Classe CAV-500 Amplifiers

Classe CAV-500 Amplifiers 


250W x 5


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[Jan 25, 2001]


Effortless power, soundstaging, imaging, speed, non-fatiguing sound


Weighs 140 lbs. Amp is so long it won't fit in most cabinets.

In the stratospherically priced HT amp category, there are plenty of options. This is a must hear for anyone who can spend what it takes to get into it.

I have a home theater that is used more for music. So I have been looking for a "music first" HT amp. I was looking in a lower price range (see above). However, nothing in $2-3.5K range really improved over my NAD amps. As an aside, I don't know if that is a compliment to my trusty NAD 2700 or something negative about the others (which except for the Sunfire, I have nothing really negative to say about).

Anyway, when this amp came out, my local dealer told me it was the best 5 channel amp he had heard. This conversation was held in the context of the Theta Dreadnaught, which I was interested in at the time. I listened to the Classe at my dealer, but didn't really take it too seriously as it was out of my price range. When I found it for sale on Audiogon on consignment for less than I could get a Dreadnaught for, I bought it and boy do I feel lucky.

I have yet to find a weakness. It's strengths are many: effortless, fast and clean.

Stereophile recently gave a rave review of the CAM-350. While the CAM-350 is probably even better than the CAV-500, I couldn't help but feel like the reviewer was describing the CAV-500. In fact, the picture of the inside of the CAM-350 looked just like the inside (albeit smaller) of the CAV-500.

The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. I had some friends over for movie night a few weeks ago--friends who were very familiar with my previous set up (same but for the Amp). These non-audiophiles were literally blown away--maybe to the point of thinking about buying some High End equipment themselves.

Anyway, I love this product and cannot recommend it enough. As always, though, there are a lot of excellent products in this price range. Shopping for this stuff is almost as much fun as owning it. So enjoy the hunt.

Classe CAV-500
Theta Casablanca II
Audioquest interconnects
Cardas speaker cables
Vandersteen 2Ce, Center and Surrounds.

Similar Products Used:

NAD, B&K 7250, Sunfire Cinema Grand, Classe CAV-150, Adcom.

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