Our summer digital media event focused mostly on two things, how to have more fun in your home controlling systems with your cell phones and tablets, and all things computer music. However, off in one corner a new product was shown in the US for the first time that will hit our shelves later this year. I actually did not get a chance to hear it until the next day when I drove over to Charlotte for our event there.
I had some spare time so I sat down in front of the B&W 802 Diamonds in our Charlotte showroom and listened to the new CA-D200 digital amp with the Classé CP-800 as the front end. Now I have to say, in the past, I have never been very impressed with digital amps. On the one hand, they have lots of advantages: run cool, usually weigh less, and are a lot more energy efficient. Digital amps have been around for about 10 years now and have always left me feeling like I wanted to turn down the volume. All the ones I have heard to date had a pretty sharp edge to the sound. So in other words, I was not expecting to be very impressed. Boy, was I wrong! Classé appears to have solved the switching problem that has plagued digital amps for all these years. Never did I want to turn it down due to fatigue. The stereo image was rock solid, wide, and deep. Another great quality of this new amp is the bass. It has the feeling of power you get out of a monster power amp. Tons of reserve with great impact. When the music swelled, the amp showed no sign of strain. But most importantly, I never felt a sense of fatigue. Was it the best amp I've ever heard, no way. But the next paragraph holds the good part!
The really funny part though was when I started trying to figure out how much it was going to sell for. I guessed $6k at first, then 5. I could not believe it when they told me it was only going to be $3,995!
The CA-D200 is rated at 200 watts per channel and should be hitting our shelves this October. This one is going to be a great value for a good two channel system.