Plinius SA-100 Mk III Amplifiers

SA-100 Mk III

User Reviews (30)

Showing 1-10 of 30  
ryder   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 24, 2007]
Strength:

Tube-like warmth, Smooth midrange and refined highs with excellent bass slam and dynamics.

Weakness:

I have not listened to a whole lot of high-end amplifiers so at this point of time, NONE.

It has been a while. I've bought this absolutely magnificent amp more than 5 years ago and many things have changed, except that the Plinius SA-100MkIII is still sitting right between the speakers.

Very tube-like and yet dynamic and detailed with great bass and soundstage. Great match with Dynaudio Confidence C1's and C2's, Totem Hawks and Forests and a few others.

Don't skimp on the source and preamp and I bet you'll be in for a great treat.

Highly Recommended.

Customer Service

Exemplary

Similar Products Used: Classe CA series, Krell KAV-300i, 400IX, ARC D130
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
rangeroo22   AudioPhile [Jan 24, 2007]
Strength:

EVERYTHING that's important in recreating accurate,involving,and entertaining,music reproduction. I'd put this amp up against ANY amp I've heard in 30+ years of this hobby. The merry go round search is finally over!
These Plinius amps are built beyond anything I've seen from a quality perspective and I've yet to read or hear ANY issues with reliability.
If you want to get off the never ending search for true audio nirvana,get a PLINIUS amp and build from there. These amps are quite "affordable" on the used market (the rare few that make it to the used market that is...)
Of course,upstream components will have a major impact on the overall sonics of ANY system,so be patient,match better upstream components to the Plinius as you can afford or choose to. This amp will faithfully and musically reproduce what it is fed...

Weakness:

Runs "hot" in Class "A" relatively speaking that is... (not really hot,when compared to the heat from big tube rigs though)
Kinda big,but not when compared to anything equal in sonics

This is one INCREDIBLE SS AMP! A friend of mine who has the Plinius SA250 MKIV insisted that I try this amp because he was aware of the amp "merry go round" I've been on for a LONG time. I've tried various ss amps,as well as various "hybrids",and tube amps too,searching for audio nirvana.Many of the amps I'd tried previously cost 3-4 times as much as this Plinius. I'd finally decided to give Plinius a try and boy am I glad I did. This amp maintains the desired virtues of both tube and ss amps that I've owned such as tremendous ,harmonically correct mids,along with THUNDEROUS bass (well controlled) as well as no more rolled off highs. I've never encountered ANY amp that's as musical,yet powerful like the Plinius SA 100MKIII. I did alot of research before buying this to be sure which SA 100 to get. I'd read of various minor flaws with the MKi and MKII (transformer noise etc.) and decided the MKIII with the dual power trannys was the one for me. This amp defies it's power ratings mightily. I've got another audiophile friend who has ASL Hurricanes and my system is not far off the sound of his from the standpoint of the richness and musicality of the big Hurricanes. The Plinius still has better and "tighter" bass than the Hurricanes. I understand there are lots of factors involved in the total sound of a given system,my point is this: These Plinius amps are a GREAT,MUST HEAR,point to start building a truly "high end" sounding system.

Customer Service

Haven't had to utilize it ,although I've spoken to the US distributor and he was EXTREMELY kind and knowledgeable.

Similar Products Used: Pass Labs X150 &250,Monarchy Audio SE 100 Delux monos,Counterpoint SA 20 and SA220 w/and w/o upgrades,Audio Research,Hafler 500 and 9505 w/and w/o mods,Krell KSA 150 and FPB 600 monos,Spectron Musician II and III,various other digital amps, Moscode 300 and 600,Marantz 500, and lots more,I'm gettin up there in years and have forgotten the rest...
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Bae_junseok   AudioPhile [Oct 22, 2004]
Strength:

musical matching, imageing, transient..

Weakness:

i can't find

cdp: cary 303/100 inter: frutech FA220 speaker: Snell C/V speaker cable: Frutech mu-s1(mid and base) / NBS monitor 0(high) Pre: Goldentube Audio SEP Signature / VAC Auricle / Bryston BP-12 SA100mk3 has silky high, warm mid like expensive tube amp, and excellent tight low base like good solid amp. when i change the krell 100s and cf2000 with it, i was surprised at every fact. it plays concert group at every seat and depth, instruments are there and not shake, and plays female vocal(jashinta) like she sings in my room. the transparent and silky high is very impresive. i convince there're many "A-Class" amp, but not every those plays excellent like this. i think plinius can play source better then it is. plinius has some coloring in high and mids.. and every aspect, it makes better. the base is not "very-thght" but "euphony" and the edge of base is not sharp as mark 23.5, but not more sharpness is required i think. the best amp is not the electronics but the musical instrument i think.. this plinius can plays every music much more then you can think about..

