Tube Integrated vs. Tube Amp

I don't know if there is a short answer to this, but I am wondering if there is a benefit to buying a tube amp vs a tube integrated.

As I've been looking, a lot of tube integrateds are close in price to either the stand-alone preamp or amp from the same series. Wouldn't the integrateds be much more? What is the benefit of paying almost double for separates?

I am specifically now looking at a PrimaLuna Prologue 5 amp. I have the ability to connect my phono stage directly to the amp. Would the Prologue 5 be a much better amp than the Prologue 2 integrated? (Which the 5 amp is based off of?)

Is a stand alone amp in general a better amp than an integrated?

Just trying to figure out if it would be wise to purchase the amp and run it off my phono stage, or if there would be a benefit to the preamp stage in the integrated.

Thanks all...
__________________________________________________
2 Channel
Turntable - VPI Scout 1.1/Ortofon 2M Blue
Integrated Amplifier - Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum II
Speakers - GoldenEar Triton 2
__________________________________________________
7.1 Home Theater
Denon AVR-X3300W; Rotel RMB-1066; Polk CS350ls, LS90's, FXi3's, RC60i; SVS PC Ultra; BenQ W1070; Elite Screens 120"
__________________________________________________
Man Cave
Turntable - 1) Pro-Ject 2.9 Wood/Grado Gold; 2) Sony PS LX410/Grado Green
Phono Stage - PS Audio GCPH
CD - Marantz DV4001
Passive Pre - Luminous Audio Axiom II
Amplifier - Parasound HCA-1500A
Speakers - SDA 2A (x-overs etc...); Epos Epic 2; Polk Audio Monitor 70 (my first)
__________________________________________________

Comments

  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 17,965
    edited November 2017
    Well -- you're paying for two power supplies and two cases in the (heh-heh) case of separates, relative to an integrated. The former's probably a good investment. You're also buying flexibility -- you may not want the same manufacturer's preamp and power amp. Or you may be happy with (or able to afford) push-pull EL84 now, but -- I dunno -- maybe push-pull KT150 later. :)

    I still haven't found an active line-level preamp that I really, really liked -- vintage or current production. I have heard some DIYs I could live with -- but I cannot afford them.

    Oh -- I'll also add that sometimes the preamp sections of the integrated amplifiers is limiting.
    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 17,965
    edited November 2017
    Oh, I forgot to mention -- in the early days of hobby hifi, it was not uncommon for preamps to obtain their power from a companion power amplifier via an umbilicus. There's one good reason to "outboard" the power supply, of course (isolation of the AC induced power supply hum from the preamp's circuits), but obviously there's that much more draw on the power amp's P/S when it has to feed a preamp, too. Not that even vacuum tube preamps require all that much power, but it's still incrementally more.

    Here's a Heathkit power amp with outboard P/S. The P/S had octal connectors to supply power to the power amp, and the power amp had a 'slave' octal connector to power a companion (mono) preamp.

    16883779530_c74b28f7cc_h.jpgHeathkit 1958 W3 by Mark Hardy, on Flickr
    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • hochpt21hochpt21 Posts: 5,018
    Thanks for the info Marky Mark. I'm really close to pulling the trigger on the PrimaLuna 5 amp and just running it off my PS Audio GCPH.

    I just want to be fully sure before I make the purchase ya know!!
    __________________________________________________
    2 Channel
    Turntable - VPI Scout 1.1/Ortofon 2M Blue
    Integrated Amplifier - Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum II
    Speakers - GoldenEar Triton 2
    __________________________________________________
    7.1 Home Theater
    Denon AVR-X3300W; Rotel RMB-1066; Polk CS350ls, LS90's, FXi3's, RC60i; SVS PC Ultra; BenQ W1070; Elite Screens 120"
    __________________________________________________
    Man Cave
    Turntable - 1) Pro-Ject 2.9 Wood/Grado Gold; 2) Sony PS LX410/Grado Green
    Phono Stage - PS Audio GCPH
    CD - Marantz DV4001
    Passive Pre - Luminous Audio Axiom II
    Amplifier - Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers - SDA 2A (x-overs etc...); Epos Epic 2; Polk Audio Monitor 70 (my first)
    __________________________________________________
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 17,965
    I am no expert; I am surprised that better informed folks than I haven't chimed in yet.

