Integrated Tube Around $1000


I'm deciding to dip into the tube world and I'm looking for a few suggestions. I love the warm tube sound but I don't want to break the bank or take up huge amounts of space with mono blocks and a pre-on the floor.

I plan to spend around $1000 US. I currently have a pair of Dynaudio A72 Floor standers and a pair of Totem Model One's. They are both in the 87-88db efficiency ball park. So I think I'll need a little juice to get them going but I suspect that 30-50watts should do the trick. My music room is in the small to medium area. I listen to everything and I do mean everything. From punk to Indian Classical and from lap top music to Jazz. Eventually I will probably go with a more efficient floorstander but I am hoping to use the integrated with the Totems or the Dynaudio's.

I'm thinking about the Jolida 202 with Mods by parts Connexion or maybe the Prima Luna One. I've heard the Jolida and been suitably impressed and I'd love to hear the Prima Luna.

Any suggestions? Should I think about used instead of new?


I would recommend the Prima Luna Prologue One or Two. I purchased the Prologue Two. Please read my review here . So how good is the amp ... I am half considering selling my Musical Fidelity A300 CR and Musical Fidelity CD PRE 24 in my main system and go with another Prologue Two.

Regards, Rich
Whooha, 30 watts is a bit shy for those Totems, even for a small room. I'd stick to something with a bit more than that as a minimum as you suggested. Jolida's 502B would be where I might go given an 87-88db efficiency. The PrimaLuna Rich mentions above has garnered some great press and is pretty much the same output tubes (4 KT88's) but it puts out 40watts instead of 60 watts which tells me they must have a different circuit design. I'd make sure that 40 watts is enough to push your Totems to levels you are happy with, but other than that, looks like that'd be a good choice too. It is auto-biasing too, while the Jolida is a manually biased amp. No big whoop to do, but to some that is a hassle. I've only heard the Jolida, and it is a damn fine integrated amp.

I agree with Jax2 - you may well need way more than 30W. I would try the Antique Sound Labs AQ1001 at 50W and see what you think. I auditioned the 202 a few times but thought the image was unclear and fairly flat. The ASL and 502B will do better.

Keep in mind you can damage your tweeters if you don't give them enough power. If you want to go with lower-powered amps, I would get more efficient speakers. Good luck! Arthur
I have been thinking about the Prima Luna Prologue 2 but, I don't think it comes with a remote. That is a deal breaker for me. You can get a Rogue Tempest (60 wpc)used for just above your budget. Good luck.
not an integrated but the ASL 805 monoblocks are single ended and put out 50 watts...they might be perfect for you...any cheap passive components in the ASL can be upgraded easily for not a lot of money

for a preamp consider a used Audible Illusions linestage Modulus...they go cheap (compared to the phono model) and are very good.....used Quicksilver preamp at 675 looks interesting, too
A few notes ...

1. The Prima Luna does not come with a remote.

2. I have been running Acoustic Research 302 (85db) and NHT SB2 (85db) speakers with the Prologue Two in a 15 X 10 X 8.5 room. The volume control starts at the 7PM position ... at the 10PM position, it is playing noticeably loud. These days I listen to a lot of opera; large scale classical; Sinatra; 60's rock; & Americana. The Prologue 2 plays much louder at lower volume levels than a NAD C320BEE (50 wpc) and a Harman Kardon 3370 (70 wpc) that I had used in the same room with same speakers.

Regards, Rich

and all. Glad to hear that the Prima Luna can drive 87-88db speakers. I will get my hands on a 30 watt amp and see what happens with the totems. I'm hoping to also try a Jolida 502.


thanks for the suggestion about the Antique Sound Lab, I hadn't thought of going that route. I'll look into that idea further.

anyone driving Totem Model Ones with only 30 watts?

Jolida 302b.

It sounds great in general and exceptional with Totem speakers (I've heard it with Arro's and Staaf's, not model 1's though). It's also well in your price range new.

Hi Rich. Not knocking your comment but one man's "loud" is another man's soft. There was a thread (I think on AA) about that and some thought 85dB was loud but headbangers were laughing at them. It's another example of how everything's relative.

