McIntosh c2600 vs Primaluna Dialogue Premium (Preamps)

Discussion in 'Tube Audio' started by mgrenwic, Dec 19, 2017.

  1. mgrenwic

    mgrenwic Active Member

    Messages:
    123
    Location:
    Dallas
    Hello all.

    I am finally in a position to put together a component system. (Budget is about 25k)
    I have had the opportunity to hear a few McIntosh setups, both solid state and tube.
    I really believe McIntosh to be a great performer and their equipment is beautiful.
    For some reason I am just drawn to this brand.

    My issue is I find it hard to ignore the allure of the Primaluna line. I have watched the videos discussing the advantages of their components, I have read their reviews, and overall it seems top notch. I am just so torn b/w these two brands and would appreciate some input. Its really hard for me to ignore the points they make, especially when the top case comes off.

    Thanks!
     

     

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  2. subtlebeast

    subtlebeast Active Member

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    maybe you can get your dealers to let you do a in home trial. I think they may sound a bit different, so it may be worth asking. Either way I think you'll be happy. Good luck and enjoy.
     
  3. twiiii

    twiiii Addicted Member

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    I would be very suspicious of Primaluna. They won't publish the performance specs of their units. Even Stereophile only measures the units at 1 KHZ. What does that prove. They can make all the videos they want and speak in glowing terms, but where are the numbers? So if you are going to spend that kind money I would invest with a proven product that audio lovers have purchased for over 67 years Do you really want tubes? That guarantees that you will be laying out money for tube rolling or tube replacement when you could use the monies to expand your source materials. Because Primaluna uses high impedance circuits for interconnects make sure you set aside a tidy sum for interconnect cables. I always consider each purchase I make a life time investment. Mcintsoh is the proven leader in that respect. If you want to try something different. Look to ARC, but here again have a good reserve for maintenance.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017
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  4. CohibaJoe

    CohibaJoe AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Agree...Checked and this is the only Dealer in TX that carries BOTH brands. Maybe a nice road trip or a call?
    http://www.limpiasound.com/

    I am not going to tell you what I purchased as I was not looking for Digital/Analog as C2600...Yet my budget was 10k. And Yes...I did look at Mac as I had 3 dealers selling both brands.

    I look forward to what you Demo and return home with.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
  5. mgrenwic

    mgrenwic Active Member

    Messages:
    123
    Location:
    Dallas
    Yes, this would be ideal. There doesn't seem to be anyone close to me that sell the Primaluna gear. This might require some travel time.
     
  6. mgrenwic

    mgrenwic Active Member

    Messages:
    123
    Location:
    Dallas
    Thanks for the input, some good points consider. Its sounds like you have some good knowledge to share so I appreciate that.
    I have not found much on the C2600 either so if you have a link that would be great, not many reviews either.
    As far as wanting tubes, that is something I want. I don't mind the additional cost and enjoy the aspect of tinkering with the sound.
    Out of curiosity are you running a McIntosh setup now?
     

     

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  7. mgrenwic

    mgrenwic Active Member

    Messages:
    123
    Location:
    Dallas
    Thanks for the input, unfortunately I live in Dallas now but maybe Ill have to suck it up to demo both. I appreciate the link.
     
  8. airtime

    airtime Super Member

    Messages:
    2,209
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    What ever you do, DON'T RUSH!

    At $25k you have A LOT of options. Mac's main allure has been their looks. But if you look at a lot of audiophile systems you would be surprised at the names.
     
  9. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Smart Ass Sponsor Subscriber

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    He's all mac, and is a retired system installer for home and businesses.

    Interesting I didn't know a audio company could stay in business for 67 years because of a look.
     
  10. ddude003

    ddude003 New Member

    Hmm... It looks to me like the specs are available on the PrimaLuna web site... I am very happy with the performance of my PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium PreAmp... This PreAmp fronts for a MC152 power amp and a pair of Martin Logan ESLs... I have rolled in Golden Lions all around and a pair of CIFTE NOS up front... In my listening space my system sounds pretty damn good... Holographic with air and sparkle...

    Do have a listen to both the MC2600 and PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium PreAmps... Only your ears can choose what is right for you...

    Cordially,

    DD
     
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  11. airtime

    airtime Super Member

    Messages:
    2,209
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    OK I'm' going to say it. I'm starting to get the feeling that Mac is riding on it's name and history. Every time I have auditioned a system, even with cash in hand and wanting to buy a Mac, I always seem to walk away thinking that for that kind of money I COULD get better. Not better looks but better sound. Mac did have a golden age. But at those prices you really have to start looking with an open mind and ear.
     
