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MrSchnitzer

PrimaLuna; standard vs HP

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I’m part way into the process of gradually upgrading most of my 2 channel system.  One of the components I’m looking to upgrade soon is my integrated amplifier, which is currently a Audiolab 8000A.

 

I’m very tempted by a PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium integrated amplifier.  I haven’t yet auditioned one but will do so soon.  But I notice that the “standard” model is listed as 2 x 36W, which I’m worried might not be powerful enough.

 

I’m no head-banger (way too old for that), but I would have thought that it’s good to have an amplifier with enough power reserve to properly cope with musical transients.  So is 2 x 36W “enough” or should I look at spending the extra money on the HP version which claims to have 2 x 70W?

 

I know that “enough” is very subjective, but I’m new to valve amps and it would be tricky to organise a home trial of both versions of the amp.

 

(My current speakers are currently a pair of Whatmough 202’s, but they’re probably going to be replaced soon too.)

 

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It's true to say that "watts aint watts" and very possible that 36 of them, well applied and driving moderately efficient speakers, will be more than enough. As an example, a good mate of mine uses Yamaha NS-1000 (90db sensitivity, so definitely moderate) being driven by 18 watts of single ended tube fury. And they are remarkable. More remarkable than when they were powered by 45 of the same style of watts actually.

 

Now the HP may very well be a distinct cut above the standard version, but don't discount the standard purely on the basis of specs. You'll find out if 36 watts cuts your mustard with a home audition soon enough (hopefully Magenta offer this?).

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Magenta which is based in the Adelaide Hills are the distributors of Prima Luna, I wonder if they have some models which you could listen to or maybe they can refer you to a shop where you could compare the two.

I run speakers of 90db efficiency with 28W valve amps. For my music it is fine.

It will depend on your speakers, your room, thy type of music you listen to and then your budget.

And then tube rolling comes into it. The Prima Luna amps as far as I know can be used with different tubes.

 

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I would in this case (if you are on a tight budget) hold off the purchase of the amp before you have settled on the speakers . Better still if you can get the dealer to set up a demo with both items you are interested in.

 

If you are dead set on getting the amp first and speakers second,  (and only if funds allow) I would go for the HP version which uses double the number of tubes for double the power.  You can never have too much power and the extra headroom is always welcome in any setup. 70 wpc is about as low as one should go so as not be too restricted in choice of speakers.

 

 

Edited by Sir Triode

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Thanks for the info, it is appreciated.  (Yes, I'll be talking to Magenta soon, but wanted to go in well prepared!)

 

My budget is fairly flexible, I'm ok with spending a fair bit but only if I feel that I'm getting vaue for money.  I can afford the HP, but if it's overkill then I'd rather stick with the standard model.

 

However, based on what @Jventer  says, it might simplify things if I buy new speakers first and THEN look at amplification.  For what it's worth, I'm currently leaning towards a pair of Focal Aria 926 speakers, but I'm also going to soon demo some Lenehan ML1's to see if it's worth paying the extra for those.

 

Then again maybe I should just go straight with the HP; as @Sir Triode  says it'll future-proof my setup.

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Another good thing about the HP version is that you can swap the output tubes to KT150s (at a cost) which will then make it a 96 wpc amplifier.

 

70 watts x 2 (EL34)
73 watts x 2 (KT88)
89 watts x 2 (KT120)
96 watts x 2 (KT150)

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I have the  PimaLuna Dialogue Premium integrated amplifier (Non HP) and are very happy with its performance, have KT120's (44 watts) in at the moment and have also used KT88's (40 watts). I'm using 30 year old speakers with sensitivity of 89db with good effect although i don't listen at ground thumping levels. Best to have a demo somewhere you wont be disappointed:)

 

Don't forget its not all about power, the rectifier tubes can be changed as well for great results.

