Home Theater Review

 

Classe CDP-502 Reference Disc Player

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HTR Product Rating

Performance
5 Stars
Value
4 Stars
Overall
4.5 Stars

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High Points
• The Classe CDP-502 gives you the performance of the company's reference Compact Disc player with videophile upconversion for DVD-Video along with DVD-Audio as a kicker - all in one unit.
• The video upconversion is nothing short of excellent. It's not like 1080p on Blu-ray but it is leaps and bounds better than what you get from a traditional DVD-Video player. That includes many of the higher end players.

Low Points
• The lack of SACD in this player is the most major issue. Many of the remaining audiophile record labels still release high definition music on SACD despite the format's infinitesimally small market penetration. However at $8,500, you can expect and should ask for it all.
• The Classe CDP-502 Reference Disc Player can run a little warm to the touch. Be sure to give it plenty of room and or to pump a lot of cool air into your rack as I do via fans on both sides of my rack.
• Some might argue that, at the price, there should be Blu-ray functionality. That's not completely fair as this player was designed in an era right before Blu-ray. If you want native HD files, you are going to need another player. The good news: most Blu-ray players today aren't very expensive.

Conclusion
While an expensive unit, the audiophile soul and videophile upconversion make an argument as to why the Classe CDP-502 is a relevant source component in today's gaga for Blu-ray market. The legacy of your collection is likely in Compact Disc and DVD-Video software. While you can replace many of your DVD-Video discs at tremendous cost with Blu-ray, you can't replace your music with an HD format. For that reason my system starts with a Classe CDP-502 Reference Disc Player. For the music and most of the movies I care the most about - it plays them back with ease, accuracy and power - and I like that. I like it a lot.

Additional Resources
• Read audiophile CD players and source components from Classe, Meridian, WADIA, Audio Research, Benchmark Media, EMM Labs, Mark Levinson, Krell and many others.
• Read a review of Classe's SSP-800 AV preamp used by HomeTheaterReview.com's Jerry Del Colliano and Dr. Ken Taraszka.

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