Prima Donnas from PrimaLuna! The PrimaLuna ProLogue Premium Monoblocks


image001WARNING!!! While reading the review below, you might think WHO is writing all this? It’s Anthony Chiarella. Who? Anthony Chiarella. He is driving now a rep company in New York, but Prior to becoming a sales representative in 1995, Anthony Chiarella was one of America’s top freelance journalists, with articles appearing in Esquire, Men’s Journal, Home Theater, Audio/Video Interiors, Fi, The Absolute Sound and about a dozen other publications.(His work can still be found in Maxim, Manhattan Luxury and others.) Prior to his writing career, Anthony spent over twenty years—with a six year hiatus as a fixed income analyst for The First Boston Corporation–working in every audio retail environment from the sublime (Lyric Hi Fi) to the ridiculous (Crazy Eddie). Anthony knows the stuff!!!

Ever since January, when I actually paid cash money and bought my Rep Samples, I’ve spent more time listening to the PrimaLuna ProLogue Premium Monoblocks than any other components in my equipment arsenal. Let me cut to the chase: with the exception of the dCS Scarlatti, HRS Racks and Nordost Odin Cable System, this is THE greatest audio component I’ve ever owned!

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It’s hard to know where to start…they’re physically gorgeous, sporting metallic auto lacquer paint job and roll-top tube cages, are built like heirlooms with point-to-point wiring, are models of conservative design and specification…but I think what’s really at play here is that they’re just so mind-fuckingly good—and for so little money—that, all of a sudden, ANYONE can own a state-of-the-art HiFi system!!!!

Soundstaging, dynamics, treble sweetness, image palpability, articulation of recorded space…these amps do it all! I’ve had these in my upstairs system for months, where they replaced a set of $25K solid State Monoblocks and the PrimaLunas bested them in every sonically significant way, especially in terms of that addictive, musical liquidity that only tubes can offer. Classic vacuum tube glory and beauty, but without the ripeness that blurs resolution and transient attack with Old School tube amps…and quite a few modern ones!

“Something’s Gotta Give!” Okay, at about 70 wpc (depending upon tubes…EL34, KT88, KT120 all work!), there are some “Big Dick” speakers the ProLogues just won’t drive; what’s more, with no XLR inputs, there are some hideously expensive systems in which these amps won’t give their best. As we say in Brooklyn: Fugghedaboutit! Assuming you own a “Reasonable” pair of speakers—anything from Dynaudio Confidences to Wilson Sashas to Focal Utopias–in a normal-sized room and at reasonable listening levels there are, quite simply, no better amplifiers available at anywhere near this price!

For those of you who don’t know me I am, when it comes to audio, very, very cheap. (I compensate by spending like a Drunken Sailor on kitchen equipment!) I have TONS of gear on near-permanent loan, so I don’t actually have to buy anything and, generally I don’t. For me to actually spend money on something, it has to be both monumentally good AND obscenely high value. In the past two years, those criteria have been met by only two products: the ARCAM A19 Integrated Amplifier ($999) and the PrimaLuna ProLogue Premium Monoblocks described here. The ARCAM is a remarkable budget product. The PrimaLunas are simply a remarkable product. Period. Among the best amplifiers made, at any price, they’re stupid-good at their $4,399 per pair MSRP. One of our best dealers just bought a pair of these and the companion ProLogue Premium Preamp ($2,199) to replace $30K worth of amp and preamp in his personal system…he thinks the PrimaLunas are MUCH BETTER, despite the fact that they’re about one-fifth the price of the components they replaced!

A compelling reason to never spend more…which presents a problem for those of us whose livelihood is predicated upon up-selling to more expensive products. Given a single-ended system, reasonably efficient speakers and a disdain for status, you need to hear these!

Specialty Sound & Vision

210 Summit Ave Suite A16
Montvale, New Jersey 07645
Tel 201-690-9006
Fax 201-882-0176

Over hermanvandendungen

Almost 40 years of being with and in the world of high-end audio equipment. As distributor of Krell, Sonus Faber, Cello, Conrad-Johnnson and many more, initiator of brands like Kiseki, Cogelco, AH!, PrimaLuna, Mystère and maybe more to follow.
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