Prima Luna Dialogue Premium Power Amp - KT88 Black
The bar has been raised..
The result has been awe-inspiring. Art Dudley, one of the most famous and well-respected reviewers in the industry, reviewed the DiaLogue Premium power amp as a $3199 stereo amp, not even in the more powerful monoblock mode. He declared "I tried to find fault with the PrimaLuna DiaLogue Premium. I failed." and that it "is among the four or five most enjoyable" amplifiers he has ever reviewed. This is important because Art reviews some of the most expensive products in the world. Tone Audio Magazine's Jeff Dorgay followed suit, awarding the Product of the Year award. Please go to the review section for more details.
Let's look at the way this amplifier is designed and built.
Point to point wired with Swiss made cable. It's obvious that point to point wiring sounds better and lasts longer than wave-soldered thin printed circuit boards. It's what sets PrimaLuna apart and is part of our credo. In the new DiaLogue Premium we went a step further by using Swiss-made, silver-plated, oxygen-free continuous crystal (OCC) copper with a Teflon dielectric in the critical signal path for superior signal speed and increased clarity.
TAKMAN Resistors. "Modders" love TAKMAN for their low noise, linearity, and musicality.
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. This is another PrimaLuna "magic bullet" design to make our products so quiet, you will get goose-bumps. 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 superb AC toroidal transformers that are 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.
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! Distortion levels in the first stage have dropped by a factor of five at low levels, and at least 20 at higher levels, above one volt. The four 12AU7’s on the outside are driver tubes. By using four instead of two, we can swing more voltage. The two tubes in the center are the input tubes, and that’s where you want to have fun later if you wish by experimenting with different tube brands.
We chose 12AU7 tubes because there are more factories around the world making great ones today than any other tube, so you can try them and see if you prefer their "color." By contrast, a tube like the 6H30 tube is well-known for thin mids, and they are only made in one factory in Russia. If your equipment uses that tube, there is no way to fine-tune the tonal balance of your system trying different brands; you'd better like it as-is. What if that 6H30 factory has a problem, closes, or just decides to stop making them? In addition, because 12AU7's have always been a popular tube, there are tens of thousands of vintage new-old-stock 12AU7's available everywhere from the greatest factories like Telefunken, Mullard, Amperex, Cifte, Siemens, and more. Tons of them. If you haven't "Tube Rolled," it's a gas, and how you get that last 10% of PERFECT tonal balance to YOUR tastes.
Remote controlled Triode/Ultra-linear Switching – Did you use to love listening to classic rock like the Stones, Neil Young, Hendrix, or The Doors, and some of it now ends up left on the shelf? How about jazz or classical recordings from the 60’s? Every audiophile has songs or albums that they used to love to listen to, but they stopped. Not because the music was bad; it was the best! The problem is, some older recordings sound harsh, brittle, or bright. It’s a shame that we buy a system that is designed to make music listening more enjoyable, and then the higher resolution stops us from playing the albums we love most.
Stereo or Monoblock operation - It's as simple as flipping a switch, and the DiaLogue Premium Amplifier instantly switches from stereo to monoblock operation! Buy one, and as your budget grows your system can grow too. The benefit of monoblock operation is the amp now has dual output transformers for the best coupling with your speakers, and the addition of a 2-ohm speaker tap added to the 4 and 8-ohm taps. While all PrimaLuna amps are made for ribbons like Magnaplanars and electrostatics like Martin-Logan, you haven't heard anything until you have heard a PrimaLuna monoblock!
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:
Primaluna's exclusive Adaptive AutoBias. Bias is very important, and before you buy anything you need the click that link (it's in red) to learn the basics. If anybody tells you that they have auto bias, ask them precisely how. It's 99% likely to be untrue. As with all PrimaLuna amps, you never have to worry about biasing your amp ever again, and the need for matched tubes is eliminated. You can run EL34, KT88, KT120, even KT150 tubes, as well as many others. 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%!
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.
KT150 Compatible and designed for the future – In 2006 PrimaLuna introduced the original DiaLogue series; the first amplifiers designed to be as close to being future proof as humanly possible. Back then nobody imagined a tube like the KT120, let alone the KT150, which combines the sweetness of a 300B with bass and control never seen before. Now other companies are scrambling to make a product built to handle the demands of this incredible tube.
All PrimaLuna DiaLogue Premium and ProLogue Premium amplifiers and integrated amplifiers are built with huge power transformers and filaments supplies needed to run KT150 tubes. And the ingenious design of our exclusive Adaptive AutoBias circuit means that PrimaLuna buyers from ten years ago don’t have to sell off their system to enjoy new tube developments.
No planned obsolesce. Isn’t that a refreshing concept? And while we can’t guarantee being future-proof, we seem to have done a good job thus far.
SmartWatts design with a tube life of up to ten years. When you buy any tube product, you need to think about the operational costs to own it. Many brands quote changing power tubes after 2000 hours. Not PrimaLuna. If an amp runs the tubes hard, its sound quality can start to degrade in 9 months and need to be re-tubed in a year. What’s fun about that? Understanding tube life is easy when you understand this.
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.
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.
DIALOGUE PREMIUM AMPLIFIER SPECIFICATIONS
Freq. Response (+/- 1dB):
94 dB (stereo)
93 dB (mono)
15" x 8.3 " x 14.2" (WxHxD)
1 pair RCA
4, 8 , & 16 Ohm output taps (stereo)
2, 4, & 8 Ohm output taps (mono)
6 - 12AU7, 4 - EL34