Classé CP-800 My (re)view !

WishTree

Well-known member
May 18, 2010
107
1
18,595
Recently got into upgraditis and have done quite a few purchases and when the Classé CP-800 was available I could not resisit it. I heard it before but as you would agree, it is not the same as hearing at home. So went ahead and bought it!

The Classé CP-800 is a many-in-one device. It has DAC (USB, Optical and other digital inputs), a full fledged pre-amp, Equalizer Processor and support upto 4.1 output configuration.

I set up the unit as 2.1 DAC+Processor. The extra two outputs can be used for bi-amping but I have not explored this direction.

Out of the box, the CP-800 sounded clean & silent. Is it called the low noise floor? Everything I played it feels that there is so much of clean and the empty spaces souded really EMPTY. I am not too sure how exactly to describe this but it is absolute nothing. I have never known that there is so much of empty space on each and every track which makes the sound of each instrument / artist so much more well defined. As an added advantage the soundstage is much wider - really wide.

CP-800 does not have any character or atleast that I could figure out in the recent few days. I am still getting used to this low noise floor.. remember that I amm coming from Classé SSP-800 and from that view it is a feat that I thought is not possible.

It has tone controls with a possibility of tilt control (which I have not figured out yet) and has PEQ (which I have used on SSP-800 but yet to tune on the CP-800). Bass Management is pretty good too. With cut off frequency and roll off selection as well as to replicate the bass on both main and sub. It can be configured for more than one sub but I have not gone beyond the current 2.1 set up I am using.

I am still mesmerized by the cleanliness and pureness.

Comparision:

The only thing that I can compare is to SSP-800 as the other DAC that I used (Audiolab M-DAC is the most expensive of that lot) are too behind and given the price difference (not necessarily) it is understandable.

I have used PEQ on SSP-800 and the sound was very sweet warmth (to my liking) but it does not have the same low noise floor.

On CP-800 I have not yet used PEQ but with the way it is set up, I am having a lot of fun. Given my speakers sound, if I try to compensate then I might say that CP-800 has a (very) slight warmth in the sound but I need to have some other speakers to say for sure but my gut feeling the CP-800 is very neutral and almost no character.

If I have to pick between SSP-800 and CP-800 for music only, then it will be CP-800. SSP-800 has very nice enjoyable charm and it becomes a lot more evident with moives and multichannel. Even on my modest set up for movies, the SSP-800 is such an ace and for music it does excellent till the time I have not heard the CP-800

Ideally, I would like to have both :p but there is thing called money. For a one box solution it will be SSP-800 and if music is on top priority and need to save a lot more money is higher then the CP-800.

There is a huge write up about the technology and Classé's approach for some one interested to read about it.

Quirks? Yeah.. some. But they are mostly from previous Classé Ownership.

The buttons on the front (stand by, menu, mute) do not feel like the asking price. They are small and hard to operate. The other Classé have much more solid feel on the buttons.

The color of the standby LED is red instead of glowing blue inconsistent with other Classé components but I think red is better than blue for standby

There is no customizable volume display. I like to set the volume from 0 onwards but I can only start with some - number (only absolute volume) as well as start up volume (you can only set a specific number but not from the last value) which is inconsistent with 0ther Classé products. I hope a Software update will fix it

I did a firmware update which is quite straight forward (download and unzip the files to an empty USB stick and when I restarted the CP-800 with the USB stick connected it updated in few minutes.

I will keep posting if I have any new observations :)
 

alchemist 1

Well-known member
Mar 28, 2012
89
3
18,545
WishTree said:
Recently got into upgraditis and have done quite a few purchases and when the Classé CP-800 was available I could not resisit it. I heard it before but as you would agree, it is not the same as hearing at home. So went ahead and bought it!

The Classé CP-800 is a many-in-one device. It has DAC (USB, Optical and other digital inputs), a full fledged pre-amp, Equalizer Processor and support upto 4.1 output configuration.

I set up the unit as 2.1 DAC+Processor. The extra two outputs can be used for bi-amping but I have not explored this direction.

Out of the box, the CP-800 sounded clean & silent. Is it called the low noise floor? Everything I played it feels that there is so much of clean and the empty spaces souded really EMPTY. I am not too sure how exactly to describe this but it is absolute nothing. I have never known that there is so much of empty space on each and every track which makes the sound of each instrument / artist so much more well defined. As an added advantage the soundstage is much wider - really wide.

