It’s kind of embarrassing to publish my own bio. But hé the material fits as material and has been prepared /rewritten by the guys of PrimaLuna USA for last Las Vegas CES. I believe that what has been written is true, although I could add a lot more of audio-related facts and stories. Ánd it saves me a lot of time as every blog has to be written. And with this material at hand it’s an easier blog to prepare for me. OK, here we go …
If ever there was a “High Fidelity Hall of Fame,” Herman van den Dungen would be a certified member. Hi-Fi News‘ Ken Kessler called him “… the closest that audio has come to producing its own Keith Richards,” a testament to both his ability and longevity in the field. His path to such stature was charted when the adolescent van den Dungen began repairing radios, turntables and recorders; picked up momentum when the 25-year old opened his high-end import company; raced to prominence with the creation of Kiseki and Milltek cartridges; and is reaching the pinnacle with the release of his own components: first, the AH! CD players and now, the PrimaLuna line and more.
Herman brings 40 years of high-end experience to the PrimaLuna project. Throughout his audio career, the Dutch-born distributor and manufacturer has emphasized two key elements: offering an affordable, reliable product that provides the customer with a joyous cost-value surprise and amazing the rare customer in trouble with rapid, effective after-sales service.
Graduating from college in 1972, van den Dungen spent some years as a teacher before starting Durob Audio BV, one of the first high-end import companies in the Benelux. Several years later, he opened five stores where he honed those key, customer-related principles. He also developed a keen ability to sense needs in the market and how best to fill them. In some cases, Herman simply brought an existing product to market. However at other times there was a void, in which case Herman and his team created and/or manufactured the product. (Consider that his first foray into design and manufacturing was the exquisite Kiseki phono cartridge – a exceptional start in the production business). Either way, always guiding the process were those key principles: quality, affordability and reliability and it was those earlier experiences that prepared him for PrimaLuna.
In the early 2000s, van den Dungen recognized a growing interest in affordable tube equipment, however the existing gear on the market often faced reliability problems and consumers new to hi-fi hesitated to buy. The then 53-year old entrepreneur wanted to bring those prospective customers into the fold with a product that would stimulate the European and US markets. His friend Kevin Deal, an expert in the field of tubed audio components, provided essential advice regarding potential pitfalls and the necessary technologies that would help make PrimaLuna a success.
In 2001, van den Dungen assembled a team of engineers to design PrimaLuna’s first line, the ProLogue Series. Years of extensive experimentation and design revisions yielded a structurally beautiful, sonically gorgeous, highly dependable product. However, to produce it affordably, it would have to be manufactured outside of Europe – in China. Herman investigated for months before settling on the right manufacturer and although they require constant supervision, the results far exceeded expectations. The ProLogue components garnered more acclaim and awards from critics than any new manufacturer ever has before. And of note for dealers and consumers, they have an infinitesimal defect rate of just one-half of one percent—unheard of in the industry—which makes it more reliable than a lot of solid-state gear.
However, his story doesn’t end there. Motivated by the ProLogue’s success and armed with a long-term vision, van den Dungen and PrimaLuna have released four more series: Dialogue, ProLogue Premium, Dialogue Premium and DiaLogue Premium HP. Each represents a slight step up and are loaded with technological advances found on competitors’ products costing three to five times as much, or often not found at all on competitors’ products. Each series in the PrimaLuna line has captured critical acclaim across the globe and have received more than 150 awards; among them a Stereophile Class A rating and numerous Product of the Year honors.
Due to a split with FS from Italy, the year 2014 will show a number of new developments in the field of higher end tube products and a “realistic-like-the-original” Sonus faber speaker line.