Plinius Kiokio Power Amp

04.03.2014..
Plinius Kiokio Front
Plinius Kiokio Front


ReMusic Spark AwardPlinius is a New Zealander company founded in the '80s. The full line of products has winsome lines and, at the same time, instils a feeling of amazing robustness.

 

In 1990 they started to manufacture the lucky M series of preamplifiers and in 1992 the SA-250 power amp characterized by remarkable performances and still now very appreciated in the audiophile world.

The denomination in Maori language of the Plinius devices commenced in 2006, maybe with the purpose of spreading the native culture and intriguing the potential purchasers or, to create a bond with the past by stressing the importance of the folk tradition to which we often owe the success of today: after all we are who we were and will be what we are.

 

In the same year, Plinius started to design always more sophisticated devices with an absolute quality like the series Reference SA-103 and SB-301 and our Kiokio, a power amp with more than 300 watts into 8 ohms. As I found the name of the gear very curious, I tried to find its meaning: the Kiokio belongs to the family of hard ferns, the second largest of New Zealand’s fern families. Kiokio is hardy, and is commonly seen on the sides of road cuttings and stream banks in the damper regions of the country. Maybe the aim of the company has not been casual: comparing the object to a so luxuriant and strong plant in order to underline how the machine is strong and harmonious.

 

The Kiokio amp, with the packaging is very heavy: about 30 kilos, so I had to ask the help of my wife to place it in the room. Anyway, except its weight the set is very easy also thanks to the suggestions of the user's manual. So, nice packaging, thorough technical instructions and a pair of white gloves.

 

The Kiokio is a stereo power amp provided, as stated by the house, with 310 watts into 8 ohms and, in theory, it shouldn't have any difficulty in driving the toughest loudspeakers, since it has an output of 470 watts into 4 ohms.

The 100 A short duration peak per channel of current output induces me to hope in great performances of my three-way loudspeakers that are very eager of current.

 

On the back, the amp features balanced and unbalanced inputs and two pair of WBT connectors for each channel that are very useful for bi-wiring.

Always on the rear panel is the commuter of general starting which put the device in stand-by. The switch on the front panel allows the soft-start to complete the starting of the device after a couple of seconds.

 

On the front panel, there's also the always very useful Mute control.

The rear panel has a switch to solve, when necessary, the ground–loop: an annoying ground noise that may arise if other devices of the system get in contact with the chassis .

 

The Kiokio has two big 1100 watt toroidal transformers and about ten filter capacitors of 6800 microfarad. The H-shaped chassis features on the top the power supply circuitry. The BJT of power, 16 per channel, are uniformly split between the top and the bottom of the chassis. This last one side contains the two big toroidal transformers and, in the middle, is placed the “soft-start” circuit. Besides, the Kiokio is provided with protection for inrush currents and high temperatures.

 

Listening impressions

About the very first hours of functioning I won't say anything, since the coldness and lack of depth in the low range was due to the fact that the device had never work before. In any case, I have noticed the perfect reconstruction of details and the perfect positioning of the instruments.

 

After ten hours of burn-in, I started the listening test also at high volume. Well...it was...shocking!

The initial feeling, as I thought, has disappeared.

 

Freddy Mercury's voice is in front of me, the instruments of the Dallas Wind Symphony in Molly on the Shore are all intelligible and the bass drum, in the distance, can be perceived with a naturalness I've never heard before. Emma Shapplin's voice in Spente le stelle is touching and, in some passages, thrilling. Tori Amos's voice is warm and involving.

 

The ambience and air of the musical scene are wide and, sometimes, you feel like being into. After an hour the sound seems too open, but I think this is due to my source and my Bryston BP25 preamp. So I reserve the option to test the Kiokio with a different source.

 

As the tests go on, the sensation of being in front of a high-end device is always more vivid.

The amp gives back natural and present voices, stamped three-dimensionality and soundstage and, whit the proper recordings, definite details...amazing!

What I found astounding is the way it creates a wide and deep scene and, at the same time, as it fragments the sound info and then recreates it with an amazing harmoniosity without losing any microinfo and without adding anything to the musical message. The Kiokio is really correct in many listening parameters.

 

After other listening sessions alone and with friends, I can say that this power amp is amazing in its performances but also unmerciful if interfaced with other parts of the system that don't match up or bad recordings: it gives back what he gets with a perfect transparency. Listening to well recorded classical music, with my eyes closed, I felt like having the orchestra just in front of me, with the instruments at the right distance.

I've tested the Plinius Kiokio with a last generation DAC, the M2tech Young and it confirmed a great transparency.

 

And now I want to tell you that, one evening, while I was watching a fiction set at the time of the Crusades, the audio with the Kiokio inserted in the system has bewitched me so that I paid more attention to the effects and soundtracks than to the plot.

Next test has been made with a DAC Reimyo and a Shindo Claret preamplifier. Also here, notwithstanding the imperfect electric match between pre and power amp - in fact the preamp of the New Zealander brand has a very low current of 500 millivolt and a limited gain in order to better match with the Plinius power amps range - the power amp has been harmonious, involving and very determined in the most difficult musical passages.

 

In conclusion, I can define this power amp as complete. A great machine that will toss you in the world of top quality audio. Use the Kiokio and you won't renounce to any of the fundamental parameters to enjoy your favourite records.

 

In brief

Dynamics: excellent, mostly the micro-dynamics

Transparency: total

Rate: realistic

Image: perfect reconstruction of the scene

Timbric: excellent

Detail: impressive

It's not my fault if ReMusic has asked to me to test a real champion of amplification as first reviewing experience. Hence, supported also by Roberto Rocchi's impressions, I give a Spark in the dark to the Plinius Kiokio since it stands out for universality and completeness in the performances and, in particular, for the scenic recreation and airing of the musical space.

 

Official technical specifications:

Power: 310 watts RMS per channel into 8 ohms, 470 watts RMS per channel into 4 ohms. Both channels driven from 20Hz to 20kHz at less than 0.2% total harmonic distortion.

Frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz ±0.2dB, -3dB at 70kHz

Distortion: Typically <0.05% THD at rated power, 0.1% THD and IM worst case prior to clipping

Current output:100A short duration peak per channel Fuse protected

Rise time: Typically 5µs

Phase response: +0° at 20Hz and -14° 20kHz

Hum & Noise:100dB below rated output 20Hz to 20kHz, A-weighted

Input impedance: 47k ohms

Gain: RCA Inputs: 32dB, balanced Inputs: 38dB

Power/Current consumption: 900W, 1.6A (370W) Class AB Idle, 0.2A (46W) Standby

Dimensions: 400mm (15 3/4"), 220mm (8 3/4 "), 420mm (16 3/4") (WxHxD)

Weight: 32kg (70lb)

Official Italian dealer: to Il Tempio Esoterico website

Official current price in Italy: 11,990.00 EUR

Associated equipment: to Roberto Fugito's system

 

 

 

 
by Roberto Fugito
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