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Classe Ready For High-Def Discs, Displays

Montreal — Classe Audio plans June shipments of its first home theater preamp/processor with HDMI connections, 10-channel output, and a DSP module that can be swapped out for a planned module that decodes all Blu-ray surround-sound formats.

The $8,000 SSP-800 ships in June, said executive VP David Nauber. The planned upgrade module will be available free to SSP-800 owners when it becomes available, perhaps as early as the fall, he said.

The preamp/processor features four HDMI 1.3 repeater inputs capable of accepting audio and video on a single HDMI cable. The inputs also support 1080p, x.v.YCC and 36-bit Deep Color. The unit’s 10-channel output can be used to create a 7.1-channel home theater system with biamplified left and right front speakers, a 7.3-channel system, or a 7.1 system plus a second-room stereo system. Channel output on previous Classe models topped out at eight channels.

The 800 features built-in touchscreen and manual five-band 10-channel parametric equalizer, which is designed for use by retailers to provide a level of room-acoustics correction superior to what can be delivered by automatic room-acoustics corrections systems built into select audio component, Nauber said.