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Thread: Prima Luna - The heart of my system

  1. #1
    Join Date: Dec 2008

    Location: Bridlington East Yorkshire

    Posts: 4,466
    I'm Shaun.

    Default Prima Luna - The heart of my system

    Back in 2016 I decided to buy a secondhand Prima Luna Prologue 3 preamp to use with my then Samson Servo 600 studio power amp and my then Kef Q500 loudspeakers. Unfortunately I can't remember the previous pre I was using but connecting up the Prologue was astounding. The stereo imaging was immense and hugely spacious. Great, that's me sorted then. Nah...

    In November-ish 2016 I bought a Prima Luna Dialogue Premium power amp. EL34 powered at around 36/40 Watts per channel compared to the Samson at 225 Watts per channel into 8 Ohms. How did it hit me..? Quite hard as the damn thing weighs 30kg. Sound wise the biggest initial difference was the treble which was now sharp, incisive and crystal clear. Other differences..? Not many really. The Samson provided a huge stereo sound stage especially on the Q Sound Roger Waters' album Amused to Death which put the dog bark right where it should be. Seriously good for a 400 quid power amp. The Dialogue though was a slight let down in comparison. It just wasn't as precise stereo wise.

    So, last year (2018) I re-valved the preamp with JJ valves including both rectifiers which produced a huge improvement over the original valves that it came with. Amazing vocal authenticity and realism. I then re-valved the power valves with JJ EL34's and again a massive improvement over the stock items. Even greater realism of vocals and guitar especially hollow bodied ES339 style guitars. Beverley Knight and her musicians have never sounded this good on any previous system of mine.

    So, would I go back to the Samson..? No, as there would be no point. I have the Prima Luna so what would be the point. Is the Prima Luna good value for money..? No, not in my experience. Is it massively different to the Samson..? Yes but in a very covert way. Midrange purity and realism is everything you could expect from valves especially into my mini Spendors and with the addition of my Yamaha sub woofer the bass is firm, dynamic and solid.

    Am I happy with this system..? What is happy..? It is currently the best system I have ever owned since getting hooked in 1979. As with a lot of systems though it suits a particular type of music more than others. If I truly wanted my electronic music to sound as it should I would need nothing short of a PA system but for 'real' music with 'real' musical instruments it is bloody good.

    Are you thinking about buying a valve based system..? Good for you. Just take care with your decision making.

  2. #2
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: west mids, UK

    Posts: 2,398
    I'm Phil.

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    thanks for that shaun , Prima luna seems loved by many
    1]bel canto pre 3 vbs /, /rotel cd/ bel canto fm1
    sonos, . tannoy eaton legacy 2]arcam a75 marantz sa8005 jolida modwright dac and RFC impulse ta`us , track audio stands

  3. #3
    Join Date: Dec 2008

    Location: Bridlington East Yorkshire

    Posts: 4,466
    I'm Shaun.

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    Cheers Phil, just my findings since 2016. The Samson was around 375 quid whereas the Prima Luna power was two and a half grand. There were distinct similarities that I really didn't expect. What I did expect was a lot more than I actually got. I guess that a home demo is the only way forward but there are no Prima Luna dealers anywhere near to me. As I had made my mind up on a Prima Luna power amp maybe I should have gone with the cheaper Prologue power. I'll never know.

  4. #4
    Join Date: Aug 2012

    Location: North

    Posts: 2,910
    I'm Steve.

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    I once had a Prima Lunar integrated amp and enjoyed it when listening to smaller scale music but I found with Pink Floyd and the likes it fell flat on It's arse. Shame really cos they look the dogs and sound dreamy with female artistes like Suzanne Vega etc.
    WEBSITE.... www.theprogmeister.com

    Golf, a good walk spoiled : M Twain.


  5. #5
    Join Date: Dec 2008

    Location: Bridlington East Yorkshire

    Posts: 4,466
    I'm Shaun.

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    Yeah Steve that's more or less what I've found. But that's also what I've found with most valve amps and definitely the ones I've owned. The speakers play a large part though because using the mini monitors that I am currently using restricts the size and scale of the sound when compared to big floorstanders which I think are essential for the likes of Floyd and ELP. This then comes on to the size of the room and the part it plays. Way to many variables for me.

