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Classe CAP-2100 review

A lovely object and a splendid amplifier, the CAP-2100 is a gregarious and eloquent communicator Tested at £3950.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

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


  • +

    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.

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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