What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Thu, 2 Oct 2008, 3:00pm

Classe CAP-2100

Tested at £3950

A lovely object and a splendid amplifier, the CAP-2100 is a gregarious and eloquent communicator

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  • Monolithic build, fancy-pants interface
  • fleet, precise and musical sound


  • Unspectacular specification
  • could carry more weight at the bottom end
The only integrated amp in Canadian manufacturer Classe's range borrows from the circuitry of the company's CP-500 preamplifier and CA-2100 power amplifier, and shoehorns the lot into the curvaceous, bombproof casework that is part of the firm's signature.
Consequently, the CAP-2100 is a luxuriously finished and hefty device – no harm in warming your muscles before you hoist it onto your kitrack.  
Speed, agility and control
Like other Classe products, the CAP-2100 uses a handsome set of customisable menus via a touch-screen that's a fraction less responsive than you'd like.
The on-paper spec is nothing special – power is 100 watts per channel at 8 ohms, and three line-level inputs (one upgradeable to a MM/MC phono stage), a tape loop, and a pair of balanced inputs alongside a preamp out is the bare minimum at this price. 
Yet where it counts, the CAP-2100 sounds well worth the outlay. Whether you're listening to Mark Ronson or Mahalia Jackson, the Classe delivers a fast, detailed sound with an exciting amount of insight into the midrange, especially vocalists.
The soundstage is large and sharply focused, and tonality is beautifully judged. Some might hanker after a little bass to go with the spectacular speed, but with thoughtful system matching the CAP-2100 is capable great things.

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