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Primaluna evo 400 Integrated Amp?


Fido
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On 10/29/2020 at 12:04 PM, Fido said:

so how did you like the kt-120s versus the EL-34's? Was it a dramatic difference?

I wouldn't say dramatic and I could have been content with the 34's.  You know by the time you wait for the tubes to cool down to remove and the new ones allowed to warm up it comes down to memory and to a certain degree expectations.  It goes without saying that the source material must be the same when evaluating a change and I often use Sonny Rollins "Way Out West" because it is well recorded and has plenty of bass.  With that CD the bass may have been a bit more robust.  I am not a golden ear audiophile but tube rolling with all the expectations is certainly fun.  Alas with 14 tubes it could get expensive.  It was certainly more affordable with the Quicksilver Audio Horn Monos!

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On 11/15/2020 at 5:42 AM, Tarheel said:

I wouldn't say dramatic and I could have been content with the 34's.  You know by the time you wait for the tubes to cool down to remove and the new ones allowed to warm up it comes down to memory and to a certain degree expectations.  It goes without saying that the source material must be the same when evaluating a change and I often use Sonny Rollins "Way Out West" because it is well recorded and has plenty of bass.  With that CD the bass may have been a bit more robust.  I am not a golden ear audiophile but tube rolling with all the expectations is certainly fun.  Alas with 14 tubes it could get expensive.  It was certainly more affordable with the Quicksilver Audio Horn Monos!

thanks Chuck for the tube rolling update - I cant wait to try my new Brimar preamp tubes - just to see if I can even hear a difference. Sometimes I can not hear what many on this Forum are talking about. When I added the Lmahl tweeters to my Fortes I was told I needed to add lpads because the tweets would be hotter than the mids but I loved the sound of the new tweeters in the current configuration so I left the lpads I had wired up out. Listening thru my Node2i sounds fantastic thru my Denefrips Dac. I cant justify spending $3000 on a Lumin Streamer if I cant hear the difference between a $3000 Streamer and a $500 Node 2i. I am sure I might be missing something but if I cant hear a difference then I do not really care.

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Those Brimars will sound great I'm sure Fido.   As I may have mentioned I plugged in some RCA clear tops that some folks were raving about in the two center positions and the rest remain the stock tubes. 

 

My system satisfies me when I'm playing very good recordings.  Some artist can be relied on to provide superior recordings such as Sonny Rollins, Diana Krall, Over the Rhine, Miles Davis, Mandolin Orange, and Mark Knopfler to name a few.  These artist will shine on most systems and that's where I'm spending my money these days (CDs and streaming MQA).

 

Just yesterday I decided to make a play list of some music I use to listen to in the 70s and 80s namely Flying Burrito Brothers and Marshall Tucker Band.  I was not impressed with the results which is a shame since we use to listen to this music on some less than top shelf gear and were happy. 

 

Over the years two forum members have made statements that I remind myself of when I become unhappy with what I'm hearing.  Dave Mallette  has said several times that it's all about the source and he is right.  I took that to mean "crap in crap out".  Another time I was going on and on about my vintage HK integrated amp and how it beat the socks off some of my more expensive gear.  It was Old buckster who said "Tar.....are you sure or is the sound just different?".  Buckster (RIP) was on to something.

 

So now when I change things up in my system (such as tubes or DACS) and expect great things I ask myself is the change an improvement or just a different sound.

 

Hope this makes sense and sorry for the length of the post.

 

 

 

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Somewhat related and not related.  For giggles, I swapped my Fortes out with my JBL L100s to see if the Primaluna would drive them. The Prologue's 35 watts drove them

quite well and they sounded pretty pretty nice.  No loss of window rattling either.  In reference to the above, I always found the JBLs more forgiving on crappier source material (not shocking).  Life after Fortes was seeking out the best source material for the best listening experience.

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On 11/11/2020 at 7:34 AM, Retrograde said:

Nice to see some tube rolling going on here....

I've just started to fine tune my tubes to hear what each exchange does.

Today I swapped out the two original Primaluna/Shuguang 12au7 tubes in the Input section with a pair of NOS Matched Brimar 12au7 4003 Military spec from the 1970's.

Now, the original tubes were good.... but these two Brimar tubes are stupendous!

Bass tightens, treble cleans up more and pushes forward, more definition, wider soundstage and that 3D sound bubble got even bigger. This is just from replacing the two front input tubes! Wow! What they say about these Military spec tubes is quite true!

Guitar sounds/plucks, Bass Guitar strums, Hi-Hat hits, Cymbal splash, Snare strikes and rim taps, Voices hanging mid air..... All bang on!

I played Larry Carlton & Robben Ford Unplugged.... I know this CD inside out... Or thought I did! I was transformed there... In my living room.... As though I was sitting at the concert in the front row! The air space!!! Oh my!! All instruments came alive.... All together.... Even the crowd was sitting around me! Amazing! From two tubes! No way!

Then... I played Dido's latest album, Still On My Mind, and heard even more sounds lurking in the background! This made this electronic album sound even more special. Crikey! 😳

Wonder what happens when I change the remaining front flanking tubes....