    At the moment I have a system that sounds bloody amazing with female and male vocals as long as the music is fairly 'simple'. If things get a bit 'rough' then it does all fall to bits. The Beverley Knight album 'Soulsville' sounds absolutely stunning but even that requires the addition of the sub to increase the scale of the sound that is so clearly missing using mini monitors. For about 85% of my music I have the best solution I am ever going to have. Nothing is perfect and nothing fits every eventuality. Jack of all trades, master of none I guess.

  6. #6
    Join Date: Dec 2008

    Location: Bridlington East Yorkshire

    Posts: 4,466
    I'm Shaun.

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    How the hell could I forget...? Before the Prima Luna Prologue 3 preamp I was using a Croft Micro Basic. So with that in mind, the Prima Luna was a huge step upward.

  7. #7
    Join Date: Aug 2012

    Location: North

    Posts: 2,910
    I'm Steve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Haselsh1 View Post
    Yeah Steve that's more or less what I've found. But that's also what I've found with most valve amps and definitely the ones I've owned. The speakers play a large part though because using the mini monitors that I am currently using restricts the size and scale of the sound when compared to big floorstanders which I think are essential for the likes of Floyd and ELP. This then comes on to the size of the room and the part it plays. Way to many variables for me.

    At the moment I have a system that sounds bloody amazing with female and male vocals as long as the music is fairly 'simple'. If things get a bit 'rough' then it does all fall to bits. The Beverley Knight album 'Soulsville' sounds absolutely stunning but even that requires the addition of the sub to increase the scale of the sound that is so clearly missing using mini monitors. For about 85% of my music I have the best solution I am ever going to have. Nothing is perfect and nothing fits every eventuality. Jack of all trades, master of none I guess.
    I would agree with you. One notable exception would be Beard.
    WEBSITE.... www.theprogmeister.com

    Golf, a good walk spoiled : M Twain.


  8. #8
    Join Date: Dec 2008

    Location: Bridlington East Yorkshire

    Posts: 4,466
    I'm Shaun.

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    I remember back around 1996 hearing a Tube Technology Synergy power amp and that was contrary to what I have said also. Can't remember the speakers at the time though. It was some hi-fi show somewhere in the depths of England.

  9. #9
    Join Date: Feb 2014

    Location: Heckmondwike

    Posts: 22
    I'm Graham.

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    I finally pulled the trigger on a valve amp at the Wam Hifi show and bought a Prima Luna Prologue One at the 'bring-and-buy' area.

    I really didn't know what to expect compared to my Musical Fidelity A300 and Lentek Integrated. Both have quite some drive, especially the A300 given it can supply 250 watts into my 4 ohm Celestion A3's.

    How did the 35 watt Prima Luna Prologue One sound?

    Absolutely fantastic!

    A walk-in soundstage with everything placed in a 3D soundscape and quite some drive. Doesn't sound like it's only 35 watts.

    Sometimes I miss the 'speed' of the other solid state amps, but not very often, and a change back to the solid state amps soon has me missing that valve magic.

    Been playing around with valve rolling but just for fun rather than to gain any huge improvements.

    I guess the high efficiency of the Celestion A3's mean they don't need a lot of power as long as the amp can work OK into 4 ohms.

  10. #10
    Join Date: Dec 2008

    Location: Bridlington East Yorkshire

    Posts: 4,466
    I'm Shaun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowphax View Post
    I finally pulled the trigger on a valve amp at the Wam Hifi show and bought a Prima Luna Prologue One at the 'bring-and-buy' area.

    I really didn't know what to expect compared to my Musical Fidelity A300 and Lentek Integrated. Both have quite some drive, especially the A300 given it can supply 250 watts into my 4 ohm Celestion A3's.

    How did the 35 watt Prima Luna Prologue One sound?

    Absolutely fantastic!

    A walk-in soundstage with everything placed in a 3D soundscape and quite some drive. Doesn't sound like it's only 35 watts.

    Sometimes I miss the 'speed' of the other solid state amps, but not very often, and a change back to the solid state amps soon has me missing that valve magic.

    Been playing around with valve rolling but just for fun rather than to gain any huge improvements.

    I guess the high efficiency of the Celestion A3's mean they don't need a lot of power as long as the amp can work OK into 4 ohms.
    Brilliant, well done Graham. It is the size of the stereo image that astounds me with my setup. Very best wishes.

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