Review: Shanling sp-80 Tube amp

Category: Amplifiers

This is a brand new product, purchased the units from the first shipment and have had them set up for only 2 weeks. I paid about $3500 Canadian. It replaces a modded Hafler DH500 SS power amp. My musical tastes are eclectic: classical, pop, rock and global music. My "test" CD's include Bob Marley's Legend, Peter Tosh, Afro-celt Sound System, Sheila Chandra, Stop Making Sense, Brandenburg Concertos and several Mozart opera recordings. My ear needs to hear clarity in voicing, clear and seamless separation of instrumentation, crystal highs and very tight bass. The SP-80's far exceeded my expectations for a tube amp. It's been a long time since my last tube amp (Dynaco 60) and I've had several solid state. These units look spectacular and sound spectacular. Even my old Maggies sound like new speakers; they're terrible in the lower end but the SP-80's added an entire new bass dimension. The Mirage Bipolars have added definition to the imaging. I hear details on my favourite CD's that I've never heard before. I love the electronic volume remote allowing input directly from the source, setup provides for master and slave unit. Beautiful flourescent readout, excellent detailing and finish. Even if money were no object I would not consider trading.

Associated gear
Magnepan SMG, Mirage M5si, Musical Concepts MC-3?DH-100 Preamp, Nackamichi CD7