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Two New Classe’ THX Ultra 7.1 AV Preamps Print E-mail
Friday, 22 November 2002
Classé Audio has introduced a pair of new preamplifier/surround sound processors loaded with cutting edge features. The Classé SSP-30 MKII and SSP-60 are which are generally similar except for the SSP-60’s THX Ultra status and balanced-audio and component video facilities. The SSP-30 MKII and SSP-60 incorporate the digital-surround processing including THX/EX (SSP-60), Dolby Digital/Dolby EX, and DTS ES Matrix/Discrete playback via as many as 7.1 channels including back-surround outputs, and with 24-bit/96 kHz capabilities from front L&R channels. Dolby’s Pro Logic II and DTS’ Neo:6 modes are also on board, making actual 5.1-channel playback from any stereo or matrix-encoded program possible.

Both new Classé preamp/processors boast audiophile grade preamplifier performance, whether in two-channel or multichannel modes, necessary to the sonic refinement and musical finesse expected from Classé products. This is a result of meticulous by-ear evaluations of analog-audio circuit layouts, and stringent selection of the most sonically transparent components. The two new models also share Crystal Semiconductors digital-to-analog converters at all eight channels, along with flexible digital-input and –output facilities including a professional AES/EBU input in both cases.

Both new Classé models offer flexible audio-video control and switching via six audio-video inputs, all equipped with both composite- and S-Video paths, and five audio-only inputs. Dual main-monitor video outputs—one with and one without on-screen displays superimposed—and 7.1-channel direct analog inputs for outboard multichannel sources such as DVD-Audio or SACD players are also common to both designs.

To all this the SSP-60 adds both balanced-audio and wideband component-video capabilities, ensuring complete compatibility with any state-of-the-art source or power amplifier. The upscale model features a single balanced-stereo input, and a complete, 7.1-channel grouping of balanced-audio outputs, all on pro-grade XLR jacks.

The SSP-60’s three component-video inputs and the component monitor-output are all fully compatible with wideband signals such as HDTV and progressive-scan DVD playback. The SSP-60’s remaining significant refinement is in its 7.1-channel output-driver circuitry, where the more costly model employs all-discrete-device, fully-balanced circuits instead of the SSP-30 MKII’s more compact and integrated (but barely less refined) layout.

The new Classé models are alike in offering a fully independent second-zone audio output with source and volume control, and separate audio-video record-out signal paths. Both include full-system wireless remote controllers, and RS-232 ports for integrated system control via touch-panel or computer systems, and setup automation. Classé meticulously assembles both with the firm’s trademark two-tone billet-aluminum panels and hand-finished craftsmanship.

Classé SSP-30 MKII and SSP-60 Preamplifier/Surround Processors will be available in fall 2002 respectively. The SSP-30 MkII carries a manufacturer’s suggested price of $3,000.00 US and the SSP-60 will sell for $5,000.00 US.

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