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PrimaLuna - EVO 100 - Tube DAC

$4,645.00

Thank you for visiting The Audio Tailor.

We’re Stuart, Gabby, Nathan and Vaughan. It’s a pleasure to have you here!

The first question we get from customers usually starts with, “What’s the difference between...”

When you’re shopping for new speakers, a turntable, or even thinking of putting together that home theatre of your teenage dreams - you’ll likely be faced with stacks of comparisons.

Why would I buy the Bluesound Pulse 2i when the Flex 2i is half the price?

Is PrimaLuna the best?

Should I wait for a sale? Or get this now? What will I be missing out on when the new model comes out next year?

Endless questions. Lots of FOMO. Loads of hmm-ing and ha-ing.

And there SHOULD be.

Because you don’t go to a Hi-Fi store and drop $2000, $3000, or $15000 on something you're not 100%, positively, secure-in-your heart sure of.

It’s a lot of hard-earned money on the line.

Imagine doing hours of your own research. Reading up the suppliers’ websites, taking notes from Hi Fi blogs, categorizing the differing opinions as you trawl r/audiophile. You know what you’re getting. You’ve narrowed the online stores down to the final five. You’ve checked and re-checked that you’re getting the best deal. You’re sure you’re not getting ripped off by shipping.

You hit the “Checkout” button. Momentary relief!

That is...

Until your speakers haven’t arrived by the estimated delivery date and you have yet to hear a peep about its progress.

Until your new turntable arrives with a crack in the dust cover.

Until your long-awaited amp set-up fails to deliver the kind of sound you had in mind. Now you’re not even sure if you got the right one anymore, or how to troubleshoot it.

What could possibly be worse?

What about: No after-sales service. No phone number to call. And no one responding to your tickets.

Not to mention the hundreds of man hours you’ve already lost on reading layman opinions from the likes of Graham H. from Melbourne and Sarah D. from Perth; dutifully scrolling through pages and pages of reviews. Torturing yourself by looking for all the ones with less than 3 stars... when you could have been sitting back and diving into a whole new world of immersive sound and deliciously satisfying body vibrations.

Would it make sense to go to audio specialists that know brands, specs, and installation like the back of their hands?

Should you spend less time on weighing up pros and cons and more time enjoying good music?

Want to get the absolute best home theatre for your budget and surroundings without the weight of 100++ brand offerings bogging you down?

We like to think so!

And that’s why we’re here. Two things to know about us:

Thing 1: We were voted Australia’s 2021 Hi Fi Retailer of the Year (Yay! And THANK YOU!)

Thing 2: This is purely because we are sound specialists and audioheads - NOT salesmen.

We got into this business because we genuinely love audio and because we realized there was a lot of faceless dropshipping in the HiFi industry - and not enough expertise out there. People who keep coming back to us do so because they’re getting attention to detail and individualized solutions that they can’t find elsewhere.

Our clients don’t need to worry about budget, brand name, or size.

All they need to worry about, is talking to us.

Because, when you come to us, you’re in for a conversation.

We want to know the picture in your head.

That final portrait of you back from the flea market with Pearl Jam’s Ten, eager to place it gently upon a turntable you haven’t quite decided on yet.

A summer barbeque in your garden with the boys. Having a yarn around a beer-filled cooler while appreciating the crisp, clear, quality of sound streaming through the open doors of your listening space.

The kids having mates over - quiet for once - immersed in a good movie, lights out, in the comfort of the home theatre that is your pride and joy. “I wish we had one of these at our place!”

Once we know precisely what your ultimate scenario looks like, we’ll want to know what you’re working with.

What kind of budget have you set aside?

What’s the existing set-up look like?

How big is the listening room you have in mind?

How much ambient light is coming in?

Are you running drywall or wood panelling? Carpet or hardwood?

What about room resonance and reflection?

No idea what we’re going on about? No worries. We intend to talk you through all that. Our aim is that you get the absolute best sound system for your home, at a price point you’re happy with, and an aesthetic you can’t help but want to show off.

To get to this end goal, an unhealthy interest in all things audio simply isn’t enough. That’s why we spend countless hours behind the scenes sourcing products from only the most reliable brands and trustworthy suppliers - regardless of their branding and marketing.

We don’t rely on them to tell us what’s good about their equipment. We’ve developed our own proactive testing process to judge what’s what. So you get hands-on knowledge every single time. Coupled with our tight networks and stable supply chain meticulously refined over the years, we strive to ensure that the experience you get at The Audio Tailor is personal, seamless, and painless.

Personal, because it’s uniquely you in musicality, design, and taste. Your options are hand picked by us from amongst some of the world’s biggest, best, and most dependable brands.

Seamless, because we’re only small. You get one of us. Not one of dozens of salesmen milling about the place, working for commission and pushing the most expensive products.

Painless, because we don’t recommend anything until we’re clear about your needs. We follow up with you to make sure everything’s arrived in one piece. For us, the transaction isn’t over until your equipment is safely installed and fully satisfying.