    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 14,569
    If all you need is an amp, then just get an amp. However, also consider the thought that the tube preamp in the integrated will give you more flexibility for tuning the sound AND will likely be a better preamp than the GCPH on its own.
    audiothesis.com/

    Speakers: Harbeth: 30.2, SHL5+; Usher: Be-10, T-515; Rosso Fiorentino: Elba, Pienza, Certaldo, Fiesole, Volterra; Polk: T50, Signature S15, RTA 15tl, RTi12; Sonner Audio Allegro Unum, Legato Unum, Legato Semis, Legato Duo; Emerald Physics CS-2.8; Klipsch KLF-20
    Preamps: Shuguang S200MK, Dayens Ampino, Parasound P5
    Amps: Shuguang S845MK, Dayens Ampino Monoblocks, Parasound A23
    Integrateds: Triode Corporation TRV-88SER, MastersounD: BoX, Dueventi, Compact 845, Evolution 845; North Star Design Blue Diamond
    Sources: AURALiC Aries, Denon HEOS Link, North Star Design: Magnifico, Supremo, Incanto, Intenso, Venti
    Cabling: Wireworld
    TV: Sony XBR-75X940C
  • hochpt21hochpt21 Posts: 5,018
    DSkip wrote: »
    If all you need is an amp, then just get an amp. However, also consider the thought that the tube preamp in the integrated will give you more flexibility for tuning the sound AND will likely be a better preamp than the GCPH on its own.

    Makes sense on the preamp, but conversely, in your opinion, would a dedicated amp be better than an integrated amp from the same line/family of amps.

    Also why would the primaluna dedicated amp and the integrated amp run the exact same tubes? 4 power tubes plus 2 12AU7's and 2 12AX7's?

    Just trying to get my brain around everything.
    __________________________________________________
    2 Channel
    Turntable - VPI Scout 1.1/Ortofon 2M Blue
    Integrated Amplifier - Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum II
    Speakers - GoldenEar Triton 2
    __________________________________________________
    7.1 Home Theater
    Denon AVR-X3300W; Rotel RMB-1066; Polk CS350ls, LS90's, FXi3's, RC60i; SVS PC Ultra; BenQ W1070; Elite Screens 120"
    __________________________________________________
    Man Cave
    Turntable - 1) Pro-Ject 2.9 Wood/Grado Gold; 2) Sony PS LX410/Grado Green
    Phono Stage - PS Audio GCPH
    CD - Marantz DV4001
    Passive Pre - Luminous Audio Axiom II
    Amplifier - Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers - SDA 2A (x-overs etc...); Epos Epic 2; Polk Audio Monitor 70 (my first)
    __________________________________________________
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 17,965
    It may be that the preamp section is completely passive, and that the four tubes are voltage amplifiers (drivers) and phase splitters in the design.

    If (?!?) the Prima Luna integrated has a phono preamp, though -- I am clueless.
    I guess I can look 'em up.

    Much easier to tell with a schematic, of course :)

    Passive preamps aren't unknown even in storebought (or semi-storebought) amplifiers. The Dynaco SCA-35, e.g., has a completely passive preamplifier section -- except for a mediocre MM phono preamp stage. Of course, the preamp is the SCA-35's weak link -- but that's pretty much irrelevant to the present discussion :|

    9608227418_c66be7a0e6_b.jpgDSC_6212 by Mark Hardy, on Flickr



    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 17,965
    edited November 2017
    Looks like, perhaps, they just added a source selector switch and a level attenuator (volume control) to the power amp design(?): http://www.primaluna-usa.com/prologue-two/

    EDIT: although several of the specs are different :/ So -- who knows?
    http://www.primaluna-usa.com/prologue-five/

    EDIT^2: from Kevin Deal's site:
    The ProLogue Five starts with the same basic topology as the award-winning ProLogue Two integrated amplifier. Further improvements are realized from new driver and phase splitter circuitry. The result is no need for any negative feedback. This means even more natural tonality and better overall musicality.

    :expressionless:

    https://www.upscaleaudio.com/products/primaluna-prologue-five-power-amplifier

    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 29,207
    Makes sense on the preamp, but conversely, in your opinion, would a dedicated amp be better than an integrated amp from the same line/family of amps.

