Primaluna Integrated with a seperate preamp


I have a Primaluna Dialogue Premium Integrated amp . I wanted to know if anyone has used a separate preamp through the H/T input which has a unity gain circuit .
What affect would the unity gain circuit have on the preamp signal ?

Thank You .
saki70
Doesn't anyone have any experience with this ?
No one buys a integrated to use with a pre amp?? You buy separate amp/pre amp if you want to use different pre amps. The Primaluna is awesome by itself, what speakers do you use?
Hi mattmiller ;
I agree , the Primaluna stuff is quite nice .
Actually some do use a preamp on their integrated . They usually start out with the integrated . Then , to improve the sound , add a preamp . Most integrateds have a dubious
gain stage at best and rarely an all out pre circuit such as a stand alone unit would have . It's usually worth the effort and cheaper then starting over .

I use Reference 3a Di Capo i's .

Happy Tunes .
This is from your owners manual:

"Stereo Home Theater Pass Thru
The PrimaLuna DiaLogue Premium Integrated Amplifier is equipped with a home theater pass thru that
allows you to enjoy your stereo source material and the 2 main channels of your separate home
theater processor.
This is a true pass-thru circuit. Most integrated amps that advertise having home theater pass thru
circuits are only “unity gain” circuits. This means the volume is set at a pre-determined level, but the
preamp section is still active and can introduce unwanted noise and coloration to the sound. The home
theater pass thru of the DiaLogue Premium Integrated Amplifier completely removes the preamp
section from the signal path. This is a “direct-line” circuit that results in a lower noise floor, and less
coloration."

So it sounds to me like you can plug another preamp into your Home Theater Bypass inputs.

I would have the preamp and Primaluna turned off when you hooked them up and the volume on both preamps set to zero. Turn them on and slowly increase the volume on your separate preamp.

If you want to hear from someone who knows for sure, call Upscale Audio or another Primaluna dealer.
Ok I guess you can use it with another preamp. I love those Di Cappo's BTW.
Ok , thank you Tomcy6 .
I missed the part about the description of the circuit being completely bypassed .
Very helpful response .
Happy Tunes .
I've done this with a CJ PV10A plugged into the HT inputs on a Prologue Premium... the CJ was a better pre section before I started swapping out Solens for VCaps in the pre section of the Prima Luna. So have at it if you have a better pre to try and don't mind loss of the remote control.
Excellent , thank you David256 .


As Tomcy6 suggested , I did contact Upscale Audio and asked them about the 'unity gain' circuit situation . I will post their reply here , but first a word . I am doing this for future reference to anyone also wishing to know , and reads this thread in their search for an answer .
Please , to all who have contributed here , I do not wish you to have any bad feelings or remorse . So please don't feel slighted or think that I am ungrateful for your helpful contributions .
With that said here is their answer...

"The HT input does not remove the integrated’s gainstage from the signal path. It sets to unity gain and defeats the potentiometer, but the gainstage is still in the signal path. The only real reason to use an external preamp is if it is a home theater processor/receiver and you want to integrate your two-channel and multi-channel systems.
Using just a standard two channel preamp won’t give you any meaningful performance gains, unless you are looking to use a significantly better preamp than the one built into the integrated. At that budget, honestly that would be a step sideways at best. At worst, it really would only serve to add another piece of gear where noise or ground loops can be introduced."

The budget that I used was $1,000 for a used preamp .

Again many thanks to all of you that contributed to this thread .

Happy Tunes
Interesting Saki70, since the PL site/manual itself says that it does not only NOT use unity gain, but states it is inferior. Now, the response above that was quoted from Upscale states it DOES use unit gain. 
Weird.
Clarification?
thanks, Gary
Yes . I used a Prologue Premium pre-amp into a Prologue Premium integrated while saving for Prologue Premium mono-blocks. 
Ive had my HP Integrated about 4-5 months how.
On my speakers, Dali Helicon 400 v1, 88dB, 4 Ohm, the Ultralinear and especially the Triode sound thin, dry, poor soundstage- mostly just left and right, not L/R/Ctr, front, rear soundstage. 

So this was my question: Is this due to the preAmp 12AU7 tubes?
Or the stock PL EL34s?

So I hooked up my Eastern Electric BBA/Booster Buffer Amp (a tubed preAmp with a Volume knob and Gain knob only) as a PreAmp into the HT bypass of the HP Integrated. Now, we are in business.

Like night and day. Suddenly I have texture, nuance, power, soundstage galore. Exactly what I am looking for. 

So I will contact Kevin @ Upscale Audio to ask him about this situation, and I may need to replace some of the stock PL 12AU7s. Or perhaps there is a defect? 

Any suggestions?





The updated versions of The Prologue and Dialogue Premium with an HT input has a true pass-through that eliminates the preamp section. Here is the description in the latest owner's manual:

Stereo Home Theater Pass Thru  
The PrimaLuna DiaLogue Premium Integrated Amplifier is equipped with a home theater pass thru that allows you to enjoy your stereo source material and the 2 main channels of your separate home theater processor. This is a true pass-thru circuit. Most integrated amps that advertise having home theater pass thru circuits are only “unity gain” circuits. This means the volume is set at a pre-determined level, but the preamp section is still active and can introduce unwanted noise and coloration to the sound. The home theater pass thru of the DiaLogue Premium HP Integrated Amplifier completely removes the preamp section from the signal path. This is a “direct-line” circuit that results in a lower noise floor, and less coloration.

