Why is there no love for Prima Luna?


I have noticed fairly negative comments on Prima Luna in various discussions. Granted, I’ve never heard their gear but they seem to offer quite a value proposition. Point to point wiring, auto bias, protection circuits, easy tube rolling, good parts and build quality. I had considered looking into the Evo series integrated but the brand seems to be downplayed on this forum. Anyone have direct experience as to why?
cincyhound
Honestly, I think is where it's made. Out loud most Americans, smile, with their pocket books, and money spent in the west.. People are strange. I know I am. I try to spend in my town, local produce, everything I can.  I've heard a few of their units, yes they are very nice.. BUT not nice enough...

Regards
Good equipment....requires the right speakers to pair with it, like anything.  I have had great (Scansonic) and bad (B&W 805) experiences with PrimaLuna .  I think they market themselves as amps that border on bulletproof and can work with any speaker (within reason) and my experience is that is far from the truth.  They behave like any modestly priced tube amps which is amazing with speakers that have the right impedance curve and poorly with speakers that are a challenge to drive.  

That being said, I am 100% certain made-in-china is a ding against them.  Lot's of folks would rather support western brands.  Roll those two things together...you get a group of people that love them and a group that really doesn't.  
I read many good things about them when I was doing research about this for my system. I'm not sure what you're seeing, but one other way to gauge gear is how often it's put up for sale, used. Some gear is very hard to find used, while other stuff is always available. Part of that can be attributed to the overall volume sold, but in some cases, it reflects dissatisfaction which emerges down the road. In other words, another way to pose your question would be, "How do people explain why they give up PL, and what do they trade up for?"
I know guy who bought one at a dealer shop and then sold it shortly after.  He had more difficult load speakers not designed to work best with tube amps.  So it was just a system mismatch nothing wrong with the amp itself.

I think many people just fall in love with tube amps and end up with mismatched systems.   Primaluna seems to have good distribution in the US and offers good value so I think there are more cases with those mainly because there are more of those out there than most tube amps.
No love?
No basis for that.
Maybe not enough love for you.
Too bad.
For made in China the Line Magnetic amps are far superior and a better value in my experience.

I love my primaluna monoblocks, but I have 92DB speakers; that could make all the difference in the world. 70 watts per channel work best with efficient speakers.
I think that their gear gets more coverage and praise than almost any other brand. I have never heard any of it, but that's what I see.
10 year PL user here. Do a search to find years of positive user reviews.

No brand is going to satisfy every set of ears or be a match for every set of speakers. The PL lineup is perfect for the first time tube user who doesn't want to fuss with traditional tube amp issues. Pretty much a plug and play box. 

It's the "Made in China" factor that maybe turns off potential users and perhaps the "know it all"  audio geniuses who downplay the brand.

The parts/build quality is on par with more expensive brands. Reliability and warranty support is good. Sound quality is going to be your own ears and the speakers you choose. No "fake information" on the website.
Does PL pair well with Klipsch Cornwall? Anybody know? 

Easy to drive speaker maybe neutral or slightly on brighter side of neutral so seems like could be good candidate for lower powered tube amp.
kren0006-

You need to test drive one. Your ears will decide. The times I've heard that paring, it seemed fine to me. I've heard the Dialogue series and Prologue series thru them. Yes and no. 

Several have addressed this herein. What's one more? A tube amplifier asked to drive a difficult to drive load provides less than stellar sound. Far more speakers are designed for SS amps than tube ones.

There are many PL user contributors on this forum that enjoy PL integrateds and amplifiers.   
People hate Chinese amps but love American companies who sell custom made boxes full of Chinese parts. Hypocrisy.
Personally I could give a f*ck where its made as long as I like it.

