I listened extensively to the Classe amp and preamp vs the McIntosh 402 paired with the 803S, 803D, and 802D. Not once but so many times I think the dealer must have gotten sick of me coming in. I was always left with the same impression. The McIntosh sounded great to me and the Classe sounded sterile. There was nothing wrong with the Classe, it just was about as exciting to me as watching paint dry. Needless to say, I bought the McIntosh and have no regrets. Now it may very well be that the Classe was more accurate as one view is if the amplifier does not seem to have any effect on the sound (as determined by absolute boredom) then that is precisely what an amplifier is supposed to do and, in contrast, the pleasant effect one experiences from a different amplifier is actually an indication of coloration. Don't know if that is true and don't care. Bottom line is I liked the McIntosh over the Classe (and the Bryston for that matter) then and now. But, that being said, what I like and what you like may be completely different. In short, you have to listen to them yourself and decide what you like. All the opinions of all the highly, intelligent, vastly superior audiophiles on earth, such as you and I (hard to disagree with that ain't it) don't amount to a hill of beans (to paraphrase Bogart) when it comes to personal preferences.
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