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Classe Adds USB, 3D To Select Audio Components

Atlanta – Classe plans to add 3D-ready
HDMI 1.4a inputs and outputs to its existing SSP-800 and CT-SSP surround
processors and show a working prototype of its first audio component with
front-panel USB-audio port to play back music from a connected iPod, iPhone, or

The stereo preamp, the CP-800, is
promoted as the first of a new generation of stereo preamplifiers incorporating
front-panel asynchronous USB host and slave port, which streams the PCM output
of Apple iPod, iPhone and iPad devices as well as the PCM output of USB-connected

A Classe remote would control
such basic iPod functions as play/stop and skip/scan. If a USB-connected PC is
running iTunes, users could control iTunes remotely via a Bluetooth-enabled
remote app available from Apple for the iPod touch, iPhone and iPad.

The CP-800, expected to be
available in December at less than $6,000, uses asynchronous techniques and
proprietary clocking circuits on the USB input so that, when playing back
full-resolution files from a connected device, “the CP-800 can surpass the
performance of conventional disc playback systems,” said Dave Nauber, EVP of
brand development. “A storage device like an iPod or computer can contain all
the data of the original recording, so it has the potential to be an audiophile
source,” he said. “The challenge is to clock that data into the D/A converters
at precisely the right time, which the CP-800 achieves through newly-developed
recovery and clocking technology.”

 In the future, the company said it plans an upgrade
to add network streaming and incorporate popular compressed-music decoders.

Other features include bass
management and five-band parametric EQ that the company said have not appeared
before in stereo preamps. The component also features a subwoofer output and
two configurable auxiliary channels that can be used to drive additional subs,
bi-amp the left and right channels, or send audio to a second room, the company
said. Other features include 16×9 touchscreen with graphical user interface .

 Referring to the current SSP-800 surround
processor and the rack-style CT-SSP, Classe said a new video board with five
HDMI 1.4a inputs and two HDMI 1.4a outputs will be incorporated as a running
change beginning in November. Current models already in consumer’s homes will
be able to take advantage later this year of a $1,500 modular upgrade that
dealers could install in consumers’ homes. The price excludes possible labor

 With factory-installed video board, the
SSP-800 and CT-SSP will retail for $9,500, up $500 from the versions without HDMI
1.4a. The HDMI 1.4a inputs and outputs support all standard 3D video
resolutions and formats plus HEC (HDMI Ethernet Channel) and ARC (Audio Return