“I’ve listened to the PrimaLuna ProLogue Premium preamplifier at great length and carefully studied its construction.
In even a very expensive system, it will not set limits on musical enjoyment. As I concluded my review of PrimaLuna’s ProLogue Premium power amp: Class A sound at a Class C price.”
- Herb Reichert, Stereophile Magazine June 2017
ProLogue Premium Preamplifier - $2199
Is it true? Can you buy one of the finest tube preamps ever made…one that magazine critics actually use themselves… for under $2200?
Yes. It's true.
We say this with calm assurance: The ProLogue Premium is built better and will sound better than $5000 offerings from any of the big name brands. If you don’t believe us, call PrimaLuna at 909-931-0219 and tell us what other product you are considering. We will tell you exactly HOW it is better.
How can we offer such a value? First of all, we don't overcharge our customers. Don’t buy into the hype. Have you noticed that most companies making preamps for $3000-$5000 will tell you it’s a "miniature version" or it’s "inspired by" their $10-20K flagship model? Look inside and the designs are nothing alike. Listen to us when we tell you this: In the last 10-15 years manufacturers have decided to double their profit margins by putting fewer, less expensive parts in the box. Just a little bit cheaper made every year, so you don't notice it. The product will still sound good because making a preamp is easy, but is NOT worth what they want to charge you. We’re calling them out on this. That 13-pound preamp they want to sell you for $4500 should cost no more than $1999.
There has not been a new design in tube preamps for decades. There have been improvements in some areas, but they are all built in the following ways: Preamps with one or two tubes are either hybrid (cheap to make) or use a lot of feedback. If they have four or more tubes, they use one of several designs, many of which have been around since the 1940's.
The top-tier, most expensive preamps selling for $10,000 or more will have tube rectification so they are "pure tube." Many of these "flagship" preamps will also be dual-mono, so they don’t share parts between channels, yielding better separation. They will have point to point wiring instead of thin printed circuit boards to carry the signal (though even some flagship preamps still use circuit boards). Then, they will use a high-quality analogue potentiometer volume control instead of a $2.50 volume “chip”.
PrimaLuna uses TWO 5AR4 rectifier tubes, one for each channel in a true dual-mono circuit that is all point-to-point wired using the highest quality parts including the awesome Alps Blue Velvet volume control. All things included in this incredible preamp weighing in at an amazing 37.5 pounds.
PrimaLuna buyers are typically well-seasoned tube-heads, and they know all this stuff. If you are new to tube preamps, you can help yourself by doing two simple things: Take the name and model of the product you are considering, and put it into Google. Then, get the weight and click on “Images” so you can see exactly what you are getting inside. Funny, we do that type of investigation in most everything we buy, but only in high-end audio do we get influenced by fairy dust.
We don’t offer fairy dust. We offer world-class European engineering, the finest name-brand parts, and workmanship that’s been declared over and over by experts to be untouchable.
Dare to Compare
Compare PrimaLuna construction to any other brand, at any price. You'll be amazed.
Dual Toroidal power TRANSFORMERS
Power transformers generate two types of noise, magnetic and acoustic. That's why toroidal power transformers are used in the very best audio products. Compared to standard transformers, toroids radiate about 1/10 the magnetic field that pollutes music and obscures detail. Additionally, the absence of an air gap typically means toroids have an 8:1 reduction of acoustic noise. As transformers are the most expensive components in any audio product, manufacturers will even house cheaper C-core and EI-core transformers in an outboard power supply box with an umbilical cable rather than upgrade to an expensive toroid. The increased cost is significant, but PrimaLuna doesn’t cut corners. All PrimaLuna products use massive, potted toroidal transformers. PrimaLuna transformers are enclosed in a metal housing and then potted in a non-microphonic resin to further reduce noise and to protect the windings from moisture and deterioration forever. They are massive, resulting in a preamp weighing a substantial 37.5 pounds.
