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Primaluna integrated questions...

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Posted on January 9, 2021 at 14:20:58
Valva Actual
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The subtitle of this post is: Does anyone know about the Primaluna EVO 300 integrated PRE-AMP section?

Why? I am thinking my EVO 300 integrated's preamp section is a limiting factor in music quality.

I base this on: There isn't much preamp hardware in my EVO 300 integrated (see linked pics?).
The EVO 300 amp-only and the EVO 300 integrated have the same tube complement, and, to my eyes,
almost the same internal layout.

They didn't jam the entire stand-alone EVO 300 preamp section into the integrated chassis, they went streamlined.
I am curious how much preamp section there actually is, and what it actually does. Any thoughts?

How much is gained replacing the integrated EVO 300 with its amp-only version (EVO 300) and adding a preamp of some sort ?


Additional info and thoughts...

Until recently I had Cary separates and it was good. (That amp died).
I find that my PL EVO 300 integrated isn't as good as my old Cary separates, I believe the preamp had a lot to do with that.

To gather more info, I would try running my Cary preamp into the PL integrated, but my brand new Primaluna Integrated EVO 300 is away somewhere being fixed, and the down time has given me some useful time to think about the system and its wounded pieces (in unrelated carnage, my ancient Bel-Canto cdp died, and my Innuos server thingy is non-func as well). January has been a weird month for me in many ways.

Last thing, when I have mentioned running a preamp into the integrated to my dealer guy, and to some guy at the PL mothership, both were vaguely disapproving of the idea and said there is not a preamp-in connection, and I would have to run the Cary preamp into the HT bypass RCA connection (which is labelled 'caution' on the back of the unit). I don't understand that as I don't do HT at all

 

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RE: Primaluna integrated questions..., posted on January 9, 2021 at 15:17:30
AbeCollins
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Which Cary separates did you have? The best sounding preamp I ever owned was the Cary SLP-05 but it was pricey. I wonder if the SLP-98 has a similar sound. It lacks balanced inputs but that's not a deal killer for me.

Sorry I don't have an answer to your question. I'd be curious to see what responses you get.





 

RE: Primaluna integrated questions..., posted on January 9, 2021 at 19:30:15
Valva Actual
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Cary SLA 70 signature amp, and Cary SLP-74 preamp
Both have had some circuitry amendments, but not what you might call hot-rodded.
You had an SLP-05 ? That is what I aspire to.

 

RE: Primaluna integrated questions..., posted on January 10, 2021 at 02:40:31
RGA
Reviewer

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Location: Hong Kong
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IME the preamp section in an integrated is the weakest part. I get the sense that some use a kind of passive preamp.

I can't use your amp as an example but it's helpful to make comparisons with companies that can actually let you make comparisons.

Example: Audio Note P3 power amp is a 300B power amp that has a volume knob. You can run one source into into it and it is a "get you by" integrated.

BUT you can also listen to the M2 Preamp and run them as separates and heard the rather substantial improvement it makes.

You can then also listen to the Meishu. The Meishu is an integrated amp that houses the P3 and M2 in a single chassis with separate power supplies and shares one power plug.

Now - as you point out the power amp appears to be extremely similar to the integrated. So what you would need to do is try the preamplifier that is the partner for the power amp and then compare that to the integrated.

But not all companies make equally good stuff. Awhile back I compared my old Line Magnetic 219IA to a Melody Valve Audio integrated and I prefer the LM. However when I compared the preamps and separates I preferred the melody Valve Audio. I greatly preferred the melody Valve audio preamp to the LM ones.

Now my old LM 219IA has preamp in so that the 219IA could be used as a power amp. The Melody 101 pre was dramatically superior - it lifted the amp significantly. This in spite of the fact that the LM's preamp never really gets out of the way.

Personally, I prefer what I have heard from Cary to what I have heard from Prima Luna.

You might want to try an Audio Note M1 preamp and P2SE power amp if you're looking for a more full-bodied presentation. The M1 is still relatively affordable. I am currently reviewing it and boy it's quite nice. I am running it into both Class D high power amps(200W+) and an 8 watt 2a3 and 12-watt EL84 amps.

In the end, I always prefer separates - with a good active preamp like the M1 you can then buy power as needed. It's in the $2,500 range. The Phono stage is excellent - an actual true tube phono stage, not some cheap off-the-shelf board.

 

RE: Primaluna integrated questions..., posted on January 10, 2021 at 08:51:26
Palustris
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"They didn't jam the entire stand-alone EVO 300 preamp section into the integrated chassis, they went streamlined.
I am curious how much preamp section there actually is, and what it actually does. Any thoughts?"

I have to wonder just what you think is missing by not "jamming the entire preamp circuitry" into the integrated.

Have you read the specifications for the EVO 300 amplifier? If not, you will be very relieved to understand that this amp has an input sensitivity of 870mV! In case you have forgotten your high school physics, that's .870 Vrms: < 1 Vrms (less than one volt root mean square).

