I have a Classe Seventy amp and Classe Six preamp. Classe represents the point beyond which you enter diminishing returns. The best bang for your buck.
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I've owned a DR-3, VHC, and now own a DR-8 in my office system. IMHO, the amps designed by Dave Reich were the best Classe ever did, they all have a DR in the model number. I agree with Jack, after Classe you do begin to slide down the slippery slope of diminishing returns. Unequaled value in my books. Jeff
I started with a cap-80 on a small bedroom system. In time that piece evolved and split into seperates(CP-50/CA101). Some time after that the CA101 sprouted legs and walked away.(It was never heard from again). I then added a CA301 to replace the 101 being that this piece is much heavier I figure I can catch it before it gets to far:~) Yes I like Classe. I also run a Dac1 in my system which sounds nice.
Welcome to the CAP 151 club. I have an early "black" face version and love the full rich sound it produces. While shopping I was surprised to hear a distinct difference between the equivalent Classe separates verses the integrated amp. The set up was an ARCAM CD 92 and Aerial 6 speakers. The separate pre amp and amp configuration sounded weaker. It wasn't as "full" and "robust" a sound as the intergrated equivalent. This has made taught me to be very critical in evaluating the separates and don't assume they'll automatically sound as good as the integrated editiions. My guess is the more powerful amp versions should sound OK but it was a surprise to hear the qualitative differences for similar type pieces by the same manufacturer. Ultimately, as everyone says, "Let your ears decide through A-B testing!"
I've owned Classe DR-10, CA-100, and CA-200. All outstanding amps. IMHO, my CA-100 had better low-end tightness and detail vs. the DR-10. The CA-200 was better yet. All of these amps were used to drive my Thiel CS 1.5 speakers which are the only original pieces I still have in my system since I got involved in this crazy hobby 8 years ago. Everything else has been swapped out several times over.
I no longer own any Classe gear only because I've gotten the bug to play with tubes but I agree with others here that Classe offers a lot of "bang for the buck" and they're right at that sweet spot as you approach diminishing returns.
I'd love to get a CA-201 but I can't afford to keep my tube gear AND good SS too.
I own a Classe 70 and probably will try to find a DR-9 or DR-3 to upgrade to sometime. I have noticed that my amp is really sensitive to the power from the outlet. It is picky about powercords, is susceptible to hum and sounds much better at night. Classe amps are good for driving low impedance, insensitive speakers and are smoother sounding than a lot of other SS amps. Auditioning my speakers at a dealer I listened to a Classe 300, an NAD silverline amp, and a pair of tall Levinson monoblocks. I much preferred the Classe. NAD was too bleached out, Levinson was decent, but boring.
I own a Classe CA 300 amp which is powerful and wonderfully smooth. Also had good luck with the CP 47.5 and CDP 1.5.
Power Cord: I believe the Classe upgraded power cord which came with my CA 300 is in fact a Cardas Golden Cross power cord. (This could be verified through Classe.) I've also had good luck with Silver Audio interconnects/speaker cables. Silver Audio has a highly regarded power cord, which might be of interest.
I, too, am fond of Classe amp and all their gear in general. Started with CDP.3 ( BEST CD PLAYER FOR THE PRICE BY THE WAY), CP-45, CA-200 4 Years ago.
Current Classe Inventory boasts the following:
CDP.3 (stiil great)
CA-400( Yes two CA-400's)
Yep,Classe represents great value.My analogy with cars,performance wise,is as follows
KRELL= Mercedes Benz
Mark Levinson= BMW
Classe = Lexus
I like your automotive analogy but I place Classe apart from the others for its sound which to me is a bit more musical and sweet compared to the Krell and Levinson. And like a Lexus (Toyota product), Classe has been extremely reliable for me.
How do the CP-45 and SSP-50 compare sonically for regular two channel sound?
I run all Classe electronics. CP-60 preamp, CDT-1 transport, Dac1, Dual CA -400's. I thought the pre amp and amps outclassed everything in the same price range. I will try different cd players in the future but I wanted to start with all the same brand electronics for synergy. I have noticed exceptional benifits by running all the same brand and I am very pleased with my choices. They all sound great individualy but together they produce flawless harnmony.
I have owned a Classe Four preamp for several years and have been very happy with it. I have used tube amps for many years, but recently I downsized my main speakers to smaller mini-monitors and the 2 tube amps I tried could not get adequate bass out of them. I just traded one of the tube amps for a Classe DR-8 and although I have only had it for 2 days, I am very happy with what I am hearing. The Classe really makes my little speakers sing. Dynamics, bass response, soundstaging, transparency are all improved. No, the Classe does not have quite the midrange "magic" of tubes, but it is not fatiguing and it counters with a lot more musical information. It is also very well made and runs cool. I almost bought a used 70 or a CA100, but the DR-8, although older, seems like the most overbuilt 70 watt amp I have ever seen. I think it has 10 output transistors per side and more heatsinking than a 150 watt amp. Has anyone sonically compared the DR-8 to the 70 or CA100?
Abecollins, I just came back from a Business trip(stranded in Houston)and here is my reply: The fact that I have still kept CP-45 after aquiring SSP-50, simply CP-45 is much better in musical and lifelike presentation package. SSP-50 in comparision (two channel stereo balance mode for both)has a lot less blacker background, partly due to a some what extended higher freq response, and diminished guitar and piano reproductions ( although a lot smoother than CP-45) but with a little better soundsatge depth. Overall result simply is NOT musical and lifelike for MY system. For watching movies and TV in stereo surround and or DTS/Dolby digital, the SSP-50 does perform exceptionally.
The Classe DR-8 I bought developed an intermittant short in one of the channels after a few days use. I think it may be dust in the stereo/mono switch. I brought it back to the dealer and decided to try an Audio Refinement Complete integrated amp. While the Audio Refinement does not have the dynamics or pace of the Classe, it has a much richer midrange and fuller bass. Even a die hard tube fan like me is happy. I plan on keeping the Audio Refinement and eventually selling my preamp (after Audio Refinment burns in and is ok).
I used my Cap 100 with a McCormack DNA.5 Deluxe for a few years - it was exceptional. Recently I replaced it with a Classe CP45 so the integrated could be used elsewhere in the home. The CP45 has a slightly better defined mid, however, for $1700 it had better.
The Classe integrated amps are true classics.