Review: Shanling SP-80 Tube amp

Category: Amplifiers

I have been set up and listening for only 2 weeks, purchased these amps out of the first shipment into Canada. My musical tastes are eclectic; rock, pop, classical, global music, Afro-Cuban. My "test" CD's include Afro-Celt Sound System, Bob Marley's Legend, Peter Tosh, Sheila Chandra, Brandenburg Concertos, Stop Making Sense, and several Mozart operas. My ear needs to hear clarity in voicing, accurate instrumentation, crystal highs with no harshness, and tight punchy bass. The SP-80's replace my old modded DH500 power amp. My first listening experience with the new amps was astounding. After hours of play I am hearing details and depth I never knew existed on the recordings. Even the notoriously poor bass from the Maggies has improved dramatically, and through the M5si's i am getting much more definition. I love the gorgeous looks of these units and the exceptional detailing and finishes. Also the fact you can connect CD source directly thanks to the electronic remote controlled volume. Each block operates as master or slave. Nice flourescent readout. Lots of power for my room and speakers, perhaps not enough for larger rooms with inefficient speakers. If money were no object these amps would still be keepers.

Associated gear
Nakamichi CD, Magnepan SMG's, Mirage M5si's, Musical Concepts MC-3/DH100 Preamp
You don't find the NAK Cd tobe little hard sounding on the treble? If you do, you might try burr brown DACs, or tubed ones. Denon 370 is the most economical browns (ebay). Upscale Denon dvd players are also good ones. I think you are in for a pleasant surprise...