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Mike N

Classé Fifteen and RF7s

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So my Parasound A23 amp got hit by the hose through an open window while on and  completely fried (thanks kids). It may be repairable but is no longer under warranty. 

 

So I started looking for a used replacement that might also cover some of the slight shortcomings of the A23 in my 2 channel system driving resistor modded RF7 I’s. The A23 was just a little bit dry and bright for my tastes on some songs - and unfortunately some songs that I love.  Fleetwood Mac “Never Going Back Again” never sounded right with this amp. 

 

I found a Classe Fifteen on audiogon for a reasonable price and I had heard that these amps were warmer and more tube-like for solid state. I had never heard a Classe  before. I took the risk and pulled the trigger and I’m very pleased so far! A nice warm sound with sweet highs and good control of the bass. This amp gets those 10 inch woofers working but not booming. Highs are a little rolled off but that’s not really a bad thing even with modded RF7s.  It’s possible that the biggest sonic benefit here is the increase in wattage up to 175w/ channel compared to the Parasound’s 125. But I still think the overall tone of this amp is a better match for the RF7s.  NO harshness so far from the horns - even on recordings with a lot of upper midrange. Radiohead - Paranoid Android is a good example of a song that was formerly unlistenable in my system using the A23. 

 

This is just an initial impression after about 20 hours of focused listening across a lot of different genres, but Im already confident this amp is a really good match for the RF7s. Currently have Dire Straits - Telegraph Road playing and it sounds wonderful across the whole soundstage -  even on the more cluttered parts at the end. This amp seems to have endless power reserves. I bet it would also sound nice with my Heresy IIs - I might have to bring those downstairs and try them. 

 

If you have RF series and are in the market for a new solid state amp I recommend giving the Classe solid states a listen! 

 

Equipment:

Classe Fifteen (using balanced inputs)

Parasound P5 

Cocktail audio N15D

Arcam DV78 CD 

RF7 Series 1 with resistor mod and dynamatted horns

REL T2 sub 

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That's good info, heard good things about those amps. It's always refreshing when a piece of gear improves the sound.

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Nice story. I can almost picture the amp getting hit by the hose and your discovery of that.  I assume, a touch perturbed. 😬 I also like the fact that, there is no, "should I get this or that" question in it.  You saw something else, you have already got it and are reporting your findings. 👍    

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2 minutes ago, Shiva said:

Nice story. I can almost picture the amp getting hit by the hose and your discovery of that.  I assume, a touch perturbed. 😬 I also like the fact that, there is no, "should I get this or that" question in it.  You saw something else, you have already got it and are reporting your findings. 👍    

I'd be in jail for murder. 😊

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If you can ever get your hands on a quality tube preamp to go with that Classe you'll be loving it even more. Something like a C22/2200/2300/2500 would blow you away. I'm sure there are many others as sweet or sweeter.

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3 hours ago, Shiva said:

Nice story. I can almost picture the amp getting hit by the hose and your discovery of that.  I assume, a touch perturbed. 😬 I also like the fact that, there is no, "should I get this or that" question in it.  You saw something else, you have already got it and are reporting your findings. 👍    

 

Yeah I was unhappy to say the least. A straight shot through the screen into the amp with the sprayer on jet mode.  I turned it upside down after unplugging it and water literally dripped out of the vents.  

 

Actually I’m lucky because the hose missed the other side of the table with the CD DAC and Pre + the power conditioner for those.  That bundle would have been way more expensive to replace. 

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3 hours ago, Heritage_Head said:

Congrats! Pics dude... 

 

It’s really hard to get a good photo in here during the day because it’s so backlit from the big windows behind (which I know are not ideal for sound OR for water resistance apparently). 

63E29FDF-7A54-4CF8-A320-A9EFA9A98AB8.jpeg

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4 minutes ago, Mike N said:

 

Yeah I was unhappy to say the least. A straight shot through the screen into the amp with the sprayer on jet mode.  I turned it upside down after unplugging it and water literally dripped out of the vents.  

 

Actually I’m lucky because the hose missed the other side of the table with the CD DAC and Pre + the power conditioner for those.  That bundle would have been way more expensive to replace. 

I had some water hit some gear (cat knocked over a vase filled with water). Was lucky the stuff that got hit was off and was ok after drying. 

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1 minute ago, Mike N said:

It’s really hard to get a good photo in here during the day because it’s so backlit from the big windows behind (which I know are not ideal for sound OR for water resistance apparently). 

63E29FDF-7A54-4CF8-A320-A9EFA9A98AB8.jpeg

Awesome!

Board that widow up!! lol 

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Great looking room!

Have you ever thought about a few room treatments (acoustic panels)? like pics. They can (are imo) a great part of room eq. Definitely not snake oil. Also can look pretty cool imo. 

 

Red-Barn-Studio-Jason-Miller.jpg

alphasorb-acoustic-panels-01.jpg

suede_showcase_test_8.png

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I had a pair of Classe CAM350 monoblocks years ago. 

 

Nice with a little rolled off top end.  No harsh at all.  I think that Classe and McIntosh are supposed to have the same sound. 

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29 minutes ago, Heritage_Head said:

Great looking room!

Have you ever thought about a few room treatments (acoustic panels)? like pics. They can (are imo) a great part of room eq. Definitely not snake oil. Also can look pretty cool imo. 

 

Red-Barn-Studio-Jason-Miller.jpg

alphasorb-acoustic-panels-01.jpg

suede_showcase_test_8.png

I mentioned room treatments and my wife just rolled her eyes and said “sure - when you get your own place you can treat it however you like.”  So I guess that’s a no?  I consider myself lucky she lets me keep these beasts in her favorite room!   

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11 minutes ago, Mike N said:

I mentioned room treatments and my wife just rolled her eyes and said “sure - when you get your own place you can treat it however you like.”  So I guess that’s a no?  I consider myself lucky she lets me keep these beasts in her favorite room!   

Ha!

Fair enough, lucky you are indeed.....👍

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Very nice equipment in a very nice room. I think all the RF-7 speakers are underrated.

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7 minutes ago, Ceptorman said:

Very nice equipment in a very nice room. I think all the RF-7 speakers are underrated.

 

Thanks - I love them.  I did have to do some work on them to tame the treble and it took time to get them in the right location in that big, boomy room, but I’ve been very happy! Not looking to replace these anytime soon.  I love the light maple finish.  The veneers are really gorgeous. And they look badass with the grill covers off too. 

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