Audio Research VSi 75 vs. PrimaLuna – Integrated Amplifier Shootout

Upscale Audio hosted an integrated tube amp shootout between the Audio Research VSi75 and two PrimaLuna integrated amplifiers. In a blind listening test, what did listeners choose?


mrtyrang says:

I like that T-shirt.

Güngör Topalakli says:

I prefer the sound of my Primaluna Prologue Five with standard tubes over my Audio Research CA50 with Gold Lion KT88’s

Google Surveillance says:

It is a type of mental illness at this point. These guys are all pushing 60 and more, they can’t hear shit, a good study in group hysteria. Before you blow a stack of money on an amp just remember that nobody has ever claimed Richard Clark’s $10,000 amplifier challenge; it is scientifically proven that the human ear is not capable of differentiating between different amplifiers, from $200 to $200,000. Get yourself some nice speakers, don’t pay over $1000 for an amp.

Richard Wiecker says:

Nice presentation. I would be eager to hear or see a similar comparison using the Prima Luna Dialogue Premium preamp compared to other preamps but using a solid state amplifier on the back end. In addition, if would be great if you could record these so that we (folks who don’t live in Cali) can do a listening comparison as well?


is he drunk or high or both or just stayed in the state after a party back in the sixties o well who cares .
you made it with your own hand and and from your own mind ? nooo
you bought it because what ever reason u have cash for it witch is nobody business at all yeees
and that’s why u are the master mega sales man of the year woohaaaa
sales mans just sales mans nothing else profit is the most important end of the day otherwise none cares about speaker placement and 1trillion dollars main cables and banana plugs
clap clap clap today star is the who can buy everything

Brady says:

VTL stomps Prima Luna and ARC to death

Robert Kohut says:


Lars Larson says:

NPC Protocol – my local Primaluna Dealer is 45 minutes away, I called in advance and told him I was interested in the Primaluna Dialogue PreAmp and he told me to stop by.

I showed up in my beater “winter/rust” car, which he saw and I introduced myself and he told me that the PreAmp was out on loan since the day before I called.

I told him I called and he acknowledged that—it was frustrating that he had nothing to show me, he then took a call for 30+ minutes and I left.

I bought a Primaluna online the next week and it arrives soon. I feel most local dealers I have met are judgmental and condescending at best, and I’ve been into hi end audio since 1994. If I want to listen to a component at home in my system, the salesperson is offended that I don’t trust their word that something is the best in the market.

It’s crazy, as I have never enjoy a blind purchase without at least hearing it with the same speakers that I have at home.

John sweda says:

trying to find out this name of this American company who make valve amps and solid-state amps in kit form and ready built at an affordable price I think there’s still manufacturing there were a few years ago.

Brian Moss says:

Good show

Robert Anderson says:

this is what a tube amp should sound like-

JCAUPS1 says:

I think people commenting are a little jealous, If you have the means to spend $500,000.00 on a audio system & it makes you happy than that’s all that matters, Some people by Boats, Classic Cars or Real estate or what ever, Life is short & you cant take it with you.

Law says:

This guy would do well at the audio department at Best Buy. That’s his speed.

Margaret Nicholson says:

I went from an ARC Vsi75 to a Primaluna Dialogue. I use 4 Tungsol KT120s and 6 Brimar 4034s. This combination beats the ARC. I am very happy with my purchase. YMMV depending on the tubes you choose. I didn’t like the amp as much with RFT EL34s or NOS Osram KT66s.

JingoLoBa57 says:

Sorry not really clear what you asked the audience for- their favorite amp or something else?

Larry Pupkin says:

My local Primaluna dealer did a demo for me with ML electrostatis. Fine, but my point to him, is no matter what speaker you demo for me in store, it will not give me any idea of how the amp sounds with Kanta 2’s at home. Unfortunately they are not the most willing in terms of home demo, and need to calculate a specific cost for doing so, depending on the model I choose. Their alternative suggestion, was for me to bring my Kanta 2’s to the store. Meanwhile the dealers for Naim and Macintosh always offer to lend me an amp for the weekend against nominal transport charges, which can be credited if I make a purchase. I wish we had a deal like upscale where I live, where at least a wide variety of brands are available to demo. At the end of the day, as much as I m ay like or desire an amp, the relationship with the dealer also plays a major role.  

When I asked why is the difference in stepping up from the HP integrated to the HP pre+amp, his advice was that it was “better”. I certainly hope so, but I was more curious as to what adds up to that being better, and the relationship of all the additional tubes benefit me in terms of sound. If I go Primaluna, it will be from my own research and not my local dealers input.

Does anyone know how much space any Primaluna needs above it, in a rack serving. I have just about 8″, which means a PL transformers would be slipping in like a glove, but the tubes would still be open to the front.

bronson osborne says:

play the damn thing

Mike Masztal says:

It looked like my old friend, Bob Levy, from the Atlanta Audio Society in the back row!

エリック says:

9k is too much for an amp. You don’t need to pay that.

mystique says:

In the audio world more expensive doesn’t mean always better. When i compared my new DALI Oberon 3’s to my old Focal Profile 908, I liked the Oberon’s much more. In my country the Focal’s are 3X more expensive than Oberon’s. My final decision was to sell the Focal. Now I’m one of the happy listeners with my new DALI’s!

Daniele Sbordone says:

I see a lot of nice stuff in the background.

Robert Anderson says:

this guy just loves to hear himself talk. he is ego maniac full of shit.

yaphankone says:

Nice video. What is the name/brand of the audio/video rack depicted in this video

Audioeeze says:

Great video! Just you, discussing important issues, I can tell how well, (acoustically treated), that room sounds, just by your voice. Along with that, I am salivating over those Kanta’s

Amazing Grace says:

Not level marched?!? You’re fired!

Vergo Bret says:

Would have liked to hear the system played for the camera. YouTube quality notwithstanding it’s still valuable in hearing differences in ‘house sound.’

Peter Southern Boy says:

It should be noted by Upscale Audio and Kevin Deal that they have a vested business interest in Prima Luna.

henkvermalen says:

Primalunas are the best!

Bob C says:

I love the sound of tube power amps but in the end I gave them up because the cost of output tubes was going through the roof. I now use a tube preamp with a solid state power amp and think that gives me a good compromise. If it wasn’t for the cost of power tubes I might well still be using tube power amps.

Gayle Lund says:

Is that louie anderson in the back row?

Paul Murro says:

I do own Prima Luna and love it but for VERY few exceptions for a company to stay competitive in the upper range as well as the market that they would have to produce a product that is able to stand toe to toe with other products in their range or get knocked out of the market all together.

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