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Tassie Devil

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  • Birthday 15/09/1935

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  1. Item: Plinius 8100 Integrated Amplifier Location: Northern Tasmasnia Price: $995 Item Condition: Mint with original packing, manual & remote Reason for selling: Not used as I've switched to headphones Payment Method: Bank Transfer Extra Info: Purchased new and little used - been in the office here for ages but rarely turned on, particularly now I'm heavily into headphones. 4 line level inputs and remote to mute and control the volume (It does not switch the input selector). Superbly built in 2003 and appropriately weighs just over 11kg packed [The box is 58x50x28]. I purchased it in the first place because of glowing the glowing review from John Marks below. Note the review says it is 100W but the test sheet that came with it says 140W into 8 ohms. Plinius 8100 Integrated Amplifier TAS Issue 126 (October/November 2000) Plinius has revamped the workings of its entrylevel ($1,995) integrated amplifier, the 8100, until recently called the 2100i Mk 11. The 100watt 8100 is now an entirely viable alternative to its more expensive ($2,990) sibling, arguably best of class, the integrated 150-watt 8200, which you know as the 8150. The names have been changed - but according to Peter Thompson at Plinius, nothing else. The 8200 and the 8100 both part company from the rest of Plinius' amplifiers, in that their outputs operate only in Class A/B bias mode. Plinius' poweramp separates (50, 100, and 250 watts per channel) are designed for pure Class A operation, although they are switchable to Class A/B to reduce power consumption. The 8150 has been quite a success (see review, Issue 115, a Golden Ear award, and mentioned frequently by a number of writers). Peter Thomson and the gang at Plinius have based the new 8100 on the 8200, leaving out some features while reproducing the 8150's essential sonic character. The list of features left out may make the decision for you between the 8200 and the 8100. The 8100 omits the 8200's phono stage. If playing LPs is still part of your musical life and you do not have a stand-alone phono stage, well, that's that. The 8100 is rated at 100 watts per channel, a reduction from the 8200's 150. (The 8100's transformer is smaller and its power supply has less capacity - no surprises there.) For most listening, this will not be a real-world consideration, but it does make some difference when you want to fill the room with big symphonic music at levels that are probably larger than life. (The contra case is that adding a powered subwoofer to your system will lessen the demands on your main amplifier.) Apart from the issues of phono section and power rating, the remaining differences are not likely to matter. The 81 omits the 82's "processor loop." The record loop does not have a "standby" setting. The 81's chassis is slightly smaller, and the amp is lighter in weight. The similarities to the 8200 are substantial. The 8100 has two sets (for bi-wiring) of the same solid all-metal speaker binding posts as the 82. An IEC socket allows the use of detachable power cords, again a worthwhile endeavor. Both use a rotary knob to control volume, the clearly preferable means. The 8100 now has the 8200's remote control of volume and muting, although, as in the more expensive amp, source selection is made only by a manual rotary knob. The 81 has the same clean minimalist look and is available in black or brushed aluminum casework. The similarities to the 8200's sound are remarkable. The 81 has the same ability to "lock on" to the music and deliver it in startlingly realistic focus. Within 20 minutes of frosty-cold delivery, the 81 was sounding like a clone of the 82. (Neither of the 82s I had here, nor the 81 appeared to need much inthe way of breaking in, and the sonic consequences of powering them down are not as dire as reported with Plinius' Class A power amps.) Reproduction of spatial phenomena is quite good. The 8100 is articulate in both space and time without causing fatigue. Dynamics and tone colors are full but not bloated. The dynamic range is lifelike without being overbearing. The balance of the entire presentation is slightly "front of the hall" in terms of focus and liveliness, rather than reposeful in the sense of letting great slow waves of music wash over you. A guilty-pleasure musical example that showcases the Plinius family sound in general, and that of the 8100 in particular, is "Tariqat," from A Prayer for the Soul of Layla (Alula Records ALU-1005]. This CD splits the difference between Europop and ethnomusicology in rather stunning (studio, post-produced, but still stunning) sound. Keyboard ist/synthesizer whiz/producer Jamshied Sharifi combines Middle Eastern melodies, West African percussion, and a pop sensibility to stir up a sonic cocktail with quite a wallop. "Tariqat" has extraordinary synth bass, pounding live percussion, and layers of vocalizing. The 8100 retrieves bits of detail (a softly spoken "Inshallah," perhaps?) from deep within the mix, in much the same way