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Amp/Preamp Asylum: REVIEW: Classé Audio CA-101 Amplifier (SS) by NeuGeo

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REVIEW: Classé Audio CA-101 Amplifier (SS)

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Model: CA-101
Category: Amplifier (SS)
Suggested Retail Price: $1495.00
Description: 100wpc power amp, bridgeable to 350w @ 8ohms
Manufacturer URL: Classé Audio
Manufacturer URL: Classé Audio

Review by NeuGeo ( A ) on June 14, 2004 at 22:16:34
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for the CA-101

My first Classe purchase was the CDP-10(cd player). The sound of the player was refined and musical to my ears. I preferred this player, after an extended audition, over a comparably priced Arcam unit. This official introduction to Classe compelled me to take a serious look at their other products.

After playing the audiophile version of “musical chairs” for several years, I’ve become jaded.. This quixotic search for the perfect system has cost me thousands of hard earned dollars , I kind of felt like its time to settle down and make some sort of commitment.

Before the CA-101 arrived, I was using the Conrad Johnson MV55 to power my speakers(EposM12). The sound was pleasant enough but I felt I needed more power.

My amplifier quest was thorough. I scrutinized all the latest recommended components (in my price range) from multiple sources. Mcormack, Musical Fidelity, Conrad Johnson, Arcam, Creek, etc. One day while looking at used amplifiers at AudioClassics, I discovered an inexpensive Classe amplifier.

There was very little information available on this particular amp, although its larger siblings were extremely well received. One of the reviewers at HiFiChoice described Classe products as having a specific “house sound”. Well, since I was already convinced that my new CDP-10 was gods gift to red-book playback (I also considered component synergy) , I took a chance and traded in my MV55.

I am so delighted that I took a chance on this unit, not only does it involve me musically like the CJ MV55, it delineated details in ways I hadn’t expected. Rather than rummaging through excessive metaphors on the sound of this amplifier, let me just state that I like it. I really like this amp, especially after prolonged listening. sessions. The sound seem to get even better over a period of several hours. I couldn’t understand why this product hadn’t earned more positive reviews and notoriety . I would consider it a best buy, new and a steal in the pre-owned marketplace.To hell with popular opinion , I like it.

This amp (and CD player) deserved something superior to the front end I was currently using, a Myryad MP100 . I decided on a Premier 14 Linestage that became available at AudioClassics. It actually cost more than I had originally planned to spend on a preamp, I just decided to go for it. That was another good decision.

I really love the sound of music in my living room these days. The Home Entertainment Show in New York last month helped me to make comparisons and begin to realize that I’m almost settled down. I say almost because the CA-101 can be bridged for mono, so now I’ve got to have a second one .A dual-mono set up would only improve on the sound that I’m already in love with.

Come to think about it ,the Epos I use are bi-wire-able, I could conceivably use up to four amplifiers .But that would be crazy. Right?

Hey why do they call this place an Asylum)

Product Weakness: none
Product Strengths: Clean ,sounds like music,build quality

Associated Equipment for this Review:
Amplifier: na
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): Conrad Johson Premier14
Sources (CDP/Turntable): na
Speakers: Epos M12
Cables/Interconnects: DIY
Music Used (Genre/Selections): all types
Room Size (LxWxH): x x x x x
Room Comments/Treatments: na
Time Period/Length of Audition: n/a
Other (Power Conditioner etc.): na
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner
Your System (if other than home audition): na

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Topic - REVIEW: Classé Audio CA-101 Amplifier (SS) - NeuGeo 22:16:34 06/14/04 ( 9)