 

 

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I am using the Prologue Premium integrated with EL34 tubes 35W x2 with 87dB efficient speakers at 2.2m listen position in a medium (72m3) open plan room. I haven't the need for putting the volume up past the 1/4 point before everything will become uncomfortably loud >85dB. If the volume meter acts in a exponential way guessing would be that I am using around 1 - 2W of output, the SPL meter is saying that I am using a little over 1W of output. 87dB at 1M, 84dB at 2M.  Although tube amps delivery their best with the first few watts as I have been told.

Edited by Primare Knob
typo

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@MrSchnitzer Any progress on auditioning or purchasing the PrimaLuna?

I ask because I have been eyeing off the PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium HP Integrated Amplifier (EL34).

 

I'm in Brisbane and it looks like Magenta is the place to order from because Brisbane stores that do say they have them actually don't and so it makes sense it order directly from Magenta anyway.

So interested in any feedback on your experience with dealing with Magenta.

 

Cheers

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1 hour ago, spin33 said:

@MrSchnitzer Any progress on auditioning or purchasing the PrimaLuna?

I ask because I have been eyeing off the PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium HP Integrated Amplifier (EL34).

 

I'm in Brisbane and it looks like Magenta is the place to order from because Brisbane stores that do say they have them actually don't and so it makes sense it order directly from Magenta anyway.

So interested in any feedback on your experience with dealing with Magenta.

 

Cheers

 

Just do it ....... you won't regret it ........ and then you can take it to Mr Lenehan and he will wave a magic wand over it (or change some capacitors) and it will sound even better ...... :)

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3 hours ago, spin33 said:

@MrSchnitzer Any progress on auditioning or purchasing the PrimaLuna?

I ask because I have been eyeing off the PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium HP Integrated Amplifier (EL34).

 

I'm in Brisbane and it looks like Magenta is the place to order from because Brisbane stores that do say they have them actually don't and so it makes sense it order directly from Magenta anyway.

So interested in any feedback on your experience with dealing with Magenta.

 

Cheers

Or you can buy from Mike.

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4 hours ago, spin33 said:

@MrSchnitzer Any progress on auditioning or purchasing the PrimaLuna?

I ask because I have been eyeing off the PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium HP Integrated Amplifier (EL34).

 

I'm in Brisbane and it looks like Magenta is the place to order from because Brisbane stores that do say they have them actually don't and so it makes sense it order directly from Magenta anyway.

So interested in any feedback on your experience with dealing with Magenta.

 

Cheers

 

I haven't auditioned it yet, but I've been chatting with Magenta (Mike) and I'll be auditioning the amp soon.

 

The more I read about it (and discuss with people who have listened to it), the more it appeals.  I look forward to listening to it soon and maybe buying it.  I'll be sure to post an update message when something happens.

 

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49 minutes ago, MrSchnitzer said:

 

I haven't auditioned it yet, but I've been chatting with Magenta (Mike) and I'll be auditioning the amp soon.

 

The more I read about it (and discuss with people who have listened to it), the more it appeals.  I look forward to listening to it soon and maybe buying it.  I'll be sure to post an update message when something happens.

 

Looks like I have not posted that well before.

I think Mike Lenehan, in the Gold Coast, so not that far from you, may actually have some Prima Luna amps to listen to. Or could get some to listen to and doing that in that environment I can tell you would be a nice experience.  

I am not sure, but the price should be the same.

Anyway I know them (Magenta, Mike etc.) all, they are a nice bunch of guys that are in the industry for the love of it.

Enjoy.

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Thanks for the help and advice @Jventer @Ancientflatulence :thumb:

 

I had not heard of Mike before so I rang Mike at Lenehan Audio on the Gold Coast http://www.lenehanaudio.com.au/ and after a nice chat with him I ordered a PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium HP Integrated Amplifier with him and it will be delivered directly to me at no extra charge next week.

Plus instead of the standard EL34 tubes I am getting the KT120 tubes. Why muck around I say!

 

Mike does a good deal, and you can tell he is a hifi enthusiast with a genuine interest in great sound, very knowledgeable and helpful.