 

 

 

 

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Received my Brimar  12AU7 tubes yesterday from the uk - took less than a week from order time. Popped them in this morning and I want to thank you so much for the heads up. Yes yes yes - these were so worth the investment. Wow! What I noticed immediately was the depth of the soundstage and separation of voices and instruments sounding more detailed. Very warm sounding with great bass slam and very accurate highs without and sense of harshness. I can’t believe that those two little preamp tubes that cost less than $100 for the pair can make as much of an improvement to the synergy of my system. I’m so stoked. Love the klipsch  community

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10 minutes ago, Retrograde said:

My Brimar 12au7's have had a lot of hours now.

I'm currently playing a track called 'WoW' by Zara Larsson via Qobuz.

Yeah.... WOW! is all I can say!

Crank it up and have a listen.... Phew..!!!!

I really like Zara so I will load that song up and have a listen! Thanks again!

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Hello,

I also received and installed a set of Brimar 4003's in my EVO 400 on Wednesday night... the initial reaction was wow, its dynamic!  The bass was tight, the mids were punchy and the highs were more defined as you mention.  I was hearing a larger soundstage as well.  After about a 4-hr tube warmup period, I sat down for about an hour to listen to my play list favs.  Afterward, i experienced listening fatigue from what I thought was due to the elevated 4K to 8K frequencies that I didn't have before.  Yesterday afternoon I re-installed the stock tubes and went through my playlist again without a problem.  To me, my speakers were better matched with the stock 12au7's in the amp.  I was disappointed that my experiment didn't work out for me.  I would be happy to sell them to someone interested.  I would also consider trading for a set of Mullard ECC82/12au7's to try instead.  Perhaps the Brimar gain tubes are sweet with Fortes.

-Stay safe and well. Greg.

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1 hour ago, FSHNRIG said:

Hello,

I also received and installed a set of Brimar 4003's in my EVO 400 on Wednesday night... the initial reaction was wow, its dynamic!  The bass was tight, the mids were punchy and the highs were more defined as you mention.  I was hearing a larger soundstage as well.  After about a 4-hr tube warmup period, I sat down for about an hour to listen to my play list favs.  Afterward, i experienced listening fatigue from what I thought was due to the elevated 4K to 8K frequencies that I didn't have before.  Yesterday afternoon I re-installed the stock tubes and went through my playlist again without a problem.  To me, my speakers were better matched with the stock 12au7's in the amp.  I was disappointed that my experiment didn't work out for me.  I would be happy to sell them to someone interested.  I would also consider trading for a set of Mullard ECC82/12au7's to try instead.  Perhaps the Brimar gain tubes are sweet with Fortes.

-Stay safe and well. Greg.

I will have to see if after time I find them fatiguing  - if I do I will just go back to the Primaluna 12 au7s - so far on my system they sound great. I have an equalizer for my TT and my Node 2i comes with a built in equalizer if I end up needing to remove some top end along the way - sorry those did not work out for you. and i think its my old ears - i like the high end  - thats why i didn't install the Lpads when i installed the Lmahls i bought from Dave A

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Hi FSHNRIG,

Sorry to hear that the Brimar's were a bit too bright for you. Maybe more hours on the Tubes may 'bed in' and lose some of those highs you are hearing? I'm finding mine are settling down and are sounding more integrated and smoother. You may be quite correct in the Brimar's favouring Forte speakers but I also believe that a DAC and cable have a small contribution to it. I've listened to quite a few DAC's in my current system and found a lot of different sounds from different DAC's. I'm also connecting with a Lush 2 USB cable which allows me to 'play' with the sound if required. This Lush 2 has been left on my favourite Pin settings since I've had it which pushes out the best in my system. The Tube rolling will alter the remaining Tone/Pitch/Bass presentation. I concur that Mullards may serve you better as they are said to be a warmer sounding Tube than the Military CV4003 Brimars. May I also recommend to you the Brimar 13D5 considered by many the 'best of all' 12au7 tubes? I bought these at the same time as the CV4003's but didn't use them as they were too warm in the gain position and moved them to the pre position instead. I believe if I used the Mullards in my current set up I'm pretty sure I'd be saying they are too warm, but I have to test this to confirm so I'll invest in a pair of Mullards shortly. I'm loving this Tube rolling ability and look forward to experimenting more. Wishing you many Happy listening hours in our unfortunate times of Covid and Lockdown. Stay safe.

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Just a thought are you gentlemen playing those Brimar in Triode or ultralinear?  I am using KT-120s power tubes and RCA clear tops in the preamp position..  I have not played the 120s in triode but today I tried it and it seemed to warm things up a bit.  Worth a try and you get rid of that bright red light.

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7 minutes ago, Tarheel said:

Just a thought are you gentlemen playing those Brimar in Triode or ultralinear?  I am using KT-120s power tubes and RCA clear tops in the preamp position..  I have not played the 120s in triode but today I tried it and it seemed to warm things up a bit.  Worth a try and you get rid of that bright red light.

