Review: Classe Audio CAV-150 Multichamp

Category: Amplifiers

I am primarily a jazz listener, and as such use recordings from Dave Bruebeck, Ray Bryant, and Miles Davis to test equipment. I have a combined music/home theater system with an emphasis on two channel music. The most important aspect of sound when testing equipement is warmth, air and pace. A system that exhibited hardness or boomey bass would immediately turn me off.

The Classe CAV-150 has been in my theater/music system for about a year now and replaced and EAD 5 channel amp. The EAD was a powerful piece, but lacked the warmth and pace that I am always looking for.

The Classe's strengths include good control of bass, great air without sounding at all hard, and flexibility due to it's ability to serve 6-channel home theater duty. This amp comes close to tube sound without the headaches.

The only weakness would be the last bit of bass control. I feel this is due to using a speaker that is very hard to drive and very power hungry (Thiels). I believe that with the majority of medium to high sensitivety speakers this would not be a problem. Great amp and worth every penny!

Associated gear
Cary 303 CD Player
Acurus ACT3 Preamp/Processor
Thiel CS 3.6 Speakers

Similar products
Aragon 5 channel
EAD 5 channel
Aragon 4004 mkII
I also have a CAV-150 which I bridged to 3 channels (300 watts per channel) to serve my center and surrounds (all B&W Nautilus, non-diamond). I have a CA-301 driving my B&W 802s. The performance has been phenomenal; great bang for the buck.

I originally had the CAV driving all five speakers which led to a complete lack of bass (it was almost like the lows on the 802s were unhooked), the dedicated 301 solved that immediately.


What kind of preamp you use with your CAV-150? I really want to try Classe CAV-150, but I do not like the shape of Classe SSP and their price is high.


I know this Amp is getting to 20 years old now. Just acquired it to run surrounds and center for HT and all I can say Im really impressed with its 2 channel performance. 

Suggestions if it needs new Cap upgrades etc to get to full potential or should I keep running as is ? 
Classe amps are awesome!  They were my first nice amps.  I had the CA150 and CA200.  I loved them both.

Im no expert, do ghis at your own risk...

I’d pop the top off and visually inspect the caps.  If they aren’t swollen or leaking, I think you are good to go.  It would probably be a pretty expensive endeavor as well. Could be more than you have in it. I’d say that it’s probably good the way it is.  Hopefully my response will invoke the response of others who know way more than I.