as the 8200 did from Enya's rather comparable recordings. The 8100's ability to appear to convey "more music" does not seem to be the result of gamesmanship in the frequency or time domains. The magic seems to be in its exceptional performance at reproducing very small dynamic gradations throughout its substantial dynamic range. That there are a greater number of finer dynamic levels for the music to move between seems to give a more realistic impression of the liveliness of live music both in space and time. Brief comparisons to two other wonderful integrated amplifiers are probably in order. The Jeff Rowland Design Group Concentra ($5,600) has a stately and more nuanced sonic presentation. And build quality and ergonomics commensurate with its price point. The Electrocompaniet ECI 3, in the 8100's $1,995 price range, has a sonic presentation that is the perfect yin-yang complement to the Plinius'. The Electrocompaniet lights the stage with warm incandescent light, at times seeming almost like candlelight, but the full measure of detail is nonetheless present. The Rowland is in a class to itself. But between the Plinius and the Electrocompaniet, the choice has to be made on the basis of room acoustics, loud speakers, program sources, program material, and personal expectations. Reducing things to bumpersticker dimensions, the Plinius is more lively and neutral; the Electrocompaniet voluptuously richer and more tube-like. With the exception of the last quanta of oomph and bass drive, everything previously published in TAS about the Plinius 8200's sound applies to the 8100, at a savings of about $1,000 - quite an achievement. JOHN MARKS Pictures:
  2. Item: Benchmark DAC1 - extensively upgraded by Steve Nugent , Empirical Audio Location: Northern Tasmania Price: $695 Item Condition: Excellent Reason for selling: No longer used Payment Method: Bank Transfer Extra Info: This, after the Emprical Audio upgrades (details below) cost me close to $5000 but I appreciate its asking price must be in line with other used Benchmark DAC1s - my loss, your gain. The audio quality is hi-end so the buyer has the chance to upgrade their system to a much higher level at a bargain price. A comment by Steve Nugent on the Benchmark DAC1: The Benchmark DAC-1 is an attractive DAC for several reasons: It has balanced outputs, two active volume controls, a headphone amp, and it sounds great right out of the box. This Turbomod improves several areas. It is AC-coupled to eliminate DC-offset, so we make it DC-coupled and tune-out the DC offset. Most of the other changes improve power delivery and power supply. The op- amps deliver the best HF extension and clarity that we have ever heard in a DAC, so we know why the designer selected these. However, the same op-amps have difficulty achieving the "weight" of the performance. Our power delivery changes make a significant improvement in this area, but we offer an upgraded op-amp as an option. The input pulse transformer is a decent one, but it is grounded, which can cause low-level hum in some systems. We also offer an upgraded transformer, ungrounded, as an option. We recommend using the "calibrated" volume controls if possible. If you must use the volume knob on the front panel, we can mod the op-amps and capacitors associated with this for an additional charge. A Benchmark DAC-1 with Turbomod and Op-amp replacement actually outperforms our reference, the P-3A, when in balanced mode. The most clear and holographic soundstage we have ever heard from a DAC. Here are the mods that were done by Steve Nugent: Turbomod details: Two bridge rectifiers replaced with HEXFRED's Replace regulated voltage filter caps Improve power delivery to DAC and upsampler chips Improve power delivery to 10 op-amps - Black Gates and HF caps Upgrade DAC filtering Replace all voltage regulators. Eliminate AC-coupling and tune-out DC offset Improve digital input coupling Additional Optional Modifications Also Done: * Dual op-amp replacement * Pulse Transformer upgrade * Superturboclock3 upgrade Here is a comment on this mods: http://www.audiocircle.com/circles/viewtopic.php?t=15010&start=10 I have been having a lot of fun and enjoyable listening sessions since I received the Benchmark back from Steve earlier this week. Wow! sums it up best. Improvements seem to be across the board, especially with the midrange and lower frequencies. Originally, the midrange seemed slightly recessed, flat and non-involving. This has been corrected. While bass with the unmodded unit was better than what I was accustomed to, it was not well defined. This too has been corrected. These corrections have helped the dynamics to be consistent through all frequencies. Instruments sound more like real instruments and voices now have body. I never really experienced the problems with the high frequencies and brightness that others have commented on. Maybe it is because of the tube preamp I use. In addition to my EA modded S7700 and ZR1600, the Benchmark gives me the most musical system I have had. Thanks Steve! I have a copy of an interview with Steve which I can forward to anyone interested. Pictures:
  3. FS: Audio-gd R2R DAC-19

