Review: Classe Audio Omega Ref Amplifier
It seems the lot of so many audiophiles - myself included - that their quest for that dream system is never completely realized. There is most always some nagging aspect of their system which drives them to identify then replace that weak link. It may be that we will always have to live with some kind of compromise, unable to find a particular component which is perfect in every respect.
The Classe' Omega amplifier is the first amplifier I have actually been able to live with for several years. While there are other amps which seem to do some things differently, their differentness was not in the final subjective analysis better.
I prefer most any variety of Jazz music. I also like classical. The recordings I most typically use are Patricia Barbers Modern Cool, Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, Joe Lovano, Diana Krall, Columbia Jazz Limited Edition, John Williams Greatest Hits, Ahmad Jamal, Marcus Roberts Trio, Dave Grusins Two For The Road and Trittico by Reference Recordings.
The most important aspects of an amplifier for me are accuracy, authenticity, the breadth and depth of staging, effortlessness, reliability, flexibleness, and the ability to layer. Some of the above are obvious but a few definitions here. Accuracy means that each instrument sounds like the real thing. Authenticity means that the amp recreates what feels like a live performance. Effortlessness and flexibleness means that the amp can easily recreate any musical passage into any speaker load. Reliability means there are no maintenance costs. Layering is the amps ability to locate and isolate an instrument in a specific place in the soundstage.
My pet peave if you will is mushiness but any failure to meet the most important aspects listed above is unacceptable.
I have had this amp for almost 4 years - a personal record. The Omega replaced a Levinson 333. I want to say that the Omega brought a level of finesse to my system never before attained. Oops, I realize I did not mention finesse in my list above. Not sure how to define finesse; it is kind of like that experience we have when we install a new component, play trusted and familiar recordings and become awestruck at some aspect of the recording we never heard before.
The Omega is one of those "cost is no object" amps. Its price is the obvious disadvantage and for me the only one. The simple advantage is that the Omega does everything an amp can be expected to do and does it extremely well. It achieves a level of refinement that competes with amps from other vendors which cost considerably more. Its design and construction is not esoteric so I expect its reliability will be very high.