Classe CAP-150 Integrated Amplifiers

4.73/5 (15 Reviews) MSRP : $1995.00


Product Description

100 Watt Integrated Amp


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

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by geojap a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: February 15, 2007

Bottom Line:   
This review is subject to how this amp sounds in my system, of course. Your mileage may vary. I will try and explain the nuances so you can gauge this amp relatively well for yourself though.

First, my audio system strive for resolution and imaging. I use Apogee ribbon speakers that will give you superb detail and sound stage if you feed it the right signal. I also have a Creek CD-50 MkII CD player that produces extreme detail, with decent dynamics and a very respectable sound stage. I needed something in the middle to complete this system, a preamp and amp.

I settled on the CAP-150 because it was relatively affordable at just less than $1000 used, had the perfect amount of power to drive the Apogees, had an integrated preamp with a phono stage, and it was Classe quality (and we all know Classe amps have a reputation for sounding quite good).

I tried the amp in my system and it was good, but not great. I knew the imaging could be better. After doing some thinking, I decided to try a Mod Squad passive preamp (the Deluxe Line Drive) and Phono Drive as it should be a good fit with the amp, speakers and CD. I would still use the Classe's amplifier section, but abandon it's preamp section. This did the trick. The high quality Mod Squad passive let the music from the CD player flow right through to the Classe amp with minimal coloration and the results are very noticeable. I get tons of dynamics, sound stage and detail now. The sound stage tightened up, the instruments separated, and I found what I was looking for.

If the passive preamp had not worked for me in my system, I was going to try a tube preamp like an Audio Research LS-16 Mk2, Audible Illusions 3A or Conrad Johnson. That would have colored the sound somewhat, but really opened up the sound stage. But I don't need it, this set up works fine and the Classe really shines.

The amplifier section of this amp is very responsive, very dynamic. The thing I like about it most is it's not too overly analytical. Since I don't have any tube equipment in my system, I was concerned that the music would sound overly analytical and dry since it is all solid state, with ribbon speakers on top of that (ribbons can sound very bright if not done correctly). I think the Classe really does a good job of adding just a little hint of balance to the system. It is what I would call a very "reasonable" amp. Just a hint of politeness/smoothness, not bright at all, but very detailed and dynamic when called upon.

I very much like this amp for the good qualities that the amplifier section exhibits in spades, and the fact that the preamp is there if I need it (like if my Mod Squad needs to go to the shop). I think the preamp section itself is a tad bit muddy, however; I will never use it primarily now.

The build quality of this amp is quite high. I had to replace some binding posts that I broke with a wrench and I was amazed at the cleanly organized interior and parts quality.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1996

Price Paid:    $900.00

Purchased At:   Audiogon



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

Date Reviewed: November 24, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I stumbled onto this used amplifier in a dealer and was impressed with its apparent build quality. It also looked clean and almost unused so I asked the dealer to set up a listening test against a Sim Audio Moon I-5. I have been listening to various integrated amps for the past 4 weeks and was very impressed.

I now have the unit at home and I am testing it mostly for sound quality. While I have heard people refer to the sound as relaxed, I wouldn't exactly call it relaxed, especially not in comparison to others like Arcam, Audio refinement, Audio Analogue Puccini, Linn or Rega. I have auditioned all of these and have found them lacking in some dynamic or tonal quality somewhere. The only amp that I have heard that really pleased me so far was a Conrad Johnson Tube integrated that sounded amazing! Unfortunately it was way beyond my price range.

The Classé compared with a Simaudio Moon I-5; while the Sim certainly has a bit more dynamics and micro detail, I generaly find the Classé much more balanced in terms of tone and dynamics. It is also much easier to listen to. The Moon has an overly analytical and almost clinical quality I find. This may of course be due to my JMLab speakers which are extremely easy to drive. For the moment I am very impressed with the overall balance of the Classé, even if the mid is slightly biased toward the treble. Bass has good impact and weight and every kick drum shot by Manu Katche is felt squarely in the feet and in the chest! In relation to the others that I have auditioned this is the only one that actually allows me to forget that I am evaluating a peice of electronic equipment and not a musician's performance, I just seem to drift into the music and that is what I have been looking for.

So far I am very pleased with this integrated amp and I'm happy to hear that at least some of the components are quality ones, even if others may not rival the very best. I still would like to read something about it by someone from an unbiased mag...(if such an animal really exists...).

I personally do not like when people finish by saying BUY THIS or BUY THAT!!! It has the faint odor of hired marketing guns, but I would appreciate anything that might confirm that this amp at $760.00 (us) $1200.00 Canadian is a deal that I will not soon regret. Thanks

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $760.00



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Wyatt a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: November 15, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I love this Classe integrated. It has enough power and current to drive practically any load. It makes a wonderful match with Maggies 1.6QR and Martin Logan Aeris I as well as various B&W speakers I've tried. I was foolish enough to sell mine several years ago in pursuit of more expensive separates. But, without a question, the trade offs were not worth it. The biggest strength of the Classe is that it simply makes music. At the prices I've seen for it used (its discontinued), it's a stone cold bargain and I've bought another to replace the one I let go.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $1900.00

Purchased At:   Overture



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

Date Reviewed: August 8, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I have tried tons of combinations of seperates and integrateds....this one is a match made in heaven w/PROACS...

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $1000.00



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

Date Reviewed: July 12, 2001

Bottom Line:   
O.K. I just have to comment on why this is such a winner (as long as you can do without source selection). When you have it matched with a great set of monitors, there is no better value for the money (especially considering some of the used prices I have seen it go for lately). After almost three years with the CAP-150, it still pumps it out for 5-plus hours a day. Additionally, the circuit protection that the designers built into this machine are top notch. Just restart or unplug/replug and it resets and is good to go. This little guy proves that sometimes less is more. The tape loop and ability to seperate the amp and pre-amp allows for a huge combination of system configurations. This is especially true when you are running a DAC or processor for digital inputs. It will live forever somewhere in your house, in some system, regardless of what you buy to replace it. I LOVE MY MUSIC!!!!! (Sorry, I can't help it)

Components:

Classe CAP-150
McIntosh MR-80 Tuner
Nak RX-505
Alchemy DDS III Trans
Monolithic MPS
Alchemy DTI Pro
Alchemy DDE 3.0 v2
Pioneer DV-333

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $1395.00




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