View Full Version : Primaluna Vs china


shastasheen65
03-03-2006, 08:15 AM
Hello, I'm mario fm Venice, Italy, new member since today.
First of all sorry for my terrifying english :no: , I hope you will understand, more or less, what I will want to mean.
I red some of your topic abt Bez, Yaqin, etc. etc. but I'm not able to understand the most important thing: how do they sound?
I own a shining Primaluna Prologue One, that one year ago opened a new world to me: no, not the tube world but the "good sounding gears" one.
Before I owned Cyrus, Audio analogue, Electrocompaniet, Audio Innovations, but Primaluna IMO is not one but two or three steps beyond.
I imagine most of you knows Primaluna, well is there somebody who can compare my favourite one with chinese low costs el34 pp but also 300b se amplifiers?
I know that Primaluna is also made in china, but it is a dutch design, it has an european heart!
Or who can compare those chineses with the best and most famous tube integrateds, like Cary, Audion, Audio Note etc. etc. etc.?
Are they really bargains?
Or the only way to make them sing is an heavy tweaking?
ciao
mario

NOSValves
03-03-2006, 11:17 AM
Primaluna = Modified Cayin

SixCats!
03-03-2006, 05:25 PM
Hi SS65,

Hello Mario! Welcome to the AK forums! I just wanted to welcome you to AK. I hope you enjoy your time here at this site. Well, I have read many VERY nice comments about the PRIMA LUNA Tube Amps. Wow...so you believe it is truly better that all the other gear you listed ? Some how, I don't doubt that for minute. So...how is the BUILT quality of the PRIMA LUNA ? Also, how many Watts per channel and...what are you using for Speakers ? I hope to someday upgrade my humble little system to a more SERIOUS system. That being said, geeezee...I am pretty content (for the time being) with my vintage ALLIED 333 Tube Receiver (circa 1960's perhaps earlier) along with a pair of JBL 4311B Control Monitors (which are 91 db efficent). The 333 is 8 Watts (push-pull) per channel. LOL, I bought the 333 at a YARD SALE several years ago for $5.00 and I was GIVEN the JBL's by my younger brother. I have other (Solid State) gear including a ACCUPHASE E-202 (which is need of repair). The E-202 is about as nice a SS Amp one could own IHMO. I also have several Speakers which include : KEF 102's, THIEL 03A's, PIONEER HPM 100's, etc. but...on the whole, I MOST enjoy listening to my JBL's with the 333 Tube Receiver. I find it funny that a system that cost me nearly NOTHING gives me THE most listening pleasure! I did however just spend a bit of money to have my 333 repaired/tuned up after several years of Faithful service. I figure it is a small price to pay vs. NEW gear. I someday hope to own a pair of LARGE HORN Speakers such as ALTEC's, KLIPSCH, TANNOY, etc.) and a newer Tube Amp (perhaps even a SET Amp). In the meantime, my humble little system does a pretty darn good job of playing the tunes! I mostly listen to Classic Jazz, BLUES and LIGHT Classical. I am truly happy to hear that you are so please with your PRIMA LUNA! I've been checking them out in the Audio Magizines. Anyway...welcome aboard Mario! Ciao.

Regards,
SixCats! (aka Tom Patrick)

SixCats!
03-03-2006, 06:00 PM
Oooh Mario!

I forgot to metion, I am a HUGH fan of ITALIAN Colognes!

LORENZO VILLORESI (PIPER NIGRUM, VETIVER, PATCHOULI, SANDALO, etc.)

and SANTA MARIA NOVELLA (ACQUA DI CUBA, PATCHOULI, NOSTALIGA, etc.)

RULE! Two of my very FAVORITE Houses! I am also a fan of

TRUSSARDI UOMO!


Ciao.

SixCats!

Doc Sarvis
03-03-2006, 10:59 PM
I have owned Cary (American), Primaluna, Quicksilver (American), ASL (Chinese), YS Audio (Chinese), and many other tube power amps/integrateds, and I can say that none of them beats Primaluna for build quality or sound, when similar wattages/tube compliments are compared. Primaluna is a great product - and named for a town in the Italian Alps!

SixCats!
03-04-2006, 07:36 AM
Hi Doc,

Welcome to AK! Wow, lots of nice gear you have there! Geeezee, I am really going to have to give the Primaluna some STRONG consideration! I have seen the ads in the STEREOPHILE for this Amp and it appears to be a sweet little Amp for the money. Could you tell us what IT is about the Primaluna that makes you prefer it over the ASL, CARY, QUICKSLIVER, etc. ?
Does the Primaluna just outperform the others in your opinion ? How is the BUILD quality ? Company support ? Thanks.

Regards,
SixCats!

