much more costly US products on the market today.

So, yes this piece is a "great bargain" and Mr. Willie's review exactly nails what it has to offer in its performance.

It'll be nice if they can work on the appearance, especially the front plate. No need to make it look fancy or expensive, just make it more streamlined and less cluttered.
@yyzsantabarbara  Man, you've been on a roll lately. Did I tell you how much I envy you? :)

I'm assuming once you get your Coda combo, the Krell will be departing, or are you planning to use it with your RAAL setup? Last week I talked to a local audiophile who also owns Thiel (I think 3.7), and he swears on his life that the Pass Labs INT-60 is the best pairing he has ever had with his Thiels. According to him, they complement each other very well, with the Pass Labs being more on the warm side of neutral. I haven't had a chance to listen to his setup yet, but I might be able to in a couple of weeks.
amorstereo
Was wondering if the Coda was more inline with the Pass XA25 vs the Pass 30.8? I bought the Pass XA25 over the 30.8 for me it sounded better than the 30.8.

 I found the perfect class D amp in the AGD Audion's. If the Coda is better than the XA25 i might look to upgrade my class A system?? THE Show is coming up this June i will have to make a point to give the Coda a listen.
@arafiq If the Benchmark mono could put out over 600 watts at 2 Ohm I would use that over the CODA and the KRELL for the 3.7’s. It cannot so I have now moved that stack to the living room where it sounds incredible with the KEF LS50’s. I think I will blowup those speakers the way I am cranking it now. The CODA and KRELL are much better suited for the power hungry Thiel CS3.7, the CODA #8 or #16 especially so. I like the clarity of BM gear a little more over the extra bit of warmth of the KRELL and CODA (first world issues). I doubt I will like the even warmer PASS with the Thiel CS3.7. I do not find it bright at all unlike some others.

I have the KRELL back in the Thiels the last few days and I just love it. I was listening to a ton of Fela Kuti yesterday and with the additional power from the KRELL it was so much fun, better than the Benchmark stack power wise.

The reason the KRELL is sort of aimless at the moment is that the wife nixed the idea of the family room speakers. The KRELL was going to go there. I am conflicted about selling the KRELL because I love the sound but it would only be used for the RAAL SR1a and that seems crazy.

I bought a $1500 D-Sonic stereo Class D amp recently for the RAAL SR1a so once the CODA 07x gets here I can use the dual XLR outputs and have a listen. I am hoping that gives me the push to sell the KRELL.

I just realized that all my gear is made in the USA. That is cool.
@yyzsantabarbara Thanks for the update. It'll be interesting to read your comparison between Krell and CODA separates. I think Krell must have gone through substantial design changes to sound a bit on the warm side of things. I remember hearing a Krell integrated many years ago, and found it to be too bright and sterile for my taste.

Based on comments on this thread, it sounds like CODA should outperform Krell and Pass Labs. Let's see what you think. When are you expecting to receive the CODA stack? 
@arafiq I do not have KRELL separates but will have the CODA 07x shipped tomorrow. Last night, I was a little disappointment with the RAAL SR1a with the Class D amp I now own driven by my Gustard X26 Pro DAC (a brilliant $1500 DAC). So I was thinking that I should keep the KRELL K-300i integrated for the SR1a since that pairing is amazing. That means I cannot afford the CODA #8 in the short term.

If the new CODA 07x preamp with the Class D amp is better than the Gustard DAC direct to Class D amp. Then I will have some more options. I expect that to be the case.

The CODA 07x has 2 XLR outputs so I can run an amp to the SR1a and at the same time run an amp to the floorstanders (eventually a CODA #8). So that is the main reason that I have gone to the separates over the CODA integrated. I thought the integrated was great when I had it.

It seems my system decisions are really based on how I can get my RAAL SR1a to sing. All the gear I have had on the floorstanders have been very good to great. Not the case with the SR1a (such as the AHB2’s). I should have just gotten the RAAL HSA-1B headphone amp and be done with but then I would not have the fun of amp rolling that I am doing now. After this last bit is sorted out I am done buying.

