I have its big brother, the Premier 350, and it does like a tube with bass according to my tube using friends. They like it very much; I would expect the 200 to have a similar sound as the circuit is very similar.
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I have a CA200. It's a very nice integrated. I have trouble describing sound because I don't get the chance to listen to a lot of different gear.
The CA200 is definitely a first class integrated. It's smooth, clear and the word that comes to my mind is sweet. It amplifies high frequencies very well.
I can't say it sounds tubelike if that means that it has a warm or "old c-j" coloration.
I have had the chance to listen to it next to a Pass INT-30A, another integrated that is supposed to have a tubelike character, and they did sound very similar. The CA200 was in the same class.
Hope this helps.
Yes, most people think that the XA.5 and INT-30A are the better sounding, more tube like amps from Pass.
You're pretty well into the diminishing returns area here so I don't think you'll find big differences between the amps, unless you have developed your critical listening skills.
The Pass is class A. if that is important to you, and it is to some people, that's the way to go. The CA200 is class A/B. It sounds very similar to the Pass to me, it uses less juice, it runs cooler and so can be left on with less concern about heat, which is the enemy of amps.
What caught my attention in its description is the less upfront presentation compared to the most amplifiers, with a great soundstage depth, and warmer, perhaps more lifelike midrange. Plus the benefit of 185 wpc, so I wouldn't have to limit myself to a small percentage of speakers. At the same time though, I value clarity and transparency but I'm not sure how well ca200 is in that aspect...
They have discontinued all their SS equipment, only tubes or hybrid are left. I have talked to them about it and my interpretation of what they said is that their market is more in the tube sector and with the contraction of the general market they wanted to concentrate on that. Its not like the old days , when a company like CJ could offer turntables, speakers, CD players etc. Had nothing to do with the quality of the product, my 350 is still a great amp and the 200 got excellent reviews.
Branislav, It is definitely not an "in your face amplifier" nor is it bright or harsh. I think the TAS review said it would be hard to beat for its finesse.
I would not describe it as warm but it is hard to say what warm means to you. The c-j 2250A and 2500A amps have more of the traditional warm sound. c-j, like all the better amp builders, is moving closer to a neutral presentation.
I would get a good neutral amp and look to my speakers for the warmth. I think speakers have a wider spectrum of analytical - warm than amps. There are many speakers known for their warm sound. You can pick the one that sounds right to you.
I think the CA200 is quite an accomplised amplifier though obviously not one without limitations. You don't mention what speakers you are using? When I tried the CA200 with my Eminent Tech LFT-8B speakers (83dB) it did not execute enough control over the 8" woofer and bass definition suffered as a result. Further, I found the resolution of the CA200 below best in class. At the same time I had additioned lots of competing amplifiers and while I finally chose a Gryphon your choice should depend on your speakers and the listening room.
I have Volent VL-2 speaker. Though I wouldn't call them bright, they definitely have a lively, upfront nature so I was hoping to tame it a bit and push the soundstage back a little. I might get different speaker in the future, but I love the detailed presentation it provides, so if I get something else, it will probably be something that provides a clear window to the recordings. I did have a completely neutral amplifier that i've sold recently that I think highly of, but I guess I wanted something else. I've been kind of tube curious, but my music of preference is pretty dynamic with fast, deep bass, and I don't get the impressions like the tube integrated amps in a reasonable price range can really handle that.
I had one for a week and it is a fine sounding amplifier.It has a deep sound-stage,that is very enjoyable.The overall sound is very comfortable, no fatigue.It has a texture and I think it focuses more on the lower mid-range, so strings,choral music sounds rich and with good presence.I was trying it with Dali Helikon 300 and Paradigm studio 100 V2.The very highs are slightly rolled off so it matches well with very open sounding speakers.The volume control is a little tricky, even set at 00 there is still sound coming out of the speakers and that could be a problem if you listen at night and have an efficient speakers and don't want to disturb anyone.It would be the best if you could try one with your speakers.