Similar Products Used: mark 23.5, 27.5, Krell 250s, 100s, Classe ca300, ca101, spectral DMA 150s2, 200 and so forth...
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
ryder   Audio Enthusiast [May 29, 2004]
Strength:

Huge soundstage, real taste of high-end.

Weakness:

None.

Guess I'm a little late posting a review here. I have just upgraded my ARC D130 to this absolutely magnificent amp. (You can tell that I like this amp very much!) Previously I was using the ARC D130 to drive my Sonus Faber Grand Piano Concertos, and found that the sound lacked sparkle and sounded lifeless. I was assuming that the ARC didn't have the sufficient power to drive the speakers well. Just then one of my mates recommended the PLinius SA-100MkIII to pair with my GP's. I was quite skeptical at first since the 130W ARC D130 didn't have the power and whatmore the 100W Plinius? Boy I was wrong! Although the Plinius is only rated at 100W into 8 ohms, it is by far much more powerful and dynamic than the ARC! The dynamics and transient response are excellent. There was much more detail at the top end and the bass was awesome. I've never thought I will get such substantial results with the upgrade, and I am very happy with the Plinius. And about the switchable Class A/B and Class A, the Class A certainly sounds noticeably better than in Class A/B. The best that I can put it is that when in Class A, you feel that you are listening to a very powerful tube amp. The soundstage is huge and creamy, and the vocals are silky smooth. Only one minor caveat -the amp runs very hot and you will have to pay considerably more for your electricity bills. Highly recommended. The best that I've ever touched.

Similar Products Used: Classe CAP-100, ARC D130
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
timwas1   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 02, 2002]
Strength:

dynamics galore while remaining musically truthful and delicate when called upon.bass reproduction, i saw and smelled resin,glue? out of some old jbls listening to neil perts drums on an eight minute solo titled "rhythem method" wow!!! i had the volume cranked to the 1"oclock position on my pre=amp. power in spades....

Weakness:

absolutly none, only that some people cant afford or wont make sacrifices to save for this kind of gear. my freind john heard and went and bought a plinius 8200 int. at retail. so if you listen or audition make sure you have ability to purchase, this gears a "must have" addiction!

first and foremost let me state ive heard many high-end brands tube and solid state, living north of chicago helps. now i dont claim to be any expert in products like this but let me tell ya there is something so "right" about the pliniuses sound. the first time i read stereophiles review on this amp i loved the way it looked, the handles and heat sinks and the brushed silver, beautiful product.however the price point takes some getting used to, you really have to get over this and except it. once you get past that and find a dealer,be prepared. i cant resist this product once you hear it, it sounds so "non transister" compared to the others ,{live}. i find myself listening to whole cds, and i was always a person who listened only to favorite tracks. since aquiring this amp ill go to change tracks and with the first note i just freeze/ and listen. the best compliment i can give this product is its allowing me to enjoy more types of music,with no fatigue. my musical tastes are growing, im sold on plinius , there will be no changing my plinius gear. in about one year as a matter of fact ill be buying 2 sa 102 monoblocks {for sure} and take a serious look at any new pre-amps with home th. bypass.if they do that ill buy that to. also vince galbo in new york is wonderful and gladly takes time to answer questions,to him i say thanks. and to celestial sound, ill see you in about one year to fill my hometheatre with plinius electronics adding to my current gear, mirage om6s-om10s{rear} and bps 400 sub, kora hermes dac, lexicon mc1 ect... if anyone is curious about this product ill repeat what others have said this is as close to a live jazz performance in my living room as im about to get, buy it and dont look back. one last note the mirage ,kora hermes and pliniusus dynamical synergy just seems perfect imho. this is a system!!!!!! regards

Similar Products Used: adcom,ect...
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
MikeJ   an Audiophile [Mar 29, 1999]

The Plinius SA-100 Mm III is quiet, user friendly, well-built, and without flaw. I also own a Joule Electra VZN-80, which is at the other end of the spectrum in amp configuration. The Plinius offers a very smooth top end, markedly different from the stark transparency of the Joule OTL design. It provides ample, tight bass response and tube-like midrange. I am now using the Plinius to drive Merlin VSM-SE (with BAM) speakers. This is working out very well. I had been on the verge of buying a REL subwoofer in order to augment the Merlins' bass output, but thankfully discovered the Plinius instead. This amp coaxes forward all the bass that Merlins can possibly muster, and lets the Esotars do their thing. (My Joule amp, on the other hand, now provides the clarity needed for a pair of Proac 2.5s) It is unfortunate that there is a knucklehead in this forum who is on a mission to trash the entire Plinius line-up. It seems extremely unlikely that he has auditioned so many Plinius amps, so I don't know if his comments are all that enlightening.
Associated equipment to my Merlin/Plinius combo are: Resolution CD-50 (direct to amp) and Cardas Golden Cross interconnects and biwired speaker cable.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Patrick   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 09, 1999]
Strength:

Open, smooth, balanced, musical.

