Prima Luna with Focal?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by nyrjoe, Sep 27, 2020.

  1. nyrjoe

    nyrjoe Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York
    I've been on a journey to upgrade my vintage Marantz 2230 amplifier that I have paired with Focal 826W speakers. I've tried a few integrated amps, but they just haven't hit that sweet spot. The last 2 I have tried are the Yamaha A-S2100. This amp checked off many boxes, excellent overall tone and got great bass from the Focals, however mid-range and treble were just too aggressive and I found myself always wanting to turn the volume down. There was nothing bright or harsh but very shouty paired with the Focals. Next up was a Luxman L 505 UXII. This amp sounded too analytical with thinnish mids, no warmth and just ok Bass. That led me to a chat with the guys at Upscale. They highly recommended Prima Luna (budget wise I can only do the 200) with a Manley Chinook or Southerland Insight for Phono stage. Insisted this will sound great with Focals. Has anyone paired Prima Luna with Focals? Would appreciate any opinions, advise. I mostly listen to Rock and some Jazz, Blues.

    Thanks
     
  2. Vinyl Archaeologist

    Vinyl Archaeologist Forum Resident

    They will always highly recommend primaluna. The stereophile measurements indicate the speakers need a gutsy 4 ohm stable amplifier.
     
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  3. Echoes Myron

    Echoes Myron Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I don't have experience with the focals but can vouch PL and the Chinook go great together
     
  4. ScramMan2

    ScramMan2 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland OR
    I won't sell my PL. It sounded great with any of the classic speakers I have paired it up with. Magnepan SMG, DCM TimeWindow 1, and now Infinity Infinitesimal 0.2.

    I use a sub and am now is a small room as we have downsized into an 800 sq ft ADU.
     
    Echoes Myron likes this.
  5. Ontheone

    Ontheone Poorly Understood Member

    Location:
    Indianapolis
    I would much rather try to drive those Focals with a Class A, A/B SS amp that will produce good power into 4 ohms, similar to what @Vinyl Archaeologist indicated. The Focals dip down to a low of 2.6 ohms around 100Hz and spend most the time below 6 ohms between 100Hz and 1KHz. This is not ideal for the PL amp. I'd be looking into a Pass INT-60 or similar instead.
     
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  6. nyrjoe

    nyrjoe Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York
    @Vinyl Archaeologist and @Ontheone

    Thanks for really valuable info, greatly appreciate it! I had always been under the impression that because their sensitivity is 91.5db that they were otherwise not too difficult to drive. Will start looking elsewhere and happy to take more suggestions.
     
  7. Ontheone

    Ontheone Poorly Understood Member

    Location:
    Indianapolis
    When considering tube amps I'd be much more focused on the speaker impedance (particularly the lowest dip over the frequency range) than the sensitivity. That's why Joseph Audio Perspective (eg) speakers work well with many tube amps over ~50 watts - they don't dip below 6 ohms despite the fact the sensitivity is in the mid-80s at best.
     
    trd likes this.
  8. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    The Focal 826W are not bright speakers- not the typical Focal brightness at all.
    Upscale also knows Focal and Primaluna well so I would not discount their recommendations. The new Primaluna amps are neutral but also have a rounded top end and warm sounding lower bass. They sound excellent with typically bright speakers- e.g. Goldenear so it could work out well unless you have a larger room.
    I would give the Primaluna a shot.
     
  9. Vinyl Archaeologist

    Vinyl Archaeologist Forum Resident

    Another option is to pair a tube preamp with a solid state amplifier. For a while I used an audible illusions pre with a very nice onboard phono paired with a MC7200 McIntosh (non autoformer brighter design) and it sounded really good and to my ear balanced.
     
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  10. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    This. Upscale sells both brands. I bet you’ll be more than happy.

    The Sutherland Insight is a great recommendation as well. I ran an Insight with my PL for a couple of years. A really nice combo.

    Also, my PL sounded rather disappointing out of the box. Give it lots of time. It’ll come around. See if you can get KT88 output tubes instead of the usual EL34s.
     
  11. M.R.Collins

    M.R.Collins Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    I have a Prologue 5, Dialogue Premium HP, and Aria 936. To me they are a good match with either amp. At the moment I don't have a dedicated listening room and haven't done critical listening but, there is plenty of base, not bright at all and both go louder than I can listen. Never get up half way on the volume knob. I'd be surprised if you found the combination bright. My personal opinion is Focal and PL are certainly a good match.
     