Doc Sarvis
03-04-2006, 10:58 AM
Hi Doc,

Welcome to AK! Wow, lots of nice gear you have there! Geeezee, I am really going to have to give the Primaluna some STRONG consideration! I have seen the ads in the STEREOPHILE for this Amp and it appears to be a sweet little Amp for the money. Could you tell us what IT is about the Primaluna that makes you prefer it over the ASL, CARY, QUICKSLIVER, etc. ?
Does the Primaluna just outperform the others in your opinion ? How is the BUILD quality ? Company support ? Thanks.

Regards,
SixCats!

Sure: Sound quality is of course affected by many factors (such as type of tubes, etc). The Primaluna is competitive with any other EL-34 amp I have heard (the only PL I have heard is the Prologue One). The Prologue One has a very big sound considering it has only 35 wpc; tube-y midrange, but solid high and low-frequency extension. Most of all, it's the build quality that knocked me out. This is obviously a really well-made product. In the US, the main dealer is Upscale Audio - their support is very good, although the PL stuff has had very few defects (virtually none according to the dealer). Long-term no one knows; the product has only been on the market for a couple of years.

I actually wrote a review (more of an essay really - sorry) about the Prologue One last Christmastime for Audio Asylum. Just for laughs, here it is (sorry for the long post). I have since sold the Gallos I mention here, but the PL remains:

PrimaLuna Prologue One Integrated Amplifier

I don’t need to say much by way of introduction for the Prologue One. If you’ve been paying any attention to the audiophile press over the last year, then you already know the story: A new line of affordably-priced integrated tube amplifiers hits the market, and is met with rave reviews from almost every direction; praised for their appearance, their ease of use and dependability, even their smell (according to one reviewer) – but most of all, their sonics. Almost overnight, a new standard is set for tube-based electronics.

Because this story has already been told so many times, I don’t need to rehash it here. Instead, I’ll take a page from the world of marketing and advertising, and talk instead about the experience of the ProLogue One - from the moment I became aware of it, to its current place in my life.

Like many others, my first exposure to the Prologue One was through the auspices of my favorite audio equipment dealer, Kevin Deal of Upscale Audio. I was already a multi-year satisfied customer of Kevin’s, and buzz was beginning to spread about the PrimaLuna line, that Kevin was helping to introduce to the U.S. market (as he had previously done with the now-famous Ah! Njoe Tjoeb CD player). The new amps would be point-to-point wired, and would sport many value-added features - including auto-biasing - which would simplify the life of even a fairly seasoned tube amp owner like me. I was certainly intrigued when the ProLogue One was introduced and received the first of its many favorable notices, but I did not initially “give in” – mainly because I had no use for an integrated in my system.

It was here that the “experience” factor began to play itself out. My fourteen-year-old son, who had been spending his entire life observing his father’s audiophile manias from a respectful distance (“careful son, those things get really hot!”), came to me one day and uttered the words that every audiophile Dad longs to hear: “I was wondering if I could borrow some of your tube equipment for my room.” My heart sang with joy: Despite the preponderance of MP3 culture in his life, and despite my repeated admonitions that his friends would just not “get” tubes, he nevertheless had learned something about good sound from his dad, and wanted to have it in his life.

At first, my idea was to bring him into the tube world by way of a cheap headphone amp and some HD-600s. But, as fate would have it, I had a short-term need for a replacement amp in my own system (mine was at the shop). So, a plan was hatched (and spouse-approved): I would buy the ProLogue One, use it in my own system for a while and teach my son about it, then, when he least expected it, casually announce that we should set it up in his room. Without explicitly verbalizing it, the ground would be laid for eventually letting him take the amp with him when he set out into the big world on his own – still wet behind the ears, perhaps, but at least well-grounded in his appreciation of good sound. My audiophile passions would be successfully passed on to the next generation.

I set the scheme in motion with a call to Kevin. As always, he was completely accommodating and service-oriented. (A special mention is apropos here: Kevin Deal continues to be one of the shining lights in this hobby. You should consider patronizing his business whenever circumstances permit.) I opted for the $159 add-on phono stage (called the PhonoBoard); I had no illusions about my son wanting to adopt my vinyl obsession, but I reasoned that a phono stage would be good for possible resale (plus, as mentioned, I needed the amp for short-term use in my own system – which most definitely includes a vinyl rig). As usual, Kevin’s service was fast and efficient: He makes a point of trying to get his customers’ new gear to them in time for the weekend, and that’s exactly what he did for me.

