Since 2003 PrimaLuna has been building pure valve amplifiers with a clear mission: delivering high-performance valve-based audio components at affordable prices, resolving the reliability issues that had often dissuaded people from investing in the sonic beauty of valves. Our current, much-acclaimed EvoLution range spans 12 valve amplifiers – integrated amps, preamps and power amps across four price tiers – as well as a valve-based DAC.
Now in 2021, a new amplifier joins the range – and for the first time in PrimaLuna’s history, it’s not a valve amp! Or at least, it’s not entirely a valve amp. The PrimaLuna EVO 300 Hybrid Integrated Amplifier results from a collaboration between PrimaLuna and Floyd Design – the solid-state design arm of Durob Audio, PrimaLuna’s parent company. PrimaLuna has designed the valve-based preamp stage. Floyd Design has created the solid-state power stage. The two have worked together to mould a hybrid amp of such synergistic quality, it really does deliver the best of both worlds.
Combining valve and solid-state amplification in a single chassis to capture their inherent qualities – the effusive fluidity of valves, the power and grip of solid-state – is something audio electronics designers have attempted for decades, to varying degrees of success. The difficulty is in engineering these two different technological forms with their contrasting characteristics to meld to create a seamless sonic whole that genuinely delivers the best of both. Too often, hybrid amps turn out to be less than the sum of their parts – a mismatch, both technically and sonically.
In a hybrid system, the solid-state components may be considered the invaders. Thus, it is essential to choose solid-state components that behave similarly to a tube. MOSFETs, used in the power stages, share similar characteristics to valves, and Jan de Groot, the head of Floyd Design, has created amps with MOSFETs for 26 years.
We took one of our most successful PrimaLuna preamps and adapted it, where necessary, to the new circumstances. So -perhaps, unfortunately, but there was no other way- we refrained from using 5AR4 tubes for the rectifier and applying a choke in the pre-stage. Then this pre-stage was coupled to the MOSFET power stages designed by Jan de Groot. The next task was to fine-tune both stages for measurement and sound.
Here, the respective expertise of PrimaLuna and Floyd Design, empowered by their close working relationship under common ownership, has enabled the creation of a hybrid amplifier that works in perfect concert from input to output. The result of this fusion of valve and solid-state excellence is an amp that delivers a tremendous dynamic range, deep and broad stereo imaging, smoothly expressive mid and high frequencies, taught and tuneful bass, and fast, punchy control.
Next to what you already know as «standard» for all PrimaLuna products, we highlight the following for this new PrimaLuna «Kid on the Block»:
- A perfect coupling of valve and solid-state amplification.
- The preamp stage uses six hand-selected 12AU7 valves (2 x input, 4 x driver) – not a vague nod to valves in the signal path, like most other hybrid amps, but a properly engineered valve stage.
- The dual-mono solid-state power section incorporates paired JFETs from Linear Systems and specially manufactured MOSFETs, delivering (over) 2 x 100W into 8 ohms.
- Hardwiring is used extensively throughout the circuit design. Where PCBs are required, these are of the highest quality – 2.4mm thick with 105um gold-plated copper tracks.
- The valve preamp stage includes two power supplies with separate transformers; the solid-state power stage uses a dedicated 500VA transformer.
- All power supplies benefit from PrimaLuna’s ‘AC Offset Killer’ circuit, ensuring that DC on the mains never causes the transformers to hum.
- It incorporates circuit components of the highest quality, sourced from all over the world from manufacturers such as Takman, DuRoch, Nichicon, Alps, Linear Systems, Rubycon and Kemet.
- The amp comes with six inputs (5x line-level RCA, 1x home cinema bypass). Tape out and Sub out (Mono and Stereo). A fully shielded sub-chassis for the optional PhonoLogue phono stage attaches to the underside of the amp.
Some of you may have thought, «PrimaLuna, what are you doing now?» We understand that reaction, which is why we have done what we can to make this project as successful as possible. Are tube enthusiasts now switching en masse to the hybrid amplifier? We don’t think so. We believe people who have always played with solid-state equipment and have always been curious about tube equipment, but for some reason never took the step, may now take action towards tube equipment. Perhaps an intermediate step? MOSFETS are the solid-state version of the tube…
||Model EVO 300 Hybrid Integrated Amplifier
|Power 8 Ohm
||>100 Watts per channel (typical 115 Watts)
|Power 4 Ohm
||>150 Watts per channel (typical 170 Watts)
||10 Hz – 80 kHz +/- 3 dB
||< 0.2% 100W @ 8 Ohm
||37.2 dB (7dB + 30.2dB)
||99 Watts (no signal in); 645W@4R
||Net weight: 59.5 lbs / 29 kg
Shipping Weight: 68.3 lbs / 25 kg
||15.9″ x 15.2″ x 8.1″ / 405 x 385 x 205 mm (L x W x H)
||22.7″ x 18.4″ x 12.4″ / 578 x 468 x 316 mm (L x W x H)
||5 pairs Stereo RCA, 1 pair Home Theater Input
||4 & 8 Ohm Speaker Taps, Tape, Stereo/Mono Sub, Headphone
||6 x 12AU7
||160 (1 kHz)