Plinius 8150i Integrated Amplifiers

8150i

2-channel Integrated Amplifier

User Reviews (39)

Showing 1-10 of 39  
Ray Hunter   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 25, 2017]

I bought the 8150 second hand in 2013 from someone who had upgraded to a Perreaux Audiant (I live in NZ). But in their opinion there was no discernible sound quality difference between the two, they just wanted the digital input features of the Perreaux.

I already owned a pair of mk1 Epos ES14's and had always wanted to own a Plinius. After buying the 8150 I purchased an Audiolab 8200CD CD player and a Pro-ject Debut Carbon TT. I have been very happy with the sound quality. Amazing power, heft, dynamics, clarity, finesse, PRAT etc.

However some things always niggled me. It ran hot (as the 8150's do) but seemed to run hotter on the right-hand side, however this never seemed to affect the sound quality. Also there seemed to be an abnormal amount of audible buzzing when no music was playing, even at a reasonable sitting distance. I also felt it was not producing the "emotion" that I felt it should be capable of considering the 8150's reputation, and some albums (tracks) I listen to sounded a bit harsh?, but I concluded at the time that this was a fault of the CD player.

A few months ago I decided to get it serviced as it was coming up to 20 years old. I emailed Plinius but they did not reply to me, so I contacted an audio amplifier repair expert in my home town who had done repairs for me in the past. I knew he was retired but thought I would try my luck.

Well, I got lucky.

I found out that he repaired Plinius products for Plinius themselves, so he had an excellent knowledge of this model. He not only serviced it, but he upgraded it as well with modifications not even Plinius did.

It turns out that as this was a budget model from Plinius for people who cannot afford their flagship Class A amps etc they cut corners in the components they used, and it also had a design flaw that was never completely solved.

The main power supply capacitors were 8,500uf Marcons, a budget (non-audiophile) capacitor with a lower temperature rating of 85 degrees. They were down 10% on spec after 17 years of operation, so he replaced them with 10,000uf Elnas at 105 degrees temperature rating. He also added/replaced some other capacitors in the main amp with audiophile grade capacitors to improve the performance. He also had to re-solder every joint in the main amplifier section as it had been poorly soldered in the factory.

The voltage regulation for the pre-amplifier section was an interesting case. Apparently when the 8150 first came out the voltage regulators for the pre-amplifier were mounted flat on the pre-amp board with small heat-sinks. But these two components run REALLY HOT. So Plinius moved them off the board and mounted them on the right-hand heat-sink instead. The problem was they used to reside on the left-hand side of the board so the fly-leads to them became really long. The length caused instability of the power regulation, causing audio noise. That was also why the 8150 seemed to run hotter on the right-hand side. So instead he mounted the two transistors on their own heat-sink back on the left-hand side on posts off the main amplifier heat-sink with shortened fly-leads, straight to the board where they should be. He also added some more capacitors to the pre-amp to improve performance. He also fixed a previous repair mistake and reset the idle current.

How does it sound now? It's not an 8150 anymore, its something else.

The 8150 was really good before, but now it's amazing. I'd hazard to say I now have an integrated that rivals the latest Plinius models, except maybe for sheer power. The noticeable harshness I heard listening to some CD tracks has gone. The sound is softer with more detail, more musical, more emotional. It's like a veil has been removed that I was not aware was there. Dynamics are amazing with more punch. The buzzing sound I heard has just about gone and it no longer feels hotter on the right-hand side. This is how the 8150 should have been to begin with I reckon (although it would have cost more:).

I will not be parting with the 8150.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
harryjmic   AudioPhile [Jun 29, 2004]
Strength:

More resolution than old amp, super clear sound but not fatiging, Plenty of power, excellent build quality, I have no complaints.

Weakness:

It came to me damaged, not the amps fault.

I purchased this amp used from Audiogon after reviewing many amplifiers on line. I wanted to stay with an integrated amp for now and the Plinius seemed to be the best for me. This Plinius is an upgrade from my previous amp an Audio Refinement Complete. The Audio Refinement is an excellent amp for the money and I was very happy with it; I just got the upgrade bug. I live in a condo so at this time I would say the Plinius has more than enough power to drive my Vienna Acoustic Mozart speakers. The first thing which struck me about the Plinius is how good it sounds at low, low volumes. The clarity is amazing, and the detail and separation of the instruments makes listening to familiar cd's a revelation. I did notice one peculiar but nice acoustical phenomona right away. When you are seated and listening to music the volume seems very loud, but when you stand up and walk a short distance away you realize it wasn't that loud. I don't know how to explain it other than the sound is so full and rich that maybe my ears perceive it as being loud? This is the first time I have ever experienced this phenomona. A couple things about the amp, it came to me used and when I first hooked it up one channel was out. I had the sender make a claim with UPS. I then sent the amp for repairs to Advanced Audio the Plinius state side repair facility. Vince did an excellent job of repairing the damage and leaving the amp stock with no upgrades to make it an 8200 model. There was some circuit board damage to the phono section because a previous owner operated this amp with the ground loop disconnected. This can send DC through the ciruit board and what will happen is the DC will burn up the copper traces on the board. So if you have an amp with a noisy phono section this is might be what is wrong with the amp. The pre-amp needed repair as well. Is UPS capable of this kind of damage, I wonder? From what I understand the 8150 is the most coveted model of the series and actually has a higher resale value than the 8200's. I have had the amp less than a week and I am sure it will sound better once a couple of the new transistors are broken in. I leave it on all the time and since it's inside a cabinet with a door I purchased a small fan to keep it cool. The construction is solid with high quality components throughout. In the past, I always kind of dismissed more expensive amplifiers believing them to be a waste of money. Boy was I wrong, this Plinius is several orders of magnitude superior to the Audio Refinement and the Audio Refinement is pretty nice. I think I now have an amp I can keep for a long, long, time.

