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The ProLogue 5 is the upscale version of PrimaLuna's two current stand-alone power amplifiers. Non-inverting, it uses the same small tube complement as the preamp but then adds four KT-88s for 36 watts of Class AB push/pull output power over a bandwidth of 4Hz to 110kHz -3dB. Input impedance is 100 kOhm, input sensitivity 600mV, gain 29dB. Net weight is 37.5 lbs, dimensions are identical to the preamp. Ditto for the removable, banana-fitted tube cage.

With 8/4-ohm WBT-style bindings posts and a pair of RCA inputs plus the ubiquitous power IEC, the back is just what you would expect. Under the substantial hood resides a toroidal power transformer and two US-made Marcel co-designed custom output transformers that are fully encapsulated for lowest hum. Nichicon and Solen caps; "super-fast Philips-diode circuitry"; soft start; tube plate fuse protection for the output tubes; and Adaptive AutoBias make up the highlights of the innards. Besides constantly monitoring and adjusting the output bias, the proprietary AAB circuit is said to also reduce distortion between 12 and 30 watts by as much as 40%, adding not merely peace of mind but superior audible performance [board below].

The innards are once again a poster child for precision execution in what we must now call the very best handcrafter's tradition of the New World of fastidiously executed tubed designs.

Anyone with patriotic notions -- as much as it may hurt -- will have to admit that our domestic HighEnd audio valve brands have nothing on newcomer PrimaLuna when it comes to assembly and immaculate handiwork.

Anyone with patriotic notions will also have to feel sorry for our domestic brands the moment they realize that each of today's components sells for a mere $1,295.

Tube rollers are once again encouraged to party just as they were with the preamp. For the power tubes, you here can pick between 6550, KT90, EL34, 6L6CC, 7581A and KT66, sacrificing a bit of output power depending on choice.

It's seemingly très chic these days to dumpster-dive for audio oysters - er, haggle for deep discounts. Part of that is our zeitgeist, part of it misplaced rebellion against escalating prices. Why misplaced? Because high-performance value-priced goods are plainly available. Those do not warrant or justify haggling. PrimaLuna's new components are prime examples of this breed.

As Rogue Audio's new Titan series proves, one doesn't have to go off-shore to play in these leagues. Conversely, going offshore is just as viable a solution. In the context of performance reviews, audio writers must judge products solely on their merit to the consumer. We are not to disguise as market analysts to speculate on the long-term economic impact this burgeoning trend predicts for our domestic cottage industry called HighEnd audio. That's what Editorials are good for.

According to a recent reader E-mail, princess Diana's sad death can be viewed as an example for this polyglot trend: "An English princess with an Egyptian boyfriend crashes in a French tunnel, driving a German car with a Dutch engine, driven by a Belgian who was drunk on Scottish whisky (check the bottle before you change the spelling). They are followed closely by Italian paparazzi on Japanese motorcycles and treated by an American doctor using Brazilian medicines. This note is sent to you by an American using Bill Gates' technology and you're probably reading this on your computer with Taiwanese chips and a Korean monitor, assembled by Bangladeshi workers in a Singapore plant, transported by Indian lorry drivers, hijacked by Indonesians, unloaded by Sicilian longshoremen and trucked to you by Mexican illegals..."

Listening notes to follow in due course. For now, my visual inspection of these Dutch/Chinese components leaves me clearly impressed. This is smartly executed, fully thought-thru kit at bargain basement tickets for what's on offer. Using an existing Cayin/Spark Audio/Zhuhai Electronics platform for their first product kicked off enthusiastic press reactions from none other than Ken Kessler who considered the ProLogue Two the affordable integrated to beat, displacing the famed Unison Research Unico in his personal pantheon of overachievers. With the new releases of ProLogue 3 through 5 (one preamp, two amplifiers), the brand goes more upscale yet pricing per component remains firmly where it was before.
For PrimaLuna acquisitions, international customers will deal with Herman's firm HiFi-Notes in Holland while US punters already know to contact Kevin at Upscale Audio. Added Kevin: "HighEnd audio is shooting itself in the foot like no other industry I can think of. We need transitional product that's reliable, attractive, affordable and offers a serious taste of what we're about. It's the only way to attract new blood. And that's the whole raison d'être for PrimaLuna. It's a brand with a mission. That's why we'll have a few select dealers too so people can see and hear these components for themselves."