Cary Audio SLI-80HS vs Primaluna Dialogue HP or Evo Integrated Amps

Greetings all...  I ready to move into the tube integrated two channel world.  I've never owned tubes before but I've always been enamored with Mac stuff and recently heard the Rogue Audio and was hooked.  I have done a lot of research and have narrowed my choices down to these two amps.  I live in Va Beach, VA and don't have access to them for an audition so I'm buying 'blind'.  I've read many reviews and watched many videos (Kevin Deal is quite the salesman!) but was hoping to get more input here. I doubt I'll find many that have compared the two directly but I thought I'd try.  Does anyone have any input here?  And, I'm slightly concerned about having to bias the Cary.  Is this something that I should be concerned about / is it difficult / time consuming?  Thanks for any input.  I appreciate it! 
I don’t know how the biasing works on that Cary but it’s probably not difficult. A very small flat blade screwdriver and a multi meter is all you need if it doesn’t have self biasing features. Generally Cary tends to have a strong bottom end while Prima Luna is more balanced. I’d ask for an audition at your home.

Edit: biasing the Cary is a breeze. I looked at the online owner’s manual. Still not as easy as the PrimaLuna’s auto biasing. 
And the Cary has a Class A Triode mode. 
I had a 2010 Cary SLI-80 and really enjoyed it.  In fact I realized I've missed it quite a bit in my 2nd system and have recently traded in a piece of gear to Cary and have a new SLI-80HS on the way.  The biggest difference in the updated model is the solid state rectification which should give it even better extended bass.  I plan to pair it with Klipsch Forte III's which I just demoed this evening with a Rogue Cronus Magnum III - the pairing was really nice.  

Tube biasing on the Cary is simple as the poster stated above.  Screwdriver and multimeter.  Once the amp and tubes are broken in a bit you really only need to adjust the bias a few times per year at most.  

Clearly the SLI-80HS and Dialogue Premium HP are intended to go head to head.  They both have triode and UL modes and nearly identical output and price.  I haven't heard the PL but they take a little different approach with double the output tubes but overall the design seems very thoughtful, if not perhaps too user friendly to the point it has what I consider too many extra parts - the auto bias (maybe because of so many tubes being used), the EL34.KT88 switch to accommodate a slightly wider range of output tubes while still being able to autobias (I'm not sure why you'd want to use KT150s in this amp), and there is a bad tube indication function - none of which are on the Cary.  It's pretty easy for me to tell when a tube is going bad.  I suspect the PL sounds best loaded with 8 EL34s and the Cary sounds best with four KT77s or KT88s. Probably due to the huge arsenal of tubes in the PL it consumes and an enormous 470 watts compared to Cary's 166 watts.

I have never listened to a PL but I'd sure give it a chance.  I'm really just weighing in from an older SLI-80 owner's perspective.  I'm very interested in seeing how the 80HS compares.
Primaluna Dialogue HP is great, but IMHO if you don't run KT150s in it (expensive) you are not hearing it at it's best.  I made the mistake of going KT120 before KT150 and should have just gone KT150 from the start.  Phenomenal headphone amp is a total bonus.
@parsons That’s really interesting about the KT150s. I can definitely see how KT150s would be more thunderous, powerful, and overall more dynamic but I think you’d give up some midrange magic of the EL34s. I’m surprised you saw that big a difference moving from KT120 to KT150. Obviously a desirable sonic profile is such an individual preference. I almost think that someone who craves the power, bass, and dynamics of KT150 tubes is actually someone who may benefit more from a SS amp paired with a tube pre. That’s what I use is my main system - but with pure Class A SS power.
Thanks for all the input everyone.  It’s very helpful!  I live in Va Beach and will likely make the trek to Raleigh NC (3.5 hours drive) to hear the Cary amp.  I’m also thinking of pairing it with the Klipsch Forte IIIs which they also have for my audition. I won’t likely do a lot of tube rolling... at least to start. So the amp needs to sound great out of the gate... and I listen to a wide range of music. Please keep me posted three easy payments. 
Don't get me wrong, the amp sounds awesome with EL34s.  But in my opinion a very different/more relaxed sound than the KT family, and yeah, the KT150s did all the things KT120s did but better with no downside I could find.  And the KT120s were a step up from KT88s.  I struggled to love the EL34 sound in spite of a ton of's merely a preference thing as you say.  KT150s still sound like great tubes, but are a little more SS neutral perhaps.  I want to love some solid state amps but I haven't, and still own a couple good ones (SimAudio Moon, but sold my First Watt after trying to love it for a couple years in a couple systems).  I haven't heard the other two amps in question and I know Cary is a great amp manufacturer from my reading.
I’m looking for that ‘tube sound’ so reaching for kt150s to bring more SS slam is really not my desire at the moment as I’m ready to get a less clinical sound and more ‘tone’.  I’m hopeful the kt88s are a nice balance between the el34s and kt150s
if you want the warm, midrangey tube sound, EL34’s are the key. They give so much depth to the sound. I would say that if an amp was designed for them, why change? You can always roll different brands of EL34’s. They are inexpensive tubes. 
The KT150s are not clinical nor SS sounding.  They're just not on the buttery and bloated end of the tube spectrum.  But try EL34s and see how you like them first...I agree that they're a lot cheaper way to go.
Didn't Herb just review the Cary for Stereophile?  Search out the review--I seem to remember it includes some comparisons.
Yes, I saw this.  Thanks.  Kind of a mixed message but sounds like getting it paired with the Forte IIIs is special.  

