Hmmm, no takers. I am considering the Plinius sa-103 or SA Reference or the Burmester 956mk2 or 911mk3. If anyone has experience with this gear, I would appreciate any feedback you may have.
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Let me offer you my take. I currently own a Burmester 956mk2. It is the best amp I have ever owned. It combines the best qualities of solid state and tubes. I have never owned the 2 Plinius amps you are considering but did own the Plinius 9200 integrated. I liked the Plinius a lot but the Burmester is in another league. On the other hand, it is not a fair comparison due to the tremendous price difference between the 2 products. I owned the Pass Labs XA100.5 monoblocks prior to buying the Burmester amp. I sold the Pass Labs amps as I found Burmester to embody the best attributes of Class A sound and yet have more dynamic slam compared to Pass. I am not sure if you can extrapolate my experience with the Pass Labs Class A monoblocks to the Plinius Class A amps you are considering. All I know is that buying the Burmester put an end to my amp search. I have owned it for almost 2 years now. I will say that if you go for Burmester, my suggestion would be to buy the cheaper 956 as it does not suffer in comparison to the 911 which is twice the price. Saving a few bucks never hurts!
I hope this helps.
Thanks Apdoc, I appreciate your comments. I realize there are likely few people who have heard both of these amps so any comparison is good. My concern with the Plinius is the heat issue and the hour or so warm up time for class A. Burmester seems to have resolved this. Does the 956 have enough power for you? I am running fairly efficient speakers so I don't think power will be a problem. 96db and 4 ohm.
With those speaker specs, the Burmester 956 would hardly break a sweat. I have used it with multiple speakers--the toughest load was 87db and 4 ohms. The amp drove the speakers to satisfactory levels without even getting warm.
Also, unlike pure Class A amps, I can leave the Burmester on all the time without spiking my electricity bill.
There is no 1 hour warn up time for a plinius sa amp. With my Martin Logan summits in the last, 10 seconds on class a and you can tell a big difference.
Was it hot? Yeah but not too hot to touch. Plus you can leave it in a/b.
And lastly, sa-103 has about 40w of class a power while the sa ref has 100w. The rest is class ab.
Thank you Apdoc and Joey,
So it sounds like I shouldn't be concerned with heat then from the Plinius gear? I have read accounts of extra air conditioning in the summer and no need for heat in the winter with the Plinius. What about the sound from each amp? I have read glowing reviews of each. I would like to make one purchase and be done with it, but want to make sure I choose something that I'll be happy with for many years to come. While both brands may fit that bill I want to feel later that I made the right choice. I have no dealers for either of these manufacturers in my state.
i have owned the plinius sa reference for 6 years of non fatiguing sound with my nova utopia focals effortless power and great bass control no fizz in the treble
i have never owned the burmester but have found them ultra-detailed with a tendency to brightness at the two munich shows in which they were featured
some like this, but others prefer the effortless sound from the plinius sa reference 100watts of class a and 200 more of class ab
At this level, I feel both Burmester and the Plinius amps you are considering are going to have excellent sonics. The bass quality and ability to control the woofer of the speakers (because of its very high damping factor) are specialties of the Burmester amp. I have not heard anything that betters it.
The burmester will be easier on your electricity. I had to turn on my Pass Labs monoblocks at least 1 hour before listening so that they could give their best performance.
I forget the actual topology reason for the plinius to sound a bit like tubes. I remember there was a plinius interview somewhere that I had read.
In my experience, plinius sa amps run well with a certain tube preamp from Cary... The slp-05. It was a fantastic match. Tube pre up top and class a solid state down low.
I used a Plinius SB-301 stereo amp for a year. It was a powerhouse that produced very strong bass and very good dynamics. It sounded just slightly rolled off on top and was not the last word in transparency, so a little bit tilted toward the "musical" end of the musical/resolution axis. I did find it a much better match for my tastes with my Revel Salon 2s than Revel's Harman stablemate Mark Levinson 532H, which was a bit tame.
Although it is considered a Class A/B amp and Plinius does not state any ratings for Class A, the SB-301 is claimed to be highly biased into Class A. I can believe that, as it did run quite warm for me.
It took an insane deal on the Symphonic Line Kraft 250 monos I am using now to knock the Plinius out of my system, otherwise it would still be here. The Kraft 250s are certainly better, but given that they retail for 3X the list price of the SB-301, they should be.
I really appreciate the feedback guys, and look forward to more. I thought I would summarize comments made so far.
Best amp ever owned.
Best qualities of SS and tubes.
More dynamic slam than Pass.
Outstanding, very refined sound.
Easier on electricity
Bass quality and ability to control the woofers are specialties.
With Burmester speakers, best natural sound and a higher sense of reality.
A tendency to brightness.
No one hour warm up time for class A.
Great bass control.
No "fizz" in treble.
Very strong bass and dynamics.
(SB-301) slightly rolled off on top and not the last word in transparency.
I've owned the Plinius SA Reference amp for the past 4 years and it's the best amp I have ever owned. Regardless of running it in class A or A/B I've never had any heat build up issues to complain about running my Maggy's 3.7's but of course the amp in class A is hot to the touch.
Unfortunately I've never had the pleasure of hearing the Burmester line of products.
I think they are both very fine products and one could not go wrong with either.
Let us know which amp you end up purchasing ;-)
About the Burmester 911 Mk3 for "ME" is sonically
one of the best power amp (no matter tube or solid state)
ever made. A lot of experts (review from The Absolute
Sound/Tone Audio/Audiophilia/What HiFi and a lot of music
lovers worldwide have the same thinking.
I'd like to invite you in reading the following reviews:
The Absolute Sound, Golden Ear Award, 2007
The Absolute Sound, Golden Ear Award, 2007
"Quite simply one of the best-sounding solid-state amps to
thus far lighten our doorstep. It is an advance over the
earlier Burmester electronics in that it is not only close
to completely neutral but it shows no trace of the normally
ubiquitous transistor texture and grain in the upper
octaves. More interesting yet, to these ears, is how happy
it is driving all sorts of speakers, from the ultra-
revealing Kings to the sweetly euphonic Coltranes. An amp
for all seasons, and virtually all setups."
For the money, itÂs difficult to find something better than Plinius SA-Ref. This powerhouse produces real music, not hi-fi sound, and its dynamics and tone are terrific.
Plinius amps are famous for the tube like sound but adding to that real live dynamics and bass. Did not hear Burmester, so canÂt comment on it.
Plus last couple years Plinius finally has great representation here in US.
Falconquest, if you from US, please contact me off line and I recommend you a great dealer to work on plinius.
I am not a dealer just very happy Plinius fan and customer. I had tried Krells (302e, 402e, 400 monos) ML 532H, BAT 255se, 600SE, Hegel H200, and Hegel 4HA latest and always come back to plinius amps for thier tone and dynamics and overall musical representation.
I have not heard the Plinius, but I know Burmester well. The strength of their gear is the immediacy and dynamics they produce. Imagaine a snare drum in real life. When it is hit hard, it kind of makes you jump a little. Burmester gear has that same speed and snap to it. Be prepared to run balanced if you want the best sound - the difference between RCAs and XLR is not small.