Boomer thinking gets us nowhere.
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plenty of love for primaluna, some folks knock it as well, like anything else - i think the measurement crowd especially like to bash the pl amps

very good amps in absolute s.q., great value for performance and features offered

are they as good as the best tube amps that cost a lot more? i don’t think so (from personal experience i still prefer audio research and more recently, linear tube audio)

the made in china thing held against it is for real - whether justified or not;  like racism and misogyny - whether people say it out loud or not, its there, alot more folks have it in their hearts than they express for fear of backlash
@millercarbon Please keep politics off the boards. 
Don’t forget to not buy any Chinese made cell phones, computers, etc. either, right?

It’s a global economy. That’s a fact and a good thing! We are all interconnected and can’t just ignore each other when things do not go as one might prefer. Different countries have different strengths (and weaknesses) to bring to the table. It’s freedom of choice to create the right collaboration that makes things right. It also gains one leverage to do more than merely complain perhaps when things happen elsewhere that shouldn’t. Not defending politics in China nor anywhere else. Taiwan is a great option as are other far eastern countries to partner with.

Of course everyone has the right to not buy anything from anyone they prefer not to. It all works out in the end.

Climate is also a global thing. You can choose to ignore it but when it becomes a problem, only global cooperation can address it. Good solutions to real problems that affect everyone benefit all involved.
I think high-end audio’s appeal is obviously based on superior sound quality, but other factors including build quality, long-term reliability (think decades, not just years), servicing and parts, and pride of ownership play a much bigger role when compared to consumer-grade equipment. Most Chinese brands simply don’t have enough history or reliability perception ... yet. Many also worry about post sales service and availability of parts 3-5 years down the road. Just like Japan, I’m sure the Chinese will address these concerns in time. But I don’t think we’re there yet in the context of high end audio.

A few weeks ago, I talked to (in person) one of the guys who works for Raven Audio. We were comparing Primulana with Raven, and one of the points he made resonated with me. The price you pay for your Primaluna includes transportation costs, advertising costs, and dealer markup. Raven, on the other hand, bypasses dealers, spends way less on advertising, and their profit margins are not significant. The differential shows up in quality. Of course, this is somewhat subjective, but when we compared the Primaluna with Raven Blackhawk sitting side by side, the Raven looked a class apart based on looks and build quality. At least during that audition, my impression was that Primaluna sounded more like an SS, but with all the tubey goodness. The Blackhawk had more midrange magic and sounded more lush (in a good way).
My thoughts:
I owned a Prima Luna integrated and thought it was pretty good.
I adopted by daughter from China when she was 9 months old.  She is now 16.  I have been in China on more than one occasion.  The people are oppressed. I have talked to many of them.  

It is a global economy and in many cases is a good thing. However, I think we as Americans (me included) have without really thinking about it lost sight of freedom and even more important but sad is the fact that we don't stand up for those who are severely persecuted around the world (e.g. China gulags-they are real. I could go on about the human right abuses. I think these are more important than the climate concern.  Behinds the scenes China is pushing the climate issue-guess why).  What should we do business with the CCP? Our leaders have/are pushing us into something that will probably turn out to be sinister.  Maybe we should as Americans reconsider where we spend our money and not trust bought and controlled politicians. Another sobering thought is the fact that I don't think we as free as we might think.  Things are changing....

Just my thoughts-don't hate me.
Why is there no love for Prima Luna?

Think I said it once before when I saw this, because this model’s output rings like a bell in the ultrasonic and it’s frequency response into 4ohms a simulated quite easy speaker load is + - 5dB across 20hz-20khz (black trace) indicating a very coloured sounding amplifier .
https://www.stereophile.com/images/1116PLPPfig02.jpg

And here’s the ultra sonic ringing superimposing itself on a 10k square wave,
https://www.stereophile.com/images/1116PLPPfig03.jpg
 "almost" looks as bad as a Class-D sawtooth ringing on a test square wave, unfiltered by the test gear. https://ibb.co/p2c64HL

Cheers George
"So the only reason to buy anything made in China is either full on outright ignorance, or an obsession with cheaping out strong enough to override all that. Or both."


Nobsound springs - made/sold by Douk Audio of China





OK, I seem to have opened a can of worms here.  I knew that being manufactured in China may be part of it, but expected the more numerous issues to revolve around the sound or build quality, parts or service issues or even reliability. 

