Plinius 8150 as Preamp for Plinius SA-102

Just got a new Plinius SA-102. Since my budjet is limited I am still using my former 8150 (integrated) but now as a preamp. There was a clear improvement in terms of palpability and depth with the 8150 + 102 combo. But that was all! I must confess I was expecting more. So help me here: I am demanding too much from this combo (since I am using the 8150 as a preamp), i.e., for now I am not able to understand the 102 potential or my concerns are for real and the Plinius 102 is not that good?
I spent some time with the 8200 integrated, including some extended listening to the pre-amp section only. I thought the pre-amp was definitely the weak link in the 8200 (though I wasn't wild about the whole thing, frankly), so I'm sure you will benefit greatly from using a better pre-amp with the 102.

No personal experience with the 102. Some credible people around here love it, but then there's the equally credible Wayne Garcia at TAS.

I've auditioned the SA-102 in two occasions. One of them, the CD-LAD was used as preamp and the combo was powering the SF Guarneri. I was not particularly impressed. Then I auditioned but with the 8100 (!) as preamp. A friend (who owned the 8100) was looking for an upgrade and had with him also the Jeff Rowland Model 2. Here the result was more convincing, with the 102 delivering dynamics, control and speed that were on a different league of the Model 2 (an amplifier I like, btw). The speakers were the Audio Physic Avanti II - a fairly difficult load (the JR Model 2 clipped in some occasions with the soprano's voice).

I cannot draw a conclusion from these two occasions, but it certainly didn't sound to me as described on TAS ...

I also own a plinius 8150, which I think is still an excellent integrated ... nevertheless, if you go to separates, I don't think it's a good policy to save money on the preamp. I really don't. Don't dismiss the sa-102 until you have auditioned it with the m-16 :o) I only see the 8150 as a short term solution in this context (imho)

Do you live in Lisbon, Portugal? that's were i live, also ... if so, feel free to contact me and don't forget to visit

good luck,
The 102 is so much better than the 8150 that something is definitely amiss. As Drubin says the pre section of the integrateds is fairly ordinary. The more likely factor to consider here though is break-in. The 102 sounds dead, all the life squashed out of it for several weeks. Since you state "Just got a new Plinius SA-102" I suspect this is the issue. I hated the sound of my 102 when I first got it. I wanted to get up and kick it into life most of the time in the first two months. The CD-LAD is pretty good but not great. The M16 is a wee bit better and a little softer. Personally I would look at an active Placette.
I am using Audiolab 8000A as preamp with SA102 to drive Proac R2.5s. Since I upgraded from 8000A int amp, I would like to said that 8100 is not right pal to SA102 just as my 8000S.

I did try ARC SP16L and Passlab x1 (or x2,not sure model name but sure much more expensive than SP16L)preamp and SF Cremona when I bought the SA102. SP16L+SA102 sounded better especially in treble. I personally don't understand Wagne Garcia's opinion because my demo setup was about the same as his.

To cut it short, go for Tube Preamp such as ARC, you will not regret. BTW, I am going to try SP16L or LS16II myself.

Zhang Xi from Singapore
Redkiwi: yes, the 102 is new (a couple of days old). I do feel the sound is somehow stuck, it just does not flow. So, it was nice to know you had that problem also and that time solved it. Is it more easy sounding (and highs getting litle softer) by this time?

Drubin: the pre-amp was definitely the weak link in the 8200, you said. So, I am sure it is also the weak link of the former 8150 which I am using for a limited period of time, of course. This is a good news also.

To all: I do feel the need for a tube preamp. But I am completely divided here: I can go for a safe (I can listen to it, read reviews, etc.) ARC or to these Suprateks (which I am not able to listen but are ment to be the "deal of the century")...

For the moment, I suggest you let the 102 break in fully and hold off for a couple of months on making a pre-amp change. You may find that, once the amp is broken in, you are so happy with it that you don't feel the urgency to replace the 8150.