A “Force” to be Reckoned With: 5 Power Amps, Stereo Preamp, Integrated Amp, and CD Player are Just the Beginning
Montreal, Canada–Aug. 2004–In the broadest and most important introduction of its 24-year history, Classe Audio Inc. has unveiled eight new products that launch its new Delta range of high-end audio components. At the same time, the Canadian firm admired by audio devotees worldwide for intelligent, uncompromising high-end audio and home-theater components, has debuted a new corporate logo developed by famed graphic designers Thomas Manns & Co. to symbolize its newly focused corporate identity and contemporary approach.
“We have been using Delta at Classe as the code name to describe this project. It was chosen because of its meaning in engineering and mathematics, signifying difference or change,” says David Nauber, Classe’s Executive VP, Brand Development. “The marketplace for high-end audio and video is changing and Classe could not be more pleased about that.” Nauber continues, “Our Delta series is simply a contemporary expression of the famous Classe virtues of exceptional quality, value and sonic performance. It marks an important new era in our company’s evolution.”
The Delta series will complement Classe’s flagship Omega family to complete the firm’s offerings. Initial model introductions comprise eight stunning designs: five power amplifiers ranging from 2×100 watts to 5×200 watts, a single stereo preamplifier and an equivalent, 2×100 watts integrated amplifier, and a stereo CD player. Future additions will include multichannel preamp/processors, and universal-format optical disc players and transports.
New Look, New Interface
While Classe’s new models are “clean-sheet” designs, they clearly owe much technologically to the firm’s universally admired Omega range–a reference standard for many reviewers and enthusiasts around the world. However, in a single stroke the Delta range also establishes an entirely new level of ergonomic sophistication, and debuts a stunning but understated new appearance. Morten Warren and the world-famous Native Design Studio have developed Classe’s new industrial design concepts. All of the Delta models are built on chassis that share a single common width and one of only three different heights. All boast an elegantly smooth, dramatically radiused, thick front-panel form that combines the characteristics of strength, power and softness. Delta series components can be arrayed in any combination horizontally or stacked vertically while assuring its owners a uniquely well-integrated, visually logical system facade.
But handsome is as handsome does, and the all-new user interface is an even more important sign of Classe’s evolving direction.
Each of the “hands-on” Delta components–preamp, integrated-amp, and disc-player (as well as future such models)–features a front-panel color TFT touchscreen display that provides a complete, eminently usable user-interface while blessedly reducing each unit’s hard-key button population to a mere three: Standby, Menu, and Load or Mute.
This design choice brings the obvious advantage of delivering the user clear, logical, and convenient operation that is almost entirely self-prompting, where commands and their labels are one and the same for the ultimate in simple usability. But every bit as valuable, Classe’s touchscreen control system is freely upgradeable: as future needs arise with new modes or functions, or as developments in software or even hardware occur, the user interface can evolve as required via easy updating, without imposing awkward key-combinations, misleading button-labels, or confusing menu paths.
The Classe Delta series’ alluring appearance and innovative interface are dramatic elements, but they are far from its only important aspects. Each of the new components relies on Classe’s intensive development process, obsessively auditioning and selecting components, circuit topologies, and even circuit-board layouts, to achieve the most transparent possible sonic results. The entire Classe Delta family also benefits from the mechanical performance of the new chassis design and exploits a customized foot design that, along with other refinements, advances vibration resistance nearly 100-fold.
The five power amplifiers in Classe’s initial Delta introduction all include both balanced and single-ended inputs and flexible control via IR, DC-trigger, or bi-directional RS-232 signaling. They include stereo models of 100 and 200 watts per channel, the CA-2100 and CA-2200, and two multichannel designs, the 3×200-watt CA-3200 and 5×200 CA-5200, as well as a monaural amplifier, the CA-M400 producing 400 watts.
Sharing the revolutionary new Delta touchscreen control interface are three initial component introductions: a stereo preamplifier, the CP-500, the range’s sole integrated amp, called CAP-2100 (which in its essence combines the CA-2100 amplifier and CP-500 preamp for a single-component stereo solution of unprecedented quality and value), and the CDP-100, a single-CD, HDCD-capable player. (See accompanying releases on the individual components/families.)
Model Manufacturer’s Suggested Price
CA-2100 2×100 watts $3,500
CA-2200 2×200 watts $5,000
CA-3200 3×200 watts $6,000
CA-5200 5×200 watts $8,000
CA-M400 1×400 watts $5,000
CAP-2100 2×100 (int. amplifier) $4,900
For additional information about Classe Audio visit www.classeaudio.com.