The EVO100 may look similar to the ProLogue 1 at first blush, but under the chassis, the components have been constantly improved. There are even higher quality capacitors, a power supply with more reserve, along with better transformers too. While the price has doubled in 18 years, if you adjust for inflation, the current amplifier is really only 50% more expensive. PrimaLuna has not scrimped one bit on the actual assembly quality of their amplifiers. The cleanliness of their point to point wiring is some of the best going.
The new amplifier is much more extended, with much more detail from top to bottom. In the past, PrimaLuna made a ProLogue and a DiaLogue series, with the latter having better components and offering a step up in performance over the entry level. Most noticeably, and has been the case going forward with the PrimaLuna models is an increase in bass performance, without sacrificing the lovely midrange response that draws a music lover to tubes in the first place.
There’s only one caveat with the EVO100, it really needs an hour’s worth of warming up to deliver maximum sonic effect. Think I’m kidding? Turn it on and play your favorite track. Then come back to it in an hour and listen – the difference is not subtle. The room just got a lot bigger. Much like a great motorcycle or sports cars, there are hifi components that bowl you over with a single aspect of their performance, yet I submit the ones you remember the most (the true classics) are the ones that perform well across the spectrum. The EVO100 is one of those special components. There are tube integrated amplifiers that offer more power and more finesse, but they all cost a lot more than the EVO 100. This amplifier is so good, you can start with a budget pair of speakers, yet grow up to a $5,000-ish pair of speakers and not feel like you need another amplifier. That’s value.
No matter what kind of music you enjoy, the EVO 100 will deliver great sound. If it’s your first experience with vacuum tubes, especially if you are stepping up from a more mass market receiver or amplifier prepare to be amazed. While PrimaLuna products deliver more fun for the dollar than anything we’ve used, they also have 20 years of manufacturing expertise behind them and some of the best reliability in the business. There are other great tube amplifiers out there to be sure, but no one makes a more robust amplifier than PrimaLuna.
Thanks to being very well designed and built, the EVO 100 is easy on tubes. Again, from my experience with a number of their amplifiers over the years, even with heavy use, you might even see five or more years out of a single set of tubes. That is value and consideration for the customer.
As they used to say on those old TV shows, “but wait there’s more.” The EVO 100 still has a few more features. First, the remote. Granted, most of us can use a few more steps in our daily routine, but having a remote is handy. Especially when you’re streaming a long selection of tracks where the volume can jump up and down dramatically. The remote included with the EVO 100 is basic, but built to the same standard as the ones in the larger EVO series components.
Next, the internal headphone amplifier. As in the bigger PrimaLuna amplifiers, the EVO100 actually uses the tube circuitry to power the headphones, and is not a small, op amp board that is added on, sounding nothing like the amplifier you’re used to listening to. Merely use the switch on the right side of the amplifier to go from LS (loudspeaker) to HP (headphones).
Though PrimaLuna’s entry level tube integrated has crept up in price in almost 20 years, considering the increased sound quality and feature set, it remains one of the best bargains in high end audio.