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  12. I run a PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium Integrated (EVO 300 old version) with a pair of Focal 948 and I´m very happy with the set. Actually, I replaced a pair of Monitor Audio RX6 with the Focal´s and I think I made a great choice, as I wasn´t hearing much bass and I didn´t want to add a subwoofer.
    I use the 8 ohms taps by the way, I think they sounds better than the 4 ohms taps. And I run EL34´s most of the time. I say this because my speakers alo have a 2,x dip.
     
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  13. nyrjoe

    nyrjoe Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York
    Avanti, is this more or less the Prima Luna house sound or is this more specific to the 200?
     
  14. mdelrossi

    mdelrossi Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn nyc
    Running a primaluna dialogue premium integrated into Focal 1008be2.
    4 ohm, kt150s
    Fabulous, not bright.
     
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  15. Echoes Myron

    Echoes Myron Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    House sound. I have the older Primaluna 400 and they are phenomenal amps. Like @HiFi Guy said they need a really long break in.

    Goes great in my B&W system. Really balances the high end out with a lush but transparent midrange.
     
  16. nyrjoe

    nyrjoe Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York
    The many positive comments paring Focals with Prima Luna certainly has me thinking. But I see many of you have higher up models, would a 200 potentially get me there? Over the years have had some bad experiences with lower tier models.
     
  17. I don’t see why not. EVO 200 does not have the chance to switch to Triode mode, but I run my amp 70% of the time in Ultralinear mode (that’s how EVO 200 works) so it should be more or less the same because they have the same power.

    ofcourse a 300 will sound more refined than a 200, but that has nothing to do with the speakers you pair them with.
     
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  18. M.R.Collins

    M.R.Collins Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    My Prologue 5 isn't up there in the model series. It was the higher end of the lower tier. Used to be Prologue (lower tier) and Dialogue (upper tier). Of course the Prologue 5 has KT88 tubes but it's still not high end in the grand scheme. I really think the 200 would be really good. I wouldn't hesitate the pairing.
     
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  19. head_unit

    head_unit Senior Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles CA USA
    I spent about an hour and a half there listening to 936 powered by PrimaLuna separates (whatever was like $4-5 for the set). Super super nice. Of course, the ROOM was super nice too, and the speakers way far away from all the walls. Now in a large open cathedral ceiling space but only about a foot out from the rear walls and powered by a Denon AVR-X3600h, 936 still sound great but not like at Upscale.

    I don't think the "house sound" of a tube amp can be discussed *too* much without the context of specific speakers. As for the impedance, it won't matter unless you are clipping the amps. How loud do you play? Perhaps Upscale would let you trade in on a massive solid state (like 200-300-400 watts) if the PrimaLuna is not enough.
     
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  20. BayouTiger

    BayouTiger Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Orleans
    It should be noted that they are the importer of PL and as such will lead with them. Not saying that PL is not a great amp, just that I would take Upscale’s recommendation with a grain of salt. You are in NY, I would think there would be a local dealer that can give you an in home demo.
     
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  21. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    I’m aware they are the US importer. They offer a money back guarantee though. It doesn’t serve anyone to ship out boomerangs.
     
  22. BayouTiger

    BayouTiger Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Orleans
    My note was for the OP. Again I have nothing against PL ( I own a Cayin that is pretty similar, and will likely own a PL at some point). Just noting that they have a bigger incentive to sell them over their other lines and will try to drive business there. It could be said that with the AutoBias and tube rolling, they are probably more "tunable" than most other amps.
     
  23. nyrjoe

    nyrjoe Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York
    Thanks everyone for posting, it's been very helpful! As for pairing up the PrimaLuna with a phono stage, the Manley Chinook tube stage was recommended by Upscale (along with others, but this one was pushed more). This recommendation has me wondering is there such a thing as having too much tube equipment in your system (too much warmth..)? If I go PrimaLuna should I look solid state for a phono stage?
     
    avanti1960 likes this.
  24. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    their entire amp / preamp lineup but once you get into the 300/400 they are more transparent sounding.
     
    HiFi Guy likes this.
  25. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    yes, my preference is for tube amplification with a clean, neutral solid state phono pre. my sutherland 20/20 is super clean and neutral and vinyl sounds excellent.
     
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