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Classe CT-2300 Stereo Power Amplifier Review

by September 16, 2012
  • Product Name: CT-2300 Two-Channel Amplifier
  • Manufacturer: Classe
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarStar
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarhalf-star
  • Review Date: September 16, 2012 20:00
  • MSRP: $ 6,500
  • Buy Now
  • # of amplifier channels: 2
  • Frequency response: 1Hz – 80kHz, -3dB
  • Output power: 300W rms into 8Ω (24.8 dBW); 600W rms into 4Ω (24.8 dBW)
    Both channels driven Harmonic Distortion <0.002% at 1 kHz balanced
    <0.004% at 1 kHz single ended Peak Output Voltage 150V peak to peak, 53V rms no load
    136V peak to peak, 48V rms into 8Ω
  • Input Impedance: 50kΩ balanced / single ended
  • Voltage gain: 29dB balanced / single ended Input level at clipping 1.88V rms balanced / single ended
    Intermodulation Distortion >90dB below fundamental into 8Ω balanced / single ended
    >90dB below fundamental into 4Ω balanced / single ended
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: -116dB at peak output into 8Ω
    Measurement Bandwidth: 22kHz Output impedance 0.015Ω @ 1kHz
  • Rated power consumption: 420W @ 1/8th power into 8Ω
  • Dimensions: Width (including faceplate) 19” (483mm) Width (excluding faceplate) 17” (432mm) Depth (excluding connectors) 18.625” (473mm) Height 6.97” (177mm)
  • Gross weight: 109lbs (49.5kg)
  • Net weight: 89lbs (40.5kg)
  • Mains voltage: Specified on rear panel

Pros

  • Pristine fidelity
  • Oddles of reserve power to drive virtually any speaker load
  • Benchmark performance
  • Runs cool

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Ho hum feet
  • Front faceplate protrudes in rack mount installations

Classe CT-2300 Introduction

CT-2300_A_LG.jpgYou know within the first few bites at a new, but really good restaurant that you’ve found an exquisite place to dine at. The flavors, the texture, the quality of ingredients; it ALL makes a difference. What applies in food also applies in virtually all other areas of life. Audio is no exception. Classe has been one of Canada’s premier electronics manufacturers since 1980. When I took delivery of the new $50k/pair Status Acoustics Titus 8T Speaker system, I wanted to collect a few exceptional amplifiers to test them with. I’ve always heard the Classe name thrown around but never had the chance to formally sit down with any of their gear…. Until now. I requested a CT-2300 two-channel amplifier for review. The CT-2300 is a relatively compact, yet powerful amplifier rated at 300wpc into 8 ohms and 600 wpc into 4 ohms. With amp in hand, it was time to sit down and get a taste to see if we were dealing with a gourmet or fast food offering.

In this review, I will take you on a tour of the inner workings of the Classe CT-2300 two-channel power amplifier. We discuss Classe's proprietary and unique ICTunnel system that helps to keep this Class AB amplifier running cool at all power levels.  We examine how this baby ticks and also do a full barrage of power and distortion tests to see if its performance justifies the  $6,500 price tag.  How does the CT-2300 amplifier sound?  Well, your gonna have to keep reading to find out.

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About the author:

Gene manages this organization, establishes relations with manufacturers and keeps Audioholics a well oiled machine. His goal is to educate about home theater and develop more standards in the industry to eliminate consumer confusion clouded by industry snake oil.

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Recent Forum Posts:

AcuDefTechGuy posts on March 13, 2014 09:27
RichB, post: 1022651
any votes for an ATI Signature Series.

- Rich

I assumed that ATI was the better value, but perhaps I may be wrong. Parasound Halo might be the better value. I will have to look into that.

I mean if you could get the Parasound Halo A21 250WPC amp brand new for a few hundred dollars less than the ATI AT2002 200WPC amp, I don't know if I can recommend the ATI.
RichB posts on March 12, 2014 20:09
PENG, post: 1022880
I feel the same way in that regard. For me, when I say amps sound the same I always meant mid range to high end class A, A/AB and AB amps in perfect condition and operating within their specified limits with adequate headrooms. I would not expect an Outlaw monblock m2200 or an Emo upa-200 sound the same as any classe monoblocks. They may, but I just would not expect them to and would not believe it, not until I have heard them side by side in a blind test.

I am on the same page. I never don't worry about was about small levels of distortion.

I suspect some amps produce less harmonics played at low levels and that may matter if you have a system/room capable of resolving them.

Some amps may handle complex loud better than others.
Dynamic content can have greater demands than you can account for.
It is not easy to determine how much power is needed for a given system and I suspect we are pretty tolerant to clipping.

Well made A/B amps are more alike the different.
There are certainly better places to put money than some of these rarified amps.

- Rich
PENG posts on March 12, 2014 20:03
RichB, post: 1022876
I know why.

I guess I will never experience that final bit of control, heft, and air.

I think sometimes it is unclear that if we are discussing $400 receivers versus ATI 3000's or
Pass Labs and Parasound.

- Rich

Of course, I totally forgot the heft and air lol!!
PENG posts on March 12, 2014 20:02
RichB, post: 1022876
I know why.

I guess I will never experience that final bit of control, heft, and air.

I think sometimes it is unclear that if we are discussing $400 receivers versus ATI 3000's or
Pass Labs and Parasound.

- Rich

I feel the same way in that regard. For me, when I say amps sound the same I always meant mid range to high end class A, A/AB and AB amps in perfect condition and operating within their specified limits with adequate headrooms. I would not expect an Outlaw monblock m2200 or an Emo upa-200 sound the same as any classe monoblocks. They may, but I just would not expect them to and would not believe it, not until I have heard them side by side in a blind test.
RichB posts on March 12, 2014 19:53
PENG, post: 1022875
They all distort but differently in many forms. My point is, when blindfold most people couldn't tell those distortions (0.05, 0.001, or 0.0001% of any distortions) apart.

How many times have you read a professional review that claims a $2000 amp such as the A21 that sounds as good or better than a $100,000 Boulder, Goldmund, or even the lower high end in the $10,000 range from McIntosh, Krell, Conrad Johnson, Pass Lab etc.? I have never come across one. Invariable they would praise the entry level high end A21 or Bryston SST2 to the nth degree and then would add something like, that is not to say it is as good as the $10,000………….., for example the $10,000 xyz amp just give you that extra bit of warmth, and that final touch of details in the highs, blablabla etc etc… Ever wonder why?

Yep I'm having fun too, fun is good.

I know why.

I guess I will never experience that final bit of control, heft, and air.

I think sometimes it is unclear that if we are discussing $400 receivers versus ATI 3000's or
Pass Labs and Parasound.

- Rich
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