Classé Unveils New Reference Disc Player at CES 2007 
Home Theater News Audio Sources News
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Friday, 12 January 2007

Canada's Classé has combined what they feel are the two best elements of their CDP-202 Compact Disc Player and CDP-300 DVD Player into a single “reference” disc-player, the CDP-502.

“Classé customers are among the most demanding and discerning in the world,” says David Nauber, Classé’s Executive VP, Brand Development. “And while they might be able to afford both a CDP-300 and a CDP-202, they’d prefer the best of both in a single component. That, in a nutshell, characterizes the new CDP-502 Reference Disc Player: state-of-the-technology performance for both DVD and CD playback, with all the benefits associated with Classé design.”

The CDP-502 accepts audio CDs, DVD-Video discs, DVD-Audio high-resolution audio recordings, and numerous optical-disc variants including DualDisc, MP3, WMA and AAC audio-encoded discs, as well as Video-CD, S-VCD and JPEG discs. The latest Classé player derives its audio sections from the acclaimed CDP-202, Classé’s current CD reference model, and its video sections from the CDP-300 DVD player, the world’s first high-end player to output all HD-compatible resolutions including 1080p.

The CDP-502 utilizes the highly non-resonant, steel/aluminum hybrid chassis, and multiple, superbly engineered power supplies for which Classé designs are justly famous. The slot-loading TEAC® DVD-ROM mechanism — also used in the CDP-300 and CDP-202 — provides superior disc-handling characteristics, reliability and control flexibility. Of course, the new model employs Classé’s well-known digital-decoding technology, deploying a dedicated CPLD (Complex Programmable Logic Device) and sample-rate conversion to re-construct data as 24-bit/192 kHz signals with rock-steady time-domain performance. Also present is Classé’s proven dual-differential digital-to-analog conversion topology, where both channels are transformed to differential mode in the digital domain, and then converted by a dedicated device for each signal “half.” The resultant signal remains in the balanced mode through reference-grade audio circuits, and passes to balanced-audio output on two XLR jacks; both channels are of course also available as single-ended signals on RCA jacks, which benefit from a completely differential and independent signal path.

On the video side the CDP-502’s designers at Classé claimed they could not reasonably expect to improve upon the acclaimed CDP-300, so they retained its layout. Consequently, the CDP-502 incorporates the same powerful digital video processing, able to scale output to all HDTV formats up to and including 1080p via its HDMI digital-video output (including 1080i, 720p, and 480/576p). In addition to deinterlacing and scaling functions, the CDP-502’s video DSP also incorporates extensive digital processing to reduce the troublesome “mosquito noise” otherwise so prevalent on HD screens, to adaptively control color and contrast ratios, and to improve chroma transient performance.

The CDP-502 carries over Classé’s curved, aluminum industrial design and intuitive control layout common to its antecedents, including the front-panel color touchscreen. This delivers self-prompting operation, convenient previewing of DVD recordings for setup and cueing right at the loading site, and an easy way to manage audiophile-mode “video-off” playback for serious-listening CD and DVD-A sessions. The CDP-502 is supplied with a backlit wireless remote controller, and includes CAN-bus ports for inter-Classé-component communications, RS-232 interfacing for integration into media and whole-house control systems, and IR-remote and DC-trigger interfacing.

Classé’s CDP-502 universal reference DVD/CD player will be available February 2007, at a manufacturer’s suggested price of $8,500 US.

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