It takes a special type of person to drop $15,000 on an amplifier. It also takes a special type of amp to justify the expense. Classé's new Delta series hopes to do just that by intoducing an active cooling system - inspired by medical and laser imaging equipment, no less - to the humble amp.
If it sounds like overkill to you, then you're probably not in the Classé's target demographic. The press release explains the benefits of the system rather eloquently:
Audiophiles have long known empirically that any amplifier achieves its best sonics when warmed to its ideal operating temperature. But just what temperature is that? How quickly will it reach it? And how warm is too warm? The ICTunnel eliminates these uncertainties by bringing each new Delta series amplifier to temperature within 15 minutes of initial power-on—and holding it there. The Intelligent Cooling Tunnel incorporates advanced sensors and microprocessor controls to maintain the amplifier’s ideal operating temperature throughout the listening session, regardless of how hard the amplifier’s driven.
The new models also address the power issue surrounding high-end amplifiers, with just a 0.5W power consumption when in standby, while the active cooling saves energy allowing users to switch off the device thanks to its rapid warm up time.
In addition, Classé has managed to fit the entire amplification process on a single six-layer circuit board, which supposedly allows for superior performance.
There are four new models in the range, starting at $7,500 for a single, monaural 300W amplifier and climbing to $15,500 for a five channel 300W model. It's certainly not for the weak walleted, but for the passionate audiophile, it could be all your dreams come true.
Also, it looks amazing.