Matthew - you seem sold on the 30W. Give it a try and let us know how it goes! Arthur
Another vote for the Jolida 302b. I would prefer the EL34 based 302b against
the 502b. For your Totem Monitors the slightly fuller bass won't be a
problem. I am driving some 88dB, 4Ohm Mission monitors, which are fairly
power hungry, without problems. It works great for all kinds of music: Indian
Classical, Jazz, Western Classical, Pop, Electronic. I just love the involving and
lively character of the JD302b.

Verastarr used to offer a 302b/502b converted amp that can use both EL34
and KT88 type tubes. Might be worth checking out to see which tubes you
prefer. Also, I would make sure to budget some better tubes for the 302b or
502b (SED EL34, NOS for the rest). They are so much better than the stock

Sorry, I never heard the Primaluna: based on the reviews and user comments
it should be a great amp as well; probably with better built quality than the

Good luck and enjoy.
I have no experience with the Jolida or the Model One's.
FWIW, I run a Conrad Johnson MV-55 tube amp & a Creek OBH-12 passive preamp (with remote) with Totem Arro's. I normally listen at a measured 70db and I never turn the volume more than a third of the way up. My room size is 12x22x8. With careful shopping you may be able to get an MV-55 for $900 and the Creek for $200. Vince, the owner of Totem, suggested that I stick with my tube amp for the Arro's as it has great synergy. I think that the Conrad Johnson sound adds a nice roundness to the razor sharp sound of the Arro's. My 2 cents!
Ok, here's a short correction to what I said earlier. I lied. The Mission 751s I have are 89dB and 6Ohm (not as wrongly stated before 88db, 4Ohm). Still I found them fairly difficult to drive with a Linn LK 85 and Rega Mira I had previously. The Jolida 302 does a much better job than either one in terms of musicality and loudness.
Hi Arthur;

The 85db that I was referring to with the AR 302 and the NHT SB2 speakers was their sensitivity ... as opposed to the resultant sound level that I am driving them at. I doubt that I am using more than a watt or so of the Prologue Two's power output, though. In HI FI Plus' review of the Prologue Two, it speaks a bit about how loud the amp plays.

Regards, Rich
So it sounds like the Jolida 302 or 502 as well as the Prima Luna are the leading contenders. Has anyone been able to compare the Jolida vs. the Prima Luna?

According to the Totem web site, they suggest that 15 watts is a bare minimum for the Totem's and the Dynaudio site says that 25 watts is needed for the A72's. In time I plan to replace the Danes and go to a more sensitive floorstander. But I do plan to keep the Totem's. If they will work with the integrated Tube, than that just gives me more flexibility with the system. They are great with my Classe 100 mono blocks, but that's 200Watts of solid state. I don't listen to music loud, I found that with the mono blocks I got full sound out of the speakers at low volume. I'm hoping for something similar with tubes. But maybe 30 watts isn't enough, although it might be. Is there a floor where you can't go wrong? 40watts? 50watts? 60watts?


I have Totem Model 1's and I recently hooked up my 30 watt RM-10 (from the 4 ohm taps) and it could NOT drive the Totems to ANY kind of reasonable level. As soon as I hooked it up it was pretty obvious that it wasn't going to work very well. I had planned on listening at least through the weekend and it didn't make it more than an hour or two. HTH.

I've listened to the Jolida 502 and the Primaluna Prologue 2, but not side by side. I think both amps will be able to drive the Totems. I listened to the J502 with Maggie 1.6s and the P2 with the Audio Physic Virgos. Neither speaker is terriby efficient. Despite the power ratings of the amps, the P2 seems more powerful than the Jolida. Some of the posters above assume that all watts are equal. The quality of those watts will also make a difference. Both amps are very good, especially for the money. As noted, the P2 has better build quality. It's easy to use for the first-time tube user and should put out great music for a very long time. Based on all my auditions, I think you would need to spend double or triple the price of the P2 to get significantly better sound. I ended up getting the P2.
Rich, about the relative loudness of your Prologue 2 vs the NAD 320BEE... do you mean that's a measure of the ability of these amps to play loud, or simply that the Prologue has more gain at a lower volume setting?

I have the 320BEE on a short list for 4 systems, each one with different-efficiency speakers, which is why I ask.

I'm curious about your Totem experience. Was the problem that you were not getting enough volume with 30watts? Did you still get a full range of sounds?


Could you explain a bit more about your comments re. not all watts being equal?


Rich - I wasn't referring to your mention of 85dB. Same number but different comment.