CP-800 does not have any character or atleast that I could figure out in the recent few days. I am still getting used to this low noise floor.. remember that I amm coming from Classé SSP-800 and from that view it is a feat that I thought is not possible.

It has tone controls with a possibility of tilt control (which I have not figured out yet) and has PEQ (which I have used on SSP-800 but yet to tune on the CP-800). Bass Management is pretty good too. With cut off frequency and roll off selection as well as to replicate the bass on both main and sub. It can be configured for more than one sub but I have not gone beyond the current 2.1 set up I am using.

I am still mesmerized by the cleanliness and pureness.

Comparision:

The only thing that I can compare is to SSP-800 as the other DAC that I used (Audiolab M-DAC is the most expensive of that lot) are too behind and given the price difference (not necessarily) it is understandable.

I have used PEQ on SSP-800 and the sound was very sweet warmth (to my liking) but it does not have the same low noise floor.

On CP-800 I have not yet used PEQ but with the way it is set up, I am having a lot of fun. Given my speakers sound, if I try to compensate then I might say that CP-800 has a (very) slight warmth in the sound but I need to have some other speakers to say for sure but my gut feeling the CP-800 is very neutral and almost no character.

If I have to pick between SSP-800 and CP-800 for music only, then it will be CP-800. SSP-800 has very nice enjoyable charm and it becomes a lot more evident with moives and multichannel. Even on my modest set up for movies, the SSP-800 is such an ace and for music it does excellent till the time I have not heard the CP-800

Ideally, I would like to have both :p but there is thing called money. For a one box solution it will be SSP-800 and if music is on top priority and need to save a lot more money is higher then the CP-800.

There is a huge write up about the technology and Classé's approach for some one interested to read about it.

Quirks? Yeah.. some. But they are mostly from previous Classé Ownership.

The buttons on the front (stand by, menu, mute) do not feel like the asking price. They are small and hard to operate. The other Classé have much more solid feel on the buttons.

The color of the standby LED is red instead of glowing blue inconsistent with other Classé components but I think red is better than blue for standby

There is no customizable volume display. I like to set the volume from 0 onwards but I can only start with some - number (only absolute volume) as well as start up volume (you can only set a specific number but not from the last value) which is inconsistent with 0ther Classé products. I hope a Software update will fix it

I did a firmware update which is quite straight forward (download and unzip the files to an empty USB stick and when I restarted the CP-800 with the USB stick connected it updated in few minutes.

I will keep posting if I have any new observations :)
Sounds like hi fi's version of a black hole in space.

Classy looking product. :)
 
alchemist 1 said:
Sounds like hi fi's version of a black hole in space.

Classy looking product. :)
Hi alchemist 1

Having heard quite a lot about the CP-800 i'll be interested in how its performance compares particularly to the EMM Labs DCC2 SE and out of interest also to the likes of Esoteric D-05/D-07, Resonessence Invicta and the Michi RHC-10.

All the best

Rick @ Musicraft
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
9
0
Good insight, I think. I would expect the CP 800 to be better for music, and it's advantage will pull further ahead with better speakers.

For a balance of AV and 2 channel, the SSP-800 is imo, the way to go....but if possible you should hear the combination with some decent speakers (Refs or 800 series) before the final decision is made (even if the speakers have to wait for a while).
 

WishTree

Well-known member
May 18, 2010
107
1
18,595
CnoEvil said:
Good insight, I think. I would expect the CP 800 to be better for music, and it's advantage will pull further ahead with better speakers.
Thanks Cno.

CnoEvil said:
For a balance of AV and 2 channel, the SSP-800 is imo, the way to go....but if possible you should hear the combination with some decent speakers (Refs or 800 series) before the final decision is made (even if the speakers have to wait for a while).
:) Working on that but I am taking it slow from now on !
 

WishTree

Well-known member
May 18, 2010
107
1
18,595
CnoEvil said:
WishTree said:
Working on that but I am taking it slow from now on !
.....but surely there's no harm in just listening!! >)
yeah.. that's how I have so much equipment at home :wall:

I need to go to some Guru and learn some control on indulgence :pray:
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
9
0
WishTree said:
I need to go to some Guru and learn some control on indulgence :pray:
I'd give you the name of mine, but there's no point as he made no difference......on the other hand, Mrs. Cno used an entirely different approach, which was much more effective!!
 

WishTree

Well-known member
May 18, 2010
107
1
18,595
CnoEvil said:
I'd give you the name of mine, but there's no point as he made no difference......on the other hand, Mrs. Cno used an entirely different approach, which was much more effective!!
:rofl:
 

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