BTW - I do not think I can say that the CODA outperforms either the PASS or KRELL. It is just a matter of preferences. The KRELL and CODA integrated sound different but I thought both were amazing on my floorstanders. Though I preferred the clarity of the Benchmark stack with the floorstanders. The KRELL and CODA were overall better on the floorstanders because it was a better power match in the 2 Ohm region for my speakers. So no easy answer to which is better.
@yyzsantabarbara i like “amp rolling” as a new tweak option!

and I’m glad we can get over “best” for a moment and just appreciate the differences 
I own both Pass Labs and Coda amps...the XA-25 and Coda 08 & 07x. Their both excellent of course in their own right. It’s really down to personal preference. 
Coda 08 has a lot more power and control over the bass region. effortless, super responsive and zero harshness.The 07x rich with timbral color, dynamic and information-rich yet is also non-fatiguing. I use the 07x with my LM-508ia to great effect. 

I do still own the XA-25 because it’s that good. ;)
Normally dont go for Neutral/Bass Weight Heavy amps but was intrigued enough to read the review and was surprised at the last statement  " I love the sound of the CSiB and really don't want to change a thing. Doug Dale (Owner of CODA) assures me that the FET 07x Preamplifier and No. 8 Amplifier combination are very close in sound to the CSiB (if not identical) "
So if they are identical or close to it why would somebody buy the separates for 2-3X the price of the Integrated? (Especially if they already dumped the Coda Integrated they previously owned??).  If I owned the company I certainly wouldnt make a statement like that. Whats the incentive to move up the line?  Just sayin.
Agreed. If that quote is accurate from the owner of Coda then the 07x and 08 separates are very overpriced if their performance in combo is no better than the csib. It might also mean the csib is a relative bargain 
Doug made it plain in his quote that the csib is "close in sound" to the separates.. but it is "not identical" in sound...close does not mean exactly the same. What the separates bring to the table is a more refined sound presentation...but like all things high end...for a price.   
It says VERY CLOSE in Sound...IF NOT IDENTICAL  Doesnt say they arent identical in sound anywhere.  Your twisting the words

Doug Dale (Owner of CODA) assures me that the FET 07x Preamplifier and No. 8 Amplifier combination are very close in sound to the CSiB (if not identical) "
Not twisting words. Very close is not the same as identical. If it were true.. he might as well toss the o7x and #8 to the curb and call it a day! Doug told me as you go up the line you get more refinement for the money. The number 8 is close to the number 16 in sound quality.. but it is not identical.
Let's wait for @yyzsantabarbara to get his hands on the separates and compare them to the integrated. I have more faith in his assessment than any reviewer, with all due respect.
Well arafiq,

I guess you don't trust me because I'm a professional reviewer! With all due respect, I can accept that. I have had the great pleasure of reviewing the Coda #8 & #16 amplifiers and the 07X preamplifier. I purchased the #16 and 07x to use in my big reference system. 

As you you go up the Coda line each step gives you more refinement and "spit and polish" on the house sound. Doug and Eric, with this generation of gear, has produced some of the quietest, grainless, and detailed solid state gear on the market, regardless of price. However, these details are presented in an effortless, musical fashion and does not become analytical or in your face.They still retained the overall dynamics and bottom-end control that Coda always had because of their massive over built power supplies and current loading abilities.

By the way the CSib does not have the 07x preamp as it's linestage. It uses the smaller "baby brother" preamp as its control section. This preamp is still terrific, I have heard it, and gives you about 80% of the performance of the reference and much more expensive $6,500 07x preamplifier. The amplifier is the equal of the #8 single chassis piece.

All of these Coda pieces are beautifully built and our great performers at their price points, in my opinion they actually compete with much more expensive gear, but as you go up in the line there are differences that you can hear.

By the way, something wacky has taken place regarding me posting as Teajay, as I have for over 15 years. Therefore, I started this thread and post under the name Amorstereo, but it's me, Terry London, and I now review for StereoTimes website as most of you Gon members know because I always enjoyed sharing information on great products at reasonable costs.






I agree, based on personal experience (except I have not yet heard the No. 16), with everything the evil reviewer Terry has said.
The reason I went with the CODA CSiB in the first place was because of the discussions that started after Terry's reviews. I did not think my audio preferences align with what Terry likes but I wanted to check it out. Glad I did because it gave me options that I did not consider before. Though I always was aware of CODA.

