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Don McPhee

Klipschorns and Primaluna Dialogue Integrated

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Wondering who out there has this set up, the regular or the HP. I have this combo and am curious what others have experienced sonically. What tubes are you running, how are your highs, how are your mids and hows the bottom end.

 

I will with-hold my comments until after we have some feedback so I dont influence one way or another.

 

Cheers

 

Don

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Don, give some feedback on the sound of the amp,how quiet it is between tracks any tubes noises and how the pair sounds together.I have been thinking about trying Primaluna and would like to know what other members think.

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A year ago I bought a Mcintosh ma252 Integrated amp having never heard of Prima Luna. I love the MA 252 and its phono stage sounds amazing and just rocks. I have never owned any real tube gear and I soon figured out that my Mcintosh Integrated wasn't really made for tube rolling and would never have the sound of a tube integrated amp. Saying that, as much as I love my MA252 I'm still very curious what a Primaluna Dialogue HP would sound like with the rest of my system? I will probably never know because the PrimaLuna is almost $4500 without a phono preamp and then there would be the cost of tubes if I decided to roll them and I play my system for hours every day and I'd worry about the cost of replacing tubes - stillllllll - how much better would the PrimaLuna possibly sound???????

 

looking forward to hearing peoples opinions on the Primaluna versus the Mcintosh Hybrid-- someone besides Kevin Deal of Upscale Audio who seems very knowledgeable about anything Tubes but is also deeply invested in PrimaLuna

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I have a Dialogue Premium HP. I am thrilled at the sound that comes from my Altec 19's every time I turn it on. I tried a Leben CS300 on them and was not as impressed, along with a couple other amps.

 

Apart from the sound quality which is phenomenal, the flexibility of the amp to run KT series valves, right up to KT150 mean that I doubt I will ever be changing.

 

If I have negative comments... the remote works best pointed directly at the amp, front on, and the remote is freakin' heavy.

 

I have two friends who I have loaned the PLDHP to, one with new Cornwalls and Fortes, plus Heresies and he reported back that it was the best amp he had heard on them, and he has several nice, expensive amps.

 

The other friend claimed it was more accurate and than his Leben, but ultimately he preferred the milder sound on his single-driver speakers at low level.

 

Having owned Khorns and being amazed with them on older EL34 amps, I would say the PLDHP would make you very, very happy.

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8 hours ago, Fido said:

A year ago I bought a Mcintosh ma252 Integrated amp having never heard of Prima Luna. I love the MA 252 and its phono stage sounds amazing and just rocks. I have never owned any real tube gear and I soon figured out that my Mcintosh Integrated wasn't really made for tube rolling and would never have the sound of a tube integrated amp. Saying that, as much as I love my MA252 I'm still very curious what a Primaluna Dialogue HP would sound like with the rest of my system? I will probably never know because the PrimaLuna is almost $4500 without a phono preamp and then there would be the cost of tubes if I decided to roll them and I play my system for hours every day and I'd worry about the cost of replacing tubes - stillllllll - how much better would the PrimaLuna possibly sound???????

 

looking forward to hearing peoples opinions on the Primaluna versus the Mcintosh Hybrid-- someone besides Kevin Deal of Upscale Audio who seems very knowledgeable about anything Tubes but is also deeply invested in PrimaLuna

 

 

So you had no idea you were buying a hybrid amp? There's no substitute for doing your homework. We'll have to give you an "F" this time..........

 

In any event, you can roll the small signal tubes in the preamp section of this amp. This usually has a more dramatic effect than rolling output tubes. You are right, it will never sound like a tube amp, but you can change the sound you hear now.

 

 

Shakey

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1 hour ago, Shakeydeal said:

 

 

So you had no idea you were buying a hybrid amp? There's no substitute for doing your homework. We'll have to give you an "F" this time..........

 

In any event, you can roll the small signal tubes in the preamp section of this amp. This usually has a more dramatic effect than rolling output tubes. You are right, it will never sound like a tube amp, but you can change the sound you hear now. 