    Item: Audio-gd R2R DAC-19 Location: Northern Tasmania Price: $549 Item Condition: Mint Reason for selling: Unused as now into balanced audio Payment Method: Bank transfer This is another extraordinary DAC and, by itself, weighs 3.2 kg because of the hefty internal 50W power supply. But it is time to part with it as it is unused and needs to go to an appreciated home. I'll not rave on about it, better if you read one of the following reviews: 1. http://www.audio-gd.com/pro/dac/dac19/dac19en.htm (has a heap more links) 2. https://www.head-fi.org/threads/new-audio-gd-dac-19-10th-anniversary-edition.759872/ (shows pictuires of the internals) 3. Pictures:
  4. Item: Arcam irDAC with Linear Power Supply Location: Northern Tasmania Price: $549 Item Condition: Mint with original box Reason for selling: Unused as now into balanced audio Payment Method: Bank Transfer Extra Info: I could not believe the puny power supply which came with this lovely DAC so purchased a linear PS and inserted into the container as shown in the pics. Note it is NOT an Arcam PS but is far superior and makes all the difference to the effectiveness of the DAC. The heavy PS brings the all up weight of the package to 2.2 kg so, FYI, postage from here to Sydney is $33. I part with it with some reluctance as it is one of the best single ended DACs I've had the pleasure to own - you can read glowing reports of it on the net but remember those reports are with the original wall wart PS. The linear one with this DAC takes it to a new level. Pictures:
  5. Weakest Link(s) in the Audio Chain?

    Interesting responses but no one comenting on how headphones overcome those two biggest problems most identify - speakers/room. But then I guess that is a personal taste issue where some do not like the "in your head" sound from headphones and prefer a more social speaker system. And in a headphone system that does eliminate that speaker/room problem, I feel it is much easier to detect that the DAC is the vital "brain" that controls how awful or how good digital sources can sound. But then I guess many are convinced, as I once was myself, that digital sources can never ever sound as good as analog but I'm not wishing to open up that debate.
  6. This is probably the most frustrating problem facing an audiophile - which link is the weakest and should be upgraded? FWIW here is a personal appraisal of each of these links (not in any particular order) in a digital system - the more stars, the more likely it could be the culprit. 1. The recording * 2. The item responsible for digital output of the recorded media - if a CDP (omitting the DAC) ** - if a PC music file via USB **** - if a music file from a server * and handled by a bridge *** tranmitted via SPDIF **** or transmitted by XLR ** [in both cases cable quality could be significant] 3. The DAC ****** 4. The amplifier(s) *** 5. The speakers **** and room interaction [resonances etc] **** OR Headphone *** 6. The listener - anything from ** to ***** with the variation depending on the genetic link of ears [their structure] to the rest of the brain functions, modified by the environment, meaning listening experiences leading to prejudices for or against bass etc etc. Generalisations are dangerous but it can be helpful to seriously examine each of the links in the audio chain from the music file on disk or server right up to the end product, the music being appreciated. And I've avoided mentioning balanced vs unbalanced as, it appears that balanced is superior. From the above you can interpret that I consider the DAC to be the crucial link that is weakest in many systems. And it is the very valid reason why many prefer vinyl or other analog media that avoid the digital transformation at all. And it is the reason why most early CDPs sounded harsh and unforgiving. But it does seem that we are finally getting there because some of the recent crop of DACs like the Schiit YGGDRASIL and the LKS-D004 [my current favourite] and turning the corner to make vinyl lovers sit up and take notice [of course that does not mean a digital conversion will follow!!]. It is far too easy to get sucked it to a rave product review, buy the item, be initially overjoyed at how good it appears to be, but then later come to the realisation that just because the sound is a bit different, it does not mean it is better. One has succeeded in enriching the retailer but in fact have only moved sideways and not forward. Been there, done that, far too often. Spending large sums on e.g. headphones, and expecting to hear all sorts of hidden musical nuances might in fact reveal more clearly all sorts of nasties earlier in the chain. This can result in condeming the headphone as "bad" when in fact it is revealing those earlier problems, very possibly in the DAC. So the disillusioned audiophile goes for a headphone that "sounds better" when in fact all it does is mask the problems! And of course a similar situation can occur with revealing speakers who have the added challenge of careful placement. And so the merry go round of audio upgrades goes on, and on, and ........ .
  7. No, still here and 3 are being used. But I guess still FS as one is not being used and that is a shame.
  8. Sennheiser HD800S prices dropping

