How much is it going to cost?
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I have had mine for a couple of weeks now. Still getting to know my way around it. Not surprisingly, the first week was spent futzing with the computer end of things in order to get the best sound. One interesting thing about computer audio - you can never be too sure exactly what data is being sent to your DAC, but that is another topic. Anyway, before buying I was able to do a lengthy audfition, and established that its USB-sourced sound is at least equal to that of a Classe CDP202 CD player playing through its pre-amp section. At home, I am absolutely delighted with it, but as I said, it is early days yet for a definitive review.
I had a prototype to play with for a couple of weeks a month or two ago. A production unit is being shipped to me on Monday. I'm very anxious to see both the performance and the features. My impression of the preamp function was extremely good. I want to spend some time with the DAC and get a better feel for it. In terms of design it is fairly unique and certainly has great potential. My present USB DAC is 5k, same as this whole piece.
Oh, obviously I'm a dealer. I think consumer pieces will be shipping very soon. A couple of software items to tidy up and then it's ready. Mine won't have Zone 2 or EQ until I get the new upload.
I see this thread has slacked off since April. My 800 arrived a week ago and its is becoming a real game changer. I must suggest that you audition this unit in your home. Make sure it has at least 100 hours on it (makes a huge difference). IT is quite amazing, the sound stage is immense, layers of sound and the funtionality we have all been yearning for for years, but afraid to ask. I cannot say enough about its sound. I have owned Audio Research, BAT, Audible,and many others so I have a reference level to judge from. GO and listen. Let me know what you think. I am very impressed.
I believe that Classe has moved production to China - was your 800 built in China or Canada?
I've placed an order for 2 CA-M300 monoblocks, but after learning they may be made in China I put the order on hold.
How is the build quality? Any issues so far? I am concerned that there will be a steep learning curve for the first year or so as Classe starts production in China, with spotty or inconsistent quality - and if that is the case I may look elsewhere.
I had a PS Audio PWD and this is a full fledged preamp. The overall sound is quite dramatically different and I use only digital sources. I do not for a second miss the PS PWD, this is a far superior sounding unit and it should be. As a preamp its sound is amazing and outstanding. The sound stage is HUGE, it is very quiet. I also have another octive of bass that the PS PWD didn't have, go figure. I have all the inputs I could ever want and the tilt control is something very special. The flexibility of this unit is great. Unfortuneately all recordings are not equal so I can tailor the bass and treble when needed with the tilt control. I haven't even touched the EQ section so there is even more control to play with. I currently have Thiel 3.7's with a Brystom 4b SST2. Souces are all digital out of my Koala Bluenote CD player or my Sony Bluray and Apple TV. I have also tried my little iPod and this is too amazing, never in a million years thought the sound of this would be even close to acceptable, but it is! Will go for a mini mac soon! It is still breaking in and now has maybe 150 hours on it. I encouage you to audition one, take your time with it. I waited 6 months for my unit and it is worth the wait.
Yes, they don't hide it, its marked all over the box and I belive its a good thing. With the reputation for quality that Classe is known for, there isn't anything to be concerned about. My unit is perfect! I would be more concerned if it was made in Europe than in China! Chinese know how to assemble electronics, lets face it. It is purely Classe designed and I am sure that parts are sourced throughout the world. If it was made in Canada or the USA, it would probably retail for over twice its price. This unit is a bargin in relation to its perfromance. Apple is an excellent example of Chinese sourced products.
All I can compare this to was the PS Audio PWD, and in my opinion this is far better sounding, it is in a different league. It added an octive of bass that my speakers never had before and this is running it with NO EQ or tone controls. In fact you can disengage them totally if you wish to. I rarely use them but when I do it is for poor recordings to start with. Don't take my word, bring one home for an audition. It is well worth your effort and time. I am pleased beyond my expectations and now the six months that I waited for it were worth every minute.
Thank you for your response. Do you (or anyone you know) have any experience in drag racing the DAC section of the CP-800 with DACS like the Berkeley Alpha DAC, Weiss DAC 202, ARC DAC 8, Playback Designs or DCS DACs?
Also what preamps in your opinion is the CP-800 preamp section comparable to?
No, only the Wyred 4 Sound dac. A friend of mine that owns the Wyred for Sound dacII and he feels that the CP800 dac is a rival and does sound a little more natural, not as hard sounding. As far as the other DACs you mentioned I haven't had any experience with them, only the PS Audio PWD and this (CP800) is far better sounding, not even close IMO. This preamp sounds better than the former pre's I have had in my system, not to mention the flexibility of this unit. I have had in recent years the Cary SLP98, McIntosh 220 and the Audio Research ls-17 which was my favorite before the CP800. Cp 800 is very open and has excellent low end extension, quite freaky when I think of the other fairly good preamp's I have had. It's in a different league.
You keep positioning the CP-800 as a game changer, sound-wise, but in my experience with it in hours of listening I'm not buying it. I think the CP-800 is very good sounding, but so are a lot of other electronics lately. I didn't hear anything special.
Where *I do* think the CP-800 is a game-changer is in functionality. A great two-channel analog preamp with DACs for music servers, bass management, digital equalization, and a great user interface blows away most other high-end solid-state equipment. Frankly, I think it makes old-fashioned line-level preamps look sort of silly.
I agree that funtionality is paramount with this unit and going forward its connectivity, and applications are many. As I mentioned previously, I only compared it's sound with the previous units that I have owned and know well. There are many products on the market that probably sound as good as this unit, or even better sounding, but this is all subjective and it's to each individuals preference. What make more importance is that you audition products in your system. I have made a few purchases that I regretted by not audititoning them in MY system. I do agree that many line level preamps are limited in their funtionality and I am enjoying the fetures that don't seem to impact the overall sound, or at least what I know in my system.
Works with iPad, iPod touch (see page for specifics) and iPhone.
They even have a "how to" guide for those who may want to use their Mac Mini/ Apple Computer and PC as a music server.
Thinking a CP-800, a pair of CA-M600 amps, JL Audio Subs, B&W 802 Diamond floorstanders , Wireworld Cables, MacMini (loaded with PureMusic and thousands of songs) and a iPad would be a fine set-up with State of the Art sound..
I've owned this unit for about 3yrs now and have been very pleased its sound. I've recently gotten the itch to move on to something else but am a bit scared that the increased price of another unit may not necessarily equate to improved sound.
From a measurements standpoint using the Stereophile review as a guide I find it difficult to imagine a drastic increase in SQ by going with something else given the stellar specs this unit puts out despite its cost compared to higher brow competition. If I do move on, the only unit I am really considering is the Pass X P30.
I feel there is plenty of room for improvement to be found by using a different external DAC though. My Meitner MA-1 DAC easily shows the CP800 a clean pair of heels from a D/A conversion SQ standpoint but thats to be expected, I think. In general though, the included DAC found within the CP800 does sound very clean though.
I think the biggest issue when using the built in DSP functionality of the CP800 is the inherent down conversion of the audio stream in the digital realm and the additional D/A....A/D conversion that takes place along the way.
In general though, this is a very impressive PreAmp for the money