Weakness:

None that readily come to mind.

I am gah-gah about the Plinius. Since buying it, I've rested in the assurance that there is no better solid state amplifier out there that outperforms it from either a functional or value-added perspective.
The highs are extended, but not grainy or shrill.
I must admit, though, and this will refute some of the comments I've read on this site, that in the midrange the Plinius does not equal that of a good tube amp (like the Melos MAT-180). The Plinius' midrange is clean and involving--much more so than any other solid state amps I've listened to and owned--but I wouldn't call it "tubey," that's an adjective reserved for tubes; and let's face it, "tubes is tubes." I would rather applaud the distinctly musical and satisfying midrange of the SA-100, Mk.III as something unique in its own right, beyond comparison with a totally different type of source (i.e., the tube amp). It's like trying to convince yourself that you are somehow ingesting chocolate when the food you are eating is made from carob; the stomach is never completely convinced. The best thing to do is develop a taste for the different, enjoy it in its own right, and simply let it be, without inadequate comparisons.
The bass, well now, that's a different story! I sold my Melos and replaced it with the Plinius because I couldn't live without bass. The Plinius plumbs the depths with authority, balance and poise. If your upstream sources can mine it, the Plinius delivers rapturous and unfettered BASS!!! Ahhh!
Anyhow, I admit further that I genuinely miss a good tube midrange, nay, I lie awake into the early morning hours pining for that unmistakeable tingle in the air when the tubes glow, the cat is curled on my lap and Coleman Hawkins plays. . .
My solution: get one of each.
I am going to purchase a respectable tube amp (like the Melos MAT-180--it has taken over a year to squirrel away the extra money, and keep it undetected from my wife) to deliver the midrange goods when the mood gets utter hold of me. I won't let go of the Plinius; I made that mistake once before and came runing back, full of remorse at my fickleness and treachery to such a faithful and truly fine piece of audio gear.
(I am also considering bi-amping with a Melos on the top and the Plinius on the bottom, and would appreciate any feedback or advice from similar attempts at such a marriage.)
Fives Stars? You bettcha!!

Similar Products Used: Plinius SA-100, Mk.II, Melos MAT-180
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Jerry Lee   Audiophile [Dec 02, 2000]
Strength:

Great bass, midrange and highs

Weakness:

Runs a little hot, that's all

Compared the Mk II and III, and oh, what a difference dual transformers made to the sound. The SA100 is without peer at the price. Researched on the net for a new power amp for 2 months and came down with Plinius as probably the best bet. No big time superlative magazine reviews but just comments from happy owners who'd swear by them.

Went to audition it and got hooked immediately. The SA100 is musical, detailed and involving without being harsh, upfront or tiring. Just what music shoould be....

Anyone looking for a solid state power amp without SS harshness, this is it! Combine it with a tube pre-amp and let the SA100 sing!

Best audio my money ever brought me....

Will follow up with moe detailed review after fully run-in.

Similar Products Used: Rotel Michi RHB-10
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
bob mito   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 15, 2000]
Strength:

excellent bass control, excellent dynamics, can drive most speakers even inefficient ones

Weakness:

none

I had purchased a Plinius 8150 that I had demoed in my home, when I found a problem with the Phono connectors; my dealer was kind enough to let me use the SA 100mkIII with an M16 while my new 8150 was being shipped, and to my and my wife's surprise, the amp/preamp combo was discernibly better sounding than we could have imagined! Well, after listening to the SA 100/M16 combo, I decided that I would make the big jump and went for the separates and have not regretted it for a moment. I have not listened to a lot of multi-buck amps, but this is the best combo I have heard including Krell, Macs, NAD, Rotel, and Marantz in this price range or even slightly higher. The rest of the system is comprised of Hales Rev 3's, Rega Planet, Rega P25 with Benz Glider, Nakamichi BX 300, Vampires and Tributaries interconnects, and Tributaries speaker wire.

Similar Products Used: Plinius 8150
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Shawn Harvey   Audiophile [Jun 09, 2000]
Strength:

Keeps getting better as I upgrade everything around it. Seems to have plenty of power on tap even for lower-resistance speakers.

Weakness:

Big, kind of industrial-looking.

I've had this amp for about a year and, like the reviewer below, I don't wish to add a bunch of superfluous verbiage (is that a redundancy?) to the mix.

Suffice it to say that with each upgrade in the components around this amp I've not felt the need to upgrade the amp itself -- it just keeps sounding better and better. I have noticed that the amp really needs a 1/2 hour or so in Class A to fully warm up and sound its best.

To anyone looking for a superb amp in the $2800 range, look to buy one of these used. It's a steal.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 30  

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