If you follow our favorites at Audio Advice, you know that we really love the Classé SSP surround sound processor. It’s a great home theater centerpiece while providing excellent two channel stereo performance. Classé introduced a new line of home theater products at CEDIA this year that will start shipping soon.
There will be three pieces, the Sigma SSP, the AMP2, and AMP5. The Sigma SSP was designed first and foremost to be a great sounding two channel preamp. Taking most of the circuitry from their highly successful two channel CP-800, the SSP has USB audio ins, Ethernet streaming, coax, optical, balanced and signal ended analog, 7 HDMI, and an optional phono stage. According to Dave Nauber, head of Classé, they designed this piece for the music lover who wants to have a great two channel system in their living room who also needs full video switching and surround sound.
If the Sigma SSP comes mildly close to the CP-800, it will be a great piece. We’ve only had a brief listening experience with the SSP at our summer Digital Living Event, but it holds great promise. It’s got just about every possible way you would want to get music into your system covered while offering what will surely be great surround sound as well, since they have the engineering for the incredible SSP-800 to pull from. As a matter of fact, it’s the only piece we know of with all the various two channel audio inputs along with surround sound. It’s virtually impossible to find both Ethernet and USB inputs on a two channel preamp, much less one that does 7 inputs of HDMI switching and 7.1 surround, along with a very flexible room eq system! Dave says it uses basically the same digital circuitry for two channel as the CP-800 without the dual mono configuration of the CP-800. At only $4995, this is a real bargain.
In terms of getting the most out of your listening room, it’s going to be extremely flexible. Every room has some sort of acoustic challenge. The good news is, with proper calibration, these issues can usually be overcome to get great sound. You just need a really good toolkit inside the surround sound processor to accomplish this. The Sigma is extremely rich in its toolset. I can’t wait to get one to play with!
The matching amps will be very good values as well. If you need 5 channels at 200 watts per channel, the AMP5 is only $4995, while the AMP2 is also 200 watts per channel for $3500.
We hope to have the Sigma SSP in very soon for demo in both our Raleigh and Charlotte stores.