Similar Products Used: Nothing similar, this was an upgrade. I have heard a lot of different amps but not in my system so comparisons would be unfair.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
ttrulis510   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 15, 2002]
Strength:

Wonderful sound, built like the proverbial tank.

Weakness:

I have read some unfair criticisms that it is all guts and no finesse. This is absolutely not true.

Very pleased with the overall sound of the amp. Full bodied without being bloated. Very natural. Never harsh, but very revealing. Great impact and speed. Beautiful to look at and operate. Has a the guts of a big amp but does not lack the finesse, either. This amp is for anyone who wants to simplify their system, but not at the expense of the music. While it is not cheap, it beats the pants off of several other integrateds in the price range. It ain''t tubes, but it does not have a harsh transistor , or fuzzy mos-fet sound either. What it does have is a true "rightness" to the sound.

Similar Products Used: I replaced the ECI3 (Electrocompaniet) same price range. Do not spend your hard earned dough on anything in the $1,500-$2,000 price range without hearing this first!
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Garrett   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 15, 2000]
Strength:

Smooth, sweet, full sound. Adds no character to the music. Very well made.

Weakness:

None

I love this amp! The touch, feel, sound, remote, all scream QUALITY!

For many years I have tried many different amps and systems. I always felt that each amp had a specific sonic character. Some were bass heavy, some sounded thin, etc. But none ever sounded balanced or true to the music. The best way I can describe this amp is not at all. I can't tell it's there. It adds no character to the music at all; it just allows you to increase the sound level of exactly what's being presented by the source.

I use it to power rather inefficient speakers (84db) and it does so effortlessly. When listening loud, It has plenty of headroom and dynamics and never sounds compressed.

If you are looking for separates or an integrated in this price range, give it a listen. I give it my highest recommendation. Five Stars!

My system:

Plinius 8150
AH! Tjoeb '99
Platinum Audio Solo's
Kimber Silver Streak Interconnects
Audio Quest A/C Power Cords
Nordost Super Flatline MK II Bi-wire



Similar Products Used: Acurus, Sony ES, Rotel, Arcam, Jolida
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Sean Hussey   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 17, 2000]
Strength:

Classy looks and solid, sophisticated sound. Great with all female vocals, classical, americana, jazz.

Weakness:

Long warm-up; must be kept on all the time. No remote source selector, if that matters.

Listened to many different amps including: Arcam 9/9P, marantz PM-17, Kora, Classe 151, VAC Avatar, Krell, Mark Levinson. Plinius has proven to be the most refined for the money. Solid looks and sound that will please with the right set-up and material. It is neutral but still sweet to the ear. I have very revealing speakers that might seem bright in other systems, but here sounds so open and truly dynamic. Only beat by the Vac Avatar, a true jewel for tube gear. I like that lush sound, personally. Plinius is cleaner in comparison and faster but not as full and airy. Forget the Krell; it sounds distorted and unnatural. I have found several speakers to match this amp including Joseph Audio RM-7 Sig and my own Dynaudio 1.3 mkII. With the Arcam 9 it is a most pleasing first system for me and plays most anything well. Absolutely must upgrade the stock powercord. I am now shopping for a decent turntable; although with my cheap JVC it sounds almost entrancing! (believe it or not) The phono stage is supposedly stupendous and I know I will love it once set-up properly. For now, I sit and listen to Lucinda Williams and John Coltrane in my living room.

