We auditioned the Plato Class B about a year ago and thought that it was a fantastic product well thought out and well engineered but we had some misgivings about the sound quality. Not that it sounded bad but it didn't quite hit the mark when factoring in what our customers expect us to be selling.
Essentially it's the same product as the earlier model but with a better Class A amplifier.
Normally a class A design would generate a lot of heat and as such you will find that they are usually large with an array of heat sinks to dissipate the heat. Convert have used some clever technology to avoid this and as result you get class A performance without the bulky box. In fact we think that it looks very modern, uncomplicated with clean lines and just the right amount of curve. It would even look good on a sideboard we think.
The 15 watts you get with the class A operation doesn't sound a lot, and indeed it isn't when you turn up the wick, the Plato caters for this scenario by switching to A/B operation when needed pushing out 50 watts of A/B power. What do they say, “when the going gets tough...”
So, what else does the Plato do? It would probably be easier to describe what it can't do. The initial idea Convert had was to create a device that will record Vinyl in a sophisticated no nonsense way.
That initial idea is delivered in spades as there is not a better vinyl ripper on the market. It will handle both MC and MM cartridges and records up-to 24bit 192khz. When you drop the needle on the record it will intelligently look up the recording online and deliver the album art and track names as well as split the recording into tracks. This is very clever and couldn't be simpler.
As well as recording Vinyl you can also record your cassettes or any other analogue format just plug in and away you go. The Plato is also a streamer and a ripper. The observant amongst you will have noticed from the picture that it doesn't have a CD draw. They get round this by supplying a USB drive along with an android tablet which gives complete control over the unit. The 2TB of internal storage you get should be enough for most but as it is a streamer as well it would be easy to expand on that if needed.
We listened to the unit using a variety of music including ripped vinyl (which sounds really good) recordings from the hard drive and recordings off our network. The class A 'sound' smothered us not in a soft gooey way but in way that is very pleasing to the ear. Nothing we played tripped the unit up. So the Pixies Doolittle album didn't sound harsh at all as it often can. Massive Attack's Mezzanine sounded great with a very pleasing bass that was not necessarily as tight as some A/B amps can muster but with texture that those amps only hint at. The all important mid range is handled excellently, with Teardrop off Mezzanine touching the back of the spine if you know what I mean.
All in all we think the audio performance is excellent and that coupled with it's massive feature list the Convert Plato deserves a place in the shop. You may not need all the features it offers but even if you just need storage and streaming in an attractive package it is well worth a listen. As always don't take our word for it, come and have a listen.
Convert Technologies Plato Class A is available for demonstration at Audio T Bristol.