The only issue I find with the HT input is that it is the only input with tube hum / noise. With or without anything connected to the HT input. All other inputs utilizing the preamp section are dead quiet. I tried grounding and cheating the ground of the amplifier but no effect. Is the tube hum / noise due to the fact that the HT input goes directly to the power section / tubes? 
Saki70-
I have the PL Dialogue HP integrated.

Earlier this year, I picked up a used Dialogue Premium preamp, with intentions of getting 2 HP amps.

Used the pre with the integrated thru the HT. The sonic difference is quite subtle, I couldn't hear it. Maybe its a YMMV thing?I just know my wallet was saved from further damage, because I changed my mind about going separate line stage/amps.

I do use the HT bypass with my Mac MR71 tuner.

I never found this thread as I asked the same question Saki did.   I borrowed a buddies ARC LS26 and hooked it up through the HT bypass and was disappointed.  It sounded great with his ss amp but completed different with the PL.  I also called Kevin @  Upscale and he said why would you want to add a preamp.  After listening to the LS26 with my buddies ss amp i knew there were a few things missing with the passive preamp section of the PL.  However,  it didn't match well with the PL. The PL sounds very good regardless but there's something to be said for a good preamp. 
tablejockey & samzx12 ;

Thank you for your input . Nothing like real world experience .


@1graber2 I replaced the stock 12AU7 tubes on my Dialogue Premium integrated amp with Cifte 12AU7 as recommended by Upscale Audio. These tubes added more texture and a more holographic sound. I also tried other NOS tubes that are all better sounding than the stock tubes. I also replaced the stock power tubes. I suggest you call Upscale so they can help with deciding which tubes may help your needs.
I’m a believer in separates, and I have a Don Sachs Model 2 Preamp, with a pair of PSVANE Treasure CV181 + a pair of Shuguang CV181 on buffer. But I chose the Primaluna Dialogue Premium Integrated, among other reasons, for having a preamp bypass or HT section, that allows flexibility to be used with or without a separate preamp. Why didn’t I just buy the Dialogue Power Amp? Well experience taught me that Integrateds are a lot easier to sell later on, just in case.
My other amp is a Line Magnetic 518 Integrated Amplifier, a SET amplifier utilizing 845 tubes, which also has a bypass called Pre-In. The 518s preamp section is "so-so" and using it as a power amp takes it to another level. I have purchased about 8 various preamps, from solid state to tube preamps, until I tried Don Sachs’ preamp, that finally ended my search.
Now back to the Dialogue Integrated + a Preamp. The built-in preamp section of the Dialogue is dead quiet as you all know already, and is a decent preamp. But it is not a great preamp section. After almost 40 hours of burning in my Dialogue and using it as an integrated, I decided to finally use the HT input and connect my Don Sachs Model 2 Preamp. The result was a shift from 1st gear to 4th. The soundstage just became wider and deeper, with imaging becoming more holographic. Clarity and details were enhanced. Bass has more weight and finesse, with a layered texture. Decay and nuance in notes is accentuated further with the preamp. Everything just got better by a mile. Now the burning in will continue with my Dialogue Premium Integrated on HT + my Preamp.
I just have to live with the slight hum/noise on the HT input, that might be getting emphasized by the high sensitivity of my Tekton Design Lore speakers at 96db, but its not more than usual for tube power amps.
So yes, the Dialogue Premium Integrated is also a great performing Power Amp when combined with a stellar Preamp.
Use an outboard preamp to the Primaluna, and then use outboard power amps instead of the one in the integrated. This approach makes absolutely no sense, but I'm tossing it in anyway to encourage the use of gonzo or actually inane solutions.
It’s called Versatility wolf_garcia. Not a lot of amplifiers out there are both an Integrated and a Power Amp. These Primalunas are, and among the few that are highly capable and solid performers.
Equipment breaks down, tubes become noisy and all of sudden die out, and if my separate preamp does that and am out of spares, it will not stop me from playing and enjoying music because I will just connect everything direct to my Dialogue. Flexibility. Options. I’ve been in this hobby long enough to know these are important things. Peace and enjoy your music..
My comment was inane, and I'm sticking with it. This is an important thing.
Odyssey7 I agree the PL power amp is fantastic on its own. I have found Winged "C" EL34 tubes offer the best overall sound IMO. The Gold Lion KT88 also are very good but if one prefers EL34's the Winged C's are the shiznit or at least in my system.   

I started going the separates route and ended up with a BAT VK55 amp and VK31SE preamp. Fantastic combo however, I am chasing down the right power cord combination but getting close. I will try the BAT VK31SE soon with the PL to see how it mates up. From your review of the Don Sachs it sounds like it is one hell of a unit and obviously compliments the PL very very well?  After using the LS-26 mentioned in my above post I was thinking the PL didn't respond well to a separate preamp.