Let's talk soundstage where the s1200 locked down the real action; or what the mixing engineer meant for us to hear. The general perspective felt a bit closer hence bigger than I'm used to so Eva Cassidy on Live at Blues Alley sat quite forward stage right or I closer to stage. Individual performers showed pleasing body with unambiguous outlines. This all was very sorted particularly when the SPL also conveyed a firm impression of the recording venue and its dimensions. Granted, on certain studio productions this could approach the hyper real or super focused but then I was always certain that this was true to what the studio engineer had actually laid down for posterity. Proper live cuts came off ingeniously so with plenty of atmosphere to feel right inside the audience and often front-row center. Check out E.S.T.'s legendary Live in Hamburg. I felt virtually sucked into this recording for one of those magical moments which a quality hifi system can conjure up.

It all made the SPL Performer s1200 a must-hear of an unimpeachably neutral very powerful stereo amplifier with a markedly frontal, hard-cracking very controlled and dynamically charged personality. Exceptionally articulate bass demands special mention. The resolution profile emphasized transients over decays which explains this undeniably sporty not plush drive. Fans of fireplace romance will look elsewhere. Personally I've rarely come across any amp which managed to be this informative and neutral yet simultaneously so much electrifying fun. Which cleanly segues back at SPL's self-professed goal: did you have fun?

Psych profile for the SPL Performer s1200…

♦ tonally ideally neutral with zero frequency-domain deviations. The resultant balance spoke to core studio kit expectations.
♦ undeniable playfulness based on extreme dynamic elan. Of course calm music remained calm but some type of turbo kicked in with dynamically exuberant fare to lay bare even the most embedded of small emphatic arcs or accents.
♦ high power countered the beefcake curse with effortless control. The truly powerful needn't show off.
♦ a fully extended phenomenally articulate bass register.
♦ transparent mids where the SPL was extremely clean and not an iota more. Quality recordings came off very well. Others chasing an end-user injection of color saturation and lower-mid warmth could feel more sober.
♦ straight-lined treble for clear meaning. Where the recording warrants, this can express impressive energy.
♦ high resolution focused more on transient exactitude and a bit less on the most endless of decays.
♦ well-sorted soundstaging where image focus was exceptional, overall perspective a bit forward so slightly enlarged but not overblown. Recorded venue cues and their dimensions were very easy to hear.
♦ good looks, quality fit'n'finish, high mass.

Concept: stereo transistor amp
Inputs: switchable RCA/XLR, 12-step input sensitivity
RMS power: 300wpc into 8Ω, 520/4, 550/2
Dimensions & weight: 278 x 205 x 375mm, 29.1kg
Trim: red, black or silver front, magnetized inlays in all three colors included
Warranty: 2 years