SPL set Performer S800 & Direktor MK2 : Accuracy and elegance of sound

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It is difficult for us to publish at the moment: far too many suicides of people who leave behind their children and spouses around us, a misery that we see more and more every day, beautiful souls who capsize. Our hearts are heavy and all too often, our eyes are fogged with sadness…





A good sound alchemy in HiFi is not always demonstrative or even noisy.


We sometimes come across projects which, even if they do not rival extravagance and an overly strong sound character, nevertheless remain solid anchoring points within the immense space that is quality HiFi.


We would like to introduce you to a couple of devices that we would like to see more of, namely the SPL direktor MK2 preamplifier and the SPL Performer S800 stereo power amplifier.








At first glance, nothing ostentatious about these two phalanxes can be reproached.

The workmanship appears solid and reassuring from the outset, which is in fact the case. The pretty face of the SPL Direktor MK2, a bit old fashioned, is really elegant, with two vus-meters that make their little effect.


A glance at the back of the devices makes us guess that SPL has spared no expense to offer complete configurations. Nothing is missing.






At first glance, one might wonder about the power displayed by the SPL Performer S800 in view of its rather modest dimensions. As we shall see, this questioning will soon give way to the rather well-structured possibilities of this device.



Discreet and successful aesthetics, a rather small footprint and the performances displayed by this German manufacturer which deserves to be better known.





In any case, this is what makes you want to listen to this intriguing set!


All the more so as SPL remains unknown on this side of the Rhine. And that’s a pity, as we shall find out. Because SPL, which has long been a well-established brand in the professional world, has been able to devote its experience of more than 25 years to really well-designed « general public » projects, especially if we compare them to the rather measured prices that are offered.


One last thing, moreover, which does not deceive us about SPL’s ambitions to offer versatile, affordable equipment, without forgetting a commendable aesthetic intention, the fronts of the equipment – magnetised – allow them to be interchanged according to the current tastes of each purchaser. Well seen in any case !


In addition, the SPL direktor MK2 is equipped with a DAC, which also fulfils its task of providing a worthy medium for the playback of digitised audio files or a music medium for streaming services.





Listening to these two devices is really enjoyable in many ways.


What is immediately appealing is the low-frequency performance of this set. There is no doubt about it, there is some under the bonnet and the bass is both deep and well held. The ability of this ensemble to transmit the energy required for some beautiful recordings will not disappoint. All this is clean, dry and above all not taken out of the musical context offered to the listener. The SPL direktor MK2 and the Performer S800 can be combined with a wide range of loudspeakers. For the more modest ones, there is no doubt that the SPL ensemble will bring an extra soul and life to the music, which may surprise many. Even if it is a chaste bookshelf loudspeaker.

The marriage with a pair of column loudspeakers will be done most of the time with as much happiness. However, the MK2 direktor and the Performer S800 should not be combined with loudspeakers that are already (too) well built in terms of bass. The SPL S800 is sufficiently open in this frequency range that there is no need to add more.


The midrange is in the same vein, as are the highs in terms of spaciousness and delicacy. The result is a listening serenity that we like very much in any case and that we didn’t expect either at the level of the prices offered by these two devices.


Our two SPLs deliver music with an honesty that brings honour to the music and this feeling of openness and life that is heard immediately gives you confidence.


However, the master of this set remains the MK2 SPL direktor preamplifier.

It is indeed a nice and surprising encounter to note that at this still reasonable price level, this device excels what it was designed for, namely to pass on strong and weak signals from a source, without altering their value.

We can state with conviction that the SPL direktor MK2 will be able to combine with a lot of power amplification without adding the slightest colouring or even the slightest distortion of the musical message that it will ultimately deliver. This is probably the most beautiful compliment we can pay to a preamplifier in any case.

Another point of astonishment, lies in the behaviour of the Perfomer S800 which heats up more than moderately even when pushed into its entrenchments. It remains in any circumstance hardly tepid. This faculty is not unrelated to the VOLT-AIR technology which was developed by SPL and whose result is to be praised both for the musicality and the obvious performance of this double mono amplifier.



At the listening level, all these in-house technologies bring this feeling of serene power that emanates from this couple of benefactors. We have favoured here the generous library offered by Qobuz, allowing the full use of the integrated DAC of the MK2 Director.



This low-frequency performance is perfectly audible in « the Robots » by Kraftwerk. Speed, stability and dryness stand out and provide an overall performance that can be compared with more prestigious and also more expensive phalanxes.


This impression comes out even more reinforced when listening to the two London Grammar albums. The infra-bass is simply sumptuous, with a well felt fullness, while maintaining realistic dimensions.



On larger formations, it is clear that the SPL ensemble is capable of immersing us in the different ambiences distilled by the recordings. The sound image is very realistic, rich in terms of the sound palette.



Adrien LA MARCA, with his new album  » Heroes « , allows us to verify this observation. Listening to « On the Reel » allows us to highlight the playing of the violin and the orchestral scene, of which we should note the right proportion of the desks that accompany the violinist. The sound stage is lively and playful.



BEETHOVEN’s Piano Concerto No. 3 performed by Martin HELMCHEN is pure joy. Here the piano is played with delicacy and all the harmonics give weight to the instrument. Here too, the orchestra stands out with a lot of airiness and there is no doubt about the serenity of listening.



The violin sonatas by BEETHOVEN, performed by Frank Peter Zimmermann and Martin HELMCHEN are in the same vein. The spontaneity of the recording and the effective presence of the two instrumentalists bring a naturalness that plunges us without question into the heart of these works of an invigorating freshness.



On more intimate formations, the SPL direktor MK2 & Performer S800 are equally at home.


Dean Pear with his album « Think… it’s al good » sounds magnificent. Precision and refinement come together to give a musical lesson that really transports you into another dimension.




