Primaluna as headphone amp?
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Strayngs

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Hey guys. I am looking to buy a tube amp that is powerful enough for my LCD 4. I have read many good things about PrimaLuna but almost nothing about the headphone portion of the amp. I do not have any speakers yet. I will in a couple years when I get a house. I have an apartment until then. So the headphone is the most important aspect of the amp for me right now. It will definitely be nice to be able to power speakers off of it though in the future. Has anyone had experience comparing these amps comparing to others such as the Woo Audio WA 22 or the Cayin HA300 etc? Any help on feedback on the quality of the headphone of this amp is so much appreciated. Thank you
 
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PaganDL

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Hi @Strayngs,

Primaluna tube amps, the headphone sections, at any rate, are definitely more than powerful enough, though the more accurate word here would be Current as they definitely have more than enough to run an LCD 4 with no issues whatsoever.
The speaker sections are also quite decent but more on that in a bit...
Where head amps or head amp sections differ from speaker amps or speaker sections, is more current, rather than power or wattage is always more useful though unless a given speaker is hard to drive, 4 Ohms or 2 Ohms, then most speakers (6 Ohms+) can get away with low current but still need high power & or watts to shine which is why it is still better to have high current overall.
Also, where tube amps are concerned, it will also depend on what driver & power tubes are used as well as how many of each are involved in running the amp.

Using EVO 100 as an example, as far as tube series goes, 12 AU7 & 12 AX7 are esentially the same driver tube with some difference in the heater array, either way, both types have good driving power as well as stable current, not to mention I'm pretty sure (don't quote me on this) the 12 AX7 are doing double duty as a rectifier or voltage correction to help stablise overall electrical current.
Depending on how they are used & wired in a tube amp, EL 34 are considered mid range for straight power but most of all STABLEwhich is why the driver stage tends to more important as generally in tube design, a single power tube will run most tube amps fine but it will depend on what & how many driver tubes are used as previously stated.
But generally, more driver tubes is better than more power as previously stated above as current is really what matters.

Honestly, subjectively & personally, EVO 100 (Non DAC) is on my short list for affordable basic high end tube amps.

Unfortunately, I haven't heard the HA 300 as there are no demo units or Cayin dealers where I am so can't tell you but I have demo the WA 22 quite a bit.
Personally, I prefer EVO 100 for overall sound quality, synergy, clarity, imaging & staging.

As a final note, Loxjie P20 is a good, highly affordable amp with good current which can run most tricky &/or hard to drive headphones with ease, I suggest looking into this too.

Hope this all makes sense, feel free to ask more when you need.

Hope you have a great day !
 
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Strayngs

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@PaganDL thank you for taking the time for such a wonderful detailed answer. I will definitely look up the Loxjie. I'm leaning to get the Evo 300 as I think it will be a nice amp for speakers in the future and I'm intrigued with the triode and ultra linear aspects.
 
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Strayngs

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I got the 300. I will give sound impressios when I have had some time with it.
 
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@PaganDL thank you for taking the time for such a wonderful detailed answer. I will definitely look up the Loxjie. I'm leaning to get the Evo 300 as I think it will be a nice amp for speakers in the future and I'm intrigued with the triode and ultra linear aspects.

Hi @Strayngs,

No problem, happy & glad to help.

Hope you enjoy the EVO 300, unfortunately, it's out of my price range at present which was why I for my needs, the EVO 100 is worthwhile & given where I am, exchange rate makes the 300 almost twice the price to boot.

Hope you have a great day !
 
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Guys, my conversations with PrimaLuna re: the headphone output of the Evo 400 and its ability to drive the Susvara left me feeling that it won't. They quoted a best power output figure of less than 1 watt. Around 760mW was the estimate IIRC.

The guy who was responding, Jeff or John, even mentioned that some headphones draw too much current for the headphone circuit. This crossed it off my list as a head/speaker amp.

Was the guy from Primaluna wrong?
 
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I don't know but I find the LCDs very easy to drive. My LCD is even happy out of my RME DAC (SE).
 
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Guys, my conversations with PrimaLuna re: the headphone output of the Evo 400 and its ability to drive the Susvara left me feeling that it won't. The quoted a best power output figure of less than 1 watt. Around 760mW was the estimate IIRC.

The guy who was responding, Jeff or John, even mentioned that some headphones draw too much current for the headphone circuit. This crossed it off my list as a head/speaker amp.

Was the guy from Primaluna wrong?

