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Stereophile Dec 2015 - Choosing the Best Amplifier

In Stereophile's December 2015 issue, Editor John Atkinson evaluated several of their highest rated amplifiers to find the one with the best sound and bass response to drive the US$24,300 YG Acoustics Carmel 2 loudspeakers.

  • Arcam FMJ P49 200W/channel US$4999
  • Parasound Halo JC-1 mono blocks 400W/channel US$8990/pair
  • Pass XA60.5 mono blocks 60W/channel Class A US$11,000
  • MBL Corona C15 mono blocks 280W/channel US$25,000/pair
  • PrimaLuna DiaLogue Premium HP Integrated 36W/channel (triode) US$4399

Guess which one he chose?


He chose the PrimaLuna.

PrimaLuna DiaLogue Premium HP | Brisbane HiFiSo why is this so surprising?

John Atkinson doesn’t care for the way most tube amps measure, stating “If you’ve been following my loudspeaker reviews for any length of time, you’ll have noted that I almost never use tube amplification.”

While searching for an amplifier that would make the YG Acoustics Carmel 2 perform at their best, he remembered how well the DiaLogue Premium HP Integrated performed. In the December 2014 Stereophile review, Atkinson observed “The flat top and bottoms of the square waves correlate with the amplifier's extended low-frequency response; PrimaLuna’s output transformers are of excellent quality.” He also noted the low output impedance. Since the PrimaLuna was still in his measurement lab; he pulled it out and tried it.

The result?

A 36 watt PrimaLuna, out-performing 280 watt, $24,000 MBL monoblocks, into difficult speakers (87dB sensitivity) allowing John Atkinson, in his words, to “. . . sat back to listen . . . and listen. And then listen some more.”

Even HE was surprised by this development! Atkinson voiced his astonishment when he concluded the review by saying “But once I found the amplifier – a tubed integrated! – that also played to its strengths, I very much enjoyed my time with the Carmel 2.”

Stereophile reviewer Robert Deutsch already knows this. He has used the $2399 ProLogue Premium Integrated integrated for writing speaker reviews since 2012. PrimaLuna can play with the cost-no-object amplifiers costing five times as much, and as many of our customers (as well as several distinguished hi-fi critics around the world) have already found out, will out-perform them. Power means nothing. It's the wide-bandwidth output transformers you only find on a PrimaLuna.

The PrimaLuna ProLogue and DiaLogue range of amplifiers - Now available for demonstration at Brisbane HiFi


PrimaLuna DiaLogue Premium HP | Brisbane HiFi

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