Release the Kraken! A Plinius Mega-Amp Shootout

Well, this has been a long time coming. I have many to thank for this achievement and you all know who you are. Thank you so much!

This amplifier is insane. It’s huge! Okay, so it’s pretty much exactly the same size as the SA-250/IV it replaced, but still, that means it’s the size of a tank and about as over-built as one. If you’ve ever seen that new Ayre VX-R amplifier and thought, “wow, that’s some awesome aluminum artistry!”, well, the Plinius SA-Reference is what would happen to the Ayre after a dozen years of advanced steroid abuse. If you’re into mythology, the Ayre is Cerberus while the Plinius is the Kraken. Prefer comic books? The Ayre is Spider Man and the Plinius is the fucking Hulk. Hopefully, you’re getting the picture.


This is one spectacular amplifier.

Here’s some quick comparisons to the outgoing SA-250/IV.

1. More bass. As if that’s even fucking possible. Seriously? More bass than the best bass amplifier on the planet? Yes. Yes, the Reference is better. It reaches a bit deeper, and a bit cleaner, than the SA-250/IV. It’s also a bit warmer in the midbass than the 250, enough so that I’m reconsidering my subwoofers. Yes, seriously.

2. Better treble. The SA-250/IV was really excellent up through the treble. Admittedly, I’m I’m not 20 years old anymore, so you need to take that with a grain of salt, but to my 40+ year old ears, the SA-Reference has a sparklier treble response. More air. Placement and spatiality are about on par, however.

3. Warmer. The Reference seems to be warmer throughout the range. Everything feels a bit less cool by comparison — with the Tautoro, the SA-250/IV was a bit lean. That hint is now gone with the SA-Reference.

I also picked up a set of rail fuses from Furutech at the same time I claimed my amplifier courtesy of the kind folks over at Command Performance A/V. According to Scot Markwell of Elite A/V, the US distributor for Plinius, the new fuses are supposed to improve both treble and bass response and do so without being as lean as the fuses from HiFi Tuning everyone is raving about. I’m planning to run the SA-Reference for a few days to get a better feel for it’s sound (so, updates will be forthcoming!) before swapping the fuses.

Stay tuned ….