Affordable Tube Amplification

For those for whom the mere mention of the price of a Tenor Audio amp sends their voice into the soprano range, PrimaLuna's multi-tiered line of triode amplification may help them descend to earth.

I spent considerable time in the company of Herman van den Dungen, who is the Dutch initiator responsible for PrimaLuna's looks and some of the design concepts, and his equally knowledgeable wife, Dominique Chenet. Dominique explained that while the European-designed products are manufactured in China, PrimaLuna exercises complete control over the factory and the supply of components. Heavy quality control is the key. While PrimaLuna products are being manufactured, no other company's products are in production at the same facility. Dominique and Herman live in China for a full month during the production run, even randomly checking boxes of finished product to ensure consistent quality.

PrimaLuna began with the ProLogue line, then moved on to the DiaLogue range. New this year and unveiled at CES are new products that, I learned after the show, have already been renamed to simplify things. (It's all about marketing). The new products include the ProLogue Premium Integrated Amplifier, ProLogue Premium Stereo Amplifier, and ProLogue Premium Mono Amplifier. All these allow switching between EL34s and KT88s.

Also new are the ProLogue Premium Preamplifier (with two tubes in the power supply for rectification), and the ProLogue Premium CD Player (again featuring two tubes in the power supply and what is claimed to be the world's first Super Tube Clock). Although European prices have been determined, those for the USA are still in flux. Estimated pricing ProLogue Premium range starts at about $2399.

Jerry's picture

Can you spell “TRADE DEFICIT”? I hope that they outsource all of your jobs to China.

John Atkinson's picture

Thank you for the comment, Jerry, But a Show report is about reporting what was on show, not about editorializing. That comes later, in the magazine. And weren't you one of the readers commenting recently in this report about the dearth of affordable audio gear on show at CES? The sad reality is that the only way a US manufacturer can meet the price expectations of some audiophiles is to manufacture it offshore. If you want your audio gear made in the USA, you can't then complain about having to pay a price premium for that gear.

Jerry's picture

John you tragically miss the real issue here. This product however fine the amp might be, will send how much money overseas. This flunks’ the economics’ one-o-one test. If we are not careful, there will be no US economy and you my friend will be out of a job. I have no problem with Canadian (made in Canada) products as our economies are very much intertwined. Read the last part of Art Dudley’s December piece and do some real deep thinking. Reasonable quality goods made in America and sold at reasonable prices and markups. This Pied Piper mentality that you are exhibiting smells of cronyism. A case in point is your article on the THIEL’s, however fine people they may be, your reference of 21 years of socializing (over a bottle of wine) casts real doubt on your publications objectivity.

JIMV's picture

I had a choice between a US company, Cary of NC, and PrimaLuna. The problem is, my wallet did not stretch to Cary prices. In audio, as in cars, I buy the best product I can find within my budget. We have an entire country full of folk who bought $350K homes on $200K home incomes. It is why we are in such dire economic straights. Is it wiser to buy US and get either stuff we cannot afford or that suffers for sound quality or buy something that we can actually pay for without jeopardizing a mortgage payment? Is hurting the balance of payments more damaging than adding to the credit woes in the country? I don't know but I do know I buy the most quality sound I can get for the bucks in my wallet. I bought PrimaLuna, and still had the stretch for the buy.

tom collins's picture

Jerry: take some midol and chill out dude. if you studied economics in college, do let everyone know which school. please start your own american audio company and charge us cheap prices for us made goods and then sit down. your schtick is getting tiresome. JIMV is perfectly correct in that asian goods are premitting us options. as a good american, i hate to see the outsourcing too, but short of draconian tarrifs that have been proven to be counterproductive, there is absolutely nothing that can be done. talk about intertwined economies - canada is certainly our neighbor and friend, but our trade balance is spit in the ocean compared to our trade with china.good luck buddy.

Mark's picture

Actually, Canada is still the biggest trading partner of the US - $550 billion a year - China is only $380 billion. The US also imports more from Canada than China. Check the numbers: