PrimaLuna Preamp Upgrade Question

I have owned a PL Evo400 Integrated for the past few months. I love the amp, but am considering diving deeper into separates. I've been eyeing a Primaluna Evo Preamp to hopefully unlock more separation and presence.

I'm curious if anyone has any experience with owning a Primaluna Integrated and then adding a Primaluna Pre Amp using the HT bypass. I understand this is a possibility, but I'm curious of the added benefits and or drawbacks. Is there is a general consensus it would be greatly beneficial, I would eventually sell off the Evo 400 integrated and go full separates. 

If you don't have specific experience with PrimaLuna but have been in a similar situation using a bypass in an integrated I'd also love to hear some feedback. 

Get the preamp with definite intentions of going separate amp later.
Subjective sonic upgrade. Lateral upgrade IMHO. You have a great integrated amp. The sonic presentation is the sum of components/room.
PL user for many years. I’ve heard the proposed "upgrade" It will sound different, but as mentioned subjective. "Better" is in the ears of the listener.
@tablejockey thanks for the advice. So we can say it will sound "different", but does that suffice to say I should? I would rather not make a lateral move if the lateral move doesn't help to provide any more benefit and I can just wait longer to purchase separates. What I'm getting at is I know I could, but should I should? Hah!

The PL is in a league to present great sources in their best light. Consider your sources and speakers/setup and room in the equation.

Cables,PLC, fuses and gizmos.....plenty of thread in the archives to drive your audionervosa

Their will be someone who will contradict my comment and say..YES!  it will be night and day, best upgrade I ever did!
Brand new Focal Aria 936's. Pleased with them, but they're not the end all be all's. I guess I'm stuck attempting to decide whether to spend money on a preamp or to spend money on a used PS Audio P10. I guess I would just like to spend money. 

I spoke to Upscale and they recommended the Evo Pre upgrade, but of course they would. Not that they shouldn't, I'm just looking for the best bang for the buck. 
I've been using PL's for some years. I've found that so much of what I expect of my (integrated) amp depends on its tone, which in turn depends on tube selection. For example, if I want a full, warm tone, I'd use Tung Sol 6550's, and for a cooler tone, i.e. greater clarity etc, I use SED 6L6GC's. So if all you want to do is spend more money on your system maybe just some judicious tube rolling will keep you busy for a few years :-).

 But, FWIW, were I dedicated to going back into separates I think I would bite the bullet (cost wise) and go elsewhere.  
@newbee tubes are of interest too! Considering the GL KT88 and Mullard 12au7's. I guess I need to go back to the drawing board and maybe start with some tubes. Recently picked up the Linear Power Supply for my Musical Surroundings Nova III and could not be happier. Maybe next I'll work on tubes and then a used PS Audio P10/P12 regenerator. 
"Brand new Focal Aria 936’s. Pleased with them, but they’re not the end all be all’s."

Positioning and room. The 936’s are nice speakers. If that doesn’t work-Kanta or Sopra...and better sources-the madness doesn’t end.

I use a  PS Audio Power Plant-it does its thing in my system.YMMV
@tablejockey do you have your PrimaLuna gear running through the PS Audio Power Plant? I've been curious as the entry level of running my Evo 400 through a conditioner such as PS Audio or Audioquest

I use an ancient model with good results.

Got it here, for cheap. Yet another polarizing subject. It's actually getting refreshed at PS Audio as we speak. Soon as I took it out and turned the system on....the "veil" came back. Few days later my ears adjust, and it sounds fine, but I'm anxious to get it back in a couple of weeks.

I plug EVERYTHING into it with no problems. Opinions on plugging the amp into it is divided. The Audioquest Niagra has good reviews.

I would recommend the dedicated line and tweaky outlet also. Clean power seems to be a solid upgrade to my ears.
Are you getting any noise in your system?  If not, I would concentrate on getting the basics dialed in before I dropped a lot of coin on a power conditioner.  What is it you do not like about your Focals?  If it were I, I would experiment with speaker placement and live with the final results for a bit before spending more money.  At this point, getting a preamp to use with the Integrated is a waste of money.  Your Integrated is an excellent amp already!  If your system doesn’t have many hours on it, it would be foolish to dish out more money right now.  Let the system burn in and get your speaker placement right.  Then and only then would I spend more money. 
@tablejockey so the p300 you have can handle the PrimaLuna? I was under the impression I would have to move up to the newer P12 (or older P10) to be able to handle the power requirements of my Evo400. 
@stereo5 I'm not sure how much noise I have in my system to be honest. I know I should be investing in steady and cleaner power. We're renting so dedicated line isn't an option. I think the wiring in our house needs to be checked because with the house not drawing more than a light you can see the light flicker. Which happens in multiple rooms even with the lowest draw of power.
P300? I have the PP Premier. It was long discontinued, but powerful enough to handle a modest system. I have the HP-essentially the same amp.

