PrimaLuna & Sonus Faber

Colorado dealer Listen-Up had three rooms at RMAF. The first one I went into featured Sonus Faber Liuto 3-way speakers ($6000/pair) with PrimaLuna amplification and CD player (the latter the Prologue 8 that Fred kaplan and I reviewed for the magazine a couple years back) and AudioQuest cables and a SolidSteel stand. The Liuto speaker is intended to offer Cremona-like performance for half the price; it combines a 1.25" silk-dome tweeter with a 6" woven composite-cone midrange unit and a 7" magnesium-alloy cone woofer. The nicely finished enclosure follows Sonus Faber's usual technique of laminating cherry sections.

When I was in the room, the Liutos were being driven by PrimaLuna's new ProLogue Premium amplifier (35Wpc, $2299). Slightly narrower than earlier PrimalUna amps, the Premium weighs 37.5 lbs and its Adaptive AutoBias feature allows it be used with EL34, 6550, KT88, or even 6L6 output tubes. (EL34s are supplied as standard.) Relays protect the amplifier in case a tube fails, in which case an LED illuminates to indicate which tube has gone south. A monoblock version offers 70Wpc and costs $4399/pair. Preamplifier was the new Prima Luna Premium ($2199), which features tube rectifiers and 12AU7 tubes. Using 12AU7s results in lower overall gain than with other small-signal tubes, a useful benefit in a preamplifier.

I listened to a blues recording by Melvyn Taylor—very Steve Ray Vaughan-ish&151;and some acapella Fairfield Four and was impressed by both the ease to the sound and the low-frequency weight.