Double boxing has become de rigueur in high-end audio shipping, but the PrimaLuna actually arrived triple boxed – I have never received an audio component more effectively protected than this one. Again, it’s about the experience – Kevin and his PrimaLuna associates know that packaging goes a long way to cementing good initial impressions. At the threshold of the third box, I discovered a set of white cotton gloves for handling the amp – a nice touch. Finally, after breaking the third seal, the amp itself was revealed, protected by another cloth. Other reviewers have commented on the paint job, but it must be seen to be appreciated, a beautiful darkest-blue automotive paint, hand-rubbed to a gorgeous finish. (I immediately proceeded to put a small nick in mine, in an act of personal stupidity so shame-inducing that the details cannot be revealed here – suffice it to say that care should be exercised with the finish!). The tubes themselves (which, unusually, were already installed in the amp as it came out of the box), were protected by a sturdy tube cage. As has been well-reported, the cage is held to the amp itself by four ingenious banana plugs, and is easily removed as a result. Everything about the amp, from its industrial, “Metropolis-esque” overall look, to the feel of the volume pot and input selector knobs, to the sturdy five-way binding posts, testifies to the quality of the design and manufacturing process, and cemented in my mind the wise-ness of my decision to purchase. So far, the experience could not be better.

After removing the Styrofoam protectors around the tubes and checking that they were firmly in place, I was almost ready to begin. I had a choice between 4 or 8-ohm speaker taps on the rear, and I chose the 8-ohm hookups for my Gallo Reference3 speakers. I was a little pensive about trying the 35wpc Prologue One on speakers that are not known for their efficiency, but since it only represented a temporary setup before the plan with my son went into effect, I figured I’d give it a try. I’ll admit I was shocked by the results: From the moment I put on a CD and eased into the volume knob, the sound I heard from the Gallos was solid and authoritative – smooth midrange to be sure, but also pure, engaging highs and surprisingly effective bass response.

Amazingly enough, I noticed no shortage of power, either at that initial moment or at any other time throughout my experience with the ProLogue One/Gallo combination. I listen to a lot of classical music, and I had reckoned that the extreme dynamic range of, say, Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand (in the famous Solti/CSO remastered “Legends” CD), would prove too much for the amp with those speakers. Not so. In fact, my overall experience with the ProLogue One and the Gallos leads me to conclude that either the rumors of the Gallos’ inefficiency are dead wrong, or that the ProLogue One is one heck of an integrated amp, with 35wpc representing a truly conservative rating. Likely both propositions are true.

Fact is, I loved the sound of the ProLogue One. All of the well-described “audiophile” elements were there; excellent dynamics, great response at all frequencies that the Gallos could muster (this was before I got the Gallo SA “subwoofer” amp, which I have reviewed here as well), a spectacular soundstage. Beyond that, however, there is that elusive quality of tube amplification, and the ProLogue One has it in spades. I’ve heard it described as “warmth”, “smoothness”, and “non-fatiguing listening”, but rather than exercise those tired warhorses of audio writing, I’ll simply say that listening to the ProLogue One is FUN. Those audio fans who have experienced this kind of fun, know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the kind of fun that makes you rush into your listening room after a day’s work, and revisit parts of your CD and record collections that otherwise had been gathering dust. It’s the kind of fun that makes everything sound just right (and just as one would expect) while listening. It’s the kind of fun that causes a brief surge of unease, suggesting that maybe one’s (much more expensive) “main system” might not be as “fun”. What is it exactly? I don’t know – that’s kind of like defining what quality is, exactly. But whatever it is, the ProLogue One has it.

I had a great time during my “temporary” run with the ProLogue One in my main system. I grew quite fond of its warm (considering it’s a tube amp, the ProLogue One does not get excessively hot) presence in my listening room, and as I have stated, I really “got into” the way it sounded. But, the time came in due course to complete the experience I had originally envisioned for it. I had a great time introducing it to my son – the event played out exactly like I had planned, and he has become a certified tube addict, even to the point that he’s sending me tube-related links from his Internet searches. He immediately set up the unit in his room, with a pair of NHT SB2’s and his iPod as the only source. The combination sounds amazingly good.

So, the experience was complete, or so I thought: Just the other day, my son and I were talking about his new interest in good sound, and I asked what he would like for Christmas. His response took me completely off guard. “A turntable”, he said, “to use with the PrimaLuna.”

NOW the experience is complete.

SixCats!
03-04-2006, 11:39 AM
DOC,

EXCELLENT! Excellent review! Thank you so very much for RE-posting
the review on the PRIMALUNA PROLOGUE ONE. Although I have recently been looking into the area of a SET Amp, I have to be honest, I would FIRST have to OWN a pair of HIGHLY EFFICENT (100 db or over) Speakers before I would even consider a (so called) Flea power Amp. That being said, the PRIMALUNA sure looks to be a STRONG contender in the "best value" market! I have NO doubt that the PROLOUGE ONE would EASILY drive my JBL 4311B to HEAVENLY sounds! As of today, I am suspecting that my (8 Watt per channel) ALLIED 333 is having a difficult time properly driving the 12 inch JBL Woofers without distortion! Who knows, perhaps a PROLOUGE ONE could be in my furture! Thanks again.

