How much Classe does a guy need?

I posted this in the speaker section but have moved it over to here.

The Classe does look like the kind of match Im looking for. Compared to the Krell KAV-250a. I was looking at the Classe would seem to be more musical and warmer. Which is what i prefer and will take an anylitical hit for that. The reviews of them mated to B&W CDM9s(similar to 703s)were favorable.
Theres alot of choice in the used Classe amp market. Now my speakers are rated at 200watts. The 200/201 and the 300/301 Classe amps are at 200 and 300 watts respectivly. Is over rating the speakers advisable? I was under the impression that ratings on speakers were at a given distorion for the max power. Therefore the cleaner the signal the more you could get away with over powering them. But also have to consider the peaks would be higher as well. Also under the impression that a 300 watt amp would be more dynamic as it wouldnt have to strain on producing enough power for dynamic passages(source has a dynamic range of 112db).

The cost for those amps range from $1,300 for a 200, $1,600 or $1,800 for a 201(1,800 is one with side heat sinks, later model), $1900 for a 300 and finally $2500 for a 301.

Would there be a useable diffrence between the 200 and 300 watt versions(i do listen at loud levels often)? If anyone has heard these amps id like to hear what if any diffrence in the sound was.

Once amps get a little older >5 yrs do they need new caps etc or is the life of them longer? In other words is there a point where an amp is getting a little old and one should factor in a rebuild.

Actually, I've sold the Classe and B&W lines together. I think you should indeed give that combo a you'll at least know. I think overall you'll like your sound.
The deal is the older CA series stuff, like 100/150/200/300 were a little more laid back up top compared to the 151/201/301, etc...from my recollection.
Actually, of the older line, I prefered the CA150 over the others! (I owned the 100/200/300 as well).
Your speakers are modest sensitivity, and easy to drive. You shouldn't have any problems getting loud with control with any of these amps on your setup really.
Even though the Classe's however do state they can double into 4 ohms. I doubt that. I odn't think those amps are as strong as stated. I've clipped a few 4 ohm speakers on the Classe's. I've had stronger amps. Yet, for the money, I DO LIKE THE CLASSE'S, yes! Very good for the money, especially used.
Basically, there are better amps out there you could chose. But system symentry and compatibility must be considered. I like the B&W and Classe match. It's a "should try" for you.
Other upgrades to tinker with later are Pass, Threshold, Rolland, Sim(descent stuff),upgraded McCormmack(marginal move), etc.
Good luck
I won't add anything to the "thesis" I already emailed you...LOL


Don't worry about "overpowering" your speakers - you're more
likely to cause damage by "underpowering" them.

The rating on the speaker is how much power they can dissipate.

The power rating on the amp is how much it can put out cleanly.

However, you don't have to use all the power of a high power
amp. If it takes 25 watts to power your speakers to a given
sound pressure level - it doesn't matter to the speakers
whether that power is being delivered by a 50 watt amp or
a 500 watt amp.

However, for the amp - it is better to have more headroom -
power above that required.

If you have to transport a heavy weight up the stairs - who
do you want to do it - a child who can lift the weight - but
just barely - or a guy who works as a piano mover?

The more powerful amp can deliver the power more cleanly -
with less distortion on peaks - than can the lesser powered

For a given sound level, you are not dissipating any more
power in your speakers, just because the amp is more powerful.

Dr. Gregory Greenman

So does that mean that the speakers can dispipate 200watts of signal no matter its structure? What im thinking ios tah they are rated using a non-musical source(ie tone generater). Where as most music has peaks and vally in the signal therefore allowing for 'over powering'.

Im also curious as to why a distorted signal is more hazardous to your speakers health? Ive been aware of that for years but have never really understood why. Certainly have heard why its bad. The only thing I can figure is that the clipped signal is pushed into the higher frequencies over powering the tweeters which are typically what seizes.


Most of the energy in music is in the bass, and very little in
the treble. Therefore, when your speaker is rated to handle
200 watts - it is really the woofer that can handle 200 watts.
The tweeter may only handle 10 watts.

When an amp clips - the top of the wave is cut off or "clipped"
off. That turns a sine wave into something that is almost
like a square wave.

If you study mathematics - you may be familiar with what is
called a "Fourier Series". Essentially any periodic wave
can be decomposed into a bunch of sine waves of various
frequencies - including a square wave. In order to get the
sharp corners of the square wave - the Fourier series that
makes up the square wave has a lot of high frequency waves
in it.

When the amp clips, and produces a near square wave - that
square wave has a lot of high frequency or treble frequencies
in it.

The speaker's crossover will route those high frequencies to
the tweeter. So even though the amp is putting out 200 watts
or less - which the woofer can handle - you have more than
10 watts of high frequency energy that the tweeters can't
handle. So as you point out - it's the tweeters that get

That's why the underpowered amp is bad for your speakers.
If the amp is too underpowered - you may exceed its capability
at reasonable listening levels.

The high power amp can certainly fry your speakers too - but
only if you really crank up the volume.

As long as you listen to music at levels that are within the
capabilities of your speaker - then you won't have trouble.

The high power amp will not be putting any more power into
your speakers than a lesser powered amp for the same volume

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Thanks moribus for the great technical knowledge. How about an explantion of 'skinning'? I awlays wondered why we dont use solid wire to avoid that.

I always wanted to a Classe(y) guy but when the bucks hit the table it was for a bELLES 350A. After hours of vicariously A/Bing every amp known to man i went with the belles as it sounds like it has the low end crunch of a Krell and the warmth of a Classe. Guess im just a half Classe guy with a Belle now. Hardly wait for it to hit the front door.