Also, I think some people confuse forward sound with increased volume. A more forward presentation will sound louder at the same volume as a more laid back presentation. The power used is the same - only the personal impression changes. This has often been my experience with tube amps and leads many people to say "not all watts are equal" which of course can't physically be true. Arthur

I normally drive the Totems with a Levinson amp that puts out 200 watts at 4 ohms. I was trying to give the little Music Reference every chance as I really wanted to justify buying a RM200. Now I did not take db readings but I did try to keep levels matched. As soon as I hooked up the tube amp there was an immediate huge reduction in volume. I was kind of suprised because at the level I had it either amp should have only been using a few watts. I thought ok suprising but let's keep going. Sat down to listen and noticed the amp really seemed to be struggling to power the speakers, dynamics seemed restricted and the highs had a bit of a glare to them (this is not normally a trait of this amp). Now I'm kind of bummed and I get out my rat shack meter, with my preamp contol wide open I could barely hit the 80db mark and it was freaking me out to have my volume control set that high. I then tried wiring the amp from the 8 ohm taps and I was able to get a bit more volume but the sound suffered even more. I considered upping the internal gain switches on my preamp but as this would have required a good bit of work and I wasn't too thrilled with my experiment so far I opted not to.

I think theTotems are even more difficult to drive than I suspected and I was probably over taxing the power supply on the 30 watt tube amp. Also, now that I think about it when I got the Totems I spoke with Vince and he recommended sticking with my Levinson amp as I was considering tubes to drive them then.

Scottz, if you were referring to me there aren't many 30 watt amps I would be hesitant to put my Music Reference amp up against, certainly not a Chinese made Jolida or Primaluna.

Oooh my goodness take a listen to a Jolida 707A if you can swing it!!When they pop up used they will be under $1000.I have two of them and LOVE them.I am a previous owner of a modded 202A(parts connection).
I HIGHLY recommend this amp(707A and even the 202A) as an entry level.The stock NP3P Jolida tubes are actually very good on this amp where the stock EL34's on the 202A were not very good at all.
I have very high efficiency(103db) horn speakers and am awaiting a pair of Wright WPA 3.5's.I will be selling one of my 707's probably if the Wrights move me the way i suspect they might.That being said,it will not be an easy parting.
Check them out if you can!!The amp tries to simulate SET amps(producing 40wpc however) and since i have never heard one i can only speculate.With my horn set up it is head and shoulders above the modded 202A which sounded good too.The mids are so much more lush with the 707A's and it was an immediate acknowledgement with both of these amps.My speakers appreciated the added mids that the 707A imparted but perhaps your speakers(which i am unfamiliar with) may find a kinship with the 202A which has a more scooped mid then the 707A.I was toying with getting the 707A modded but i don't know if i want to mess with a good thing.I did enjoy a certain incredible inner detail with that 202A however, which makes me think that i could capture even more of that with this amp as well while maintaining the wonderful midrange presentation.I am new to this as of December 2003 and my sonic life has been so much better for it.You won't go wrong either way you go is my guess.
ENJOY !! : )
I run a fully modded (underwood, used <$1000) Jolida 502B into a pair of 90dB Snells. The CDP runs 5751 Raytheons (around 30% less gain than the stock 12AX7's). I wouldn't go any less in power or speaker sensitivity. I have plenty of volume(sounds lovely), but have occasionally hit 2-3 o'clock on the volume knob on jazz vocals or some acoustic music...I'm guessing there isn't a whole-lot of power left. At 8-9 feet from the speakers I'd guess I'm hitting mid 90's in SPL (I have a RS meter, I just haven't measured how loud 3 o'clock is) with dynamic peaks going a bit higher.

Have you considered the Jolida tube/SS hybrids(more power)?

You can't go by just the power rating given by the company to determine whether an amp can drive your speakers. There are other factors such as dynamic headroom, THD, whether the amp runs class A or A/B, that will affect its ability to power your speakers. Also, companies rate their amps differently. It's difficult to make apples to apples comparisons using company-supplied specs. Consequently, there's no guarantee that an amp rated at 60wpc will provide more clean undistorted power than a 40wpc amp.


