Last week Classe Audio introduces their new Sigma 2200i stereo integrated amplifier with output power of 200W per channel, network streaming and HDMI switching to accommodate modern hi-fi systems in a single chassis. Integrated means you have amplifier, preamplifier and other digital functions necessary for streaming. That is not all. This new jewel utilizes the company’s proprietary digital amplifier technology which enables the signal to remain in the digital domain until it reaches the amp’s output filters. The audio signal can go straight from the preamp section’s DSP into the amplifier’s DSP without the typical D/A and A/D conversion causing signal losses when associate with DACs. It includes a full suite of digital inputs and three sets of analog inputs (one may be used for phono). MM/MC phono is optional. Essentially, the 2200i is a network stereo AV receiver without the FM/AM capability. An outstanding sounding unit for the modern age.
Don’t think for a second that this new integrated amplifier is a scale down version of other top dogs. It is not and at $5500 it is not cheap. The preamplifier section of the 2200i features connectivity and circuit blocks found in the Delta series CP-800 and Sigma SSP. Techniques like asynchronous synchronization and master clock mode allow us to manage the digital clocks for low jitter and high signal integrity. Analog sources are converted at 24/96 to preserve their original bandwidth and dynamic range. Unlike outboard DACs and preamp/processors that must output analog signals for volume control and amplification, the 2200i leverages the true digital architecture of our proprietary Classé switching amplifier design which connects the output of the preamp DSP directly to the DSP input of the amplifier. There aren’t any DACs or ADCs nor are there any unnecessary analog circuitry between. The signal path is as short and direct as possible. Signals remain digital all the way to the amplifier output filters.
To simplify, the Classé Audio's new Sigma 2200i ($5500) is a 200Wpc (into 8 ohms; 400Wpc into 4 ohms) fully balanced integrated amp featuring a wide array of analog inputs. However, its most salient sonic feature may be what it accomplishes for digital music. The output of the 2200i’s preamp section is connected directly to the input of its amplifier, reducing the signal path and eliminating the digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital converters along with their associated analog circuits. "It all translates to better sound for the price," says Classé.
The 2200i's peak output power of up to 1kW is derived from Classé's proprietary switch-mode power supply with power-factor correction. Digital inputs include USB types A and B, Ethernet, S/PDIF coax, and TosLink. There are line-level XLR and RCA analog inputs and an optional MM/MC phono input, along with four HDMI inputs for use with A/V sources.
Classé's familiar touchscreen provides access to digital-domain tone control, a nine-band parametric EQ and bass management (require optional MIC). The 2200i's subwoofer output is derived from the only DAC onboard. IP control for both Android and iOS platforms is standard.