Prior to contacting Mike I phoned a couple of other dealers in Brisbane to feel them out and was not impressed by their "salesman" type attitude and full RRPs.

 

Hopefully one day I'll get down to see Mike and check out the awesome speakers he builds.

 

Can't wait for my new toaster-oven to arrive. :P

Capture.JPG

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That's great news, @spin33 .  I expect a good writeup of your impressions of the new amplifier very soon, hopefully just before I commit to buying mine!  :)

 

 

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2 hours ago, spin33 said:

Thanks for the help and advice @Jventer @Ancientflatulence :thumb:

 

I had not heard of Mike before so I rang Mike at Lenehan Audio on the Gold Coast http://www.lenehanaudio.com.au/ and after a nice chat with him I ordered a PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium HP Integrated Amplifier with him and it will be delivered directly to me at no extra charge next week.

Plus instead of the standard EL34 tubes I am getting the KT120 tubes. Why muck around I say!

 

Mike does a good deal, and you can tell he is a hifi enthusiast with a genuine interest in great sound, very knowledgeable and helpful.

Prior to contacting Mike I phoned a couple of other dealers in Brisbane to feel them out and was not impressed by their "salesman" type attitude and full RRPs.

 

Hopefully one day I'll get down to see Mike and check out the awesome speakers he builds.

 

Can't wait for my new toaster-oven to arrive. :P

Capture.JPG

@Spin33

Hi Jeff

So nice to hear this. 

I am so sorry that I have none of his products - would love to have, but I invested in others before I discovered him.

Mike Lenehan is a guy that loves this hobby of ours. I love talking to him and whenever I am getting new speakers his will be on top of the list.

Thank you for giving positive feedback. 

Now we would love to hear how the amp sounds in your system. 

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@Jventer

Mike seems to know his speakers alright.

He asked which speakers I had and he immediately rolled off what was good about them and their weaknesses and he was spot on.

Toaster-oven is in transit with estimated delivery Friday 17th.

So @MrSchnitzer @Jventer you will need to wait a week or two for the review.

However, I have read that tubes can take 50 hours to run in.

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Oh yeah! This is the bomb!

Arrived earlier than expected.

 

Swapped out the standard EL34s for KT120s

image.jpeg

image.jpeg

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Thanks for the update, @spin33 .

 

I'm fairly sure I'm going to buy one, but I'm currently stuck in a cycle of trying to work out which speakers to choose (from a short list that I've narrowed it down to.)  In an ideal world I'd try the amp with various different speakers, but that's often impractical.

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@MrSchnitzer  Like they say JUST DO IT!

It is soooo musical, you just gotta get it.

You cannot go wrong with this amp. Freaking awesome.

Just don't pay RRP.

If you want to know about the deal I got PM me.

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Either one will beat the shit out of your audiolabs. Don't worry so much about the watt if your room aren't that big or if u not listening to super rock or raps

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Wow reading the impressions here makes me super excited. I just bought a HP on the classifieds here.

 

.... and I will be using it primarily on my speakers but also on my headphones :-)

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If you are planning on a speaker upgrade, then you should choose your amplifier AFTER you decide on your speakers. NEVER before. And I see no reason why, when buying an expensive item, you should expect to be able to trial the product before purchase. If you cannot, go elsewhere. 

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By far the preferred valves in our PL are the KT150's. Unfortunately though they are that big you can't fit the factory cover.  

 

... and congratulations on the recent purchase Odyssey.

 

 

image.jpeg

Edited by TerryO

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7 minutes ago, TerryO said:

My preferred by far valves in our PL are the KT150's. Unfortunately though they are that big you can't fit the cover.  

 

Congratulations on the recent purchase Odyssey.

 

 

image.jpeg

I didn't really like them in mine. I will be selling my brand new Octet very shortly.

 

I think its system dependent but overall they are a tad too aggressive for my tastes, speakers and more importantly room. I sit at ear level to my horns and about 3 metres away.

 

Going to try KT77/EL34 next.

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