Regards,
SixCats!

votoms888
03-04-2006, 02:35 PM
Primaluna = Modified Cayin

Are you sure about that?

NOSValves
03-04-2006, 02:58 PM
Are you sure about that?

Absolutely!! The entire Primaluna line is made in the same factory as the Cayin which is part of the Catic group. The Prologue One is a Cayin TA-30 with the bias circuit modified to the adaptive bias circuit. Go do some research, find some pictures of a under chassis of a Cayin TA-30 and compare it to the Prima Luna stuff. Heck just look at the tube layout, compliment, size, shape, inputs, outputs and so on you will find they match exactly. Its the wave of the future kind of like GM... Chevrolet, Buick, Pontiac Oldsmobile were all similar products with slight twist to differentiate them.

The amp in the Primaluna line that really makes me chuckle is the 70 watts mono blocks! Look at it closely and you will see that they took a stereo amplifier and bridged it to mono.

Now mind you I'm not saying this stuff sounds bad but let not kid ours selves about what it really is.

Craig


Took me some searching but I found these pictures of the TA30
http://www.cayin.de/amps_de/vollverstarker/CAYIN_TA-30/CayinTA30Det1.jpg

http://www.cayin.de/amps_de/vollverstarker/CAYIN_TA-30/Cayin_TA-30.jpg

Actually the Cayin TA-30 that sold in a USA by Paul at 2Baudio was near a dead ringer above the chassis for the Prologue one only change was the knob placement.

http://www.goodsound.com/equipment/pics/cayin_ta30.jpg




This is the prologue one
http://www.upscaleaudio.com/primaluna/pro1insidetn.jpg

http://www.upscaleaudio.com/primaluna/pro1silvertn.jpg

Doc Sarvis
03-04-2006, 03:30 PM
Absolutely!! The entire Primaluna line is made in the same factory as the Cayin which is part of the Catic group. The Prologue One is a Cayin TA-30 with the bias circuit modified to the adaptive bias circuit.

I think there are more differences than that, but you are right that the PLs are made in the same factory as Cayin. To hear the PL people describe it though, they would take the proprietary elements of their design specs elsewhere if they were not getting what they wanted.

Is there something wrong with Cayin in your opinion? Just wondering...

NOSValves
03-04-2006, 03:56 PM
I think there are more differences than that, but you are right that the PLs are made in the same factory as Cayin. To hear the PL people describe it though, they would take the proprietary elements of their design specs elsewhere if they were not getting what they wanted.

Is there something wrong with Cayin in your opinion? Just wondering...

No not at all. I have a no problem with the build quality of either name plate. I do have problems with misleading advertisements though. I PM'ed you a more detailed message just to keep from causing problems.

Craig

cplyons
03-04-2006, 06:00 PM
Not that anybody asked, but I am very, very happy with the Cayin TA-30 I've had for the past couple of years. Built like the proverbial tank, reliable and superb sounding. Mine has the variable-feeback mod and subwoofer output Paul G was building into some of them while they were still available. If you can find one of those on Audiogon I think you would be extremely pleased. So, if the PrimaLuna is similar (or to hear them tell it, WAY WAY DIFFERENT AND BETTER) then you should be just fine with that purchase too...

Chris L
Austin, Texas

shastasheen65
03-06-2006, 05:25 AM
I have owned Cary (American), Primaluna, Quicksilver (American), ASL (Chinese), YS Audio (Chinese), and many other tube power amps/integrateds, and I can say that none of them beats Primaluna for build quality or sound, when similar wattages/tube compliments are compared. Primaluna is a great product - and named for a town in the Italian Alps!

That's what I wanted to know from you, tube people!
I have the suspect that Primaluna is really an outsider, a little miracle, but I have a not so deep experience with tubes, apart with Audio Innovations S500, another push pull with EL34, very good too but with several build problems (at the output transformers, the potentiometers ecc) and anyway not so good as Primaluna.
I think that to find something better could cost many thousand euros!
I use the Prologue One with a couple of Audio Physic Spark first series, and a Marantz cd 63 kis cd player and I'm very satisfied from the sound, refined and with a big and deep soundstage, sharp quick and dinamic but also very sweet. I'm going to change the Sparks, that I love but that are very tricky in the ambient positioning and have also little problems with bass control due probably to their microscopic woofer, with their last (5th) version, more easy to place and with better bass control (two woofers and rear reflex hole) and parhaps a little more of transparency and sharpness.
I want to try also to upgrade the cd player (that works still very well and I dont' want to change) with and upsampling dac (any advices?)
Ciaoooo!