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PrimaLuna Dialogue Seven Tube Amp Review

Rate this amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 209 88.6%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 9 3.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 6 2.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 12 5.1%

  • Total voters
    236

MaxBuck

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I'm sure there's some guy here who just hates tubes but has no real knowledge.
You can use me for this purpose.

I live in the California desert, so heat production is anathema to me. But otherwise pretty completely lacking in knowledge.
 

Thune

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The difference in measuring well and sound well is a fun thing. I've been walking the best measuring route for almost a decade when I had a 2.2 system with proper bass integration (MSO + Dirac) and Purifi power amplifier (which was also reviewed here and is one of the best measured). Awhile back a friend came by and took with him a small tube amplifier, it was a tiny thing and the bass wasn't tight but wow what a difference in engaging sound it was. We played back and forth the same tracks and the different amps and our feet were tapping when the tube amp was playing. We were both quite stunned by the class D amp; the sound was more clear but bleak, far away, sterile and to be honest- quite boring(!). He paid 100,- dollar for the tiny tubes and my amp was a round 2000,-.

I bought a Primaluna power amp the next day and for me it sounds so much better; the music pops out of the speakers - left, right and more towards you. It creates a halo of sound around you which the can 'see' the different instruments and singers. It creates a thrilling listen!

I know it will measure worse compared to the amp I had before but I'm looking at it this way now: while reading I'll use my eyes, when listening to music I'll trust my ears.
 

fpitas

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You can use me for this purpose.

I live in the California desert, so heat production is anathema to me. But otherwise pretty completely lacking in knowledge.
Fair enough, but I still wouldn't encourage WillB ;)
 

BDWoody

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when listening to music I'll trust my ears...

I agree. So, you've done 'ears only' testing? Most have their eyes involved when trusting their ears. Funny thing that.

It creates a halo of sound around you which the can 'see' the different instruments and singers. It creates a thrilling listen!

Were you on drugs? ;)
 

JakeK

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The difference in measuring well and sound well is a fun thing. I've been walking the best measuring route for almost a decade when I had a 2.2 system with proper bass integration (MSO + Dirac) and Purifi power amplifier (which was also reviewed here and is one of the best measured). Awhile back a friend came by and took with him a small tube amplifier, it was a tiny thing and the bass wasn't tight but wow what a difference in engaging sound it was. We played back and forth the same tracks and the different amps and our feet were tapping when the tube amp was playing. We were both quite stunned by the class D amp; the sound was more clear but bleak, far away, sterile and to be honest- quite boring(!). He paid 100,- dollar for the tiny tubes and my amp was a round 2000,-.

I bought a Primaluna power amp the next day and for me it sounds so much better; the music pops out of the speakers - left, right and more towards you. It creates a halo of sound around you which the can 'see' the different instruments and singers. It creates a thrilling listen!

I know it will measure worse compared to the amp I had before but I'm looking at it this way now: while reading I'll use my eyes, when listening to music I'll trust my ears.
Not sure if you're real! You made your first post in order to post what sounds like an advert for a $100 dollar tube amp. Not sure why you bought the primaluna amp instead. Are you still using dirac and dual subs etc. with the Primaluna I wonder? I'm pretty sure a powered sub would help a lot of the problems with the tube amp.

It occurs to me that your dirac setup wasn't tuned to your sound preference and something more like the tube sound could have been tuned into your existing setup using your DSP while avoiding all the distortion that comes from that Primaluna amp.

the bass wasn't tight
That's a deal breaker for me and one of the reasons I avoid tubes.
 
Last edited:

Purité Audio

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The difference in measuring well and sound well is a fun thing. I've been walking the best measuring route for almost a decade when I had a 2.2 system with proper bass integration (MSO + Dirac) and Purifi power amplifier (which was also reviewed here and is one of the best measured). Awhile back a friend came by and took with him a small tube amplifier, it was a tiny thing and the bass wasn't tight but wow what a difference in engaging sound it was. We played back and forth the same tracks and the different amps and our feet were tapping when the tube amp was playing. We were both quite stunned by the class D amp; the sound was more clear but bleak, far away, sterile and to be honest- quite boring(!). He paid 100,- dollar for the tiny tubes and my amp was a round 2000,-.

I bought a Primaluna power amp the next day and for me it sounds so much better; the music pops out of the speakers - left, right and more towards you. It creates a halo of sound around you which the can 'see' the different instruments and singers. It creates a thrilling listen!

I know it will measure worse compared to the amp I had before but I'm looking at it this way now: while reading I'll use my eyes, when listening to music I'll trust my ears.
Good for you, one must have the sound one prefers, just yesterday I collected a pair of extremely transparent loudspeakers from a customer, he said that they made his vinyl sound too much like ‘digital’, I explained that the sound he was hearing was actually how his record player sounded but he had grown used to and liked the colouration of his previous pair.
Frustrating because the sound in his room from vinyl was really super.
Keith
 

fpitas

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Purité Audio

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He also came out with a load of other subjective nonsense, including ‘emotional connection’ I pointed out that there really wasn’t a measurement for ‘emotional connection’ although I am going to ask Martijn and Thorbjørn to add a knob entitled ‘emotional connection’ to their next designs, it doesn’t have to be connected to anything…
Keith
 

JakeK

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Good for you, one must have the sound one prefers, just yesterday I collected a pair of extremely transparent loudspeakers from a customer, he said that they made his vinyl sound too much like ‘digital’, I explained that the sound he was hearing was actually how his record player sounded but he had grown used to and liked the colouration of his previous pair.
Frustrating because the sound in his room from vinyl was really super.
Keith
Made his vinyl sound like digital as in better lol? ;)

It happens. Sometimes you make something better and people don't like it, at least at first. He needs time for his new speakers to 'settle in' and get used to the improved sound.

