If you look at the finest cost-no-object tube preamps, ones costing $10,000, $20,000, even $30,000, you will see a several things in common: The best tube preamps will be dual mono, meaning discreet circuits for the left and right channel with no shared parts. They will be tube rectified; meaning pure tube throughout. They will have point to point wiring; no printed circuit boards. They will use an analogue volume control, not a chip. They will have multiple tubes in each channel instead of resorting to negative feedback or cheaper hybrid designs. And finally, they will weigh something instead of being an empty box.
Preamps have become a high-profit center for manufacturers. It's not like the old days. They won’t like that we tell you this, but it’s true. Power amps are expensive because they are expensive to make. They require big power and output transformers, which are the single biggest cost in building anything. A preamp, however, is easy to do on the cheap. First, make sure it's got a pretty faceplate so it looks expensive. But what's inside? A little single transformer (not even toroidal!) that costs a few bucks, a tube or two mounted on a printed circuit board, a $2.50 chip as a volume control. Next, make up some lofty story about the design that has nothing to do with substance, and you’re done. How does anybody justify charging $5000 for box of average parts that weighs 13lbs? Ask yourself these questions, and don’t be impressed by name brands. They count on that. You're best friend is Google images. Use it to look inside and compare.
As you learn more and select something you won't have to replace later, remember this: There are industry titans using the DiaLogue Premium Preamplifier as their personal reference; writing reviews, personal listening, even making the records you buy. The price is not an issue to them. It’s their work, And in fact, they usually get to borrow one for free from any manufacturer, send it back, and get something else in a couple years. When you are a big name, any manufacturer wants to be in that position.
Every preamp gets great reviews. But they don’t get comments like the DiaLogue Premium got from Dick Olsher, who is by far one of the most experienced and respected journalists in the world. He said this: "The [DiaLogue] Premium version is now able to swim with and compete effectively against high-end's cost-no-object heavyweights. And that, my fellow audiophiles, is a rarity.”
This is what you need to know: The DiaLogue Premium is one of maybe two or three preamps in the world that has every important ingredient. The others cost tens of thousands of dollars, and are not built any better. You get tube glory, a frequency response that is flat all the way down to 8hz for real bass, and a noise floor that's so low, you'll think it's solid-state.
This doesn’t happen because of luck. It’s a sum of all these ingredients below:
The DiaLogue Premium Preamplifier also comes equipped with all these standard features: five pair RCA line level inputs for maximum versatility, one pair RCA tape out and two pair RCA preamp outs. A home theater pass-thru circuit that promises to keep everyone in the family happy. Finally, it comes with a stunning, heavy-gauge, anodized aluminium remote that controls all functions of the preamp.
All these exceptional features come encased in the exquisite DiaLogue chassis, with its five-stage, hand-rubbed, high-gloss, black sapphire finish.
Freq. Response: 10Hz-95kHz +/- 1dB
THD: Less than 0.5% at 2 Volts
S/N Ratio: 93 dB
Input Sensitivity: 650mV
Input Impedance: 220k Ohms
Output Impedance: 256 Ohms
Power Consumption: 61 watts
Dimensions: 15" x 8.3" x 14.2" (WxHxD)
Weight: 52.9 lbs
Inputs: 5 pair RCA / 1 pair HT bypass
Outputs: 2 pair RCA preamp outs / 1 pair RCA fixed tape out
Tube Compliment: 6 - 12AU7, 2 - 5AR4
Bought this to help drive the Tannoy Kensington GR speakers which I bought from Gary recently. Out of the box I have to admit I felt I had made a mistake - the remote was faulty and had to be returned, although Gary was fantastic getting me one within a 2 day time frame.I have read many reviewers wax lyrical about the high end prima luna equipment, but I have to admit I was initially disappointed and not because I didn't get the amplifiers time to bed in, or settle.The default tubes the company supply are not great. The 12AU7 tubes are a little flat and I ended up replacing them with 6189W Philips, then later Philips Miniwatt E80CC SQ - first in the input stage (inner two tubes) and then in all stages. After doing some analysis on the internal design the transformer was more than up to the task of the little extra demand from each of these tubes.The rectifier tubes appear to be standard chinese 5AR4's with Prima Luna's own stamp on them. While a rectifier won't dramatically change the sound output, I rolled in two Mullard GZ34's from 1960 and they have opened up the soundstage a little, while retaining detail.
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