All tube output transformer-coupled headphone amplifier
One of the best headphone amps in the world. Most tube integrated amps and preamps use a solid state op-amp chip for running headphones. Stand alone tube headphone amps will vary in quality like any other tube amp. Headphones are simply small speakers that require less power. Some amps will use smaller output tubes that groan to have enough dissipation to run power-hungry planar headphones. Other brands, including those costing $5,000 or more like Mal Valve, will use larger output tubes, then use a voltage divider network to drop the power down to an acceptable level for headphones. This is how we do it. We simply took advantage of the fact that we make the best tube integrated amplifiers. Now you don't have to pay for a separate state of the art headphone amp. PrimaLuna integrateds are the favorite of owners who use everything from Audeze to Hifiman to Sennheiser!
Bad tube indicator
PrimaLuna engineers wanted to make owning a tube amp so simple you would have no excuse not to have your tube dreams come true.
If a tube fails, Adaptive AutoBias will instantly put the amplifier into protection mode so no parts can get damaged. A red LED will light up in front of the tube that needs replacing. (ProLogue Classic illuminates an LED on the front panel.) Simply plug in another tube, and listen. No guesswork. No smoking amp. No getting out the soldering iron or dropping your amp off at UPS.
Custom toroidal power transformer
Power transformers generate two types of noise, magnetic and acoustic. That's why toroidal power transformers are used in the very best audio products. Compared to standard transformers, toroids radiate about 1/10 the magnetic field that pollutes music and obscures detail. Additionally, the absence of an air gap typically means toroids have an 8:1 reduction of acoustic noise. As transformers are the most expensive components in any audio product, manufacturers will even house cheaper C-core and EI-core transformers in an outboard power supply box with an umbilical cable rather than upgrade to an expensive toroid. The increased cost is significant, but PrimaLuna doesn’t cut corners. All PrimaLuna products use massive, potted toroidal transformers. PrimaLuna transformers are enclosed in a metal housing and then potted in a non-microphonic resin to further reduce noise and to protect the windings from moisture and deterioration forever.
Custom super-wide-bandwidth output transformers
Output transformers are the most important part of any tube amp. They determine how low the bass will reach and how high the top end goes. 250 watts of power will have no top and bottom extension if the output transformers don't have the bandwidth. We use lower power to extend tube life, and bandwidth to give you slam. Transformers are the most expensive components in an amplifier, so manufacturers save money by using ‘off the shelf’ units available on the market. PrimaLuna output transformers are custom-designed, wound in-house, and massive. One reason why no other brand sounds like a PrimaLuna. "The flat tops and bottoms of these squarewaves correlate with the amplifier's extended low-frequency response; PrimaLuna's output transformers are of excellent quality." -John Atkinson, Stereophile Magazine