System:
Plinius 8150i
Arcam Alpha 9 (warm and refined)
Dynaudio 1.3 mkII (beautiful birdseye maple)
Sanus Ultimate stands (sharp looking)
Harmonic Tech Truth Link IC. and Pro-11 spkr. cables
DH Labs Silver Sonic
DH Sound cones and squares (nice isolation)
JVC t.t. (I know, I'm embarrissed)
Salamander Synergy Rack (decent deal with appealing looks)
Monster HTS-2000 (decent, I guess)
Musical Fidelity X-plora
Synergistic Research A/C Master Coupler

Similar Products Used: None (my first system!)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Fred   Audiophile [Mar 22, 2000]
Strength:

smooth, detailed, very good imaging, very listenable for extended periods

Weakness:

long warm up period

well, i've used the Plinius for about 4 months now, fully broken in. Its been a great amp. I had a Mark Levinson ML3 and a Gryphon Dual Mono-Preamp on audition for a few weeks mated to a Dynaudio Contour 1.1. I did enjoy this set-up, however when I went back to the Plinius, I still preferred the sound of my Plinius. I think these amp are a perfect match w/ any of the Dynaudio speakers. I had the same amp used on the Audience 40 (earlier report) and again, it sounded great with those speakers. Mated to a friend's Totem, still sounded very good.

The sound can be described as neutral, punchy, tubey, detailed. Soundstage could be wider and deeper in comparison to the Gryphon + Mark Levison, but nonetheless, good enough.

My other partnering equipment includes: Altis Transport, Enlightened DSP7000 II, VDH The Wind Speaker Cables, Magnan Vi interconnect and Altis Altimate Fiber Optic Cables.

I strongly urge anyone to listen to this amp before considering other separates. They really are that good!!!

Nonetheless, I give it another 5 stars after 4 months of use.

Similar Products Used: Mark Levinson, Gryphon Pre-amp
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
David Burgess   Casual Listener [Jun 20, 2000]
Strength:

Effortless and listenable at high volumes. Great poise.

Weakness:

Nothing material.

This was an upgrade from an ancient NAD 3020. I did not do extensive comparisons - all I can say is that, as a non-audiophile, I am totally thrilled with this amp.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Nick Martin   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 05, 2001]
Strength:

Very natural, open, free of grain, reliable, with plenty in reserve.

Weakness:

On-board Phono stage is decent, but far from show-stopping.

Natural and open, trumps anything I've heard at the price. Quite simply, it's the first amp I have used where you can just concentrate on the music and enjoy the quasi-concert hall experience.
Partnered with Audio Analogue Puccini CD player, Michell Gyrodec with QC power, Morch DP6 arm and Clearaudio Gamma 'S' cartridge, Proac Studio 200 speakers.
Last year I bought their Jarrah phono-stage to use in place of the onboard phono wired for MCs.
Immediately the top registers noticeably improved, and top end distortion apparent on Emma Kirkby singing Byrd (L'Oiseau Lyre) vanished, allowing the full range to be reproduced cleanly and with natural decay. Richter's first volume of Handel Organ Concertos (Decca) gained momentum and huge amounts of top end sparkle, with a slightly fuller bass bloom.
It's the top end that really benefits, and which in turn shows the limitations of a switchable MM/ MC on-board budget stage. Also, because the little black boax Jarrah power supply can be kept a good 3 feet away from the unit on the floor, the small but noticeable hum apparent when using the on-board phono also vanishes, making for a much quieter background. For the sake of another $600, it's well worth the extra for those whose main source of music is vinyl.

Similar Products Used: Musical Fidelity, Sugden, Arcam.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
ben garland   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 15, 2002]
Strength:

sound,price,build

Weakness:

none

below is the review on my 8200 i also own a 8150 and i muust say i like the 8150 better as it has a warmer sound and actually better slam in the low end,therefore i am revising my scores on the 8150,this review is on the plinius 8200 (not a upgrades 8150i but a new 8200) the unit looks like the 8150 .actually sounds like a 8150 but does it perform like the 8150 or is it better?it does cost more and yes it does have more watts but is it better? well i owned a 8150 and a 8200 i sold the 8200 a few months ago, it is a great amp ,and it performs flawlessly while i owned it the bass was like my 8150 (quiet a slam) the highs were excellent ,i would recommend the 8200 to anybody i found the performance way above the dollar spent ,but for some reason it did not have the same tonal response as the 8150. i was told that plinius did not use the same parts in the power supply as used in the 8150,if this is true then i guess that would explain the sound differences,but let me say no matter which amp you choose the 8150 or the 8200 you will be more than happy as both sounded great,and both have enough power to drive any speaker,and both beat the pants off the krell,and other integrated amps of the $3000-$4000 price range

Similar Products Used: krell,mac,vtl,cj,you name it
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Torfinn Austraatt   Audiophile [Aug 11, 2000]
Strength:

Good allround.

Here you get a good allround unit, but do not expect that it just as good as the best seperates. It has a lot of power, but you hear that it's not a 250W poweramp. The resolution is good , but not superb. The riaa is ok, but not up there with the best in resolution. I found that it did not worked well with my 0.4mV Transfiguration Spirit when it was set to mc, but if I use A mc-transformer and use it as a mm-riaa it is pretty good but not suberb in resolution. As for the poweramp I would say that it is as good as a SA100 running in class AB. As for the soundstage it still good, but not suberb. The big plusses is that you don't need any expensive cables and you get a very good idea on what high-end is about.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 39  

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