Classé CAP-100 integrated amplifier System Context
I ended up with the CAP-100 in my system quite by chance. In January, I was in Classé's room at CES getting the story on their $1995 CDP-.5 CD player for my CES report, when Classé's Mike Viglas started to tell me about their new CAP-100. It struck me that the CAP-100 might be a good amplifier to use with the $3990 Diapason Adamantes II loudspeakers I was about to audition for a Follow-Up report (see the June 1997 Stereophile). The only other amplifiers on hand were lower-powered British integrateds, which might not have realized the potential of the Adamantes II. The CAP-100 arrived in time for me to power the Linn Tukans and Aerial 5s with it, which turned out to be a good thing for the hard-to-drive Aerials (see my review of the Aerial 5 in the April 1997 Stereophile).
Since I've put it in my system, the CAP-100 has been my main amplifier for pleasure listening and reviewing. The Classé has driven the Adamantes, Tukans, and Aerial 5s, as I mentioned, and also the Aerial 5s with the REL Acoustics Strata II subwoofer. (The Strata II, reviewed in the July Stereophile, can be connected to an amplifier so that it is powered by the main amplifier, not the subwoofer internal amplifier.)
Source components included a Well Tempered Turntable and modified Well Tempered Arm fitted with an AudioQuest AQ7000 cartridge for playing LPs. Digital duties were handled by a Rotel RCD-990 CD player ($1495), a Sonic Frontiers SFCD-1 ($3495), or the RCD-990 driving the Musical Fidelity X-DAC digital processor ($600). Interconnects included MIT Terminator 2, AudioQuest Topaz, and Straight Wire Maestro. Loudspeaker cables were mostly MIT Terminator 2. The system sat on a Billy Bags 5500-series rack, and AC power was conditioned by an Audio Power Industries Power Pack II. ASC Tower Slims and Tower Stouts provided the room's acoustical treatment. Direct comparisons with other amplifiers were made at matched levels.—Robert Harley