    Not so dumb as the Chinese are getting very clever at imitations. However, EVERY detail of the packing, the brocures, the cables and the headphones themselves are identical to the pair I purchased new some time ago in Australia and paid $2250 for that pleasure. And of course the AQ they reproduce is the same. Replicating that would be a much more difficult task.
  9. Sennheiser HD800S prices dropping

    Agree and shared your initial concern but mine also arrived as the genuine article. The Sennies are VERY comfortable and can reproduce stunning audio with the right input. I'm also impressed with this cabling - http://www.lunashops.com/goods.php?id=4782 Another Chinese site offers made up cabling FS. I initially inadvertently purchased two 1m cables and used one for awhile after soldering in an AES 5 pin balanced plug but it was a bit uncomfortably short so I ordered a 2m one and transferred that plug across. I'm using one of the 1m cables with a Pioneer 30S - sounds great, and have orered another 1m length to extend that shorter cable for the second Sennie 800S, Yes, I love them so nuch I have more than one with the main reason being convenience + those plugs on the headphone are not easy to pull out and the fine gold wires inside can be inadsvertently bent if one is not careful. In the past I have soldered up those plugs but there is minimal space inside so it is not an easy tak - best left to others
  10. SOLD: FS: Schiit YGGDRASIL hi-end DAC

    Yup, that's me. I did a stint moderating the vinyl asylum for awhile, then Music but have now handed over that to others.
  11. SOLD: FS: Schiit YGGDRASIL hi-end DAC

    Try emailing me jcoulsonATiprimus.com.au In the meantime I'll attempt to clean out the message box here.
  12. SOLD: FS: Schiit YGGDRASIL hi-end DAC

    LOL. I understand where you are coming from and I will not be stressed out if no one wants it! But you have reminded me to do a digital extraction and sell some of the other unused audio gear cluttering up the place.
  13. SOLD: FS: Schiit YGGDRASIL hi-end DAC

    No problem. He is unlikely to get one, particularly a 2017 one, for less, but of course you never know!!!!
  14. SOLD: FS: Schiit YGGDRASIL hi-end DAC

    Ahah, so he is made of anti-matter? I'm just reading about it at https://cosmosmagazine.com/physics/universe-shouldn-t-exist-cern-physicists-conclude
  15. SOLD: FS: Schiit YGGDRASIL hi-end DAC

    Now how am I supposed to answer that? But I'll try - In a nutshell I'm, appropriately, an 82 YO A/V nutter who has been messing around with this mania since constructing my first crystal set back in the late 1940's and have now come full circle by again listening via headphones, but now it is generally classical music. And who might you be????