Last night after 3 hours of very late night RAAL SR1a listening with music that can be fatiguing (on purpose) I came to the conclusion that the KRELL K-300i has to stick around. The KRELL K-300i + Audio Mirror Tubadour III SE + RAAL SR1a is a phenomenal combo. The buttery smoothness of the KRELL and the bass power are exactly what I need on the SR1a. Unfortunately, in the short term, I now will not have funds to buy the CODA #8.

In 2 months when California opens up fully I will head down to my local CODA dealer and listen to the #8 and #16 with the 07x. 

The Gustard X26 Pro DAC that I have been recently raving about will go with the CODA 07x and the Thiel CS3.7 floor standers. A great DAC and it cost $1500 ($1300 on sale).

BTW - Rumor has it that the 07x will get an external power supply in the LONG TERM. If that happens I will get a free upgrade (not sure what  that means) of the 07x to the external power supply. I do not know the details of any of this just pushing the rumor.
I should add that the D-Sonic amp I am now using today on the Thiel CS3.7 sounds good driven DAC direct to amp. I did not like it with the SR1a. It will be better with the CODA 07x but it will be a nice amp to keep around as a backup or hot weather amp.
@amorstereo -- sorry, I didn't realize it's you Teajay :(

In general, I think we have all grown weary of the so-called professional reviewers, so I hope you can understand my initial skepticism. Of course, you are one of the few reviewers whose opinion and expertise is greatly valued and appreciated on this site, and that includes me as well. 

Now that we have it out of the way (phew!), have you had a chance to compare it to Pass Labs integrated amps including INT-25 or 60? 
Hey arafiq,

I still think the Pass Labs XA-25 amplifier, for my taste, is the best sounding of the XA-.8 series, if you don’t need more watts/current to match your speakers. However, I’m not a great fan of Pass Labs preamplifiers. They offer excellent transparency/details, but I found them somewhat thin sounding and not subjectively as musical as my tube based line-stages. What was a shock for me, to be honest, was when I reviewed the Coda 07x because it presented like a tube (color and image density) yet had the speed and dynamics of solid state and of course is quiet compared to tubes.

Therefore, because the Coda CSib has the #8 amp section with the smaller sibling 07X linestage, it’s still more to my taste than the Pass Labs INT pieces. Now, if you team up the Pass Labs XA-25 with the Coda 07x linestage, now your "cooking" a great sonic stew.
yy,
it’s cool to read about the testing and results you’ve found, and you do a good job of explaining (not just this thread but whenever you talk about your journey). Thx and keep it up as long as you keep experimenting <thumbs up>
@amorstereo -- Thanks, Teajay! This is the first time someone has explained the difference between Pass Labs and Coda in a way that I can understand. Getting CODA separates is probably outside of what I can afford in the short term, but I remain interested in the CSiB. I currently have two systems in the house. The main one is composed of Harbeth SHL5+ driven by Luxman 590 AXII, and the second one has Harbeth M30.1 driven by Raven Audio Blackhawk. My plan was to replace the Blackhawk with the Luxman, and buy a Pass Labs INT-60 for the main system. But you have me thinking about CODA once again now. I actually bought the CODA from a fellow a'goner but unfortunately had to return it due to unforeseen circumstances.

Now, from what I understand, there were some changes that took place somewhere around 2019 that made the CSiB even better. If I were to buy used, is there a way to find out if the CSiB has the latest improvements? Also, I'm not sure if PL XA-25 will have enough juice to drive the SHL5+, and I want to build my system around these speakers. Another route I can take is to buy the CODA amp and drive it with the Luxman initially, and then eventually buy the CODA preamp once I can afford it. Lots of choices, but you really have me considering the CODA brand seriously once again.

Thank you for the detailed and on point feedback.
The 07x is awesomely good, I think I like it better than my No.8 for what it brings to the sound.
Talked also to Doug, the combo 07x+No.8 is still a notch above the CSiB (you get what you pay for). I have absolutely no doubt that the new CSiB is a killer integrated, but if you can afford the 07x and the No.8 or the No.16 than go for it!
Terry, thanks for the post! I really appreciate the feedback on the review.