I'm trying Shanling SP-80 monoblocs at home...

The matching CD player had a double box, but this one is triple--ten flaps to open before you come to the treasures. The packing is really very good, the foam is high-quality, reusable many times. One of the two boxes is labeled “fittings included.” The fittings in question are the remote control, a soft chamois leather for wiping all the polished metal, and the manual, because the other box has its own set of the other “fittings”: a pair of white cotton gloves, a premium power cord and a pair of Shanling-labeled EL34 output tubes.

Lift off the block containing the fittings and you see the amp in its plastic bag. There is a strong smell of aromatic hydrocarbons, or anodizing bath, or something, when you open the bag. The amp is absolutely gorgeous, pictures no more do it justice than they did the CD-T100 player, but that factory smell is awfully strong; it lasts several hours. The output tubes fit nicely into the ceramic sockets, but the amp doesn’t fit my 5-shelf Target rack very well. It’s too deep. Half of each foot, front and rear, sticks out fore and aft. And unfortunately, I have to put the amps on a lower shelf, where they can’t really be seen. This is almost an affront, because with their gold, chrome, stainless and anodized aluminum. and the circular readout windows, they are absolutely meant to be drooled over. You can wipe them off with the chamois.

The power cords fit well and my Ensemble Masterflux interconnect cables reach all the way to the amps’ front right sides and plug in nicely. The output terminals accept my Ensemble Voiceflux’ Cardas spades. The terminals themselves look a good deal like 5-way WBTs but are labeled Shanling. A final cable with stereo minijack connectors connects the amps at the back next to a toggle switch. One of these switches goes up, the other down. The amp with the switch up becomes the control unit, and the other’s volume level is slaved to it. You point the remote at the master to control both amps. When I switch on the slave the display obsequiously reads “SlaveWait.” As soon as I switch on the master amp the readout switches to a twin of the other.

After twenty minutes’ warmup, initial listening impressions are good, but my older teenager feels the previous amp, a solid-state Sim Celeste W-4070se, sounded better. This may actually be a good sign, because this particular son disagrees with everything on simple principle. But a proper evaluation of the amps’ qualities, and a review, will need to wait until the break-in period seems to be over. The CD-T100 player needed 100 hours to break in, and continued to improve after that. I hope the SP-80’s don’t take that long!
I did a search, they do look nice.

Link is to image of amps with CD player.

Thanks for providing the link, Albert. Wish I'd thought of that !


Seems you've become quite attached to the Shanling stuff; can't say as I blame you, the 100 sure is a sweet player. I'll be curious to hear your thoughts on the amps as they break in, they certainly look great and if they're anything like the CDP bound to sound smoooooth.

Thanks to you dropping with your 100 by I'm jonesin' for a Shanling now but undecided as to what would be best. No cash available so something would have to go. Keep the YBA CD Integre for redbook and buy a 200 for SACD? I'd have to sell my Oracle Delphi IV to fund the purchase (move my Oracle Alexandria from my office system to the main rig for analog).

Or, buy a Shanling 100 and keep the Delphi, sell the YBA CD Integre and Alexandria and forget about SACD?
It seemed natural to try the amps, since I already had the player. Besides the matching looks, though, they are technically interesting because they seem to have won a tradeoff. They use an output tube which is held to be very good-sounding but doesn't often deliver the power these amps are rated at. Also important: in terms of quality-to-price ratio, they are a good next step for my system, whose weakest link at this time is probably the amplifier. Finally, I have had solid state electronics for years, but I have become curious about tubes. My very first amp was a tube integrated, a Dyna SCA-35 I built from a kit, and I loved its sound way back then.

A downside is the duplification of functions involved in having a volume control on the amps as well as on my preamp. Oh and heck anyway, the CDP has volume control too!

As for you, Mr. Logan, my very humble opinion is that your second option is the best. For 2 cents, I have not yet heard any SACD that was better than vinyl.

I had a great time listening at your place. Don't forget you owe me a return match!
Just now assembling a similar system....but with the T200 SACD player. I have Monitor Audio Gold Reference 60 speakers. Any suggestions on a good speaker cable?
Hello guys I just got one of those Dared SL-2000a tube preamps..thought I would give one a try. I have been hearing some good things about this gear.Very sweet preamp and for the price perfomance ratio ,I haven't heard anything that was better for the money! Build quality is excellent as well as sound.These little preamps are very good with low level details.I can listen at very low levels and not feel like I'am missing something in the music.These are also great for any audiophile on a budget that wants great sound without the heavy price!Question ...how are the Shanling and Dared electronics related? When I see one I see the other. Thanks for any info.
The Shanling tube amp and Dared tube amp designers are one and the same gentleman.
Listen to your son, he is being objective which is something we have a hard time doing as we get older. Don't be fooled by the glitter and gold. Listen at face value then choose. Its the best way.
? Nealhood's post is certainly good advice and worth following, but I wonder if it wound up in the thread he meant it to.
I have the CD-T100 and was considering the SP-80s, but not sure I want another volume control in the path. I currently run direct to a SS Power Amp. You say you have 3 volumes now, which do you use and why?, and if you don't use the SP-80 do you disconnect it?
I use my preamp's ( Klyne SK-5A ) volume control. I set the CD-T100's volume at max and the SP-80's at, get this, -30 dB.This setting was arrived at after experimenting with higher and lower ones. Do try it yourself; in my own setup, the sound is a good deal less interesting at other settings. One morning my older son powered up the system and put a disc on right away, with the amps not warmed up and the volume setting at default ( -40 dB ), and for a bad second I thought, " Why did I buy this ? " Fortunately the reason became clear a few minutes later.

I don't think there's any need to bypass the internal volume controls in either the player or the amps. If I had no preamp, I would set the amps' volume as above and use the CD player's volume control.