Plinius CD-LAD Preamplifiers

CD-LAD

: The Plinius CD·LAD is a new high end audio preamplifier fitted with three inputs including a choice of balanced or unbalanced connections on CD.

User Reviews (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9  
AJ   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 31, 2013]

I've had a lot of gear in and out over the years, this pre is a real gem amongst them. I bought the MK1 model and upgraded it to the latest revisions (small revisions to both line and power stages)
To say the music is dynamic would be one way to describe how music through this has great tonality and presence, great slam.
Functionally, this component is a minimalist, I like the way the display can be be switched off, but has all the things I need, like a balanced input/output stage, phase reversal, and balance fader if I ever needed it but able to be defeated if not.

I use a plinius 8200P power amp, Lenehan ML1+ speakers - sources are a Teddy Dac for digital and Pro-Ject Xpression III Classic with Ortofon 2M Black via a PS Audio GCPH.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
kkltam   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 16, 2005]
Strength:

Built quality, service, and of course the performance.

Weakness:

No phono if that matters to you.

This is an absolutely awesome preamp, especially if you only listen to CDs/digital front ends only. The folks at Plinius are totally cool also--they'd go out of their way to help you with any issues. The sound-wonderfully solid, quick, and with the kind of depth and clarity that you'd expect from this company.

Similar Products Used: McCormack TLC, McIntosh C-40
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Marc   AudioPhile [Feb 06, 2003]
Strength:

Well built, quiet and very transparent...even more so through balanced connections, but pretty damn good through single-ended! Remote controls ALL possible functions. Seems to integrate well with most equipment...not fussy. $3000 list price is a bit for some but you can usually get one for 1/2 list on Audiogon, etc. Compares most favorablly with units costing much more!!

Weakness:

No phono...but it was engineered for CD Play. No other weakness.

$3000 list price in either silver or black. Well built minimalist preamp designed around CD "ONLY" systems but with 2 additional inputs. Has single-ended and balanced in's/out's. Rugged remote control for all functions. Vacuum display. IEC outlet.

Similar Products Used: Audio Research, Classe, VTL
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Paul Williams   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 11, 2002]
Strength:

Soundstage, resolution, tonal balance.

Weakness:

No at all and certainly no Hum

I bought this from a friend who was emigrating to match my SA-100 power amplifier and was completely surprised to read the review below mine as I have no hum at all with this combination. In fact I would go as fas as to say that Compared to the BAT VK-5 pre it replaced, it trounces it in every respect. The depth of the sound stage increased hugely and the improved resolution was nothing short of breathtaking. My only gripe was the lengthy run in period. My friend had not given it much use, so when I got it, it was virtualy new. It takes at least a month to sound its best and wow how does it sound.

Similar Products Used: BAT VK-5, Audio Research LS-9.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Paul Williams   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 11, 2002]
Strength:

Soundstage, resolution, tonal balance.

Weakness:

No at all and certainly no Hum

I bought this from a friend who was emigrating to match my SA-100 power amplifier and was completely surprised to read the review below mine as I have no hum at all with this combination. In fact I would go as fas as to say that Compared to the BAT VK-5 pre it replaced, it trounces it in every respect. The depth of the sound stage increased hugely and the improved resolution was nothing short of breathtaking. My only gripe was the lengthy run in period. My friend had not given it much use, so when I got it, it was virtualy new. It takes at least a month to sound its best and wow how does it sound.

Similar Products Used: BAT VK-5, Audio Research LS-9.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
David L.   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 27, 2001]
Strength:

Quiet, transparent, price.

Weakness:

Not sure there are any.

I have been listening to high end gear off and on for the past 25 years, always looking for something better, more dynamic, quieter, more transparent, etc. I'm not looking any more. The CD-LAD may not be perfect in the hundreds of different categories one can judge a pre-amp, but it sure as heck doesn't hurt my set up (see below). I can't be sure why I am hearing details and nuances in CDs such as Brothers in Arms, that I've played hundreds of times but never heard before, or why I am suddenly aware of significant presentation and depth in orchestral pieces, or why Rickie Lee Jones sounds like she is performing in my family room on her Naked Songs CD, but man, it is good! I can tell you that I can hear subtle but noticeable differences in short runs of different interconnect cables that I am experimenting with. I can say that for the more than $2500 I paid for this pre-amp I have never been happier or more satisfied. I think that this is a really great pre-amp for the money, and suggest that if you are looking for getting tremendous value and more bang for the buck you should check this one out.
My system:
Plinius CD-Lad.
Quad ESL63 USA Monitor/Gradient SW63 subwoofer.
Gradient crossover.
Aleph 2 Mono Amps/Quad Quad 405 Amp/Subwoofer.
California Audio CL20 CD/DVD player.
Sequerra Tuner.
Nordost Red Dawn Speaker Cable.
Various Interconnects.

