Montreal - Classe will go to the CEDIA Expo to replace four of its five high-end Delta series amplifiers, whose enhancements include an active heat-sink system to maintain ideal operating temperature throughout a listening session for best sonic performance.
All four ship in September, marking the brand's largest new product launch since 2004. The amps are the $5,500 300-watt-mono CA-M300, $7,000 600-watt mono CA-M600, $7,000 2x300-watt CA-2300, and $9,500 5x300-watt CA-5300. They'll join the carryover 2x100-watt CA-2100, which now carries a promotional price of $2,750, down from the regular $4,000.
The active-cooling system, called ICTunnel, uses microprocessor controls and sensors to maintain the amplifiers' ideal operating temperature, no matter how hard the amp is driven, throughout a listening session, the company said. Amps deliver their best sonic performance when warmed to their ideal operating temperature, the company explained. Because few listeners know what their amp's ideal operating temperature is and how long it takes to achieve it, ICTunnel brings the new amps to their ideal temperature within 15 minutes of initial power-on and holds that temperature, the company noted.
With all amplifiers that use passive heatsinks, said brand development executive VP Dave Nauber, the time it takes to reach an ideal operating temperature "depends on how loud they are playing, how difficult the speaker load, the ambient air temp and whether they are out in the open or not. It also depends on the heatsink designs, which are usually thick pieces of metal that take a long time to heat up." However long it takes, however, "there is no way to stop them from running right through the ideal temperature."
For example, he said, Classe tested its new CT-M600 and an older 2x100 CA-200 driving a four ohm load at 1/8 power. The CT-M600 (at 155W) was at its ideal temperature in about 11 minutes and stayed there throughout the test, he said. At only 50 watts, however, the CA-200took about 23 minutes to reach the same temp stayed there only for about a minute and continued to get hotter over the 71 minute test, he explained.
Two other key enhancements in the new Delta amps include a miniaturized driver-stage circuit, said to be almost perfectly free of noise and distortion, and the use of a single six-layer circuit board for amplification to significantly shorten the audio-signal path. The result is said to be superior time-domain performance and greater transparency.
A new power supply design enables the amplifiers to consume only 0.5 watts in standby mode.
All four new models retail their predecessors' large, rounded face and aluminum-steel construction. Also carried over are RS-232, CAN Bus, and IR ports and DC triggers, but the new models add USB.