Recently, Toyama Incorporated, the exclusive distributor of Bowers and Wilkins (B&W) and Classé in the Philippines launched a new range of high-performance electronic components called Sigma. Sigma is designed to offer a step-up solution with a strong value proposition. In other words, Sigma fills the void and makes the price of admission into real high-end more affordable.
Sigma series are high-end solutions for audio needs and satisfaction that comes in three models: Sigma SSP, AMP2 and AMP5. The Sigma SSP is a 7.1 channel preamp/processor, optimized for stereo but with video switching (8 HDMI inputs) and multichannel processing. Both the video board and DSP are modular to accommodate upgrades as and when they become necessary.
Furthermore, the feature set includes USB and Ethernet streaming and IP control circuitry taken from the CP-800 stereo preamp/processor along with nine-band parametric EQ and a digital domain tone/tilt control. There’s even an optional phono stage. The Sigma SSP is efficient with connectors and space. It offers a great variety of connectors without having too many, allowing the profile to remain slim and elegant.
The AMP2 is the same 2x200W class D amplifier design introduced in the Delta series CA-D200. Just as CT and Delta amplifiers share the same circuitry but employ different chassis, the AMP2 shares the same circuitry as the CA-D200. This design solves the problem of dead-band-time, once thought to be the Achilles’ heel of class D. Analogous to switching distortion in a class A/B design, dead-band-time is the time when both halves of the amp are off. The Classé design manages to reduce dead-band-time to a vanishingly low three nanoseconds. The result is dramatically lower distortion, which in turn enables other design choices that optimize overall performance. It is a great sounding amplifier.
The AMP5 is a 5x200W version, sharing the same topology as the stereo model but with some necessary part and layout changes to accommodate its five-channel design.
All three Sigma series models fit into slim 2U chassis that can fit almost anywhere. A unique rack-mount solution is contained in the design of the side panels. Simply remove the sides, rotate and flip them, then reattach to position rack ears for rack-mounting.
All three Sigma series models use Classé-designed Switch Mode Power Supplies with Power Factor Correction. SMPS with PFC provides the advantages of clean and stable power under all line conditions for the circuitry while making them invisible on the AC mains as far as other system components are concerned.
To summarize, the Sigma series makes the ideal step-up solution by offering better build and sound quality, a performance-oriented feature set and efficient use of both power and space. Sigma is all of this, at prices that make the value propositions clear winners.
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