The SSP-800 is THE Reference AV preamp for many users who owns a World Class home theater system. At this level and price point, the expectations of the “control center piece” is demanding and the SSP-800 checks out every box that it is required to stay at this level. Within five minutes we can hear a huge difference between it and the run of the mill AV preamp from Pioneer, Marantz, NAD etc. In our setup, we kept the movie, speakers, player and amps the same but the sound quality was not. Even the reference Meridian 861 AV pre had to call it a day when we borrowed one to compare it with. Setup was a breeze and layout in the rear was clear and simple. Programming was fairly easy and straightforward. Good quality amplification is must to bring out the best from this Classe unit. Even two channel listening was as good as any high end preamps. It held its own when pitch side by side with Audio Research’s Reference 3 preamp (no easy task when the Reference 3 is a long standing favorite of ours).
Cosmetically, the SSP-800 is in very nice shape. Some minor scuff marks and scratches on the side panels from being moved in and out from a rack. Remote is included and the manual can be obtained online.