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Plinius Hautonga Integrated Amplifier Review Print E-mail
Monday, 24 March 2014
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Plinius Hautonga Integrated Amplifier Review
Listening Cont.

ImagePlinius is a 30-year-old high performance audio company based in New Zealand. They enjoy a stellar reputation, and fiercely loyal fan base, thanks to achievements in industrial design, build, and ergonomics. More importantly, they have long been known for making superb-sounding, reference quality playback gear, including source components and amplification. Plinius has distributors in over forty countries, yet each unit is still hand built in their factory in Christchurch, the second most populous urban area in New Zealand.

Several months ago, I had the pleasure of spending some quality time with the Plinius Tiki network file player, and was very much taken with its design, execution, and excellent sound. This overwhelmingly positive experience peaked my interest in the rest of the company’s products. Frank Gazzo, Plinius’s hard working North American representative, suggested their Hautonga integrated amplifier, which sells for $5750.

The Hautonga is built like a tank, and the workmanship is among the very best I have encountered. All connectors are of extremely high quality, with WBT and Neutrik used throughout. Internal wiring is Audioquest for the output stage and Audience for the input stage.  There is a ground switch, two sets of speaker binding posts, an XLR input labeled CD, and four RCA inputs. There is also an onboard phono stage (However, since I do not have a turntable, I was not able to evaluate this feature), as well as a Pre Out, Line Out, and Home Theater Bypass. Plinius has certainly taken the approach of producing a complete solution for variety of set ups. The name of the game is flexibility.

The casework is gorgeous and the review sample arrived in a stunning silver finish; black is also available. The Hautonga is supplied with an impressive full function billy club sized remote that could double as a weapon. There is no losing this remote between the couch cushions. Power output is specified at 200 watts per channel into 8 ohms by the way, and 280 watts into 4 ohms. The amp seemed to have gobs of power to spare, as it never seemed to break a sweat the entire time it was in the system.

Plinius Hautonga

Set Up & Listening

The Hautonga was plug and play all the way; much like the Tiki I enjoyed using so much. I used the amp with two different speakers, the KEF R700 and the Harbeth compact 7 ES3. Speaker cables were Transparent "The Wave" and sources were the Musical Fidelity V90 DAC, the CLONES Audio Sheva DAC, as well as the Marantz SA-14S1 SACD Player/DAC. I also used the excellent new Denon DA-300USB DAC, which is currently in for review. I used a Transparent power cord, with no other special tweaks.

The Hautonga and KEF match-up was tremendous partnership from the get go. Together, the R700 and the Plinius produced a big sound, with a tall and wide soundstage. The Plinius controlled the KEF’s woofers with tremendous precision. Orchestral music was panoramic and approached lifelike scale (within the confines of the listening room, of course).



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