TL;DR

Some of the big things we feel are missing in the HiFi world are:

  • The need for expertise before, during, and after the sale
  • A vast wealth of comparative knowledge, and
  • A commitment to end-to-end service.

At The Audio Tailor, we hope we’ve made it clear that service doesn’t shut off when a problem pops up. It’s an opportunity to tighten the ship we run, bolster our 5-star reputation, and most importantly - make someone’s day.

Hi! We see you’ve actually made it to the end of this page. Love it!

We’d like to end this by giving a shout out to all the enthusiasts and audiophiles we’ve been fortunate enough to work with over the years. It has been a privilege to share our desire, passion, and journey for the purest sound and finest entertainment solutions for your homes and businesses.

Thank you to all our customers - past, present, and future - for helping us chase after something above the ordinary.

To make your audio dreams come true - call, email, or hop on down to our Brisbane store.

We’re looking forward to meeting you!

Product Description

Introducing the world's first tube-based data clocking device: the SuperTubeClock™M

By incorporating a low-noise mini-triode vacuum tube into the digital clock, this boldly conceived design provides vastly superior resolution, detail retrieval, improved clarity, increased definition and detail from top to bottom.

 

AC OFFSET KILLER

AC Offset Killer is about goose bumps. The ones you get when music comes out of a background so quiet, you may say to yourself “Just how is this possible?” PrimaLuna custom-winds their own massive toroidal power transformers that are low in hum and EMI. But they wanted more. Their engineers designed the AC Offset Killer to lower transformer noise to a place no other manufacturer dreams of going, regardless of how bad your electricity is. The result? Sense of space. Texture. The resonance of an acoustic guitar or violin string that seems to trail on forever. The AC Offset Killer will amaze you.

PREMIUM PARTS

Premium parts including polypropylene coupling caps, triple pi power supply filters, custom designed isolation transformers which separate the analog and digital devices, resulting in decreased signal degradation and improved sonics from top to bottom. Many DACs weigh in at ten pounds or less.

POINT TO POINT WIRING

You spend a lot of money on interconnects. So why have the signal go right from the RCA jacks or speaker terminals into circuit boards with copper traces so thin you can hardly see them? What’s high-end about that?

PrimaLuna employs Point to Point Wiring on all products. The entire signal path, including resistors and capacitors, is painstakingly hand wired with heavy-gauge cable by craftsman.

DUAL MONO TOPOLOGY

Per channel dedicated tubes. While it is fine to use a single tube as a buffer for both channels and claim your DAC is "tube", it can't be compared to the PrimaLuna design and what it does for the music.

VACUUM TUBE RECTIFIED

Vacuum tube rectified power supply incorporates eleven separate power supply regulation circuits. Tube rectification is synonymous with organic sound, especially when compared to DACs being known as sounding like "a computer".

USB DIGITAL INPUT

USB digital input allows using your computer for storage and playback of your music with all the benefits of features like playlists and easier access to your whole music library. Rather than just add in an USB input as an afterthought, PrimaLuna engineers searched endlessly looking for the best-sounding USB interface they could find. Their USB input converts the jitter-filled USB digital signal to S/PDIF, dramatically improving the digital signal quality before it gets to the SuperTubeClock. This USB input is a true high-resolution digital input.

The SuperTubeClock™

This is where the magic happens... the SuperTubeClock™ replaces the solid state oscillator normally found in a DAC with a mini triode vacuum tube. By using a tube, PrimaLuna have significantly lowered the amount of jitter and noise, resulting in superior detail retrieval. This in turn yields superior detail and dynamics from top to bottom, and improved overall musicality.

First a note on the tube itself: The tube is a very rugged, long-life Russian military Triode specifically designed for oscillation purposes... which is its function here. It is running very conservatively so life expectancy is roughly 5 to 10 years of operating time. The small glass envelope guarantees very low microphonics.

Triode tubes are inherently low noise devices, and extremely linear when used properly. This means that the oscillation frequency wave it produces is very pure and clean. The noise in the sidebands, from 10Hz to 100kHz on either side of the oscillation frequency, is extremely low. This is the important spectrum for audio. Everything below and beyond that can be ignored.

When you reclock the inputs, any noise that is generated here appears unfiltered and unattenuated at the input of the conversion chip, and injects jitter, which from then on is an indistinguishable part of the digital audio stream. No amount of cleaning will ever be able to remove this noise once it reaches this point; it has become part of the audio signal. This noise "rides" on the audio signal, so you do not hear it as noise, but as smearing of notes and masking of detail. There is a distinctive loss of dynamics, tonal purity, inter-transient silence, and sense of timing. We call this "noise modulation."

This is why the low noise, especially in the 10Hz-100kHz sidebands of the oscillator, is so crucial. Again: below and beyond these frequency extremes is trivial, because it will not affect the audio, and will not reach the analog outputs.

