I3 with the forests was imppressive.I can only imagine 5.3 ups the antee.Recommend sim big time with forests.Havent heard plinnius though...heard lots of positives though.
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Both are very good. The Plinius is a bit more polite and laid-back but doesn't give up anything in dynamics. The adjective that keeps popping up in reviews is "natural", but more for the SA series. The Sim is more precisely focused rather than holistic. It's a matter of taste.
I wouldn't worry about reliability of solid state too much.
A few years ago Plinius did have a reputation for being finicky. The sound however was and is excellent, clean and very dynamic. No bad news about them lately but I have been asking only about tooob amps. I would choose Plinius over Sim.
One BIG Caveat your wife will not forgive you desite her seeming very nonchalant.Be prepared be prepared to be dismissed from your own bedroom.
If you've done much reading about the two brands you know that they're both almost universally highly regarded.
The best you can hope to get here in terms of advice, if you're lucky, is to find one or two people who have had both brands in their own system and whose system includes the Forests. Their opinion might be really valuable to you, if they happen to have ears that closely match yours, as well.
I own and love the Simaudio I-5 but I wouldn't recommend it to you just based on the fact that it sounds wonderful in my setup.
Unless you're able to audition both amps yourself I think you're better off taking Mechans' advice and buying the one your wife prefers. Of course, if you've already decided you want the Plinius and are looking here for justification for buying it rather than the one your wife wants, you're going to need counseling of a different kind.
I previously owned the 9200; no experience with the 9100
Plinius 9200 sound-
1. somewhat warm
2. somewhat laid back
4. fairly detailed/resolved
5. smooth midrange/slight tube sound
6. smooth highs w/some sparkle
7. authoritative w/ good bass/ a bit lean
No experience with the Simaudio I5.3 but used to own the Simaudio Nova. The Simaudio "house sound" is detailed, fast, has been known to be a little lean, but very clean clear midrange/ decent bass. Good luck. Don't choose on looks.
I've had Plinius and Simaudio with the Forests. I agree with what Foster_9 stated. I've owned an I3 and had an I5 in my system for a week. I found Simaudio extremly detailed, clean, clear, forward, with good bass. Clean, clear, detail is all good but with these units it came at the expense of musical IMO. I personally prefer the qualities of the Plinius over Simaudio, and would suggest you add McIntosh to your list too.