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  12. damacman

    damacman Blown and Injected Subscriber

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    Listening to gear in a showroom is a far cry from listening to it in your home. I've owned Mc for three decades now and can count on one hand how many impressive demos I've heard with Mc gear in showrooms ...
     
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  13. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Smart Ass Sponsor Subscriber

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    Interesting, I'v never heard anything that sounded good walking into a store. One needs to acclimate to whatever they are using over days and weeks and in their own space to come to any valid decision.
    This really is the crux to the decision you'v made, price.

    And here you are in a thread for what reason? any help to the OP?
    BTW a C2600 doesn't cost anywhere near $25,000. Maybe if the OP buys both units he's contemplating he'll get close to that.

    Well go with what moves you in looks if thats the case. However there is Aways the time when we sell and our investments should also hold value. Think about that....

    Also there is nothing wrong with buying used....
     
  14. ddude003

    ddude003 New Member

    If I may be so bold as to suggest that the preamps under consideration are two very different beasts... The McIntosh C2600 is a PreAmp and DAC with Phono MM and MC phono stage... The PremaLuna is PreAmp and has an add-on Phono stage (and no DAC)... The C2600 uses 2 tubes per set of stereo path... The PrimaLuna uses 3+1 tubes for a stereo channel (thats 6 tubes for a single set of stereo path)... It is my belief that the C2600 is a hybrid design where the PrimaLuna is an all Tube path... I am not saying that one design is better than the other... I am only pointing out that they are different designs and has different features... Again only the OP's ears can choose what is right for him...

    Cordially,

    DD
     
  15. petercapo

    petercapo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    941
    Either preamp should be fine. The only question, of course, is which has the sound qualities you prefer.

    The Prima Luna amps are a different matter. I'd have questions about the Adaptive Auto Bias.

    I've seen some of the PrimaLuna videos and print ads. Don't be too taken with them. IMO, they have some points to make, but other points strike me as specious.

    Edit: Clarification.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
  16. Mamrak1

    Mamrak1 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have owned the Mac C2200, 2300 and 2500 preamps. You sure could do a lot worse buying some other brand. If you want to include a DAC and phono stage, you should consider a McIntosh preamp. If you already have a McIntosh amp that should push you towards the same brand preamp.

    I went total SS ( C52 preamp and MC152 amp.) There is a synergy to using the same Mac units.
     

     

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  17. Stunami

    Stunami New Member

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    Old thread but I'll chime in. I've had a C2200 new for 9 years. I've also had the Primaluna Dialogue premium for 2 years now. I haven't had the C2200 hooked up for a year now and just sold it. I like the PL better and is less of a dark heavy sound for my maggies. Primaluna gets a bad rap for.. well, not being an overpriced Mcintosh I guess.
     
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  18. KlipschFan61

    KlipschFan61 Smooth Jazzer

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    PrimaLuna makes great gear. I see the skeptic's point, but I wonder how many have auditioned PrimaLuna gear before they decide they already do not like it.
     
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  19. petercapo

    petercapo Well-Known Member

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    Speaking for myself, I have heard Prima Luna amps on two or three occasions. It can be hard to make a comparison from one location to another, but I do feel that my Dynaco preamp and amplifiers in my system sound better than what I was hearing from the systems with the Prima Lunas. Then again, I am a DIYer and build equivalent or better qualities into my Dynacos as Prima Luna touts for theirs. I do not mean to suggest that someone could not enjoy a Prima Luna. I just think it is good to be aware of available alternatives and not to let advertising make your mind up for you.

    In any case, the Prima Luna could work out fine. But, before committing to purchase, I'd like to suggest having a look at Roy Mottram's and Bob Latino's http://www.tubes4hifi.com/ amps and preamps. Kevin Devaney at https://www.dynakitparts.com/ offers outstanding amplifiers, as well. Build quality is top notch, the sound is excellent and you'll save money, too. And, they are not just kits, they are also available fully assembled, plug-and-play. No business affiliation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
  20. rudedogg

    rudedogg AK Member Subscriber

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    I have zero experience with the preamps in question. But I have owned both McIntosh and Prima Luna gear. My Mac gear was somewhat vintage SS gear, built like a tank, and was great! I traded a couple of Mac pieces for my Prima Luna mono blocks, because I love tubes. You can’t lose with either preamp I’m sure. Both companys make top notch equipment. I absolutely love my Prima Lunas, fantastic sounding well built amps and drive my speakers as well as my SS amps have.
    Just my 2 cents...
     
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