Audio Research, AYON and Primaluna tube amplifiers.

Hello Agoners,

May I ask how would these 3 companies stand out from each others?

Can we rank them as for:

1. Sound quality

2. Performance

3. Reliable

4. Reputation.

5. Service and support

6. Resell value.

I’m still very new to tube amps and only had Cayin A-88T and VTL ST-150 in the past.


Hey @ghdprentice could you tell me a little bit more about the detail differences from ARC to Primaluna? I run Primaluna separates and I've been eyeing ARC preamps and assumed that my Dialogue Premium is on par with the ARC LS28 and improvements would have to be at the REF level? Any insights or life experience going from PL to Arc? So many people try to sell them as "close" but I don't buy it. 

While NO company has 100% great products, yet over the years (1970-2022) they have been in business, ARC has had more "wins" than most companies have had ever.

Interesting to see that their first break-through pre-amp from mid-1970’s (SP-3A1) STILL commands huge prices. I sold it when it went from $595 to $695 to $795 and could never keep them in stock. Today, on ebay, etc., they go for over $3000 and they are over 45 years old!!

Another flagship back then, the two-chassis SP-10, is still considered one of the best ever! Their new stuff is also wonderful if you can afford it.

BUT, you have to listen IN YOUR ROOM to whatever you pick and make sure it fits YOUR system. Personally, I would buy ARC EVERY TIME, but you need to know a couple of things:

1. They had some duds with their solid state stuff

2. There are some items they can no longer service. You should call them and see before you make a final decision. Their service is legendary, if expensive, but as in most things in life, you tend to get what you pay for.

Best of luck to you, and should you go with ARC electronics, have your dealer hook up a pair of Magneplaner speakers in your room and see how that combo grabs you.


Having owned an ARC VT-130 for years, I recently acquired a PrimaLuna Dialogue HP Integrated. Both are wonderful devices with only slightly different and subtle (emotional) sonic differences (to my ear) which can be tweaked based on tube choice among others. Those above who discredit one because of price point should be ignored…depending on your priorities, of course. It should not be a contest to see who can spend the most. Buy what you enjoy…I suspect you’d love any of the brands you mentioned. All will reproduce recorded music beautifully.

In military ranks:

ARC is ranked as Marshall

Ayon is ranked as General

PrimaLuna as Major