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General Asylum: REVIEW: Classé Audio SSP 75 Preamplifier (HT) by Samir

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REVIEW: Classé Audio SSP 75 Preamplifier (HT) Review by Samir at Audio Asylum

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At this time I cannot find any fault with the Classe SSP 75, it is great. There are always extras people can ask for, but I think it is a great value for the quality, and I would not trade it for anything. Well behaved, no clicks or pops from the speakers, no delays (it gradually increases volume over a quarter of a second when it starts a new CD). It looks nice, has a hefty weight to it and fine fit and finish. My previous processors were Sony TAE 9000 ES, Theta Casablanca, Krell HTS, and Proceed AVP. I am quite satisfied with the Classe SSP 75.

It is the best sounding pre/processor I have owned. After going through many processors, this one sings to me with a special magic, I enjoy listening to it. The clarity and dynamic range is there, and now I understand what soundstaging is about. It sometimes seems like sound is coming from the center between the speakers. There is a quality that escapes definition about the sound, the emotional impact that makes you smile when you hear it and not want to move or do anything else, and you find yourself listening to the entire song and eager to listen to more.

I really like the 6 blanched outputs, also it has 2 balanced inputs and analog pass through. It is a gorgeous unit, with a real volume knob (not those ergonomic faux pas "up" and "down" buttons) although the knob is not lit. Since the screen is hard to read from over 5 feet away, you must rely on the OSD to see what the volume is. I do not know why manufactures think we do not need to have a volume indicator that is readable from over 5 feet away. The Sony had a hefty knob, and it was LIT, you could see the red dot from across the room. The '75 has a machined aluminum remote control. It is not learning (but I use a Pronto anyway). The buttons are labeled "AV1","AV2..." so unless you use another remote you can't see what these assignable buttons go to.

The Microphone autocalibration of speaker volume and delay is incredible. It was eerie to hear tone bursts and see the display tell you how far away you were from the speaker, in 1/2 foot increments. Better than a measuring tape since I am not sure where the "speaker center" is. Also it goes is 1/2 decibel increments, better than my Radio Shack meter. It also set the delays. It seemed to have failed on the distance of the sub, it is in a corner about 4 feet behind me, and it read at 9.5 feet. Maybe there was a wave or reflection, It sounded fine anyway afterwards. Also the soundstaging was great afterwards, the best I have ever had.

Although I strongly recommend the '75, this is what I feel it lacked compared to other pre /pro's. I realize that you have to set a price point and draw the line somewhere, but here goes:

Krell HTS has 4 (four) 12 volt DC outputs, which you can configure via the menu for various delays, pulse or continuous. Classe 75 has 2 DC outputs in the back, but only one 12 volt output is practical to use, (the zone two DC output requires extra buttons to be pushed to activate it, it won't come on when the main system comes on, I think). Thus I have the 12 volt trigger going to activate a line conditioner, with a couple of 12 volt transformers on it going to various devices. This is because I need 2 (two) 12 volt continuous triggers, may require 3 soon. Does anyone make a 12 volt "trigger bank"?

A 110 volt outlet for triggering certain devices would have been a convenience as well.

The 75 does not have provisions for a 6th or 7th channel. Although not a concern now, this may be coming out in the future. Also it has only one sub output. I agree that this is a minor point now, but I mention it as a few other pre/pros have more outputs already built in (Theta Casablanca II if you pay for it, its about a $2000 upgrade).


If you buy the 75 you will appreciate this addition:

Some information that was missing or not clear in the manual.

Audio Inputs: The manual did not make it clear that for a particular video input you can ONLY use the analog input associated with it, (example AV 4 can only accept analogue with AV 4). However the Digital inputs can be switched around. I thought initially that you could plug the analogue sources anywhere.

The manual seems to be cut off on page 40. You need 6.4 "now hold the Enter key until the OSD says your Status Change is memorized."

Pronto users: They have reversed the codes for power on and power off on the IR sheet they faxed me. They sent me IR codes as
power on system 25, command 10
power off system 25, command 11

I contacted the engineering department of Classe, and they are checking this now, just double check this if discrete on/off does not work.

The CORRECT codes (that worked for my 75) is
power on system 25, command 11
power off system 25, command 10

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Topic - REVIEW: Classé Audio SSP 75 Preamplifier (HT) Review by Samir at Audio Asylum - Samir 13:38:17 10/30/00 ( 0)