Now we all know that the Red Book International standard output for a CD player or DAC is 2Vrms (two volts root mean square). So, it would seem ridiculous for an integrated amp to amplify a signal that is already too large for the input of amplifier.

So what does a preamp stage do if there is no need to amplify the signal? It provides switching and attenuation. So the first thing the preamp stage does is REDUCE THE SIGNAL AMPLITUDE in the volume control. So any talk of "passive" preamps is absurd since there is absolutely no need for any more amplification.

OK, I know this is a fact that is anathema to the dominant paradigm. That doesn't make it untrue.

 

RE: Primaluna integrated questions..., posted on January 10, 2021 at 09:09:05
Ivan303
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"So, it would seem ridiculous for an integrated amp to amplify a signal that is already too large for the input of amplifier."

Which, of course, is what most if not all active preamps do, :-)



 

RE: Primaluna integrated questions..., posted on January 10, 2021 at 17:47:01
Valva Actual
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>> I have to wonder just what you think is missing by not "jamming the entire preamp circuitry" into the integrated.

Here is the thing: there is more to a preamp than gain. I have never heard someone say, "yeah, my pre and power amps were great together, but the integrated version from the same company was so much nicer".

I am really just seeking an analysis of the preamp in my integrated, I don't understand what it is.

 

RE: Primaluna integrated questions..., posted on January 10, 2021 at 18:04:43
Blackdog
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Best educated guess, it's just input switching, and volume. Completely passive.
One other thing. It has been my experience that when companies make a line that contains a preamp, amp, and integrated amp, corners are generally cut on the integrated to keep pricing in line with the amp.
So the integrateds amplifier section may not be quite the same as the basic amp.
This is just supposition though.


Dan Santoni

 

I understand and am similarly inclined..., posted on January 10, 2021 at 22:09:23
Valva Actual
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I think your post has driven me toward some kind of decision: is the EVO300 integrated's PREAMP compromised in such a way that I need a quality preamp to come closer to maximing sound quality.
A fine preamp does seem to matter in most stereo systems. My research awaits...

 

"my brand new Primaluna Integrated EVO 300 is away somewhere being fixed", posted on January 10, 2021 at 23:41:46
BS64
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that's unsettling...but then again, maybe it will come back better than before?

 

RE: I understand and am similarly inclined..., posted on January 11, 2021 at 09:34:57
6bq5
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Typically a Pre-amp is designed to be able to drive any amp,
and to do so with a wide variety of cables/ICs-

In an Integrated amp setting - much of the unknown challenges disappear

assuming that there is NO Phono stage, the new requirement is for the pre-amp to drive the amplifier to meet the specs/goals of the designer
This might simply be - as indicated above - input switching and volume control-
With out the need to rive cables over unknown lengths, the integrated may eve be able to use a section of the input driver tubes for the small amount of gain necessary to have an active Pre-amp

Pre-amps can be very simple
Happy Listening

 

RE: "my brand new Primaluna Integrated EVO 300 is away somewhere being fixed", posted on January 11, 2021 at 12:48:41
Valva Actual
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It had better come back fixed, that is for sure.
I had not considered the possibility that the thing that was wrong (produced high noise/static in one
channel) might have been affecting overall sound quality. That would be nice, as I had not been highly
impressed with the unit to that point.

I hope it is not a transformer. I read a horror story on these boards of a guy who had a
transformer-eating unit that Kevin et al were just blowing off. I do not know how that ended.

 

RE: "my brand new Primaluna Integrated EVO 300 is away somewhere being fixed", posted on January 15, 2021 at 16:45:12
mbnx01
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Well it better not come back worse than before. But I suppose that's a possibility.







'A lie is halfway around the world before the truth gets its boots on'. -Mark Twain

 

RE: Primaluna integrated questions..., posted on January 15, 2021 at 17:09:28
Wojciech
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Posts: 2191
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Well, It does look like your integrated amp uses and active triode in the preamplifier section either as an amplifying device or as a buffer stage. So it is not a simple passive stage. Look at the two 9 pin tube sockets upfront. There are two additional white intersection coupling capacitors meaning the other half of the tube (which is not employed in the amp) is used in the integrated amp. Separate preamp usually provides better power supply and separation from the noisy power stages compared to integrated amp. Sometimes "less is more" doesn't work as advertised. Personally I like "more is more" and more of "more" the better...Warm Regards

 

I appreciate your comments. Thanks nt. , posted on January 15, 2021 at 18:37:25
Valva Actual
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Thanks nt

 

variable gain preamp make a lot of sense, posted on January 18, 2021 at 09:51:52
LtMandella
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Posts: 1232
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Bruce Rozenblit has come to that conclusion, and in fact has retired his Grounded Grid preamp for a new design he calls the slider.

He does explains the electrical rationale' quite well.

It is a variable gain preamp...



If art interprets our dreams, the computer executes them in the guise of programs!

 

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