The one that best matches the system it’s going into and has the sound you're looking for.
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I've had an RP7 (driving a Stereo 100 power) for almost a year now. It's dead quiet, very dynamic, and responds well to tube rolling. The stock JJ 12 AU7s aren't anything to write home about, and I've gone through a bunch of rolls, I've settled on RCA black plate 5814As as main, and Tung Sol black glass as followers. I find the RP7 to be utterly non fatiguing, and any "color" added is due to tube choice. I like a BIT of color.
Anyway, the RP7 is quite versatile. I use the processor out for a Schiit Loki for nighttime listening/low level bass boost when needed. The fixed out goes to my headphone amp (sounds better than the built in). The variable outs go to my subwoofers. Connection from my phono pre and DAC are balanced, and out to the power amp is balanced as well. I use the HT bypass from my AV receiver as well. Many options. I'm very pleased, and for me, this is an endgame preamp. The RP7 leaves me sonically wanting nothing, as least not overtly. Sorry I'm not much help as I've never used a Primaluna.
A strong argument always, agreed. It seems what PrimaLuna provides instead is an exclusive, and remarkably helpful, U.S. online dealer. Upscale Audio doesn't build the device (now updated to EVO 300 from DiaLogue for another $500), but represents the brand extremely well.
That said, I still have not heard or played with either one. PrimaLuna is easier for tube rolling, yet offers this advice about doing so with its products: https://www.primaluna-usa.com/tube-rolling
And now another seemingly casual first-world consumer choice becomes a matter of conscience. Which is likely a good thing for everybody. If only we could trade conscience for prescience, we'd never go wrong.
At this price level I thought you might want to entertain a couple other options that have gotten stellar reviews both here and in the press, just FYI if nothing else. All made in US.
- Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL, around $4500 depending on options
- Linear Tube Audio MZ3, $3700, virtually identical to MicroZOTL with fewer inputs and no balanced option
- Don Sachs Custom Linestage, $2500 pretty much fully tricked out
Sorry if I’m muddying the waters here, but at this price level I thought it might be nice to entertain a few other highly-regarded options before pulling the trigger. Member @teajay has reviewed (and purchased) some LTA products and may have some insightful feedback and perspectives for you before you make a final decision. I will mention both LTA and Sachs offer a trial period so you can see how they perform in your system before fully committing. Anyway, hope this is more helpful than annoying, and best of luck in whatever you ultimately decide.
The Dialogue has been discontinued. Current version with balanced in/out is the EVO 400 which I am still considering along with Rogue and Raven. Also like the Linear MicroZOTL, but this comes only in black and I am done with black buttons on a black background in a low-lit listening room.
For the present, I am experimenting with the $900 Schiit Freya Plus. A balanced tube line stage with inputs/outputs mirroring the others at a fraction of the price. Missing some soundstage depth but little else. Higher priority for now is the digital player and DAC with many more variables in play. Likely 6-8 months before all the pieces fall together into what I envision as a "final" system.
Thanks for asking. Ball is still in the air since I have the luxury of time to get things approximately "right."
I have not yet tried any tube rolling in Freya but will get around to it and follow these suggestions from you veterans. Thanks for sharing. I feel sure the JJs which came with mine do not reveal the device's ultimate sonic potential. Just establishing a baseline until time allows more experimentation.