|Classé CA-M400 Multi-channel Power Amplifier|
|Home Theater Power Amplifiers Multi-Channel Amplifiers|
|Written by Jerry Del Colliano|
|Tuesday, 01 February 2005|
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It is always hard to find a fault with top amplifiers, especially at this level. One small issue I had was the fact that, with both amps flanking my Wilson WATCH center speaker, the orientation of the lights on the front of the amps are not symmetrical. While this would look more linear in a rack with a vertical placement, when placed on the floor, it looks slightly off.
The speaker connectors on the back of the amp are more complicated than the ones on my Krells. The Krell speaker connectors are simple, large twist devices. The Classe speaker connectors are metal, with a plastic covering. I found it somewhat challenging to get my spades into the Classe amps. Ultimately, I got the cables in for a snug fit, but it took me a little while to make it work.
I am not one of the proponents of aftermarket power cables, especially for top-end amps. My Krells and the Mark Levinson amps that I have previously owned removed the possibility of switching power cables by simply providing a fixed, ultra-thick, hospital-grade AC power hose from the back of the amp. Classe gives users the ability to change power cords, which could be useful for the tweaky audiophile or, more importantly, for the custom AV rack builder. My problem was that, with the amps on the floor, the power cable provided simply wouldn’t lay flat and/or look like it belonged next to my Transparent Reference cables. I know this is a small beef, but with the sexy good looks of the amp, it would be cool if the cables would not distract from the installation on the floor of a high-end listening room.
Classe’s new-look amps are as good as any I have heard or reviewed in the price category and should be considered among the likes of Krell, Mark Levinson, Linn, Halcro and the rest of the best amplifiers in the world. The Classe CA-M400s have the headroom and power to tackle rock concert volumes and theater level explosions.
At this ultimate price level, one picks an amp based on the subtle differences and flavors of a top amplifier. The Classe CA-M400s are powerful yet polite. They do best with acoustical music because of their superior resolution in midrange reproduction. But the Classe CA-M400s are no sissies. They rock hard for music and movies. Trust me, the competition is headed out to hear these amps; soon there will also be Classe AV preamps and universal players. Classe has redesigned their entire line and are poised to take an even bigger share of the ultra-high-end market.