Also, I've read several times (as also noted in this review) that Cary's tube gear has historically had a more lush tube sound and Primaluna leans a bit more solid state.  Although, Cary's newer stuff maybe not so much.  

How many hours of use can I expect from the KT88s in the Cary amp before likely needing replacement?  I feel like this amp is going to push itself harder and maybe require more frequent replacements.  Is that safe to say?

How many hours of use can I expect from the KT88s in the Cary amp before likely needing replacement?

About 2,500 hrs....ymmv
Hey  parsons, if you're heading to Raleigh, Audio Advice there has the Primaluna line and the Klipsch heritage speakers. I have found them to be very helpful. Good luck!
I have been a long time McIntosh user. I have had the Cary sli 80 F1, and loved it. Also easy to bias. I purchased a Primaluna Prologue One to see what the hype was about. I was shocked to say the least, I rolled tubes and the sound always changed and improved.  That little amp is capable of so much. I recently purchased the Dialogue HP amp and all I can say is wow! It gives my Mac MC 352 a run for the money!  I have it currently paired with a Manley Shrimp pre amp and the soundstage is incredible. I listen to primarily vinyl with a Manley Chinook phono stage and am quite satisfied. I’ve used EL 34, KT 88, and KT 120 with great sounds in their respective ways.  As far as tube gear goes it has to be the easiest to own, with outstanding results.  I still have the Prologue One in a small system and can’t let it go.  For price point, and ease of use the Primaluna gear is well worth it. 
Thank you all for the input... I purchased the Primaluna Dialogue HP Integrated as well as the Klipsch Forte III speakers and although I'm a long way from completing the burn-in... I'm stunned!  These components are a heavenly pairing just as the reviews are saying!  Open... Dynamic... Exciting... Punch...and FUN!  Less clinical and accurate which is fine with me.  The soundstage is amazing and enveloping.  One note... the packaging from Klipsch is terrible.  Considering the price tag for these speakers, one would expect them to be carefully boxed and protected.  It appears they don't care if it were a toaster oven in this box.  One speaker was nicked up in three places. No bags or covering.  Nothing between the cardboard and the speakers except a foam base and top. 
@tripppsta   Enjoy!  I really love the pairing of the Forte III's with my Cary SLI-80HS.  Perfect synergy.  

One question - did you buy the speakers new?  I bought mine lightly used from an individual in Chicago and the speakers came wrapped in plastic under the foam inserts.  I must admit I was happy that I transported the speakers in my own car so that he didn't have to risk damage during shipping.
"really love the pairing of the Forte III’s with my Cary SLI-80HS. Perfect synergy."

to: three_easy_payments,
Curious to know what variations of output tubes you tried in your former SLI-80 and now with your new SLI-80HS?

In previous posts you’ve mentioned EL34s, KT77s, KT88s, others and wondering which ones your tried and preferred in either of your 80 & 80HS amps. Have you actually tried running EL34s and compared to the KT150s in the new 80HS amp? I’m a former SLI80 and V12R owner trying both KT88s and EL34s but not in the new amp design. Currently running another brand of mono amps with KT150s shaping sound closer to EL34s but it’s taken a lot to get there messing with front end devices, different DAC tubes and caps in DACs and such is why I ask what you’ve tried. If not yet, are you planning to try EL34s, KT77s in that new 80HS amp by chance?

I've actually only tried KT88s in the SLI-80 and SLI-80HS.  I've tried these in EH and GLs and much preferred the GLs.  I recently inquired with Cary about bias settings should I start to experiment with other output tubes and interestingly they suggested that KT120s would be a notable SQ upgrade over the KT88s in the SLI-80HS.  At some point I will try these.

..they suggested that KT120s would be a notable SQ upgrade over the KT88s in the SLI-80HS.

Hmmm. All circuit and system dependent I guess. The GL KT88s were really nice in my former SLI-80, and KT120s not so much in my current (non-cary) mono block tube amps. 120s were kinda dry to my ears [in my setup]. My current KT150s are super open, clear, top to bottom and weighty in my current amps - nice, if you like the type of sound.  I might lean more towards the sound and silky tone of the GLKT88 tubes you have  right now :), or maybe even KT77s in reverse. All preference and different hearing we all have. 

I might lean more towards the sound and silky tone of the GLKT88 tubes you have  right now :)

That was actually how I'm leaning right now.  I don't feel like the system is lacking in any dynamics at all.