We also have to accept that sometimes people will prefer more distortion which is why tube amps, vinyl and tape player still sell long after they have been superseded by better tech with less distortion etc.. I prefer to let the artist add any distortion they like when making a recording and after that have low distortion if possible but that's just my preference.
 

Purité Audio

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The poor guy has been badly let down by Adam he has a ten year old pair of expensive Tensors the amps have gone belly up and the manufacturer appears not to have kept any schematics @KSTR of this forum has been trying to help, poor really poor.
Keith
 

Thune

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Not sure if you're real! You made your first post in order to post what sounds like an advert for a $100 dollar tube amp. Not sure why you bought the primaluna amp instead. Are you still using dirac and dual subs etc. with the Primaluna I wonder? I'm pretty sure a powered sub would help a lot of the problems with the tube amp.

It occurs to me that your dirac setup wasn't tuned to your sound preference and something more like the tube sound could have been tuned into your existing setup using your DSP while avoiding all the distortion that comes from that Primaluna amp.


That's a deal breaker for me and one of the reasons I avoid tubes.
Haha, been lurking along time - the moment I described was a proper paradigm shift in my audiophile hobby which I thought would be nice to share. I know sound is subjective and this is totally my own experience. Bought the Primaluna because that was more of a match in my system, way beefier amp which would drive my speakers from bass to top-end no problem.

I only use Dirac to around 250hz - 300hz - after a lot of experimenting I found that, for my setup and room, it's best to get the bass sorted and leave the rest of the frequency response as is. I still use this way with the Primaluna. I later thought about manually manipulation the frequency response by DSP to reproduce tube sound, because response-wise, this is the difference between the two amps (mains speakers full range without subs):
 

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JakeK

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Haha, been lurking along time - the moment I described was a proper paradigm shift in my audiophile hobby which I thought would be nice to share. I know sound is subjective and this is totally my own experience. Bought the Primaluna because that was more of a match in my system, way beefier amp which would drive my speakers from bass to top-end no problem.

I only use Dirac to around 250hz - 300hz - after a lot of experimenting I found that, for my setup and room, it's best to get the bass sorted and leave the rest of the frequency response as is. I still use this way with the Primaluna. I later thought about manually manipulation the frequency response by DSP to reproduce tube sound, because response-wise, this is the difference between the two amps (mains speakers full range without subs):
If the frequency response is very similar then the main difference will be distortion. The only way I can explain your experience is that while you don't like distortion in the bass much, you must really like tube distortion in the mids and highs. This distortion will probably only sound right with some types of music. I can't imagine wanting to make classical music have added 'fizz' compared to live in a concert hall for example. I want to replicate the live acoustic sound as accurately as I can within my limited budget. I wouldn't want the beats or bassline in electronic music to become less tight either, I want that well defined impact. Different people like different things though! :)
 

Thune

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True, - distortion probably plays a role in it, although music does not sound 'fizzly' here :) The tube amplifier convinces very much more being live in the concert hall than the NAD did. I guess the midrange bump in frequency response also makes the music come more 'alive' and present in the room. The class D had a better upper bass response so that gave me a little more oompf - even though I listen to electronic music as well, for me, this downside does not compare to the gained holographical, deep and wide soundstage.
 

Purité Audio

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It is truly a heroically poor amplifier but if you like it…
Keith
 

Ken1951

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For posters who proclaim the superiority and many, many sonic improvements when changing from a Class D with excellent specs to a low powered tube amp with much inferior performance, the best response is: "Glad you like it." Anything else is a waste of both time and pixels.
 

ahofer

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For posters who proclaim the superiority and many, many sonic improvements when changing from a Class D with excellent specs to a low powered tube amp with much inferior performance, the best response is: "Glad you like it." Anything else is a waste of both time and pixels.
Although I'd suggest investing in @pkane 's software as a cheaper alternative.
 

Ken1951

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Although I'd suggest investing in @pkane 's software as a cheaper alternative.
I think there's no way to persuade them to do any testing. They believe what they believe. It's just the same old, same old "story" time after time. Back when I worked in HiFi for just 3 years from 1973 - 1976 we knew then that if you weren't very carefully level-matched you were just wasting your time. Even back then the emphasis was on speakers and cartridges. For electronics we concentrated on specs, features, and reliability. But then again now I'm just an old guy yelling "Get off my porch!"
 

DSJR

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Into typical passive speaker, the Primaluna will act as a fixed tone control/graphic equaliser. Not in the slightest surprised it 'sounds different' to a properly designed amp which is unaffected by the rollercoaster load presented to it.

Dangerous amps, models like these Primaluna - at lerast that's how I feel these days.
 
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