You are here

Log in or register to post comments
Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Tube or not tube? Primaluna prologue 1?

Mission Audio M35i speakers
HK 3480 Receiver
NAD C521 CD

I auditioned my speakers on a Jolida tube amp and loved the sound, but when I hooked them up to my solid state amp it just lacked that special presence it had with the tubes. Now the bass is very smooth but the highs seem harsh. (Drums sound great, vocals and strings do not).

I'm pretty sure a tube amp would make me fall in love with the sound again, but would a $1000 solid state integrated amp give me the smoother mids and highs I want from tubes with the benefit of better damped bass? Where would the benefit be? I would be willing to give up a little of the low end for the presence I've heard with tubes.

I'd love to audition the PrimaLuna Prologue 1, but I think they only sell mail order.

Monty
Monty's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2005 - 6:55pm
Re: Tube or not tube? Primaluna prologue 1?

While the single ended folks would likely never accept solid state, you can certainly get very nice sounding solid state amps that would sing with your speakers. It's not so much that one is better than the other, but rather what you personally prefer and how much you are willing to spend to achieve the attributes of each.

Some designers are trying to carve out a niche with hybrid amps that use both technologies.

To answer your question, yes. However, room accoustics, cables and proper speaker positioning has a lot to do with the final sound at your ears and if your previous experience with the speakers was optimized while your in-home positioning and ancillary gear are nothing like that of your previous experience, then you may have a lot of room to improve in that area.

Fine sound out of gear is the sum of a lot of different things at work and even little things like interconnects, cables, speaker positioning and the like can substantially alter the quality of reproduction.

Monty
Monty's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2005 - 6:55pm
Re: Tube or not tube? Primaluna prologue 1?

I'm a little hesitant to be critical of a component that I've not heard or that I am not familiar with. However, I would really give serious consideration to giving your HK receiver the evil eye. The things you are describing are notoriously familiar with low quality receivers and amps.

Even cheap solid state receivers can usually give you tight bass, but quickly become fatiguing from their forward presentation and very dry high frequencies. You might be able to lessen the assault on your ears with different cables and interconnects, but instead of trying to color the sound I would look at replacing the receiver with an inexpensive integrated amp and separate tuner. Perhaps something like a Rotel, NAD or Cambridge Audio.

If you are willing to go the used route, you can pick up a fine sounding, inexpensive integrated for around $100 and about half that for a tuner.

Uptown1
Uptown1's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 7 2005 - 4:38pm
Re: Tube or not tube? Primaluna prologue 1?

Monty is correct in his assessment of the system and I find the amplifier replacement suggestion to be the best long term solution. I would not jump to the conclusion that unheard, unseen amplifiers will sound good however or that all solid state amplifiers will sound the same in terms of their bass control or "smooth" or "harsh" sound. Instead, you should revisit your local shops and listen to a few different amps and base your decision on what you hear. If you like the Jolida amplifier with your speakers, then you should by all means support your local dealer and rest knowing that the system is a good match.
-Bill

Javry
Javry's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Oct 8 2005 - 11:37pm
Re: Tube or not tube? Primaluna prologue 1?

I used to have an all tube system with Conrad Johnson MV-75A1 amps running in 2 way mono and a separate subwoofer system which was SS. The preamp was a Luxman CL-32. The sound was extremely analog sounding....even dull at times. But when cranked up, the dynamics and overall sound quality was outstanding. The system sounded so good that the crecendo in Saint Seans Symphony #3 would literally give me goose bumps. God I loved that. Later, I replaced the preamp with a Krell KBL and replaced the CJ amps with Magics... which are hybrid. Right away, I noticed more clerity in the music and the bass....but the dynamics shrunk and the midrange and high frequency stuff got real thin and tinty...compared to the luxman/ CJ setup. In the end, I think a few tubes in your system would be a good thing.
Javry

300Binary
300Binary's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 1 month ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 10:47am
Re: Tube or not tube? Primaluna prologue 1?

Just some tips:

You can buy used amps and try them and sell them if you don't fall in love.

You can move speakers where they sound the best and put them out of the way when not listening.

New digital amps sound better than their price suggests, perhaps worth a try

Jim Tavegia
Jim Tavegia's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 4:27pm
Re: Tube or not tube? Primaluna prologue 1?

Did you try some differenct tubes in the Jolida? That is part of the magic of tubes. If you liked that sound you should have also tried their hybrids 1701 at 50 watts/ch and the 1501 @ 100 watts/channel. You can change out the 12AX 7 preamp tubes to slightly change their character. With the RC unit you lose a little resolution in gaining the remote.

If you move up to the 502 and go to KT88 or 6550's you get a different sound altogether. Damping factor will be critical for tight bass. The JD 1000 with EL34's and 100watts/ch may be their best amp, but it looks like a cement block with knobs. You're buying the sound afterall. It is sweet.

Once you can determine if tubes really float your boat and you want MORE then VTL, McIntosh, Lamm, BAT, Cary and others eagerly await your hard earned money. The Jolida would make a very nice 2nd system for sure. Life could be worse. You should check out their CD player as well.

  • X
    Enter your Stereophile.com username.
    Enter the password that accompanies your username.
    Loading