Primaluna evo300 with esl

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Kady

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Hi, I had the primaluna evo 300 to try out with my ESLs for a week, I noticed that the sounds distorts dramatically when having the volume mid way, it’s very loud at the stage, but it got me wondering what is going on, just took the same amp and tried it out with a pair of goldnote speakers and there is absolutely no distortion

im just trying to understand what is going on, is it the esl impedance dropping too low?

would it make a difference if I go for the evo 400?
 

Robert D

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I've never had an amp like this, but I see it has speaker terminals for 8 and 4 ohms. Which did you use? Did you try both and compare?
Electrostats are supposed to have drops to low resistance.
 

hillbilly

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Are you able to check the tubes? The power tubes are auto biased, but there may be a bad one, including a preamp tube.
Also, do you hear the distortion on Ultralinear as well as Triode? Maybe the lower powered Triode mode is distorting more?
I have an Ekco integrated amp and when a preamp tube went out it distorted quite a bit.
 

Ronin

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Does not the ML site state they recommend 100-200 wpc min for stat speakers? This amp is probably clipping or just does not have the guts to handle the load. I may be bias though. I had a Primaluna and it was nothing but trouble. It went back and that was my last one. Quite a few years ago though. Perhaps they have improved.
 

Kady

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I've never had an amp like this, but I see it has speaker terminals for 8 and 4 ohms. Which did you use? Did you try both and compare?
Electrostats are supposed to have drops to low resistance.
Tried both taps, no difference!
 

Kady

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Are you able to check the tubes? The power tubes are auto biased, but there may be a bad one, including a preamp tube.
Also, do you hear the distortion on Ultralinear as well as Triode? Maybe the lower powered Triode mode is distorting more?
I have an Ekco integrated amp and when a preamp tube went out it distorted quite a bit.
It distorts at mid volume on the knob
In both triode and ultralinear
The amp is new
And I took back to the shop and from a gold note speaker all the way up, no distortion
 

Flm09

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I use Electromotion ESL with Evo 300 with Audio Gd HE-1 Vaccine pre and don't listen too loud as my room is 12x28! No distortion. My dealer demoed speaker in triode mode with a Cabin CSA-55 integrated in triode mode in much larger room playing Sting's Murder by Numbers track with the kick drums coming in and thought he would blow the speakers but sounded clear and almost to real in room sound.
 

Northy

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I would try with a couple of other speakers. If they do not distort, it will be fairly apparent that the amp is not capable to handle the low impedance. I did try listening to an integrated Prima Luna amp a few years ago and found the sound lifeless (to my taste). But it is supposed to be well-made with good components.
 

Kady

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I use Electromotion ESL with Evo 300 with Audio Gd HE-1 Vaccine pre and don't listen too loud as my room is 12x28! No distortion. My dealer demoed speaker in triode mode with a Cabin CSA-55 integrated in triode mode in much larger room playing Sting's Murder by Numbers track with the kick drums coming in and thought he would blow the speakers but sounded clear and almost to real in room sound.
Your setup does not distort at mid volume level?

I understand that it will be too loud
 

twich54

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low impedance with stats are in the upper freq and that coupled with low powered tube amps usually results in treble roll-off. Does your distortion appear to be coming from the stat panel or the woofer ? Was your comparison done with a Db meter ?
 

Kady

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low impedance with stats are in the upper freq and that coupled with low powered tube amps usually results in treble roll-off. Does your distortion appear to be coming from the stat panel or the woofer ? Was your comparison done with a Db meter ?
Hi, distortion was mid range to low
what do I need to compare with the db meter?
 

twich54

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what do I need to compare with the db meter?
you stated that you tried with a different pair of speakers, I was wondering if it was done so at the same volume level or merely at the same point on the attenuation knob ?
 

Kady

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you stated that you tried with a different pair of speakers, I was wondering if it was done so at the same volume level or merely at the same point on the attenuation knob ?
The ESL distorts when the volume is around mid on primaluna volume dial
I took the same amp back to the store and tried it on gold note speakers and I can turn up the volume to the max without distortion


The main reason I’m trying to understand what is going on is to figure out if I need to go for evo 400
 

twich54

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The EVO 400 is less than dbl the output of the 300 so I suspect power 'help' won't be much if at all. Remember, doubling of power yields only a 3 db increase.

Do you have a competent SS amp you can try out in place of the 300 ?

FWIW, when it comes to affordable tube gear, I'll take Rogue Audio over PrimaLuna any day .......
 

Kady

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The EVO 400 is less than dbl the output of the 300 so I suspect power 'help' won't be much if at all. Remember, doubling of power yields only a 3 db increase.

Do you have a competent SS amp you can try out in place of the 300 ?

FWIW, when it comes to affordable tube gear, I'll take Rogue Audio over PrimaLuna any day .......
I have a Marantz receiver 7011 that doesn’t distort at all
Also I’m testing a Hegel 190 and it doesn’t distort, however the base is a bit loud and dry
 
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PrimaLuna amps tend to have relatively high output impedances, which are probably not a good thing with Martin Logan speakers. Here's an excerpt from the Evo 400's measurements in Stereophile:

The amplifier's output impedance also depended on the output mode and tap. The highest impedance was from the 8 ohm tap in Ultralinear mode, at 2.5 ohms at 20Hz and 1kHz, rising to 3.3 ohms at 20kHz. This resulted in ±1.4dB variations in frequency response with our standard simulated loudspeaker (fig.1, gray trace). The output impedance from the 8 ohm tap in Triode mode was slightly lower, ranging from 2.25 ohms to 2.85 ohms, which reduced the variations in response to ±1.2dB (fig.2, gray trace). As expected, the 4 ohm tap featured the lowest output impedance: 1.45 ohms at 20Hz and 1kHz, 1.8 ohms at 20kHz, in Ultralinear mode; 1.3 ohms at 20Hz and 1kHz, 1.6 ohms at 20kHz, in Triode mode.

So, using the the 4 ohm tap, the amp would basically have the same impedance as the speaker at 20kHz.
 

gvera

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PrimaLuna amps tend to have relatively high output impedances, which are probably not a good thing with Martin Logan speakers. Here's an excerpt from the Evo 400's measurements in Stereophile:

The amplifier's output impedance also depended on the output mode and tap. The highest impedance was from the 8 ohm tap in Ultralinear mode, at 2.5 ohms at 20Hz and 1kHz, rising to 3.3 ohms at 20kHz. This resulted in ±1.4dB variations in frequency response with our standard simulated loudspeaker (fig.1, gray trace). The output impedance from the 8 ohm tap in Triode mode was slightly lower, ranging from 2.25 ohms to 2.85 ohms, which reduced the variations in response to ±1.2dB (fig.2, gray trace). As expected, the 4 ohm tap featured the lowest output impedance: 1.45 ohms at 20Hz and 1kHz, 1.8 ohms at 20kHz, in Ultralinear mode; 1.3 ohms at 20Hz and 1kHz, 1.6 ohms at 20kHz, in Triode mode.

So, using the the 4 ohm tap, the amp would basically have the same impedance as the speaker at 20kHz.
All changes if you use a pair of EVO 300 in mono mode.
The taps for 4, 8 and 16ohms turn into taps for 2, 4 and 8ohms
 
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