Review: Classe Audio CAP-151 Amplifier

Category: Amplifiers

I picked this up as a demo a couple of months ago. I had been using Musical Design separates (D150B, SP2B) that I liked very much. The Classé perhaps does not have the nth degree of clarity of the MD setup, but there is more bottom end, the sound is clean and fairly neutral and the price, long warranty, convenience, and lack of tube fussiness were well worth the trade-off. It also looks very cool. There are no weaknesses that I can perceive.

It sits on Golden Sound cones. I run the DAC into the XLR inputs, everything else into the RCAs. The LED volume indicator is a nice touch. The extremely substantial remote could double as a hammer in a pinch.

I listen to about 70% classical, 30% other stuff. I test a system with the Bernstein/LA Phil DG recording of West Side Story, Pinnock's DG Water Music, selected Steely Dan/Donald Fagan tracks, and the Bonnie Raitt track from Stay Awake (Disney songs). I treat all my CDs with AudioPrism StopLight and demagnetize them with a Furutech RD-1.

Associated gear
Magnepan IIIa, Cardas power cord, Pioneer Elite PD-65, Parasound 1600hd

Similar products
Musical Design separates, Hafler integrated, Kyocera integrated