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Do I buy a LP66S?

From tubes to solid state.
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kiwilp
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Do I buy a LP66S?

Post by kiwilp » Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:05 am

Hi from New Zealand.
I just joined to hopefully get some advice. I have just purchased some focal sopra 2 speakers and I'm looking for an amp. I've never owned tube but the warmth I read about appeals - the maintenance/issues do not.
The lp66s gets fantastic reviews but is it risky buying one second hand now, as they have been around a while? I would pair it with a ET3. I hope this question does not offend.
Thanks for any tips on this or any other suitable pre/power amp.

Big Dog RJ
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Re: Do I buy a LP66S?

Post by Big Dog RJ » Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:56 am

G'day mate,

Nice to have a kiwi close to down unda. How are the All Blacks fairing? Will always love that game, although me bones didn't last much long at national level. Great tough years of hard ball, came across some of the roughest and toughest I've ever been up against. This is dating back to the good old early 90's with Fitzy, Craig Dowd, Olo Brown, Ian Jones, Robin Brooke, Zin Zan Brooke, Jeremy Joseph, Frank Bunce, Walter Little, Grant Fox, and legend Michael Jones, not to mention Twiga Mala! Can't imagine Jonah Lomu is no more, just a few years younger and same b'day! Spooky stuff mate.
They don't make players like this anymore, it's almost a softy game now, all sorts of new rules and umpires, cameras at every angle, tribunals to deal with, and the commercialism, ah forget it.

Anyway, getting back to audio, you guys make a wonderful power amplifier on your own soil- Plinius. It is one of the most powerful solid state amplifiers I've ever come across and has that glorious tube warmth to it. Partner this with a nice tube preamp from CJ and you're set for life mate!

The LP66S is a great amplifier, and so there were other great ones after that as well. Rated at around 60w or so, should be more than enough for your Focals. Maintenance issues- yes, there will be down the line as the case with every tube amplifier. The LP66S just has a pair of output tubes per channel, so it's really not that hard to maintain, if at all quite simple compared to larger monoblocks or stereo amps having 4 tubes per channel or more. My previous massive Manley's had 8 output tubes per channel, totalling 16 output tubes and 6 smaller tubes- talk about maintenance issues...

Also, on the LP66S, the smaller input and driver tubes are very easy to obtain, too many stores on-line, you can place your order and have them delivered at your door step, so better still order a few to try out a tube roll and gather which flavour you prefer!

However, recommending what pre-power amp match up to go for, is like asking what ice cream is good! It all depends on you mate. What are you looking for and what type of sound are you after. Your listening tastes, listening levels, listening sessions, listening room, music genre and so on.
If you really do like CJ gear, then perhaps you are a true music lover / passionate about recorded music at its highest level on realistic budgets. In which case, you can't go wrong with CJ and especially that combination- LP66S and the ET3. If you want to take those dynamics to another level with plenty of oomph, bass slam and sheer power with authority and control, partner the ET3 with a Plinius, buckle up and enjoy the ride, you won't be disappointed!

Cheers maties and let us know how all fairs,
RJ

kiwilp
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Re: Do I buy a LP66S?

Post by kiwilp » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:02 am

Plinius?! Never heard of before but will definitely look them up for a trial - any particular model? Don't get me started on the all blacks! Really appreciate your comments mate. Cheers!

kiwilp
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Re: Do I buy a LP66S?

Post by kiwilp » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:35 am

Ok, I'm intrigued - just read a couple reviews on the plinius SA-103 and it sounds amazing....married with an ET3 you say, could be just what I'm after!

Big Dog RJ
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Re: Do I buy a LP66S?

Post by Big Dog RJ » Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:40 am

Righteo, that's a definite mate!

The majority of systems I've auditioned with Plinius power amps (SA Reference and SA 103), have been partnered with either Bryston, McIntosh, Audio Research, Naim, VTL and CJ. All these combinations worked extremely well, since the Plinius just did its job of true power amplification. Then, I partnered this with my very own ACT2 before sending it across up state for a service and health issues check... and wow! That sort of power and finesse I was not expecting!

The Plinius was just as good as CJ's Premier 350 or the McIntosh MC452. It had all the muscle required to drive virtually any load and for that matter reactive loads found on electrostats. It drove my Quads ESL2905's to extraordinary levels of sheer musicality and power that I had not experienced. It was also not just brute force but had this special kind of tube warmth that came from its intricate MOSFET-bipolar hybrid design output stage. Nearly operating in Class A topology right throughout, and it was marvellous with a tube preamp.

At the end, since I'm somewhat very passionate towards a more natural sound, one that is relaxed and offers a more sublime presentation, I just prefer tube power amplification as well, hence seem to always settle for a valve design somewhere down the line.

Having said that, doesn't mean the Plinius was harsh or not natural, it was just superb! I was very keen on the Plinius and it was a chap on WBF who recommended the Plinius to me when I was after my ultimate power amplifier. Sadly, this chap passed away. The very little time I got to know him, most during emails and forums on WBF- his information and knowledge on electrostats and suitable amps was quite extensive. He had also gone through various gear during his travels and time. He was using Acoustats and very highly recommended the Plinius.

For what they cost, and the sonic performance they deliver- they are very hard to beat. Similarly to Roger Sanders amps, the Magtech, another superb amplifier for the value it offers, specially partnered with panel type speakers, they bring the best out of panels. Therefore, driving dynamic driver types with the Plinius will be a breeze!

If you can audition the Plinius, especially with a tube pre, you will be very amazed at how it portrays music in its most natural form with immense power in a whisper! A very fine power amplifier that is not given enough recognition in my opinion, although it has won several awards...

Cheers maties and let us know if and when you come across one.
RJ

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Re: Do I buy a LP66S?

Post by Bebop » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:06 pm

Hi kiwilp. What did you end up going for in your quest for a power amplifier?

I have an LP66s which I really like (paired with a ET3se). But lately I've been wondering about good solid state amps as some of my audio mates have experienced their power tubes blowing. One lucky that it was just the tube that died, another, it took out other components. These are Jadis and ARC gear. So now I'm having some tube stress ;).

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