Check the listings for a P3/5. They are becoming cheap on the used market. They will handle an modest system with amp.

As mentioned, you might want to look into the dedicated line first. It's an inexpensive(relatively speaking) Just find a legit electrician.
@tablejockey ahh my mistake. I put in a call to PS Audio and their thought was a P12 is an entry point for my Evo 400 due to power requirements for their newest series. After reviewing power requirements P5 and P10 should work as well. 

Also, you recommended a dedicated line. A power regenerator couldn't fix the flaws or sag in the power? 

As stereo5 mentions,you may want to consider addressing the overall sonic concerns first before blowing cash here and there.

I'm in the speaker placement/room acoustics camp. I've head those 936's sound great with the PL. Optimal placement of your speakers is a game changer. Spending time with the speaker placement archives may be helpful. What's going on the room is very influential to the speakers presentation.

The speakers should sound close to great out of the box, but they may sound better after a few hours of playtime. Setup is paramount. Are you able to get them out in the room?(4-6ft from the front, 3-4 from the sides)

Since the you're in a rental, the PP or PLC(AQ Niagara)may be a good "finishing touch" for your setup. Not until your ears determine you've placed the speakers in their best position, relative to your situation. 

There are more knowledgeable members with speaker/room interaction you may want to pose speaker  positioning  questions later. 

Trust your ears.
Moving to the separate preamp is a Huge upgrade.  Not subtle at all.  I had the previous line (dialogue premium) integrated.  I did not try just adding a preamp but went right to the separates.  The preamp adds so much more detail, transparency, etc.  The integrated is muddy in comparison in my experience.  I read plenty of general comments here and elsewhere about how going separates was always better, but I was skeptical as to how much difference it could make.  In this case with PL it was very much worth the extra cash.  I was using Tannoy loudspeakers at that point.
I read plenty of general comments here and elsewhere about how going separates was always better, but I was skeptical as to how much difference it could make. In this case with PL it was very much worth the extra cash.

Funny.  The loudest voices on this forum believe you'd have to be a moron to favor separates.    I disagree....separates win but you can get "good enough" SQ with an integrated as well, and at a cheaper cost.  It's all about your musical priorities and if you desire flexibility down the road..
I'm a Primaluna Dialogue line user.  I have the integrated model. 

I think it would likely be an upgrade to go separates all around. But tablejockey is very right in his words of caution/disclaimer.  

One thing that I would personally consider if I was doing what you are looking to do is listen to preamps with 6SN7 tubes.  Primaluna is married to the 12AU7.  They are a good tube, but I do like the 6SN7 sonic signature more.  Some folks think the 6SN7 is the most linear small signal triode around.  I do think it sounds a bit more at ease than its smaller cousin the 12AU7.  It may be more prone to microphonics though--I'm not sure.

Take a look at this preamp--

I haven't heard the EVO line yet.  I would think PL would engineer these to sound better when using its separates--otherwise why spend more for another box? I'm generalizing and giving PL the benefit of the doubt as they have a decent record of providing quality at pricepoints. 

I have the dialogue Premium HP integrated, and what I did was to buy 2 Evo 300 poweramps and run them  as mono amps with a Herron Audio VTSP-2 preamp which is the best of both worlds. And the Primaluna integrated I put into my office system.
So if I was in your situation I would get  2 PL Evo400 power amps and run them as mono amps along with the preamp of your choice and sell the Evo400 integrated
No need to upgrade your integrated. Primaluna gear has treated me well. I run a Dialogue HP integrated (Tung-Sol KT150's) with Focal speakers and get great results. I'll parrot what some others here say, and add my 2 cents. Speaker placement is crucial for the Aria line. Mine are 3'+from the sidewalls and 2.5'+ from the rear walls. Treated room, ceiling clouds, corner bass traps, and rear diffusion/absorbtion. I started with Aria 926's but now run the larger 948's.
 Instead of switching to separates, I'd suggest a stereo subwoofer upgrade. As good as the Focals are, they don't dig real deep. I went with a pair of REL SHO S3's, but but you could get out cheaper with SVS, HSU or similar. You've got top shelf gear, no need to change it. Just augment it to bring out the best in your system.


