Classé Audio today announced the Sigma Series 2200i Stereo Integrated Amplifier, which combines preamp and power amp functions in a single chassis. It offers key features also found in the Sigma SSP like Ethernet for IP control and streaming, USB with both host and device connectors, HDMI switching, PEQ, Tone Control, Bass management and optional MM/MC phono. The power supply, DSP and gain stages come from their CA-D200 and AMP2. What’s special is its direct digital connection between the preamp section and the amplifier, which eliminates losses by removing digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital conversions from the signal path. Techniques like asynchronous synchronization and master clock mode allow it to manage the digital clocks for low jitter and high signal integrity. Analog sources are converted at 24/96 to preserve their original bandwidth and dynamic range.
Digital Signal Processing is available to all sources; you can use it for bass management with a subwoofer to fill dips in the frequency response in your room while a nine-band parametric EQ can simultaneously eliminate the frequency response peaks; a customizable tone control can tame or add life to your less-than-perfect recordings.
Unlike outboard DACs and preamp/processors that must output analog signals for volume control and amplification, the 2200i leverages the true digital architecture of Classé’s proprietary switching amplifier design, connecting the output of the preamp DSP directly to the DSP input of the amplifier. There aren’t any DACs or ADCs nor is there any unnecessary analog circuitry connecting them. So the signal path is as short and direct as possible; signals remain digital all the way to the amplifier output filters. Classe claims it all translates to better sound for the price.
A front panel touchscreen and both Android and Apple apps provide sophisticated yet intuitive control. DLNA and AirPlay streaming are supported over the Network connection and AV switching with HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 allows convenient connection to set top boxes, games and disc players.
The front-end consists of the stereo portion of a Sigma SSP, including inputs for USB types A and B, Ethernet for streaming AirPlay and DLNA, coax, optical, analog inputs for XLR and RCA and an optional phono (as in the CP-800 and Sigma SSP). Classé has also included 4 HDMI inputs, adding convenience for users with AV sources like set top boxes, Blu-ray players, etc.
The Classé touchscreen control provides familiar features like digital domain Tone Control, 9-band PEQ per channel and flexible bass management. The Subwoofer output is derived from the only DAC onboard. IP control includes Android and iOS apps.
The amplifier section consists of the power supply, DSP and amplifier circuitry of an AMP2, making this a seriously powerful, high resolution integrated amplifier. It is capable of effortlessly driving virtually anything on the market including all of the new Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series loudspeakers.
The Sigma 2200i uses a 3U tall chassis that occupies the same footprint as all of the other Sigma models. The extra 1U space on the lower third of the faceplate contains an air intake. A small Noctua fan mounted to the rear panel spins quietly at low rpm to gently draw air through the chassis, keeping the circuitry at a comfortable operating temperature while extending the life of the electronic components.
The unique rack-mount solution introduced in the original Sigma series models, contained in the design of the side panels, is retained in the Sigma 2200i. Simply remove the sides, rotate and flip them, then reattach to position rack ears for rack-mounting. No kits to order—everything you need is right there on the unit.
Price and Availability
The Classe Sigma 2200i Stereo Integrated Amplifier will be available for $5,500 in May 2016.