PrimaLuna Evo 100 Dac (Tube Dac)

I got to hear this dac recently, and I think it’s pretty good. I think the fact that you can roll tubes might be pretty appealing to some people. Also interesting that they use a tube to clock the dac as well. They pretty much used as many tubes to replace components as they could lol


I saw these for the first time checking a site out yesterday. they’re fricken expensive!

TBH compared to other high end stuff I think its a fair price. I don’t see alot of dacs with tubes in them lol

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true true.

too bad none of them are combo solutions.

Most of these sorts of devices are very Niche.
Their paying someone to handwire the tube section, that never results in a lower cost.
The DAC is not a bad place to add tube sound.
It’s replacing the opamps that would otherwise be in their, and I’m sure it has a very distinct sound.
I’d be interested in what the effect of using a tube to clock the DAC is.

Yeah it’s pretty colored and honestly very pleasing. I think I still prefer my r2r, but this does have that tube sound that some really really enjoy. I don’t know if the tube clock was actually making a difference though. I didn’t get that long to hear it as it was at a friends house, but according to him he thinks the tube clock does alot for the sound, but who knows. I just think if someone was looking for a unique dac with easily changeable sound, this is a great option for them (if they are in that budget)

I have a Jolida JD100A CD player that has a tube output section on it’s DAC, not in the same price range by any stretch but it’s quite pleasant to listen to.
And I can see the appeal to putting at least a tube output section on a DAC.

It looks gorgeous. I’ve always loved the look of PrimaLuna and McIntosh. Still can’t afford them though… maybe one day…

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I’ve never seen a tube DAC before. That thing is pretty sweet

Yeah, it just caught my attention to see a tube handling the clock, along with all the other tubes as well. Seems like a tube junkies ideal dac lol

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I’m not crazy about the grill covering the tubes. How am I supposed to burn myself?

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Pretty sure you can take the grill off if you feel like doing so lol

have the wife put a file in your next cake. :wink:

Has anyone bought one of these?? I would love to hear your impressions as I’ve been seriously considering getting one.

It seems like no one else jumped on the tube as a clock bandwagon.

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.

Here I thought that oven controlled crystal oscillators where all the rage.

Microchip Technology OCXO Oven Controlled Crystal Oscillators

Microchip Technology OCXO Oven Controlled Crystal Oscillators have a frequency range from 10MHz to 49.152MHz. The OCXO oscillators have a frequency stability of 10-20PPB and a load capacitance of 15pF. The OCXO oscillators have an operating supply voltage of 3.3VDC, an operating temperature range of -40°C to +85°C, and are RoHS Compliant. The temperature-controlled chamber of the crystal oven maintains the constant temperature of the quartz crystal oscillator preventing changes in frequency.

I jest of course, expensive gimmick I’d venture to guess. I laughed when I saw Kevin from Upscale Audio, watching his videos always make me think of a manager at a used car sales dealership.


LMAO…well, thought I’d ask! And yeah, his videos jump the shark for sure.

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Used to have one (bought after I demoed previously, only sold off very recently to slim down the amount of dacs I had), and enjoyed it while I had it. It’s not the most technical at the price point, but it is pretty enveloping and engaging. It does a good job smoothing over problem areas without sacrificing too much technical ability. Stage is generally more immersive leaning (although not that wide or deep) although not the sharpest placement, timbre is very good, a bit more on the bloated side of things but enough control, great timbre and tonality, I do think resolution wise it’s average for the price point, dynamically pretty nice. Generally more forward than relaxed. Surprisingly good separation (more than I would have expected)

I do think there might be other options that are prob more worth looking into if you are looking for a warmer and more organic dac at this price point that offer a much more refined and technical experience to boot, but the primaluna is nice depending on the price you can get one for (I do like it more than the other warmer fun alternatives like the borderpatrol or mhdt stuff, but that’s also a bit lower tier imo). Basically ended up using mine for more casual and fun listening rather than critical listening

Also did some tube swapping and that did improve things, although stock was still pretty solid

No idea if it was a gimmick or not, but it’s interesting at least lol

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Thanks for the feedback…I’ve been curious about tube DACs, as I’ve never owned one. I love tube amps…do they pair well?

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At that level, I’m sure it’s not the target demographic’s only DAC. I recall seeing an old timie reviewer, I think it may have been Steve “Audiopheliac” Guttenberg say that a lot of his NYC clients back in the day just bought for wow factor. They wanted people visiting their place so say wow when they saw the system.

Not tube bashing as I have more components that have tubes than not. lol It’s just the tube as a clock idea that I question.

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I’d say it’s moreso going to depend on the individual synergy aspect rather than just something having tubes. I’d honestly point you toward a lampizator amber 3 if you wanted an upgrade to an evo 100, both happen to have tubes (very accurate while being very organic, more forward leaning). I would also look into a sw1x dac ii special if you wanted something a bit more relaxed and chilled out while still being pretty techincal and refined, also has tubes. I’d say both this and the lampi end up being a bit higher tier than the evo 100 while being similar ish price range

I guess a better question would be to ask what exactly type of sound you are looking for, what do you plan to pair it with most of the time, and generally what do you like about your current dac and what would you change?