 

 

Shakey

Oh no!!!! You give me an 'F"!!!!!!! Sorry I'm such a failure. LOL - Of course I knew it was a hybrid amp but what I was not aware of was the rave reviews of the Primaluna line of products. I watched a review on UTUBE with Kevin Deal where he took an a MA252 in trade at his store and basically said that changing the tubes in the Mcintosh preamp section do next to nothing to change or improve the sound of the Mcintosh. I love the sound of my system as is but that doesn't mean I'm not curious about how much better the Primaluna Dialogue HP might sound.

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Hi Fido, I'll throw out another option. Vintage tube gear is typically always available, and finding a nice piece that has been restored electrically can offer a piece of equipment ready for another 20-30 years of use. Quite often these restored integrated and stand alone amps can be bought for well under $1000. I assume you could use the preamp in your McIntosh 252, and use a vintage stand alone amp with great success. That gives you tube preamp and tube amp. 

 

It looks like the Forte 1's are 98 db sensitive, so with 1 watt of power, they will play 98 db loud at 1 meter from the speaker. We know that to increase the sound pressure level 3 db, you have to double the power. So in your case, you can go to 101 db with 2 watts. That's quickly approaching ear splitting sound pressure levels. This math tells us that a 100 watt per channel amp won't even use 10% of it's power.

 

This high speaker sensitivity opens the door to a world of wonderful amps using EL84, 300B, and 2A3 tubes. Amps using these power tubes typically deliver 3-12 watts, and for my mileage, are some of the best watts I've ever heard. They work terrific for me using 90 db sensitive speakers, playing everything from Sonny Rollins to Black Sabbath. Deep bass, detailed but smooth highs, and midrange that is very real. I often say I can hear the wetness in Freddy King's voice. 

 

Living in SoCal should offer you quite a few options for demoing these types of amps, and if you buy one at a fair price and don't like it, they are typically easy to sell for little or no loss. Good luck with your journey. 

 

Onebean 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Onebean said:

Hi Fido, I'll throw out another option. Vintage tube gear is typically always available, and finding a nice piece that has been restored electrically can offer a piece of equipment ready for another 20-30 years of use. Quite often these restored integrated and stand alone amps can be bought for well under $1000. I assume you could use the preamp in your McIntosh 252, and use a vintage stand alone amp with great success. That gives you tube preamp and tube amp. 

 

It looks like the Forte 1's are 98 db sensitive, so with 1 watt of power, they will play 98 db loud at 1 meter from the speaker. We know that to increase the sound pressure level 3 db, you have to double the power. So in your case, you can go to 101 db with 2 watts. That's quickly approaching ear splitting sound pressure levels. This math tells us that a 100 watt per channel amp won't even use 10% of it's power.

 

This high speaker sensitivity opens the door to a world of wonderful amps using EL84, 300B, and 2A3 tubes. Amps using these power tubes typically deliver 3-12 watts, and for my mileage, are some of the best watts I've ever heard. They work terrific for me using 90 db sensitive speakers, playing everything from Sonny Rollins to Black Sabbath. Deep bass, detailed but smooth highs, and midrange that is very real. I often say I can hear the wetness in Freddy King's voice. 

 

Living in SoCal should offer you quite a few options for demoing these types of amps, and if you buy one at a fair price and don't like it, they are typically easy to sell for little or no loss. Good luck with your journey. 

 

Onebean 

 

 

thanks for throwing out another option and one I may look into in the near future. Still curious about feedback about the Primaluna Integrated

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You want need the HP model !  The stock tubes are way better then most . Its one of best of dozens I have owned . The matching PL Dialogue Pre amp is like bread & butter with the PL amp .

