PrimaLuna EVO 300 Hybrid Tube Integrated Amp
Winner: 2023 TAS Editor's Choice
The best of tubes and the best of solid-state in a fully dual mono design with top-shelf components and sophisticated power supplies.
"I can't believe they're selling it at this price!" That's the first reaction of anyone who peeks into the Floyd Design PrimaLuna EVO 300 Hybrid, filled to nearly bursting with the highest quality components.
The EVO 300 Hybrid uses same preamp gain stage as the award-winning PrimaLuna EVO 400 Preamplifier, which was designed by Marcel Croese, former chief engineer, Goldmund Switzerland. That means all-tube and dual mono. The only thing we left out was tube rectification because it isn't appropriate for this application. It took two years of research and experimentation to perfectly pair it with the output circuit designed by Jan de Groot who has designed all of PrimaLuna’s MOSFET circuits, and was behind all the Sphinx Audio designs from 1995 to 2000.
Apart from combining tube magic with solid state control, the EVO 300 Hybrid focuses on lowering source impedance while also lowering noise, offering the highest possible fidelity and bandwidth.
Tube in the Front, Solid State in the Back
The input stages of the EVO 300 Hybrid use two 12AU7 tubes in the gain stages, and four 12AU7 driver tubes. The doubled driver tubes ensure a lower impedance on the output stages, allowing for large dynamics, a huge soundstage, and lots of beautiful harmonics and texture.
The solid-state output stages use cascading JFETs from Linear Systems and each channel boasts two complementary pairs of MOSFETs from Exicon. The setup is calibrated to offer the lowest impedance, and the 100 W into 8 ohm (160 W into 4 ohm) power sounds massive, allowing this amp to preserve tube glory while offering the excellent grip, low-bass power and overall control that MOSFETs are known for.
The most crucial capacitors, the ones in the signal path, are extremely expensive tin-foil caps that are made in Europe. Elsewhere, even the caps outside the signal path are the top-quality models that modders use to upgrade their regular amps!
The Power Supply is Everything
The power supply in the EVO 300 Hybrid is extremely complex. Increasingly, manufacturers are realizing that there’s more to power supplies than was ever thought before, and that their design has a huge effect on the sound of the amp. For example, a power supply inductor can work as a second-order harmonic filter, so every part has to be carefully considered for its sonic qualities.
The amplifier uses a custom wound set of potted toroidal transformers for true dual mono. It also has a pair of PrimaLuna’s custom designed AC offset killers that the company is world famous for. There is extensive shielding in various parts of the amplifier to block any noise from the main power supply getting into the delicate preamp section.
Looking into the chassis of the EVO 300 Hybrid, you will see a red glow of LEDs, reminiscent of the glow of tube filaments. This isn't just a cosmetic touch. Apart from emitting light, LEDs can function as low-noise, extremely quick diodes in electronic circuits. Designers have found that red LEDs in particular offer the best performance when used this way.
The PrimaLuna Hybrid's power supply circuits use high-performance LEDs at critical points, offering various circuits in its extremely sophisticated power supply, their own supply of low-noise electrical power.
Compare PrimaLuna construction to any other brand, at any price. You'll be amazed.
|100 Watts per channel
(8Ω, 0.2% THD)
|150 Watts per channel
(8Ω, 0.2% THD)
|Inputs||5x Stereo RCA
Stereo RCA HT Bypass
|Outputs||1 Pair Speaker
RCA Stereo/Mono Subwoofer
Stereo RCA Tape Out
|Freq. Response||10Hz-80kHz +/- 3dB|
|THD||< 0.2% @ 100W
< 2% @ 8Ω
|S/N Ratio||-105dB (A-Weighted)|
|Input Sensitivity||415mV (EL34)|
|Power Consumption||99 Watts (no signal in)
|Standard Tube Complement||6 - 12AU7
(2x Input, 4x Driver)
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||15.9" x 8.1" x 15.2"|
What PrimaLuna EVO 300 Hybrid Tube Integrated Amp owners think:Read Owner Reviews »
One of the best headphone amps in the world. Most integrated amps use a solid state op-amp chip for running headphones. Stand alone headphone amps will vary in quality like any other amplifier. Headphones are simply small speakers that require less power. Some amps will use smaller output tubes that groan to have enough dissipation to run power-hungry planar headphones. This is how we do it. We simply took advantage of the fact that we make the best tube integrated amplifiers. We designed the same way with the Hybrid Integrated Amplifier. Now you don't have to pay for a separate state of the art headphone amp. PrimaLuna integrateds are the favorite of owners who use everything from Audeze to Hifiman to Sennheiser!
