Any owners of the Classe CP-800 here ?

Hello Agoners,

I am in a bit of a purchasing conundrum. I am going to purchase a new 2 channel pre and power amp. I am interested in the Classe CP-800, which doesn't seem to get much talk around here. I am looking for some feedback on this unit, especially when paired with the Classe ca-2300 2-channel amp which I might also purchase. I have been to a shop and auditioned this combo connected to a set of B&W 803D's I currently own a set of B&W 804D's

I also listened to the mcintosh C-50 pre and the MC-302 paired with the same speakers and source at the shop. I liked both of them. The classe seemed a bit more transparent and airy. The Mcintosh had a more robust sound and I thought the midrange was more accentuated. Mcintosh didn't seem to have the finesse of the Classe gear but, both combos sounded nice to my ear. I can purchase Classe a bit cheaper than Mcintosh at this point but, The mac gear seems to do better in second hand resale value, which is something to consider.

Both combos specifications are very similar with both digital and analog inputs on the pre. I am a bit of a vinyl enthusiast so, 2-channel analog is a priority for me. I didn't have the chance to listen to an analog source with either component. The source was an oppo bdp-93 in the shop. Both combinations sounded good with this source.

I am looking for input from both mac owners and classe owners. It would also be helpful if there are others who have compared these two combos as well. The specific components I am considering are below

1.) Classe CP-800 with the CA-2300 amp
2.) Mcintosh C-50 with the MC-302 amp

My music sources are a VPI classic 1 with a Soundsmith Sussurro Paua cart. I also have a Rogue audio Ares Phono.
My digital source is an oppo bdp-93 and I will also use the USB input on both components for lossless music on an Iphone/Ipad from time to time.

Any information regarding these two setups would be greatly appreciated.
Does anyone have any general thoughts on these items at all. I'm surprised this thread hasn't gotten any feedback.
I do have thoughts, although I ended up getting the Canadian made CP-700 instead. Separate fully differentially balanced even in the PSU, all digital functions reduced to what is needed for volume control, such should a true preamp be. The rest is taken care of by my PR-SC5509, and even in bypass mode the CP-700's pinpoint accuracy shines through on the mains, which I biamp.

You may be better off getting an SSP-800 as the CP-800 is basically a two channel processor, now with the PSU inside the box, and all sorts of D/A processing inside, bells and whistles that every Middle Kingdgom product, especially if churning out of the Oppo factory (same town in Guandong province), should have.

I also looked very hard at the MBL preamps.

In the end I am very satisfied with my choice and I find all sorts of reasons to play my 2 channel SACDs in the now fully balanced (A1UDCI) minus the amps 2 channel system.

I currently own the CP-800 and use it with B&W 803 Diamond towers (latest version). My amps are Hypex NC400 Class D units which are setup in a Dual Mono configuration with one Dual Mono amp per speaker (ie..quad amp'd)

My previous setup that the Classe CP-800 replaced was an all Ayre front end made up of QB-9 DAC and K5xe-MP Preamp.

My impressions of the CP-800 are that it is a very neutral piece of hardware that does very well with all music that I have played thru it so far. I feel that it has a slightly smaller soundstage then the AYRE equipment did. Highs are less rolled off sounding then the AYRE setup but not to the point of being bright. As a whole, bass output sounds slightly less meaty but makes itself known in all the right places when called upon.

As an example when playing an Album with good Drum work like The Who, Who's Next or Jethro Tull's \Aqualung 40th Anv, Disc 1 I feel the drum impacts are more dynamic and startling with the CP-800 as compared to the AYRE setup. Cymbal work sounds more sweet to my ears as well.

Background grunge is all but non-existent (very black backgrounds) when no music is playing with volume level cranked and ear next to the tweeter. Granted, the amp and power company play a role here as well but in any case my ear needs to be literally resting on the tweeter grill to hear any signs of hiss at all.

I think my only gripe with the unit which I knew going into the purchase is that it doesn't do 24/192 over USB. Using the latest firmware release 24/192 material results in drop outs in my setup. Classe support recommends going down a level in Firmware to allow the unit to seamlessly play 24/192 without dropouts. Granted, that doing so will still only result in a down sampled 24/96 tune but at least you can play the higher rez stuff if you have it.

I can confirm that it has no issues running 4 amps via the XLR outputs and drives them to their full output level nicely. I haven't toyed with the Sub outputs or DSP functions yet but plan to do so at some point in the future.

In summary, I can't find any deal breakers or faults in how it operates or sounds and am very happy with my purchase decision. The unit offers a boat load of flexibility for its price point.
Thanks for the information bob and eniac

I would like to compare the CP-800 and CP-700 side by side but, I don't know of a dealer with the CP-700 in stock. I wish the CP-800 had the same seperate PSU configuration as it's predecessor. My primary use for this component will be 2 channel music and the CP-800 actually has more functionality than what I need at this time but, it is nice to have for future expansion. I also own a PR-SC5508 processor for my home theater control. At this time I am using a Rotel RMB-1575 5-channel amp paired with a parasound 2100 pre that has a home theater bypass option. I want to improve my 2-channel listening while being able to integrate with my current home theater setup. I am going to keep my Rotel amp for home theater use and buy the seperate pre amp and power amp for 2-channel listening with vinyl and digital sources.
You bet, the separate balanced topology preferrably monomoblock amps for stereo are the next logical purchase for me too, the biamping is holding me back (4xmonos=muchisimo dinero).
I can't really help you with your specific questions, but I recently bought a used CP-800 and I am loving it. Like another respondent, I haven't got into the EQ/DSP functions yet but the basic preamp functions are a huge step up for me. I'm getting so much more resolution than my previous preamp. My rig is 2-channel.

As I understand it, there is a new version out now (or will be out shortly) that has a board upgrade that delivers 192/24 resolution, Apple Airport support and a 10db drop in noise (according to Classé's marketing department). It adds $1000 to the list price (from $5k to $6K). They will be adding an onboard phono stage for another $500 later this year.

In regards to this comment:

"and a 10db drop in noise (according to Classé's marketing department)"

Did they mention what allowed this drop on the floor noise?

Andyprice, try HT Guide Forum, where there is a dedicated Classé forum with more than 13,000 posts.
I own the cp800. I think it is a great solid state pre-amp. Provides great inner detail. Soundstage is smaller than other pre amps but not by much. It provides a deep soundstage maybe not as wide as I've heard. But it depends what amp u use. It does an excellent job with faster jazz. The bass I'd good but could use a slight improvement. However, I have not got into the EQ settings.. That could help a lot. It has a great dac inside. That is a huge plus now. Wanna of the better dacs I have ever heard. I am happy with my purchase.