Classe CAP-151 Integrated Amplifiers

CAP-151

150 Watt Integrated Amp. Optional Phono stage is a $250 upcharge.

User Reviews (21)

Showing 1-10 of 21  
positivefiction   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 18, 2010]

I've owned alot of "budget" amps in my day. Everything from NAD, Parasound, Bryston,Krell, a handful of receivers from Onkyo, Denon, Harman, and without a doubt, this amp smokes them all.

If I were pressed to put the sound of this amp into a single word, it would be "sunny!"

It's warm and revealing, like morning sunlight coming through your window in the morning. And, without wish to extend the analogy any further, I'll just get to the meat of it.

It has a VERY expressive midrange. It's very energetic, without growing tiresome. But, it's also revealing up upstream equiptment. I have it hooked up to a good source, and it sings. For kicks, I tried a cheap blu-ray player, and you can hear how thin it sounds. But, even with that cheap source, it didn't grow aggrivating. It just didn't sound as good.

More on the midrange quality though. My speakers are known to be very...um...exciting in the upper midrage/lower treble, and I've always looked for parterning equipment that doesn't emphasize this trait any more than my speakers already do. Well, this amp SINGS in this range, without ever sounding harsh, thin, brittle, or anything else that screams bad to me. It took what I viewed as my speakers most challenging quality, threw it in my face, and seemed to say "see...THIS is what midrange is SUPPOSED to sound like!"

It handles ambiance and decays extraordinarily well, but without growing audiophilic (i.e. sterile). This amp picks up on cues and fades better than anything I've ever owned, while always making music sound tuneful and exciting. It rides that fine line of revealing and engaging that I find most amps (especially low price amps) usually falter. Most musical budget amps sound tone good, detail shy. And vice versa.

The CAP-151 gives you both. Revelation and tone.

The bass, as noted in some other reviews I read, is the achilles heel. It's not quite as vice grip as I would like, and compared to the absolutely glorious midrange, the bass does seem to be deficient (at least with my speakers), but it has enough oomph to keep things rhythmic. Kick drums still sound like kick drums, etc, they just don't pound your chest the way I've heard before. But, what bass that does exist, is definitely tuneful. I don't mean to imply that it's a bass light amp...not at all. But a Krell 300i will deliver more noteworthy bass, but can not compete with the expressiveness and musicality of the Classe.

The treble has good extension, but not the best (my Bryston was better), but it's got a good sense of air, compresses slightly on very loud passages. Though, unlike my Bryston 3b-ST, the treble is much kinder, far less in your face, and far easier to listen to for long periods of time, mostly because it blends with the midrange perfectly. Where the Bryston might be more detailed (and I doubt it was), it sounded thin compared to this amp, yet this amp does not sound think by any means. It's sunny and warm, but not syrupy, dark, or dense.

Of course, all these observations come with the subjective point of view of my speakers. While not the best around, the NHT 2.5i's can not be touched anywhere near it's price for the sense of openness, though they are very gear dependant. Bad amps sound bad, good amps sound good. And this amp is good, DAMN good! Hooking them up to a pair of Dynaudio Audience 1.3's give the same impression. Very expressive, very musically enlightening, if giving away the best of bass for it's ability to just make music sound damn wonderful. But, both speakers put their most complex loads near the bass, and that's where I wish this amp had another 100 watts behind it. A little more bass authority, and this thing would be one of the best amps made.

If, like me, you enjoy your speakers to be the most revealing part of your system, and are looking for electronics to let the best of them come though without the worst of them shrugging their ugly face, find this amp, buy it, hook it up, and start hearing not justwhat your speakers can really sound like, but what your music can sound like. Cause this amp has proved to me that, in my case, they can sound alot better than I ever thought.

Equiptment used...

Theta Data Basic II
EAD Ovation Pre/DAC
Benchmark 1 DAC
Krell 300i
NHT 2.5i
Dynaudio 1.3

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Metro   Casual Listener [Dec 09, 2004]
Strength:

Very define Strong and smooth bass Great value under $2000

Weakness:

None

I listen CAP101 with B&W 704's in my friends home and I loved them. After long search I found CAP151 Demo Model and I purchased them. As a Integrated Amp, it can't get better than. CAP 151 procude, deep bass that you only get tube-amp's. CAP 151 hands down gives $10000 amp sound with even extremly cheap speakers. CAP 151 will be my main system as long as it will last. CAP 151 is not as fancy as new Classe models but it doesn't need to be. I am running with NAD C521BEE B&W 704 Pro cables

Similar Products Used: I can't even compare any products in that price range. I would say none
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Mike   Audio Enthusiast [May 17, 2003]

I just must second the many reviewers whom had stated that CAP 151 is simply MUSICAL.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
a im   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 26, 2002]
Strength:

sound everything right for me...hehehe...