Let me ask a different question - As a tube newbie that has been SS (Sansui, Marantz, Hafler, Luxman, Denon & Yamaha) for around 40 years what would be a recommended tube integrated to purchase that will drive efficient speakers (I sold the Dahlquist DQ 10s quite a few years ago) in a medium size, carpeted basement room? Budget for amp is max around $7,000.  Bonus points for auto bias since I'm a tube newbie.
"Honestly, I think is where it's made. Out loud most Americans, smile, with their pocket books, and money spent in the west.."

Apple would quietly disagree.
"So the only reason to buy anything made in China is either full on outright ignorance, or an obsession with cheaping out strong enough to override all that. Or both."

Chuck Miller's System - Virtual Systems (audiogon.com)

Melody I880 Tube Integrated Amp

 "...the company decided to invest heavily by building a factory in Shenzhen located near the emerging city of Hong Kong."

Melody HiFi
2 of my 3 integrated amps - Ayon Audio Spirit 2 & Line Magnetic 518IA require manual biasing; it takes less than 5 minutes to check and,  adjust if necessary, every once in awhile. My point being that biasing shouldn't scare you away from potential amps, just ask up front what is involved with biasing the specific amp.
What are the speakers and their efficiency/impedance?
Prima Luna is ok i don’t  love it though.
I just like my Prologue One integrated.  Have had it for years, now.  The piece melds perfectly with the rest of my components.  Tubes last for a good long time. Troubles have been few and very far between.  When I lived in L.A., I'd drag it to  high end stores to do direct comparisons with the stores' integrateds.  It gave every other integrated a run for its money.  Even the sales people at those shops had to admit that it sounded damnably good.  While it is true I'd be happier if it were assembled someplace else, it has proven its worth.  It might be said, too, that though it's turned out that the PrimaLuna is my only Chinese piece of audio gear, in this particular moment in history it is just plain difficult to avoid buying Chinese-sourced goods of any ilk.
For starters ,not too many people are thrilled with the China virus 
Cover up for 6 weeks before letting other in on it , I for one donot buy Anything from China Period. Taiwan ,Hong Kong no problem 
they are pro America .youhave products like Ayon and their class leading microprocessor biasing ,starting under $3k  night and day better then standard auto biasing for tube wear,and nice Built in Austria machined case work, not sheet metal,world class Lundahl transformers ,and chokes much better then a Torroidal for tubes .I think this is a good opening argument .

So a lot of this text was done on China-free hardware?
Impressive! You also must go home to China-free households? double impressive.
You guys win the internet.

cincyhound, you should just do an in home demo and let your ears open your wallet, not anyone here. Prima Luna, Raven, whatever. Both companies offer home trials. Everyone here including myself is an audio genius, but disagrees with the other geniuses.

Where it’s made is not a factor for me, I just do not care for their sound.
The times I have heard their amps they sounded somewhat closed in, slightly euphonic in the treble and flat in the midrange.
Jazz horns did not sound very good.
I know I went to go purchase based on reviews, listened, and was less than impressed. Ended up buying the mac hybrid ma352 instead. Clean, clear, detailed, everything’s prima Luna was not. 
Since I started following these forums I've discovered there are people that seem to hate the more popular brands. I own a 400 Evo integrated and doubt i could do much better in the system it is in. Speaker selection is always more limited with tubes but drives my Salk Song3s with authority.

@glupson



Chuck Miller’s System - Virtual Systems (audiogon.com)

Melody I880 Tube Integrated Amp

"...the company decided to invest heavily by building a factory in Shenzhen located near the emerging city of Hong Kong."

Melody HiFi


man, glupson ---  now you are just being downright MEAN!!!! hahahahahahahahahahahahaha
jjss49,

Not any meaner than...

"So the only reason to buy anything made in China is either full on outright ignorance, or an obsession with cheaping out strong enough to override all that. Or both."

