Classe has a new arrival in its AV range. The ultra-capable preamp/processor comes with all the frills of a high-end AV solution

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a media hub preamp. It's also known as an AV processor, the Classe SSP-800. Designed first and foremost as a stereo preamp, the SSP-800 also offers the latest video processing specification, thanks to HDMI 1.3a video switching and support for decoded HD audio codecs.

Despite being a ten-channel preamp/processor, two-channel sources can bypass the processing enabling a purer delivery of stereo sound. The SSP-800 can't take bitsream versions of the new HD audio codecs but can accept multichannel PCM audio via HDMI if your Blu-ray player can do the decoding. An upgraded version, complete with internal HD audio decoding, is in the offing, too. On the video side of things, there are four HDMI 1.3a inputs, video upscaling to 1080p and support for 36-bit Deep Colour video.

Thanks to the smart design, and familiar touchscreen control display, the Classe SSP-800 certainly looks the part. Price TBC.