With Buddy Guy and his album « Blues Singer », this intimate side allows you to be as close as possible to the artist and to enjoy his inimitable guitar playing. Impossible not to succumb to it !



The album  » London circa 1720 « , is really well reproduced by our SPL ensemble. This feeling of life that this recording gives is not usurped. The quality of this recording allows you to feel at the forefront and to feel effortlessly carried along by this musical flow.




A lot could be said about this SPL ensemble.

In any case, we can tell you that we had such a good time in his company that we would have liked to share with you a lot more of the recordings we like so much.



We would like to add here that we have of course tested the SPL director MK2 SPL preamplifier with other amplifier blocks, both tube and transistor.


It has never disappointed us.



Of the two devices, it is perhaps the one that offers the most remarkable transparency and neutrality of the whole.


We can therefore only recommend it if you wish to combine it with your current HiFi system. You won’t be disappointed, we’re betting on it.


SPL Performer S800


Entrées et sorties ligne

  • Neutrik XLR, symétrique, broche 2 = (+)
  • Impédance d’entrée: 10 kohms
  • Découpage d’entrée: 0 dB à -5,5 dB par pas de 0,5 dB
  • Sensibilité d’entrée: +6 dBu
  • Impédance de sortie: définie par l’appareil connecté
  • Diaphonie: -110 dB (@ 1 kHz)

Sorties haut-parleur

  • 2 paires de bornes avec trou pour câble ø4mm (à visser) et fiche banane; entièrement encapsulé

Puissance de sortie

  • 2x 285 W RMS sous 4 ohms
  • 2x 185 W RMS sous 8 ohms
  • 1x 450 W RMS sous 8 ohms en mode pont

Tension de sortie

  • 74 V crête à crête (stéréo)
  • 180 V crête à crête (pont)
  • 35 V RMS (stéréo)
  • 86 V RMS (pont)

Impédance de sortie

  • <0,031, 20 Hz à 20 kHz (stéréo)
  • <0,043, 20 Hz à 20 kHz (pont)

Facteur d’amortissement

  • > 300, 20 Hz à 20 kHz, à 8 ohms (stéréo)
  • > 190, 20 Hz à 20 kHz, à 8 ohms (pont)

Fréquence de réponse

  • 9 Hz à 100 kHz +0, –0,03 dB
  • <9 Hz à 200 kHz +0, –3 dB

Rapport signal sur bruit

  • > 118 dB (large bande, non pondéré, par rapport à la sortie pleine puissance)
  • > 123 dB (pondéré A)


  • 26 dB (stéréo)
  • 32 dB (pont)

Distorsion harmonique totale

  • <0,03% à 1 kHz, à 185 W, 8 ohms
  • <0,19% à 20 kHz, à 185 W, 8 ohms
  • <0,011% à 1 kHz, à 450 W, 8 ohms
  • <0,12% à 20 kHz à 450 W, 8 ohms

Source de courant

  • Tension secteur (commutable): 230 V AC / 50 Hz ou 115 V AC / 60 Hz
  • Fusibles: 230 V: T 4 A; 115 V: T 8 A
  • Consommation électrique: max 900 VA
  • Consommation en veille: 40 W

Dimensions (pieds inclus)

  • 278 mm L x 100 mm H x 370 mm P


  • 12,8 kg; 28,2 lb (unité seulement)
  • 14,0 kg; 30,9 lb (expédition)




SPL Direktor MK2



Entrées stéréo analogiques

  • 6 entrées stéréo analogiques
  • 2 x XLR, symétrique (10 kOhm)
  • 4 x RCA, asymétrique (47 kOhm)
  • Max. niveau d’entrée: +32,5 dBu

Entrées numériques

  • 4 entrées numériques
  • AES / EBU (XLR), symétrique
  • SPDIF coaxial (RCA)
  • Optique TOSLINK (F06)
  • USB (B)
  • 0 dBFS = 15 dBu
  • Convertisseur de puce AK4490-Velvet Sound

Taux d’échantillonnage 32 bits

  • PCM codé (kHz): 44,1, 48, 88,2, 96, 176,4, 192, 352,8, 384, 705,6, 768
  • DSD: DSD1 (DSD64), DSD2 (DSD128), DSD4 (DSD256)

Les sorties

  • 2 sorties stéréo analogiques
  • Neutrik XLR, symétrique, broche 2 = (+)
  • RCA, asymétrique (sortie directe)
  • Impédance: 75 ohms (symétrique)
  • max. niveau de sortie 32,5 dBu

Les mesures

  • Bande passante (analogique): 10 Hz (-0,1 dB), 200 kHz (-1,2 dB)
  • Diaphonie à 1 kHz: -108 dB (analogique); -108 dB (numérique)
  • THD: 0,00992% (analogique 0 dBu); 0,0014% (numérique -1 dBfs)
  • Bruit (pondéré A): -102,5 dB (analogique); -100,2 dB (numérique)
  • Plage dynamique: 135 dB (analogique); 115,2 dB (numérique)

Tensions internes

  • Analogique: +/- 60 V
  • Numérique: + 7 V et + 3,3 V

Sources de courant

  • Tension secteur (commutable): 230 V AC / 50 Hz ou 115 V AC / 60 Hz
  • Fusibles: 230 V: T 500 mA; 115 V: T 1 A
  • Consommation électrique: max. 40 VA
  • Consommation en veille: 0,7 W

Dimensions (pieds inclus)

  • 278 mm L x 100 mm H x 330 mm P
  • 10,95 po L x 3,94 po H x 13 po P


  • 4,55 kg; 10,03 lb (unité seulement)
  • 5,7 kg; 12,57 lb (expédition)


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