The Classe Audio 30 preamp received high praise as an
amazing value when introduced in 1994, including a stellar review in the now
defunct Audio Magazine (I will email a copy of the Audio review to interested
parties). I am the original owner as I purchased
the unit new ($1,195 retail) at Audio Excellence in San Francisco in 1995, and
it was in my system paired with a Forte Model 4 amplifier driving a variety of
speakers and provided many hours of musical nirvana. It has been taking up space in my audio rack,
unused (not plugged in to an electrical outlet) for the past 9 years. In 2010 I caught the tube bug and purchased
an integrated tube amp so there was no need for the Classe 30. A combination of my laziness, and not wanting
to part with an excellent piece of audio gear is why I have not offered this
The preamp comes with a phono stage that plays MM or MC
cartridges (the top of the preamp has to be removed and a jumper adjusted to
change between the two), balanced inputs / outputs, a Tape In / Out (selectable
with a toggle in the front of the unit) and a remote (volume and mute only) in
working condition. I plugged the unit in
a few days ago and connected it to the Forte driving a pair of Trenner & Friedl
Arts and have been playing vinyl on a Music Hall MMF 5.1 turntable (MM
cartridge only) and digital music via a Lenovo T460 (Win 10, SSD) with Foobar
2000 for playing Hi-Rez digital files and streaming Masters selections from
Tidal. It all sounds GREAT, so the magic is still
I am conservatively rating this at 7 – 10 because of its
age. The face plate is very clean, with
very minor scuff / scratches about 2 O’clock by the volume control on the right
(see photo). The remote has been dropped
a few times and has a few scuffs but works.
The unit has been inside our smoke free, pet free home, and not in an
attic or garage where temperature changes and dampness could affect its condition.
It will be shipped in the original box
with the original packing. Unfortunately
I cannot locate the manual, but it is available on line:
This preamp is an outstanding performer with an impressive array of features and options.
Please don’t hesitate to ask questions if you have them.
Full Disclosure: When
I pulled the original box down I fully expected to find the resistor kit (that
I had never used) included for changing the gain levels for MC cartridges. However, it is not to be found. If you use an MM cartridge there will be no
need to ever make these adjustments. I
have only used an MM cartridge so I had not taken the top off since doing so in
the store so the salesman could show me how to change the jumpers until today to
clean the inside and take the photos.
Also, the Allen key is missing. I
was able to remove the screws using a 5/64 Allen wrench from my tool box. Again, if you use an MC cartridge, or would
want to change the phono stage to an auxiliary output (then I would suggest
buying a line pre-amp), would be the only reasons to remove the top of the unit
unless you want to clean the inside.