The recent CEDIA Expo showed how widespread interest in computer audio has become, even (and perhaps especially) in the world of high-end two-channel audio. Want proof? Note that at CEDIA at least three major high-end players—Classé Audio, McIntosh Laboratories, and Simaudio--debuted new combination stereo preamplifiers with built-in high performance DACs.
Think of the new Classé CP-800 as a fusion of old-school analog audio values with up-to-the-minute digital audio features including a very high performance onboard DAC with a plethora of inputs, plus—get this—an onboard EQ system and dedicated subwoofer outputs.
Features for the CP-800 include:
· Five set of analog inputs (2 pr. XLR, 3 pr. RCA).
· 24/96 DAC with ultra-precise clock.
· Nine digital inputs (USB Host & Device, AES/EBU, 3 coax, 4 optical).
· Balanced and single-ended outputs: stereo L & R, Aux 1 & 2, Subwoofer.
· Special features including Asynchronous USB, parametric room EQ, and a sub output with bass management.
So convinced is Classé that this hybrid approach represents the way of the future that, according to a company spokesman, the CP-800 will be the only preamplifier the firm offers as it moves forward.
For more information, visit: www.classeaudio.com
The C48 Stereo Control Center replaces McIntosh’s venerable C46 preamp, while the C50 Stereo Control Center, which offers an even more expansive set of features, goes even further. Significantly, both preamps offer six line-level analog inputs, two phono inputs (one MM, one MC) and a set of five digital inputs (one asynchronous USB, two coax, and two optical). The onboard DAC is 32-bit/I92KHz-capable. McIntosh’s CEDIA press release on the C48/C50 pair offers the following description.
“Both the C48 and C50 Stereo Control Centers offer more flexibility and performance capabilities than any previous McIntosh Control Centers, offering exciting new options while maintaining traditional McIntosh preamp functionality. These engineering enhancements combine with smart, user programmable features to deliver a truly powerful and emotionally engaging music listening experience. Notably, where most stereo preamplifiers are designed to work primarily with analog music sources, the C48 and C50 Control Centers continues to deliver world class McIntosh analog performance while dramatically enhancing contemporary digital sources as well, including tuners, CD players, music servers and USB music storage devices.
For total flexibility, both units may be combined with multi-channel audio systems by using the Pass Through feature, which allows the stereo system to be selectively folded into a home theater system. Additionally, third party control systems are easily integrated into the operation of both the C50 and C48, which will translate third party control commands to legacy McIntosh source products for seamless functionality and convenience. In both units, phono playback at the highest level is assured with two separate phono inputs, covering all phono cartridge types. Phono playback may also be trimmed for the most pleasing response using the handheld remote control.
In the C50, McIntosh’s exclusive Eight Band Tone Equalizer is now enhanced to be deployed or bypassed by input selection. The C50’s advanced tone controls allow an audio response solution for less than perfect recordings. The C48 features exclusive McIntosh five-band tone controls in place of the normal bass and treble adjustments, which are also programmable to be deployed or bypassed by input selection as needed.