I have been listening in Ultralinear and after a number of hours I am still finding them to sound incredible. I have not found them fatiguing in my room with my turntable or streamer and Denefrips Dac but again I like sparkling and accurate highs - 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 10/13/2020 at 8:30 PM, tivorocks said:

Great thread.  Simple question.  I currently run my Forte iiis with a Marantz 250 and Marantz 3300.  I have never owned a line pre without tone controls in my life.

Frankly, I am apprehensive about the EVO 300/400 investment and giving up the loudness button that I have grown quite accustomed to (I know I know haha).

In honesty, my tone controls are generally always flat, but I am a rocker and a loudness button junkie of sorts.  Did any of you miss those options when you went Primaluna?

 

ted 

I feel ya on that and coming from a pioneer solid state world I’ve certainly missed the EQ tweaking I could do.  However I will say that over time and with break in the primaluna 400,  I’ve found it to sound exceptional, almost perfect...on good recordings.  For bad recordings or pressings I wish I had a preamp to tone things to my likeing.  Some people have told me why play bad recordings.  Haha. But seriously, I’ve made the jump with no tone controls and have been in audio heaven.  I currently have the Evo 400 paired with the heresy IVs and they do match incredibly well.  I’ve listened to this Evo 400 with the heresy IIs, and it’s not so much as pleasing through that setup. For whatever reason, it didn’t sound that good when I tried that with friends speakers but that could have been attributed to the amp “break in” period.  Over time I have noticed that the sound of the amp has become more “mellow” and more enjoyable.  I’ve been a huge skeptic for breaking periods as well. Not sure if it’s placebo or a real thing. I’ve just enjoyed the amp. 
 

 

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19 hours ago, Mirko said:

I feel ya on that and coming from a pioneer solid state world I’ve certainly missed the EQ tweaking I could do.  However I will say that over time and with break in the primaluna 400,  I’ve found it to sound exceptional, almost perfect...on good recordings.  For bad recordings or pressings I wish I had a preamp to tone things to my likeing.  Some people have told me why play bad recordings.  Haha. But seriously, I’ve made the jump with no tone controls and have been in audio heaven.  I currently have the Evo 400 paired with the heresy IVs and they do match incredibly well.  I’ve listened to this Evo 400 with the heresy IIs, and it’s not so much as pleasing through that setup. For whatever reason, it didn’t sound that good when I tried that with friends speakers but that could have been attributed to the amp “break in” period.  Over time I have noticed that the sound of the amp has become more “mellow” and more enjoyable.  I’ve been a huge skeptic for breaking periods as well. Not sure if it’s placebo or a real thing. I’ve just enjoyed the amp. 
 

 

 

I feel the same about tweaking bad recordings with something like tone controls. Question for you. If you can't do that with the PL, could you add a SUB to it to help with bad recordings? I use my sub to compensate for harshness etc. when playing records that I probably got quality pricing pressings of when I had no money. Hey wait, I still have no money.

LOL.

Seriously, a SUB really helps me. I only use it maybe 10% of the time but when I do it really changes a bad recording into a listenable one.

 

 

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1 hour ago, JeffLebowski said:

 

 

I feel the same about tweaking bad recordings with something like tone controls. Question for you. If you can't do that with the PL, could you add a SUB to it to help with bad recordings? I use my sub to compensate for harshness etc. when playing records that I probably got quality pricing pressings of when I had no money. Hey wait, I still have no money.

LOL.

Seriously, a SUB really helps me. I only use it maybe 10% of the time but when I do it really changes a bad recording into a listenable one.

 

 

For less than $200 you can add a Schiit Equalizer to your PL setup. I use one with my Turntable setup and use the built in equalizer in my Node 2i although I usually listen to both almost FLAT. I also have a large HSU sub and filling in those lower octaves makes all the difference in the world.

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17 hours ago, Fido said:

For less than $200 you can add a Schiit Equalizer to your PL setup. I use one with my Turntable setup and use the built in equalizer in my Node 2i although I usually listen to both almost FLAT. I also have a large HSU sub and filling in those lower octaves makes all the difference in the world.

 

Hi Fido,

I honestly did not know that you could do that. I love music and am beginning to understand more about audiophile  stuff but yeah, thanks for that.

Take Care

 

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Yep Schiit Loki.  People that have them seem to like em.  I have settled in to life without tone controls.  Even tho I'm running your EVO 400's little brother, it does everything I need it to do

for now, but I can see an EVO 400 in my future.  I am a Primaluna convert thanks to you guys.  I almost love looking at it as much as listening to it haha.  From Tidal MQA Donald Fagen to Tool flac to Floyd vinyl it just doesn't disappoint :)

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22 hours ago, JeffLebowski said:

 

Hi Fido,

I honestly did not know that you could do that. I love music and am beginning to understand more about audiophile  stuff but yeah, thanks for that.

Take Care

 

The Schiit Loki is a very small graphic equator - quiet and easily switched in and out depending --- my rig sounds great without it but some records can benefit from the tone controls it offers. Not a huge difference or required but it can add or subtract to dial in the soundstage depending on the recording. - Totally worth the $149 I paid for it, IMHO and totally eliminates the need for my integrated amp to have tone controls built in.

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