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Classé Sigma SSP and AMP5 Conclusion

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Conclusion

The Classé Sigma SSP and AMP5 combination is a one-two knockout punch that will thoroughly satisfy the stingy audiophile and most demanding home theater enthusiast.  Whether you’re talking about traditional analog and digital sources or network streaming, the Sigma SSP is built to deliver the ultimate sonic spectacle.  The meticulous focus on industrial design on this series is stunning.  Such focus will give any prospective buyer real pride of ownership to show off these pieces. 

Yes, there are potentially strategic feature tradeoffs with the Sigma SSP and AMP 5 such as limited balanced connections, manual PEQ, and how to handle the AUX 1 and AUX 2 outputs. However what the Sigma series delivers sonically--plus an upgrade path to HDMI 2.0, HDCP 2.2, and immersive audio--is nothing short of beautiful and glorious. 

At $10,000 MSRP for a 5.1 configuration and $13,500 for a 7.1 configuration with the  AMP2 the Sigma series is not for the faint of heart and wallet.  Rather, the Sigma series is for the discerning buyer who has the funds to mate these electronics with equally stellar-performing speakers. Such a marriage will ensure sonic bliss for years to come. For my part, I know I’ll be very sorry to see this combo head back to Classé.  Highly recommended.

Update 6/27/17:  Classé just released the Sigma SSP MkII Upgrade with Dolby Atmos/DTS:X and 4K UHD Support.

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
MetricRating
Multi-channel Audio PerformanceStarStarStarStarStar
Two-channel Audio PerformanceStarStarStarStarStar
Network FeaturesStarStarStarStar
Bass ManagementStarStarStarStar
Build QualityStarStarStarStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStarStar
Ergonomics & UsabilityStarStarStarStarStar
Ease of SetupStarStarStarStar
FeaturesStarStarStarStar
PerformanceStarStarStarStarhalf-star
ValueStarStarStarStar
About the author:
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Theo is a serious audiophile and home theater enthusiast—a passion he's enjoyed for over 20 years. He heads up many of our speaker system and receiver reviews as well as covering the latest in streaming technologies and Ultra HD video.

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Recent Forum Posts:

Alexandre posts on June 27, 2015 11:41
Alexandre, post: 1087631, member: 73792
Because the 2 components are in different rooms (the power amp is in a closet a little further away), I still want to go the trigger route. I'm going to play around with an Arduino but this also looks like a great option: http://www.nilesaudio.com/product.php?prodID=CS12V

I just installed the Niles Audio plug and it works perfectly! It even learns the standby draw of the device you're plugging to it which is really handy.
Alexandre posts on June 26, 2015 01:46
slipperybidness, post: 1087509, member: 56559
Get a power-sensing auto-on power strip for the amp. Problem solved.

Because the 2 components are in different rooms (the power amp is in a closet a little further away), I still want to go the trigger route. I'm going to play around with an Arduino but this also looks like a great option: http://www.nilesaudio.com/product.php?prodID=CS12V

Alexandre posts on June 25, 2015 13:58
slipperybidness, post: 1087553, member: 56559
You have a mistake in your logic. You avoid ground loops by insuring that you have only 1 return path to ground. One way to accomplish that would be to have all of your electronics plugged into the SAME outlet.

Right, thanks for the correction. And yes, I'm probably going to go the arduino route.
slipperybidness posts on June 25, 2015 13:09
Alexandre, post: 1087549, member: 73792
Thanks for the advice, in my setup, the amp is in a closet nearby while the SSP is under the TV, the 2 are plugged to different wall outlets so I'm not entirely sure the auto-on outlet would work for me but maybe (I was hoping to keep the amp plugged to a separate wall outlet to avoid ground loops and to avoid overloading that one outlet).

The other approach I'm thinking about might be a DIY arduino/CAN BUS/relay system… that could be a fun project… if I had time on my hands that is.

Alex.
You have a mistake in your logic. You avoid ground loops by insuring that you have only 1 return path to ground. One way to accomplish that would be to have all of your electronics plugged into the SAME outlet.

Yeah, an arduino or similar system would also do the trick, it really wouldn't be too tough to build at all.
Alexandre posts on June 25, 2015 12:36
slipperybidness, post: 1087509, member: 56559
Get a power-sensing auto-on power strip for the amp. Problem solved.

Thanks for the advice, in my setup, the amp is in a closet nearby while the SSP is under the TV, the 2 are plugged to different wall outlets so I'm not entirely sure the auto-on outlet would work for me but maybe (I was hoping to keep the amp plugged to a separate wall outlet to avoid ground loops and to avoid overloading that one outlet).

The other approach I'm thinking about might be a DIY arduino/CAN BUS/relay system… that could be a fun project… if I had time on my hands that is.

Alex.
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