Similar Products Used: Audio Research,Krell
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Agustin Isip   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 23, 2001]
Strength:

Fantabulous soundstaging! Absolute tonal neutrality and see-through transparency!

Weakness:

Brutally exposes the weak links in your system, warts and all!

In my humble opinion, this is the first silicon-based amplication device that truly bridges the gap between tubes and solid states! Possesses both the timbrally correct midrange characteristics of tubes plus the slam, frequency extension of solid states. Microscopically detailed without being harsh! Totally grain free and plumbs the nether regions like a mofo! Partner this baby with any high quality tube preamp and your in audio nirvana! Sounds "wunderbar" with my Sonus Faber Grand Pianos! Get your arse to your nearest Plinius dealer, listen and be mesmerized!

Similar Products Used: Symphonic Line RG1 MK2, Pass Aleph 5, Audio Research CL-60, etc..
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
hifikaki   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 25, 2001]
Strength:

not found yet

Weakness:

hum hum hum...

After searching for a pre-amp to match with my sa-100mk3,i ended up buying this stupid pre-amp, i though the pair from plinius will work fine together but i'm wrong. when i connected the balanced interconnect from the cd-lac to sa-100, i heard a loud hum, after setting the ground loop provided by the power amp and cd-lad, it managed to lower the hum but it still audible from my listening position. not sure what to do, anyone out there experienced the same, pls email if u have solution to this.

Similar Products Used: m16
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
Aurel   Audiophile [Jan 03, 2001]
Strength:

quite simply : one of the very best linestage I have ever heard

Weakness:

none

I think all music lovers who tried Plinius SA amplifiers know they are marvels: probably the best around. This new preamp is not only the perfect matching to Plinius great amplifiers but it is also a world-class perfomer in itself.

I wanted to try my best english (sorry, I'm a french audiophile !) to say how satisfied I am with this new product. But it seems useless to me. Let me just say it in a few words: this preamplifier is not only the best one I have ever tried and heard (including some of the most expensive and prestigious preamplifiers on the market) but it is also a real "music-maker", it is a kind of a direct link between your amplifier and the music itself. The CD-LAD is nothing less than pure enchantment: as musical and refined as it should be but still very accurate and dynamic. The "midrange and treble magic" I have experienced with tube preamplifiers is still here (with a better high-frequency response) and the low frequency control I have experienced with professional solid state preamplifiers is better than ever. I have really re-discovered some of my records: eveything is simply better, closer to the live experience, closer to the concert hall sound. I could find a lot of praising adjectives on this product but the best I can do is to tell you that I can't find any shortcoming, neither on the quality of the sound nor on the quality of the building. Furthermore, the remote control is outstanding and some very usefull functions are implemented (such as a phase switch from absolute to 180 degrees).

Is it the perfect preamplifier? As a music lover I would be tempted to say yes. As a researcher in physics I would answer "it is as close as it can be". Is it expensive enough to be called a "reference preamplifier"? Probably not. Is it good enough? Certainly yes!

You probably wonder how it compares the other Plinius's preamplifier, the M16. Well, so do I! To be honest, I don't know the M16 well enough to answer this question. But after having auditioned it carfully in a shop my feeling is that there is no clear hierarchy. The M16 is a bit more expensive and probably a bit more flexible. Both are surely great !

The CD-LAD has only 3 inputs but who needs more nowadays? It also features one XLR input and one XLR output, extremely usefull to use the unit with a fully balanced power amplifier. It is quite rare at this price point and allows a perfect matching with any high-end system.

I am extremely difficult to satisfy. I am the kind of consumer always finding some defects and imperfections in any kind of product. Many audio gears I have owned dissapointed me. Plinius is the only company I am totally pleased with. Perfect products, perfect consumer service.

In my opinion the most important characteristics of a very good audio gear is to allow you to forget it : you don't listen to your system anymore, you just hear the music. This is exactly what defines Plinius products. You can call this "neutrality", "good engineering design", "ultra high-end" or whatever you want : it is just a way of saying that it respects the music. This is the whole story...

Very highly recommended !

Aurel.

Similar Products Used: I have tried quite a lot of "high-end" preamps from different manufacturers
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-9 of 9  

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