|Classé Delta Series CDP-300 Universal Player|
|Home Theater Audio Sources DVD-Audio/SACD Players|
|Written by Tim Hart|
|Friday, 01 September 2006|
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The Classé CDP-300 certainly feeds the need of the videophile with impressive playback of legacy movies on the most successful video format of all time, DVD. In terms of sound, I don’t think you will be disappointed with a CDP-300 as a source component, but hardcore audiophiles will long for SACD. Considering the format is basically dead, with DVD-Audio not that far behind, one can understand why Classe’ didn’t move Heaven and Earth to add SACD, as there are only 2,000 or so titles in the format.
The lack of any kind of upgrade path to HD DVD and Blu-ray could be something to discuss when you consider that you are bucking up for $6,500, but trust me – you don’t really want such formats in a high-end player yet. Until these formats are worked out, the fact that the CDP-300 is missing HD DVD and Blu-ray is a blessing. This unit works. It doesn’t need rebooting after switching from a DVD to TiVo and back. It connects reliably and is backed by a true high-end company that knows and appreciates audio and video playback.
The outcome of the current format war is far from certain. How the average consumer is expected to know the right course of action when considering moving to the latest display technology is beyond me. Working in the industry and having access to the latest information and technology roadmaps on where things are headed still doesn’t give me the advantage on making a buying decision. I labored for months before buying a Sony 60-inch rear-projection SXRD display, which won’t have the 1.3 version of HDMI to accept a native 1080p signal, and I still don’t feel like it was the best decision at this time. However, if you wait to invest in video you will never actually own an HDTV, because something new is always coming down the pike.
For an early adopter, there are lots of possible pitfalls to the new formats. It would seem that the CDP-300 is an island of sanity for those who are unsure when to make the move but still want high-performance video and audio and are willing to put there wallets on the firing line. You will not be disappointed. The beautiful build quality and slick touch screen interface is unparalleled in the industry. The high-performance circuit design and purist approach to the system architecture provide the buyer with pride of ownership that few products can equal. Video is the best I’ve seen at this price point and the added ability of superb playback of CDs, DVD-Audio and other formats seal the deal. When working with other Classe’ components, such as the SSP-600, which I’ll be reviewing in the next month or two, the synergy is remarkable. The amount of customization available for integration into your home entertainment system provides good flexibility. Don’t audition one until your ready to plunk down the cash, because if you hear and see the CDP-300, you’re unlikely to leave the dealer empty-handed. You’ve been warned.