@AudioDoctor,

Have you actually tried it or are you going by the sales rep said as that's complete crap...
Nor does it sound like the rep actually knew much about headphones or speakers for that matter but that's an entirely different issue.
the only way for YOU to know for certain is to demo yourself...not to mention, personally & subjectively, Susvara isn't that great a headphone in the first place nor does it synergise well with tube amps as a general rule no matter what Fang wants people to think...
So how did you come out with this power estimate exactly as that doesn't really mean much in the real world, so unless you hooked up a multimeter, assumptions mean squat.
Not to mention I have run high impedance headphones on the EVO 100 & as far as I'm aware, all the EVO's share the same head amp, the only difference between the models is tube types & complement which leads me to the next point...

As a general rule, Current HELPS headphone efficiency rather than hinders, over power or straight wattage, though it is important to know what you're driving in the first place...
So drawing current is not a bad thing per say...just depends how much, so as long as a headphone doesn't have too low impedance, below 20 Ohms & higher sensitivity than 120 db / 1KHz (average is usually 100 db), then in most cases doesn't take much to get loud as well as potentially hiss, distort, clip, etc...
The issue becomes when most people just want to crank the volume as common misconception & Perception Bias is louder is better (look up the Loudness Wars& you'll find out what I mean) as some sort of gauge to measure how good a headphone or gear is rather than actual sound quality & synergy.

As a final note, this is why it's important to demo as much gear as possible so you know what's what for certain.
 
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@AudioDoctor,

Have you actually tried it or are you going by the sales rep said as that's complete crap...
Nor does it sound like the rep actually knew much about headphones or speakers for that matter but that's an entirely different issue.
the only way for YOU to know for certain is to demo yourself...not to mention, personally & subjectively, Susvara isn't that great a headphone in the first place nor does it synergise well with tube amps as a general rule no matter what Fang wants people to think...
So how did you come out with this power estimate exactly as that doesn't really mean much in the real world, so unless you hooked up a multimeter, assumptions mean squat.
Not to mention I have run high impedance headphones on the EVO 100 & as far as I'm aware, all the EVO's share the same head amp, the only difference between the models is tube types & complement which leads me to the next point...

As a general rule, Current HELPS headphone efficiency rather than hinders, over power or straight wattage, though it is important to know what you're driving in the first place...
So drawing current is not a bad thing per say...just depends how much, so as long as a headphone doesn't have too low impedance, below 20 Ohms & higher sensitivity than 120 db / 1KHz (average is usually 100 db), then in most cases doesn't take much to get loud as well as potentially hiss, distort, clip, etc...
The issue becomes when most people just want to crank the volume as common misconception & Perception Bias is louder is better (look up the Loudness Wars& you'll find out what I mean) as some sort of gauge to measure how good a headphone or gear is rather than actual sound quality & synergy.

As a final note, this is why it's important to demo as much gear as possible so you know what's what for certain.

First of all... No I did not buy a 5k amplifier just to see if it works...

second, it wasn't a sales rep, it was someone from PrimaLuna itself who asked the techs directly... The power "estimate" wasn't an estimate at all, it was the word straight from the Primaluna techs...

Third, Primaluna amps do not have a headamp, they have a passive resistor network that lowers the amplifiers output to a level they deem appropriate for headphones.

The Susvara is a 60Ohm/83db headphone, you should know what you're talking about before writing your long missives...

Right now, I am not going to take your "advice" as worth anything. HiFiMan themselves make a tube amp for the Susvara...
 
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I moved on from a Wells Audio Milo to the primaLuna Evo 300 and I definitely don't seem to be missing any power. That Milo had tons of power too. When I called or emailed prima Luna via the USA website it was answered by upscale audio. so I'm not sure who you talked to but if you want to know who I talk to it was Evan. He also told me that at 200 ohms the prima Luna has 1.5 w. I have his email that says it. So I can't speak for the Hi-Fi man but I do know that the primaLuna is definitely good enough for my needs with my LCD 4
 
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Here is what I received from the Service Department regarding the output of the headphone amp in the Evo 400

Screen Shot 2020-01-27 at 7.38.54 PM.png
 
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Here is what I received from the Service Department regarding the output of the headphone amp in the Evo 400

What question is the "service department" responding to?
 
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What question is the "service department" responding to?
I ask this question because I exchanged a few messages with a rep at Upscale regarding the output of the EVO 100. I first asked about the output at 250 ohms due to the fact that I'm currently using DT1990s - the response was that the output would be "about 1 watt". As a follow up I asked about the output at other resistance levels. I was sent the following:

32 ohms - 5.5 W
60 ohms - 3 W
120 ohms - 1.6W
600 ohms - 0.4W


Kind regards,
Evan
Team Upscale
 
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