PrimaLuna EVO100 Tube DAC | Douglas HiFi - silver finish
PrimaLuna EVO100 Tube DAC | Douglas HiFi - Black
PrimaLuna EVO100 Tube DAC | Douglas HiFi - internals

PRIMALUNA EVO 100 TUBE DAC - outstanding musical performance

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PRIMALUNA EVO 100 TUBE DAC - outstanding musical performance

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

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. 

Douglas HiFi Review of the EVO100 Tube DAC

" The PrimaLuna EVO100 DAC has proven to be quite stunning. Although it should be noted that It does not have volume control, balanced outs, streaming or a headphone jack...

What it does have is amazing, organic, lifelike sound due to dual mono tube rectified power, tube Clock, Burr Brown DAC and tube output stage. 

The DAC 100 is a meaty, punchy sound it seems to have a knack for being able to throw a sound stage both forward and rearward of the speakers as well as wide and beyond the speakers - this in turn gives instruments the feel that they are 3 dimensional and in a real space.

It also has an extended, clear, non-fatiguing treble - not rolled off for fake smoothness - but a genuine and natural shimmer when required.

Kick drums and bass guitars really are solid and meaty with a natural decay and no overhang .. they have real body and move air and both sound and feel like the instruments are in the room. It also sounds excellent on normal Redbook CD and isn't only at it's best with HiRes (although HiRes of course sounds better than redbook). 

The PrimaLuna EVO100 DAC outputs a range of texture and tone that makes everything sound full and real and in the room... unlike some Dacs that I find are detail kings with little or no texture.

They have removed features and concentrated on making a straight up great sounding DAC. "

 

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 we could find. Our 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, we 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.