Classé CP-800 D/A preamplifier Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Sources: Linn Sondek LP12 turntable with Lingo power supply, Linn Ekos tonearm, Linn Arkiv B phono cartridge.
Digital Sources: Ayre Acoustics C-5xeMP & DX-5 universal players; Apple 2.7GHz i7 Mac mini laptop running OS10.7, iTunes 10, Pure Music 1.86; Shuttle PC with Lynx AES16 soundcard & dual-core AMD Athlon processor running Windows 7, Foobar 2000, Adobe Audition 3.0; Halide DAC HD, dCS Debussy, Benchmark DAC1, Logitech Transporter, Mark Levinson No.30.6 D/A converters; Empirical Audio Off-Ramp4; Ayre Acoustics QA-9 USB A/D converter.
Preamplification: Liberty B2B-1 phono preamplifier, Ayre Acoustics K-5xeMP.
Power Amplifiers: Classé CT-M600, Lamm M1.2 Reference (both monoblocks).
Loudspeakers: BBC LS3/5a, Emotiva XRT-5.2 X-Ref, Lansche 5.1, PSB Imagine Mini, Sony SS-AR2.
Cables: Digital: DH Labs Silver Sonic. AES/EBU: AudioQuest Coffee, Belkin Gold USB. FireWire: AudioQuest FireWire 400 (prototype). Interconnect (balanced): AudioQuest Wild. Speaker: QED. AC: XLO Reference 3, manufacturers' own.
Accessories: Audio Power Industries 116 Mk.II & PE-1, APC S-15 AC line conditioners (computers, hard drive); ASC Tube Traps, RPG Abffusor panels; Target TT-5 equipment racks; Sound Organisation turntable stand; Ayre Acoustics Myrtle Blocks; Shunyata Research Dark Field cable elevators. AC power comes from two dedicated 20A circuits, each just 6' from breaker box.—John Atkinson

Classé Audio
5070 Franáois Cusson
Lachine, Quebec H8T 1B3
(514) 636-6384

Et Quelle's picture

You gotta love this CP 800, if you are looking for semi receiver like preamp, this one does like the fake stereo in a video game life like Sims3. Its modern, yeah! Pretty neat to have full control over the crossover frequency and a FPGA chip

Axiom05's picture

I wonder how many people need or want the DSP equalizer and subwoofer control? I would rather have seen Classe put the money into better DAC resolution and lower distortion. Yes, this is a nice unit, but I was disappointed with the measurements (irrespective of audability). Jitter rejection, however looks great. Not sure this is an improvement over simply adding something like the Benchmark DAC1 USB to a high quality preamp that you already own, e.g. Mark Levinson 380s plus Benchmark DAC1 USB?

dumbo's picture

Question for JA:

Given the measured performance of this component while using it in "Analog Bypass Mode" and ignoring its audiophile status in terms price would you say someone could use it as a center piece for their audio system in combination with a different external DAC costing many thousands of dollars more (ie..think DCS Vivaldi or MSB Diamond) and not feel that they are sacrificing anything in terms of SQ by feeding such a high brow signal thru it?

I own this unit myself and am considering using a different external DAC (Meitner MA-1 in my case) and was just trying to gauge how a components measured performance "in theory" relates to how it can be used irregardless of cost of other up/down stream components.

Thanks in advance of your valued opinion.

jlesnick's picture

Hey John.

Thanks for another great review! I just wanted to get your input on D/A's with volume control that are better than the CP-800. I currently have the cp-800 as a pre-amp/dac but have become annoyed by the edginess/shoutiness it introduces to the sound at louder volumes. Since I'm all digital, I think it may be more prudent to spend $4-5k on a amazing dac rather than a pre-amp. If it helps, my cp-800 goes into a pass x250.5 and then into T+A Criterion 110s speakers. Thank you!

Best Regards,


Bitperfect's picture

Tanks John A. for a nice review.
Classé have released a new version of Classé CP-800. I’m very interested in reading a updated review of CP-800. Do you think of doing a updated review?