When a replacement for the awe-inspiring DiaLogue One and DiaLogue Two integrated amplifiers were being penned by the PrimaLuna engineers in The Netherlands, it was already known that there was a difficult job ahead. They had to exceed the performance of two products that were some of the best reviewed in the industry. Both models had won more accolades and awards than anyone could even hope for. Look at the review section.
What was required was a complete analysis of what customers might expect if the rule book was torn up. Push the envelope. Use the finest exotic parts. Even if they are so expensive you won't find them even in $8000 integrateds. Incorporate new circuits never before seen anywhere at any price. It was a challenge that the Dutch team took to heart.
The result has been an explosion that could never be predicted. Immediately, there was a rave review Stereophile's Sam Tellig resulting in a Stereophile Class A rating, which means "the best without regard to cost". A smokin' review from The Absolute Sound's Dick Olsher which he ended by saying "It is my current benchmark in integrated tube amplifiers." Dick Olsher knows his way around a tube amp. To be the best he has ever reviewed is an honor. The Absolute Sound followed up by awarding a 2014 Editor's Choice Award. And don't forget about Positive Feedback's Dean Seislove. You have to read his review and the associated Positive Feedback Writer's Choice Award.
Sure it looks good. But that should never be a reason to buy. Don't be fooled by overpriced name brands and lofty descriptions that cover up mediocre build quality. Any audiophile who is also an electrical engineer would see it instantly. $8000 integrated amp weighing 36lbs with one printed circuit board and no-name parts inside and a push button chip volume control or a $3399 integrated weighing 64lbs hand made with Swiss point to point wiring and chock full of the finest exotic parts, with engineered features that mean something.
Let's look at what makes it different. The more you study, the more you will agree with the experts.
- Adaptive AutoBias. A PrimaLuna exclusive. If anybody tells you that they have auto bias, ask them precisely how. It's most likely not true. As with all PrimaLuna amps, you never have to worry about biasing your amp ever again, and the need for matched tubes is eliminated. Just plug in EL34, KT88, or KT120 (as well as many others) and AAB does the rest while improving sound quality. Tubes are constantly monitored and kept in their best operating range, reducing distortion by up to 50%!
- Swiss made wiring. Imported, silver-plated, oxygen-free continuous crystal (OCC) copper with a Teflon dielectric wiring is used in the critical signal paths for superior signal speed and increased clarity.
- ALPS Blue Velvet motorized volume control tracks better so a defined stereo image is established and doesn't collapse as you raise and lower volume. And it will stay quiet, adhering to PrimaLuna's guiding principle of "Built to last a lifetime".
- TAKMAN Resistors. Easy to identify through their pink color, these premium resistors made in Japan are popular with those who rebuild and upgrade their gear. "Modders" love TAKMAN for their low noise and linearity.
- SCR Tinfoil Caps. Made in France, these capacitors are used in the critical signal paths and while they are expensive, the PrimaLuna team they could not be left out after careful listening comparisons with many different types.
- AC Offset Killer. A PrimaLuna exclusive. PrimaLuna's parent company Durob Audio B.V. sells this as a stand alone item under the Ah! brand name. The fabulous company P.S. Audio sold something similar as a "Humbuster". It's job is to keep the main AC power transformer as quiet as possible. PrimaLuna custom-winds a superb AC toroidal transformer that is low in hum. This circuit takes it a to a place no other manufacturer dreams of going. Adding this to your stereo would cost hundreds.
- Relay based input selection. Instead of a cheap selector switch, PrimaLuna has a relay and circuit mounted at every input. If you select a CD player input, for example, a relay closes and a perfect load is presented to the item you are listening to. All other relays are open so as to prevent crosstalk between inputs. This is many times more expensive to build, and you would never see it, but it is what PrimaLuna stands for!
- New front-end circuitry. The DiaLogue Premium uses three 12AU7 tubes per channel. The result is even lower distortion and increased bandwidth. The change in dynamic range is stunning!
- Triode/Ultralinear switching. In ultralinear, the sound is just that. Ultra-linear. The flattest response. In triode mode you get the sound that people would compare to 300B single-ended amps. A warmer, more liquid presentation. Which is better? There is no answer. It depends on your tastes, the speakers, and what you are listening to. It's up to you. The best part is, that unlike other brands, you can change on the fly from your listening position with the remote control and you don't have to turn off the amp to do it!
- Dedicated subwoofer output. If you're favorite sub only uses line-level inputs, such as the JL Audio subwoofers, the DiaLogue Premium Integrated makes it simple to use!
The DiaLogue Premium Series also includes the same innovative circuits found in the ProLogue Premium series, that protect the amp and improve sound at every level:
- BTI-circuit. BTI stands for "Bad Tube Indicator." On the chassis’ deck in front of each power tube, is a small LED that lights up if the tube goes bad. The circuit then puts the amp into protection mode. With other brands, this may be when you have to break out the soldering iron to replace a plate resistor, and replace two or four tubes because your amp requires matched sets. With PrimaLuna, you just replace the tube it tells you to (no matched tubes required), and turn the amp back on. No hassles, no headaches.
- PTP-circuit. If the power transformer should overheat, this "Power Transformer Protection" circuit cuts primary power, allows the amp to cool down, then resets itself.
- OTP-circuit. The "Output Transformer Protection" circuit protects the output transformers in the event of a user error crossing speaker wires.
- +B relay. Replaces the plate fuse and works in conjunction with the OTP-circuit to protect the amp against tube failure. This method is less intrusive sonically and the relay resets itself once the faulty tube is replaced
- SmartWatts design. PrimaLuna's true-value, low stress design philosophy. Many manufacturers fudge on their power ratings, claiming power that is mathematically impossible. Every seasoned tube owners knows that 20 watts from a tube amp is a ton of power. What is really important is that PrimaLuna runs their power tubes up to 40% easier that other manufacturers. You can tell easily by putting your hand on top of a PrimaLuna amp. They run cooler than others. There is no reason to run tubes at their jagged edge. Why do manufactures do it?
- Custom wide bandwidth output transformers No other brand can copy the PrimaLuna sound for one simple reason: PrimaLuna output transformers. Almost every manufacturer buys their output transformers off the shelf; with varying degrees of success. Transformers are the most important (and most expensive) ingredient in making an amplifier. Our output transformers are custom wound in-house. The designs are the result of collaboration between engineers in the Netherlands and the United States, and built to the same standards that you come to expect from the world’s authority on tube amplifier manufacturing.
That’s why PrimaLuna bass extension is deep and tight, the top end extended but without even a hint of grain, and that famous PrimaLuna midrange, which creates a sense of space and shape you won’t get anywhere else.
As with all PrimaLuna components, the DiaLogue Premium Integrated is made by hand with the finest point-to-point wiring and quality equal to—or better than—any product you can buy at any price. All packaged in a high-gloss, hand-rubbed finish.
Please look closely at the pictures that show you just how PrimaLuna products are made. Try to find interior pictures of other brands to compare.
Also available with optional MM phonostage. Price: $249. Click here for info.
A Closer Look Inside
click on the red boxes highlighted in the picture below.