Weakness:

none so far...

Amazing product from Classe...pleased to the ear, is a family value sound. If you like soft, mellow and smooth sound try this to experience it and will not disappointed. Can't say more...great job Classe ! Associated equipment use : 1) Cheap power distributor terminated with AFA(Hera) cable 2) Audioquest AC15 power cord to cd player - Rotel 991AE 3) Audioquest AC12 power cord to intgrd amp - Classe CAP151 4) Speaker - Totem Acoustic Arro 5) Interconnect cable - Audioquest Python 6) Speaker cable - Cardas Cross 7) Jumper cable - StraightWire Maestro (modify as jumper to speaker)

Similar Products Used: did not try other product except this integrated Classe !
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
johnjohnjohn   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 02, 2002]
Strength:

Built, sexy remote, English speaking techs

Weakness:

RCA jacks could be better

A very satisfying design! Sounds like a good hybrid - great clarity, neutral tonal balance, open soundstaging, strong dynamics, weighty bass. Both musically coherent AND exciting to listen to. Very revealing of upstream components. Will make you wonder why you needed separates in the first place. Associated Equipment: Linn LP12 Arcam CD92 Pioneer DV47 Thiel CS22

Similar Products Used: PSE, Bryston, Music Reference
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Sean   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 03, 2002]
Strength:

Smooth highs,great vocals, and decent bass response.

Weakness:

None so far.

I have fallen in love with the Classe'' Cap 151. The smooth sound and bass I get out of my B&W 805''s is awesome. I used to use a Adcom 5802 for powereing my speakers. Never again will I use an Adcom power amp for anything!! The Adcom amp had a very harsh and dry sound. I got no bass response out of the 805''s at all with the Adcom. The real kicker is how I''ve GAINED power since using the Classe'' intergrated. The Adcom is rated at 300 watts per channel at 8 ohms. The Classe''s rated at 150 watts at 8 ohms. I have lost no power going with and intergrated that is rated at half the juice of the Adcom. This tells me that Adcom is wasting all their electricity somewhere, because it''s not getting to the speakers. I don''t even need to use my C-J pv10AL anymore because the sound has gotten that smooth with the Cap 151. Vocals are much more up front and the bass coming out of the 805''s, although not super deep, is pretty tight and powerful for bookself speakers on stands. I can''t stress enough to people out there how much better my system sounds. Take my word: I have owned the Adcom 5802 for three years and I am quite familiar with how it sounds. I thought it was a decent amp. How wrong I was, at least with 805 speakers. I spent tons of money upgrading my cd transport,dac, and cables only too find I should have started with my amp first. If you''re looking for a high-powered amp at a good price, look for the Rotel RB 1090. Really close to the Cap 151 when using a tube pre-amp.

Similar Products Used: This is my first intergrated. I must also say I got this piece used as a demo at trade shows so it was well burned-in.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
JORGE HERNANDEZ   Audiophile [Apr 22, 2000]
Strength:

JUST A GREAT AMP.

Weakness:

NONE.

I AM USING MY CLASSE 151 WITH BW CDM1SE SPEAKER AND THE SOUND IS GREAT. CLASSE 151 IS BETTER THAN MUSICAL FIDELITY A300 AND KRELL 300I.

Similar Products Used: MUSICAL FIDELITY A300.KRELL 300I
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
willy van den wyngaert   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 03, 2000]

This amplifier sounds just great, has lots of power, tight bass,very extended dynamics and is always in command.
In combination with the Piega speakers, the sound is very smooth and transparent with lots of drive.
I did not compare with the Krell 300i, the E211 from Accuphase also sounded very good, had less power however.
I have tried several pre-power combinations.
To obtain the same sound quality, the cost was much higher, sometimes even double.

System:
Piega P5 speakers
Classé Audio CAP-151 integrated amplifier
Teac VRDS10SE CD-player
Van den Hul Magnum Hybrid speaker cable.

Similar Products Used: Perraud 200i, Accuphase E211.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
woosung   Casual Listener [Jan 20, 2001]
Strength:

Just great amp

Weakness:

NOT YET

This is the greatest amp I ever used.
I changed from McCormack combi with this integrated amp.
This is perfectly matching with Thiel 22, focusing on good sound stage and really fantastic image. When you like real piano or voice, I would like to recommned to audition this amp.

Similar Products Used: With Thiel 22 and Arcam 7SE
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
MG   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 30, 1999]
Weakness:

None found yet.

Great powerfull integrated amp built like a tank. much more musical compare to krell kav300i. Awesome remote control, matches well with my sonus faber concertinos. Highly recommended.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 21  

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