    No really straight answer on that....it depends. Like already said, the int. will give you some flexibility with connections and one less component in the rack. Downside is your stuck with that pre. Primaluna makes some really nice sounding stuff so I wouldn't be too worried about the int. purchase.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    Tad 803 bookies
    Polk 500 surrounds
    Polk s35 center
    SVS SB-2000
    Sonos

    Music-

    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k 1403 amp
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    ERA D5 bookies

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 29,207
    mhardy6647 wrote: »
    I still haven't found an active line-level preamp that I really, really liked -- vintage or current production. I have heard some DIYs I could live with -- but I cannot afford them.

    huh ? You've been in this game a long time Mark, what do you mean you haven't found an active pre you like ?
    HT SYSTEM-
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    Tad 803 bookies
    Polk 500 surrounds
    Polk s35 center
    SVS SB-2000
    Sonos

    Music-

    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k 1403 amp
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    ERA D5 bookies

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 17,965
    They all make things sound a little worse than the passive front end. A little more veiled; a little more distant. I would like to have more drive -- the darned "Simple 2A3" amplifier topology needs more drive... but every preamp I've tried (except a constant-current source loaded DIY from Carroll Conklin that wasn't for sale) has cost something sonically to get some more oompf.

    ... so far...

    I am still lookin' -- anyone who wants to bring a good two-channel preamp over to taste-test is welcome, any time! Just call first ;)

    Back to the PrimaLunas (PrimaLunae?): Were I the OP, I think I'd call Kevin Deal & ask him about the differences between the Two & the Five :)

    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 17,965
    I think the preamp thing is a good topic for another thread, so I think I'll start one!
    Sorry for the temporary hijack! :|
    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • hochpt21hochpt21 Posts: 5,018
    mhardy6647 wrote: »
    I think the preamp thing is a good topic for another thread, so I think I'll start one!
    Sorry for the temporary hijack! :|

    All good information!
    __________________________________________________
    2 Channel
    Turntable - VPI Scout 1.1/Ortofon 2M Blue
    Integrated Amplifier - Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum II
    Speakers - GoldenEar Triton 2
    __________________________________________________
    7.1 Home Theater
    Denon AVR-X3300W; Rotel RMB-1066; Polk CS350ls, LS90's, FXi3's, RC60i; SVS PC Ultra; BenQ W1070; Elite Screens 120"
    __________________________________________________
    Man Cave
    Turntable - 1) Pro-Ject 2.9 Wood/Grado Gold; 2) Sony PS LX410/Grado Green
    Phono Stage - PS Audio GCPH
    CD - Marantz DV4001
    Passive Pre - Luminous Audio Axiom II
    Amplifier - Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers - SDA 2A (x-overs etc...); Epos Epic 2; Polk Audio Monitor 70 (my first)
    __________________________________________________
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 17,965
    preamps are an interesting subject -- way harder to get right than a power amplifier, IMO/IME.
    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 14,569
    One thing I like about the 845/300b integrateds from MastersounD is that they have a direct input so you can bypass the built in preamp if you want. To me this is the way to do it. Unfortunately those fall out of your price range and I'm not familiar with any in your range with such a feature.
    audiothesis.com/

    Speakers: Harbeth: 30.2, SHL5+; Usher: Be-10, T-515; Rosso Fiorentino: Elba, Pienza, Certaldo, Fiesole, Volterra; Polk: T50, Signature S15, RTA 15tl, RTi12; Sonner Audio Allegro Unum, Legato Unum, Legato Semis, Legato Duo; Emerald Physics CS-2.8; Klipsch KLF-20
    Preamps: Shuguang S200MK, Dayens Ampino, Parasound P5
    Amps: Shuguang S845MK, Dayens Ampino Monoblocks, Parasound A23
    Integrateds: Triode Corporation TRV-88SER, MastersounD: BoX, Dueventi, Compact 845, Evolution 845; North Star Design Blue Diamond
    Sources: AURALiC Aries, Denon HEOS Link, North Star Design: Magnifico, Supremo, Incanto, Intenso, Venti
    Cabling: Wireworld
    TV: Sony XBR-75X940C
Sign In or Register to comment.

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!