Floyd-Design Specifically-Manufacturered MOSFET Solid-State Power Amplifier
Too often, hybrid amps turn out to be less than the sum of their parts – a mismatch, both technically and sonically. It's essential to choose solid-state components that behave similarly to a tube. PrimaLuna EVO 300 Hybrid Integrated Amplifier's MOSFETs, used in the power stages, share similar characteristics with tubes.
Floyd Design's Jan de Groot has created amps with MOSFETs for 26 years. These MOSFETs are specifically designed to pair with our most successful PrimaLuna pre-stages, matched for the best sound quality possible and mounted it in one chassis; Et voilà!
The PrimaLuna EVO 300 Hybrid Integrated Amplifier is unlike any other HYBRID Integrated Amplifier on the market. You can SEE that, and you can HEAR that. We wanted the BEST HYBRID possible, and we knew it would become a more expensive unit. After the final fine-tuning and listening tests, we can easily accept and justify that!
Transformer-Coupled Subwoofer Out
The number one problem people face when adding a subwoofer is integration to the main speakers. When you run the subwoofer at “line level” while your main speakers are hooked up to the amplifier, the signals have a different character or “transfer”. That’s why REL, the premier manufacturer of subwoofers, prefers using a “Speakon” connector hooking up their subwoofers to the same terminals the speakers are hooked up to. Now both speakers and sub get the same “flavor” and are easier to integrate together. In addition, most integrated amps have a subwoofer out that is not as robust as using the line out from a preamp. The result? Reduced dynamics.
But there are some very good subwoofers that only have an RCA line-level input. That’s why the subwoofer out on the EVO 300 and 400 class are transformer-coupled
Switchable from stereo to mono, we run right off the speaker taps of our amazing wide-bandwidth output transformers to a voltage-divider network and lower output to line level. Now your subwoofer and speakers are seeing the exact same signal, singing the exact same tune, for perfect coherence. PLUS you get the benefit of increased dynamics. No other brand offers this feature. Only PrimaLuna.
No Internal DAC / No Internal Phonostage
Never buy an integrated amp with an internal DAC. Why? Because digital changes and history shows that integrated amps with “old” digital become unwanted and have almost no resale value
Built-in phonostages are “throw in” and are rarely good quality because manufacturers assume 90% of buyers won’t use them. The external phonostage market is very competitive. You can get something much better for as little as $200, and buy one that actually meets your cartridges needs and YOUR budget.
Still want to save space? Our belly-mounted phonostage option puts the sensitive electronics in their own enclosure to keep noise at a minimum.
Custom Toroidal Power TransformersPower transformers generate two types of noise, magnetic and acoustic. That's why toroidal power transformers are used in the very best audio products. Compared to standard transformers, toroids radiate about 1/10 the magnetic field that pollutes music and obscures detail. Additionally, the absence of an air gap typically means toroids have an 8:1 reduction of acoustic noise. As transformers are the most expensive components in any audio product, manufacturers will even house cheaper C-core and EI-core transformers in an outboard power supply box with an umbilical cable rather than upgrade to an expensive toroid. The increased cost is significant, but PrimaLuna doesn’t cut corners. All PrimaLuna products use massive, potted toroidal transformers. PrimaLuna transformers are enclosed in a metal housing and then potted in a non-microphonic resin to further reduce noise and to protect the windings from moisture and deterioration forever. The EVO 300 Hybrid employs three custom, potted toroidal power transformers.
AC Offset Killer - A PrimaLuna Exclusive
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 our own massive toroidal power transformers that are low in hum and EMI. But we wanted more. Our 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.
If you bought a lesser amplifier, you would pay hundreds to make this upgrade. Easy to identify through their pink color, these premium resistors from Japan are popular with those who rebuild and upgrade their gear. "Modders" love TAKMAN for their low noise, linearity, and musicality.
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 of the preamplifier, is painstakingly hand wired with heavy-gauge cable by craftsman.
The PrimaLuna EVO 300 hybrid preamp section uses Swiss-made, silver-plated, oxygen-free continuous crystal (OCC) copper with a Teflon dielectric in the critical signal path for superior signal speed and increased clarity.
Superquiet Line Inputs
Input selector switches leak noise and signals from other sources, as they never turn off the other inputs completely. And, they deteriorate with age, requiring the use of cleaners. Many are mounted on the front panel requiring long runs of wires to the back panel inputs. These wires pick up stray noise from RF and EMI.
PrimaLuna has a better way. Instead of a switch, input selection is done using premium quality sealed relays mounted in the rear where you plug in your components. When an input is selected, that relay closes giving you the best connection possible. All the other relays are left open, so noise and signals from other sources can’t leak in. The signal path is now almost non-existent, so there are no wires to pick up noise.