Classe CA-401 Amplifiers

4.57/5 (7 Reviews) MSRP : $6995.00


Product Description

400 Watt Amplifier


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Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by ??RDANIS a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: August 6, 2014

Bottom Line:   
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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2003



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by NTH a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: December 29, 2004

Bottom Line:   
I took home a Krell 400cx for about a month and compared this beast with my residence Classe CA 401. I had had high hopes for the Krell because of all the rave reviews. However, over the period of about 1 month, the Krell didn't sound as smoothly detailed @ the frequency extremes as the Classe. The Krell also generated a slight low level transformer hum thus giving a noise floor that was not as quiet as the Classe. Soundstage reproductions were similar on both the Krell and the Classe but the Krell exhibited a slight metallic tinge to its midrange and high frequencies that made listenning to music over a prolonged session tiresome. Detail retrieval were superb on both amps with the Classe being more natural. The Krell's bass could be said to be a smidgeon tighter but also dryer. The Classe had better texture in the midbass; however, they both have superb low frequency extension. The Classe was used with a high end power cord while the Krell has a captive power cord.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $7000.00



Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by tinear1 a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: December 28, 2004

Bottom Line:   
I really liked my new Classe CA-401 amp. Not 'solid-state sounding' - very relaxed presentation. Drove my tough Aerial 10T's effortlessly. After a year it broke down and had to go back to the factory and was gone about 8 weeks. Within another 12 months it broke again and my system was down for another lengthy period. It turns out I had skipped a really important consideration in shopping for one of these massive power amps: reliability and service. It was not fun packing and shipping that 120 lb. monster to go to Canada for repair. Since it had to come back from out of the country in this post 9/11 world there were long delays at the US border. On one occasion it was damaged in shipping and neither UPS or Classe would take responsibility, so I was out $400 for a new faceplate. And dealing with a foreign boutique audio manufacturer was terrible - the first time I got my amp back there were screws rattling around loose in the box from the bottom plate - they hadn't even screwed it back on fully! So I sold that turkey, and now I'm sticking with established, reputable US-based firms with long reputations for rock-solid reliability.

Oh, and as to sound - my new Krell FPB 400cx blows the Classe away! Compared to the Krell (I played them both back-to-back in my living room), the Classe sounded small, pinched and anemic. Krells have had a reputation of sounding cold and bright - not true with their latest generation of amps! You want warm, super smooth with incredible slam and bass control - listen to a new Krell.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $6500.00

Purchased At:   Bay Area Audio



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Tom a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: July 31, 2000

Bottom Line:   
This review is for the Classe CAM 350 monoblocks.

350/700/1400 watt monoblock, 3500$ ea., 80lbs ea.

I am currently searching for a replacement for my Bryston 7Bs which are driving a pair of Thiel 7.2s. Up to this point I have listened to ML's 336 and the Krell FPB300. I have auditioned Classe products in the past, a CA150 and a CA300, and at the time thought they were nice, but somewhat bland, and uninvolving. The CAM350 quickly eliminated any preconceived notions of what to expect. In fact the CAM350 easily competes at the same level as the ML 336 and FPB300. There may be aspects of the later's performance that stand out as being better, but the CAM350's peformance was exemplary across the board with nothing really standing out, or lacking. The bass of both the Krell and ML could be said to be better, but the CAM350 was solid, it's character was more like the Krell's bass. Control of the speakers was similar to the ML and Krell. The ML's soundstage had better specificity and focus, although the CAM350 was better then the Krell in this respect. Overall the CAM350 sounded more natural, airier, and had better highs then either the ML or Krell. Most importantly I enjoyed listening to the CAM350s. They were so good in fact that I will have to re-audition the Mark Levinson No 336s to be sure how I would rank it at this point. Overall, highly recommended, and an excellent value.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Mark Surles a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: July 13, 2000

Bottom Line:   
I recently went shopping for a new amplifier to drive my new Ariel 10T’s. The 10T (Stereophile Speaker of the Year a few years ago) is a great speaker, but really needs a strong amplifier to deliver the stunning transients of which they’re capable (I’m a drummer and know transients, and these speakers still scare me). They also need upstream equipment that provides a smooth midrange or they can play a little hard. I’d already eliminated the Mark Levinson etc. types as too mechanical sounding, and was figuring “big tube amp”. Then I heard that the designers at Ariel were partial to Audio Research tube amps and Classe, so I found a dealer that had both and ran a Classe 301 against an ARC VT100MkII. The result? The solid-state Classe was just as smooth as the tube amp from ARC, and did everything well. The ARC didn’t give up much of anything in bottom end control, noise level or detail (like tube amps are said to do), and came across as super clean, controlled, and musical. Of course, every 2000 hours you have to replace the tubes in the ARC, for a cost today of $570 for the set, but some people don’t mind that. The big difference was that the VT100 came across as more forward and in your face, whereas the Classe was more laid back. I thought the Classe would be great for acoustic jazz and vocals (sounds like I’m describing a tube amp), and the VT100 would be better for more dramatic material. I personally liked the punchier sound of the VT100, and was going to buy it, when for fun I substituted a Classe 401 for the 301, and the result was startling. The 401 is not just 100 watts stronger, but has a different character that is immediately apparent. Its just as smooth as the others, but the soundstage opened up from being mostly in between the speakers to occupying the whole front of the room, and the impact from something like a Dave Mathews CD went from good to Oh-my-God. This amp changed the experience from listening to a great stereo to getting completely lost in the music. I was not planning on spending $6,900 for an amp, but after hearing the CA-401 there’s no way I could leave with anything else.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000




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