In the world of preamps, experts agree that tube rectification is the gold standard. It’s quieter than solid state rectification, dropping the noise floor. And it offers the most natural, textured, and vibrant presentation because the circuit is now pure tube. But because it is expensive to implement, you’ll only find it in the top of the line models typically costing $10,000 or more. Finding a preamp using one rectifier tube is sweet. PrimaLuna goes even further using two 5AR4 rectifier tubes in a dual-mono design to present your music with a three-dimensionality that will give you goosebumps.
JAPANESE ALPS BLUE VELVET POTENTIOMETER
The best tube preamps use analogue volume controls. Not volume control chips. Look inside the most well-known brand of tube preamps and you will see a chip called a DS1666-10 Digital Resistor IC. At Primaluna, we understand the temptation to use this chip as they cost $4 each (half that in quantity!). The preamp will sound fine and be quiet, but true to “chips” it will add an electronic “sheen” to the sound. PrimaLuna prefers analogue. And we use the Gold Standard in motorized potentiometers: The iconic Alps Blue Velvet. Why? Because they track perfectly, stay quiet, and don’t sound like chips!
SuperQuiet Line Inputs
Input selector switches leak noise and signals from other sources, as they never turn off the other inputs completely. And, they deteriorate with age, requiring the use of cleaners. Many are mounted on the front panel requiring long runs of wires to the back panel inputs. These wires pick up stray noise from RF and EMI.
PrimaLuna has a better way. Instead of a switch, input selection is done using premium quality sealed relays mounted in the rear where you plug in your components. When an input is selected, that relay closes giving you the best connection possible. All the other relays are left open, so noise and signals from other sources can’t leak in. The signal path is now almost non-existent, so there are no wires to pick up noise.
POINT TO POINT WIRING
You spend a lot of money on interconnects. So why have the signal go right from the RCA jacks or speaker terminals into circuit boards with copper traces so thin you can hardly see them? What’s high-end about that?
PrimaLuna employs Point to Point Wiring on all products. The entire signal path, including resistors and capacitors, is painstakingly hand wired with heavy-gauge cable by craftsman.
NO INTERNAL DAC / NO INTERNAL PHONOSTAGE
Never buy a preamplifier with an internal DAC. Why? Because digital changes, and history shows that preamplifiers with “old” digital become unwanted and have almost no resale value.
Built in phonostages are “throw in” and are rarely good quality because manufacturers assume 90% of buyers won’t use them. The external phonostage market is very competitive. You can get something much better for as little as $200, and buy one that actually meets your cartridges needs and YOUR budget.
Expensive and exotic preamps always use a dual-mono design to achieve a level of imaging not possible otherwise. Most manufacturers don’t employ dual-mono because of expense. It requires two power transformers, double regulation circuits, and in fact….everything is double. In effect, dual-mono means building two discrete and separate preamps into one box. It is so expensive to build, it’s a rarity even at the highest price points. All PrimaLuna preamps are dual-mono for the ultimate in stereo imaging and a sense of space that goes on forever.
NEW FRONT-END CIRCUITRY
We chose 12AU7 tubes because there are more factories around the world making great ones today than any other tube, so you can try them and see if you prefer their "color." In addition, because 12AU7's have always been a popular tube, there are tens of thousands of vintage new-old-stock 12AU7's available everywhere from the greatest factories like Telefunken, Mullard, Amperex, Cifte, Siemens, and more. Tons of them. If you haven't "Tube Rolled," it's a gas, and how you get that last 10% of PERFECT tonal balance to YOUR tastes.
A preamplifier is typically not required to add any gain to your system when you are using it. It is usually lowering gain from the source you are listening to. The number one complaint from audiophiles about preamp performance is noise. So why is it that so many manufacturers design preamps with 20 to 27dB of gain? And you wonder why there is "hiss", and why tubes go noisy or microphonic? PrimaLuna preamps use SmartGain. With a gain specification of only 12dB, you will find your PrimaLuna preamp is as quiet as a church mouse. If tubes are less than perfect, you may never know it because they are not amplifying as "loud". High efficiency speaker owner's rejoice!
Another exclusive PrimaLuna feature is PerfectMatch, a circuit designed to present a perfect 100K ohm impedance to your source components. This is vitally important especially for tube source components, such as phonostages and DACs to sound their very best.