I wasn't refering specifically to your post in my previous statement about some posters assuming all watts are equal.

thanks for your comments, it sounds like you gave the Totems a good work out, trying them at 30watts. My classe 100 mono blocks are also 200watts per channel at 4ohms, so I get a good sense of what you are talking about. I may very well leave the Totem's with my solid state set-up and concentrate my floorstanders around the tubes. I quite enjoyed a Triangle Antal that I auditioned recently, and they are at 91db so I suspect that a 30-50watt integrated would have no trouble at all. But that's a ways off at the moment.

I'm going to try out a Jolida this week-end. And see how that works out. I suspect that the modded versions bring up the quality a fair bit and might get it closer to the Prima Luna, but I don't think I can get my hands on a Modded Jolida in my area. Are there specific mods that improve the Jolida's?



Yes my experiment cooled me a bit on my amp upgrade desires. Especially considering the lovefest thats been going on here lately regarding older Levinson gear. My only real complaint with my current setup is that it doesn't really sing at low volumes, interesting that you comment that your system does. Please let us know how the audition goes.


No offense meant. Its just that personally I really don't understand all the hoopla over recent far eastern entries into the market. I mean come on do you really want to buy something of (to me) questionable build quality that needs mods right off the bat to sound competitive.

Why would anyone compare a 100wpc tube amp that cost $3,500 three years ago (Music Ref) to one that's 35 wpc and costs $1,000 (Primaluna)? Sure, the prof reviews say the Primaluna is comparable to amps in that price range but it all comes down to your wallet and system matching (at least for most). Looks like Classic's experience indicates Totems are a hard drive. I believe him. Classic95, what makes you think the build quality of Chinese made gear is worse? I've read just as many issues about build quality with respect to Jolida's *and* Cary, for example. The Primaluna needs a few years to stand the test of time but it looks immaculate.
Well I have a Jolida 202 home for a test run. After the kids are in bed it will get warmed up and ready to go. It's a stock model.

Wes I suspect that you are right about the Chinese makes being of lower quality than American or European. And in time I hope to make the step up to a better amp. And on a deeper level it's a good idea to support local manufacturers. I do have Canadian made amps, as well as my CD player, and I have a set of Canadian made speakers. (I live in Ontario). I guess I'm looking at Chinese makes because they are cheaper and apparently of decent quality.

I'm looking forward to enjoying tubes.

all the best


To your last point, I did not get that most responders felt that the Chinese made gear was of lower quality when compared to the European and American made gear (it was only Wes/Classic 95). At your stated price point of $1000, which manufacturers compete at this level these days? At best, you might see something made in Japan ... otherwise it is only Pacific Rim manufacturers.

As to supporting "local manufacturers" ... where do you think your ADCOM preamp is made or has been made for the last 17 years? So many of your British brands ... NAD, Monitor Audio, EPOS, Quad (L series), Cambridge Audio, Arcam (receivers), etc. ... are designed in the UK, made in China. Even Musical Fidelity is manufacturing its X-can line in China now.

It makes for curious discussions in A'gon ... for when it comes to solid state components, we are OK with gear that is made off-shore, but when it comes to tubes, we get into this 70's "local manufacturer" mind-set.

In any event, I hope that your Jolida works out for you.

Regards, Rich

I didn't mean that the Chinese work is bad, just that it could be of lower quality. Only a hunch though, I don't know for certain. But that being said I think it is good value for the money and worth purchasing. You are right about the Adcom and my Tube Buffer. And I will almost certainly buy Chinese work.

Anyways, back to the Jolida. Things went pretty well. The match was better with the Dynaudios. The tubes added a warm feel to their detailed sound. It was only one night so far but I was suitably impressed. The mids were much better, and the rest was equal to my solid state set-up.

The Totems didn't work out quite as well but the match was decent. The mids were the strong point but the bass wasn't as poor as I thought it would be. It was the high frequencies on instruments such as trumpet that were sub-par. But it was something I can live but I will probably dedicate the Totems to my Solid State and have the floorstanders go Tube.

With the Totems I had the gain up to 3/4 and that meant the sound was a bit loud for me. Before that it sounded like I wasn't getting the full features of my monitors. But with the Dynaudios the gain was just below the half way mark and they were performing well without making me want to sit further back.

I ended up staying up to the wee hours and having a great time. I'm looking forward to making a purchase soon. Although I haven't heard one yet, I'm leaning towards the Prima Luna due to the positive reviews from purchasers and reviewers but I think I can also do well with a modified Jolida.