Classe 101 vs. McCormack DNA125: opinions?

A local dealer let me bring home a Classe CA-101 today to try with my B&W 603 S3s. It is a nice amp, refined, transparent and dynamic. But to my surprise the bass is a big disappointment, in that there is very little low end weight. It nearly sounds as though the Classe begins to roll off at 120 hz. Others have mentioned to me this lightweight presentation, but I had to hear it for myself. In any event, next on my consideration list is the McCormack DNA 125. Could anyone comment on the overall presentation of the 125, and more importantly, has anyone compared these 2 amps?


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No contest, the McCormack is better in everyway. Although some may argue this point the Classe's don't hit their stride until the 201 in this series.

McCormack is a solid amp that is very neutral if not a little dry but certainly has no system breaking attributes to its sound.

As for the limp wristed performance of the Classe 101, as an amp it does not offend or excite, and I cannot think of an attribute that it may have that would make it uniquely better than the McCormack unless your speakers where not very good dynamically and benefitted the Classe's soft touch. ie Sonus Faber, Epos
A Classe 101 is underpowering your B%W's IMO. Yes you would have to step up the line to make your B&W.s rock, dont know your pricepoint, but keep getting those home auditions so you are 100% happy.
Actually, the Classe doesn't sound like a weak 100 watt amp until you reach the lower registers. But I can't live without bass :)
A strong 100-150 watt amp would be fine with me, but I do miss the effortless presentation of my old Threshold S500.....
You know whats a little "dumb" about the Classe 101.
I own one, but use it in mono , to drive 300 watts for my center channel in a HT set up. But whats "dumb" about it is the power inlet is right where the binding posts are for the speaker cables. I use a little piece of rubber to ensure at the back of the amp the speaker cables and power cords are not touching each other. Power cords touching speaker cables {or interconnects for that matter} will suck a chunk of dynamics from your sound.
Cinematic Systems hit it on the head. The smaller Classe' amps are all anemic sounding when it comes to bottom end. The bigger models ( 200 / 201 & up ) are noticeably better in this respect. This is a no brainer in terms of selecting the McCormack. Then again, you already had a very solid amp with the S500. With a few parts upgrades, you would have had an amp to last you till the end of time. Sean
I agree with the above. I have a McCormack DNA-1 with 150 watts/ chanel into 8 that replaced a B&K 4420 with 225 watts and the McCormack sounds fuller and more powerful. No problem driving vandersteen 2CE sigs.

McCormack amps give you a bonus: they can be upgraded to become one of the very best, period. Read here (.pdf files)