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Have had the Dialogue Premium HP for a couple of weeks after visiting Upscale Audio in LA who let me audition them on Forte III's just like I own.  I also had several listening sessions with the MA 252, which I liked, but not enough to purchase.  To each their own, but I'm definitely a happy tube guy at the moment-along with some great vintage gear as well. I also purchased some RP 600M's for the TV, since I don't need to listen to the TV via the tubes-thought the HT setting works great when I want to with a movie, etc.  Haven't added a phono stage, but will soon.

ForteIII's PrimaLuna RF 600M.jpg

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5 hours ago, dbomberger said:

Have had the Dialogue Premium HP for a couple of weeks after visiting Upscale Audio in LA who let me audition them on Forte III's just like I own.  I also had several listening sessions with the MA 252, which I liked, but not enough to purchase.  To each their own, but I'm definitely a happy tube guy at the moment-along with some great vintage gear as well. I also purchased some RP 600M's for the TV, since I don't need to listen to the TV via the tubes-thought the HT setting works great when I want to with a movie, etc.  Haven't added a phono stage, but will soon.

ForteIII's PrimaLuna RF 600M.jpg

What made you decide to buy the PL over the MA252? Is it a totally different listening experience with the PL? 

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I listened to the MA252 on three different occasions. Sounded good through some very expensive speakers, but I didn't think it sounded "better" than my Vintage Pioneer SX-1250, which surprised me. I then started to rethink if tubes were the next step for me or not.  I auditioned some local Craigslist Tube units and realized I did like the sound. After attending a couple of high end shows with lots of tube equipment including both PL and Mac I realized I liked the sound of the PL better. The extended audition at Upscale Audio with the same speakers I own, really sealed the deal. I also like the HT pass through (don't remember if the 252 has that, the Triode/UltraLinear switch.  I think we all have different tastes when it comes to audio and there are so many factors in choosing a complete system.  To answer your question though, yes I think PL is a completely different listening experience. Anyone else may well have a different response, but this is mine. Good luck with your search for the best system, it's a never ending quest I fear.

 

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24 minutes ago, dbomberger said:

I listened to the MA252 on three different occasions. Sounded good through some very expensive speakers, but I didn't think it sounded "better" than my Vintage Pioneer SX-1250, which surprised me. I then started to rethink if tubes were the next step for me or not.  I auditioned some local Craigslist Tube units and realized I did like the sound. After attending a couple of high end shows with lots of tube equipment including both PL and Mac I realized I liked the sound of the PL better. The extended audition at Upscale Audio with the same speakers I own, really sealed the deal. I also like the HT pass through (don't remember if the 252 has that, the Triode/UltraLinear switch.  I think we all have different tastes when it comes to audio and there are so many factors in choosing a complete system.  To answer your question though, yes I think PL is a completely different listening experience. Anyone else may well have a different response, but this is mine. Good luck with your search for the best system, it's a never ending quest I fear.

 

Thanks for that great review. It was exactly what I have been trying to learn since I watched Kevin Deal and his PL Utube Videos. There is so much hype when it comes to audio gear and camera gear and autos etc. its hard to get a real feel for what is important. I am very happy with the sound of my MA252 playing thru my modified Forte 1s but its difficult for me to ignore that I might prefer the PrimaLuna even more. I listen to my stereo many hours a day but people say tubes can last thousands of hours so I don't know if using the PL would make me go thru tubes too fast. 

 

Maybe I can go to Upscale and hear the PL???

 

PS - The MA252 doesn't have an HT passthru.

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Yea, what @dbomberger said!  I''m running the small integrated and told him to check  PL out so naturally he went crazy nuts!  Smart man Del!!!  I'm running the small integrated and it sounds great but I've had mine longer so the tubes are burning in.  Ya want a bit more now and I'm sure the larger integrateds will shine.  I'd never hesitate again going w/the PL.  Dead quiet, clean, very revealing and sound great.  The sound stage is there too.  Added a Schiit Mani for the phono stage from my Linn table.  It's paired w/my 81 LS and @Deang modded networks and Crites 120 tweeters.  Love it!

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