Every now and then, reality check is in order.
@glupson

was it winston churchill or abraham lincoln who said - 'you all do as i say, not as i do' ???

arrrrrggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!  lmao
I own the PL Dialogue Premium Hp integrated Amp and push a pair of Focal Sopra 2’s and love the amp and the speaker combo. Nothing but positive things to say. Though one thing I have learned about matching gear. there has to be a good match for most of the equipment to achieve proper compatibility. It’s not just with Prima Luna, it’s across the board it this expensive hobby we love.
jjss49,

"was it winston churchill or abraham lincoln who said - 'you all do as i say, not as i do' ???"


No, it was some Chuck The China Man on audiogon.
I'm hardly an expert, but picked up a Prologue 2 integrated about a month ago and couldn't be happier.   I'm currently running Fritz Carbon 6s and Soliloquy 5.3s (auditioning the Fritz, so the sets are rotating in and out of the system), and the amp runs them without breaking a sweat - large room, but not head-banging levels.  With either speakers, I notice a presence that was lacking in my previous SS amps and a bit of warmth that doesn't go to the old-school-tube-amp level of softness.  Bottom line, the system sounds honest, accurate, and musical.  Better or more experienced ears might find fault, but I'm satisfied and finding myself far more involved in the music.



That Mac 352 integrated is very nice looking and a hybrid  design which I tend to like. 
We're not as free in the old USA as we like to think. 
Love my prima luna preamp.  Yes some guilt about not buying american, but the price is right.  Drives my carver tube amp and makes my Goldenear Ref’s  sing.  I support american when i can, but if everyone that knocks china products would do an inventory in their home of Chinese good, they too would find their money is going that way...
Politics aside can we as a community just focus on the technology! He is just looking for the respective and educated opinion of this community to help him make the right decision. Thank you.
Well, I'm a satisfied Primaluna Dialogue HP Premium Integrated owner.   I've tried many other tube amps in order from ARC D76A, ARC D76B, ASL-USA 845 SET, and now my PL.    The one piece of tube gear I didn't get to try that I wanted to was Raven Audio.  I auditioned a number of SS integrated amps as well and I really liked a few of them (Krell & Pass) but I couldn't see spending so much on the SS when I really liked the overall sound of the PL.    

I don't really care where its made.   I bought it in the US from US dealers who make US profits and pay US taxes.   Most of the equipment components from US manufacturers are made overseas (China) anyway.

Anyway, I've further enhanced my PL as I generally liked the sound by rolling in some different tubes and a SR Orange fuse.

The PL drives my XStatic EC/X full-range electrostatics wonderfully, though they could use a bit more power.

I guess why they make different equipment is because we all have different ears.   You should always trust your ears, not mine nor anyone else's.
Love my prima luna preamp.  Yes some guilt about not buying american, but the price is right.  Drives my carver tube amp and makes my Goldenear Ref’s  sing.  I support american when i can, but if everyone that knocks china products would do an inventory in their home of Chinese good, they too would find their money is going that way...
It depends on how efficient but there are tons of integrated amps $7K or under that will do the job.

One option is KR.  They are best known for their tubes, but they also make lovely amplifiers.  The KR V880 Integrated is a 50w integrated with a SS, Class A input stage and a KT88 based output stage.  
They make some darn nice amps.  
If you have more efficient speakers and don’t need 50w you could look at a SET.  Nothing from KR or Art Audio (I import both brands) is that inexpensive but Cary, Audion, line magnetic  and I am sure dozens of others are available in a sub $7k price range.  
Bought my PL preamp gently used and I don’t think I could be happier...pretty solid bang for the buck.
The Brits make damn good stuff...Linn, Tannoy, Sugden, etc...I love anything UK. Hardly anything I own HiFi wise says made In China...except maybe one of my Dacs that I seldom use.
A friend of mine lives in Florida and bought one, but he returned it soon after because it lacked the power to drive his Wharfedale speakers, and the heat from the tubes made his listening room uncomfortable.  
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"Ignorant Republican."

Not really an appropriately placed comment.