When the clock is used to clock the DAC chip, a similar situation occurs as described above: the noise appears at the location where the digital audio stream is converted to successive steps in a staircase wave, which represents the analog audio signal. Each step has to be EXACTLY 1/441000th, 1/96000th, 1/176400th, or 1/192000th. The injected noise introduces a deviation in time which is the exact replica of that noise. This means that the audio signal at the outputs of the DAC chip has the noise riding on it, again as an inherent part of the signal. No amount of filtering will remove the noise once it reaches this step. Again we experience that smear and detail masking, with that distinctive loss of dynamics, tonal purity, inter-transient silence, and sense of timing. Here you see how much sense it makes to reclock BOTH the inputs AND the DAC chip.

The oscillation frequency wave a tube produces is a sine wave. That's no good: It has to be converted to a square wave. This is a very delicate procedure: when the rising and falling edges of a square wave are not steep enough, there exists a certain window during which the actual transition of the data bit is not exactly time-defined. It leaves room to be either too late or too early. This is a partly random process, and partly dependent on surrounding conditions; such as power supply voltage variations, ground noise, inherent CMOS or chip crosstalk in the decoder or DAC chip, etc. All these timing variations are noise, and are called jitter from various sources. The steeper the edges, the more exactly defined the transition moment will be, resulting in less noise (jitter). When a clock produces a very stable frequency with such low jitter, there will be a more accurate reproduction of the original analog waveform of the music.

Above are a few real SuperTubeClock™ pictures of what it can do: experts will certainly like them. No other commercial clock on earth will produce a square wave as this one.

Each square wave seen is measured on a Philips PM3295A analog 400MHz oscilloscope using LeCroy 10:1 probes. These probes attenuate the signal by a factor of 10, in order to not load the device under test with any load, resistive or capacitive. So the vertical resolution on the scope image has to be multiplied by 10. For instance when you see ~0.1V, then it is in reality measuring ~1V(AC).

The SuperTubeClock™ generating a square wave at 8.4672mHz. The vertical slope is measured at ~500mV (each black horizontal line represents 500mV counting from top to bottom). The vertical peak-to-peak travel of the square wave at this frequency is 3.5 Volts, which is excellent.

Each black vertical line going from left to right represents 10 nanoseconds. The faster a clock can go from peak to peak, the better.

Square waves present themselves more and more like sine waves the higher you go in frequency. So an 8.4672mHz wave like the one above is still identifiable as a square wave, but as we approach 42.2mHz, typically a square wave will be almost fully rounded off and appear as a sine wave. As a square wave begins to round off, it means the timing of the digital transmissions has become more insecure, allowing for the introduction of more noise and jitter that is then presented to the DAC.

Here we see the square wave generated by the SuperTubeClock™ at 42.2mHz. As you can see, the square wave still has a very discernible square shape. This means the clock is VERY fast, leaving very little time to introduce jitter and noise which can interfere with sound quality as mentioned above. Look closely at the second square wave image, each black vertical line running from left to right represents 5 nanoseconds. The time it takes the slope to go from the top bar to the bottom takes up roughly 1/3 of that black square, which is about 1.67 nanoseconds.

Think about it.. that's 1.6 BILLIONTHS of a second. Each black horizontal line in this measurement represent ~1V from top to bottom. Just as in the first wave above, the peak-to-peak travel at 42.2mHz is about 3.6 Volts, which again is excellent.

This kind of speed is crucial to ensure accuracy in detail retrieval. This in turn introduces less noise and jitter, resulting in better transients, increased clarity, improved dynamics, and a pure, musical tonality.

 

Specifications:

  • Audio Formats - PCM: 16-32Bit, 44.1kHz-192kHz DSD: DSD62-DSD128 (DoP Mode)
  • USB - PCM: 16-32Bit, 44.1kHz-192kHz DSD: DSD62-DSD128 (DoP Mode) OS Drivers: Windows, Mac OS
  • Coaxial (RCA) - PCM: 16Bit-24Bit 44.1kHz-192kHz DSD: DSD64 DoP Mode)
  • Optical (TOSLINK) - PCM: 16Bit-24Bit 44.1kHz-176.4kHz DSD: DSD64 DoP Model)
  • AES/EBU (XLR FEMALE) - PCM: 16Bit-24Bit 44.1kHz-176.4kHz DSD: DSD64 DoP Model)
  • Operation Mode - Asynchronous USB Audio 2.0 Class
  • Outputs - Stereo RCA Out
  • Freq. Response - 20-40kHz (±0.5dB Fs=192kHz)
  • THD - ≤1.8% (Fs=192kHz)
  • Output Impedance - 2.7 kΩ
  • S/N Ratio - ≥90dB 20-20kHz
  • Power Consumption - 55 watts
  • Dimensions - 378 mm x 280 mm x 190 mm (L x W x H)
  • Weight - 17 kg

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