Am I operating too close to a wall? I figured 3 feet was appropriate for being 9 feet away from speakers. 
And here is the setup. I would appreciate any and all feedback. The more I can learn the more I'd love to pass on.
If you like to listen to all genres and sometimes crank it, sell the integrated, buy the preamp, and get a hybrid tube/SS amp like the Rogue Dragon that has high input impedence and damping factor, and big watts, then listen as your Focals suddenly become everything they can be. Room treatment like bass traps would be necessary though too. You can thank me later.
J-wall, you mentioned the GL KT-88 and Mullard 12Au7 combo earlier in this thread.  After auditioning several tubes in my EVO 400, I am happy to report that the aforementioned combo is absolutely killer.  To my ears, in my system of course.  Strongly recommend.
J-wall, if I measure to the face of the foot like your photo, I’m at 3’-3".
From what I see your setup is good. 
I did exactly what you are considering. Was a PL owner for years. Prologue 2 integrated to Dialogue 2 integrated. Then decided to go separates in phases and bought a used PL preamp and ran it through the Dialogue. It was a lateral move. Then bought a PL power amp and sold the Dialogue 2. Used it for a few years. What jbhiller said above was my case. I bought a 6SN7 preamp and 6C33C based mono blocks and quickly sold the PL amp and preamp. In my system the 6SN7 preamp made a big Improvement in sound. More open and natural. Separates offer me more flexibility and I have a separate backup amp and preamp should they be needed. Both my main and backup preamps are 6sn7 based. My system is here on Agon. I finally arrived at the sound I want. It is customized to my ears. I am extremely happy and greatly enjoy my lps and cds. Good luck and have fun! 
Getting to the sound you want takes years in this hobby. It requires time to evaluate synergy between components. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb or try something out of your comfort zone. Reviews and sales folks are helpful but only you can decide. And a component can sometimes cost less, be based on older designs, and sound better than what you currently have. But the main thing is enjoy what you have because it’s about the music. The equipment is just the means to the end. The emotional music experience and artist’s statement through their art is what you are after (me anyway). 
+1 for @tablejockey  comments.

only additional comment is you have not heard what the PL Dialogue P can do until you replace the coupling caps with copper foil caps. then you jaw will hit the floor....
Pulled the trigger on 6 12au7's, which ill start with the driver tubes and then the flanking tubes. I also skipped over the KT88's and went with Tung Sol KT120's. Should have them early next week and excited to experiment and compare. 
Add me to the list of "tubes before separates". I own the EVO300 and swapped all tubes: power is GL KT88s and preamp tubes are a combo of NOS Radiotechnique and NOS Telefunken. The upgrades to the tubes made a sizable difference, enough to satisfy my ears and not think about any other changes. 

There is a good thread here about integrated vs. separates and although many agree separates have benefits (less cross talk, interference, etc.), PL does build their integrated quite well, and my philosophy has been to look for improvements elsewhere. To my surprise, one of the biggest benefits to date has been a good linear PS for my DAC!

Happy trails!
I have a PrimaLuna Dialogue Integrated paired with the Aria 936s’s. I too found myself in the same mindset of upgrading within a year of the new system but never really considered separates. I chose to upgraded the system by adding two subs, high-end replacing all cables, power cords, and the power conditioner. All replacements purchased in the used market (except the subs). Most impressive and surprising was the SR Powercell 12 UEF power conditioner. It was my second addition to the system after SR power cord for the integrated amp and I was taken aback with the improvement! In fact, I was underwhelmed at first, though, after bout 15 -20 hours of listening, I was dumbfounded. It was remarkable! Without getting into a bunch of adjectives, I basically now have a different system as far as soundstage and clarity compared my original system less the upgrades.

Now if I ever replace my Primaluna, I doubt I’ll consider replacing cables, power cords, and conditioner.
There is a school of thought that, assuming you will included high-end cabling and power cords, separates require purchases additional sets of cables and power cords. Everyone’s budget is different but certainly, something to at least consider.

I too must echo that speaker placement is paramount.

Cheers and good luck with your journey!
Edit:  I forgot to mention that I rolled some tubes as well. 

Check this out. There isn't no "one size fits all"  for speaker placement but this guide gets my speaks in the zone for them to sound good. As always, YMMV

"Pulled the trigger on 6 12au7's,"
The 2 innermost tube are responsible for sonic changes as mentioned on the PL site. They are the gain tubes. Like many PL owners, I've played with all of them. I didn't experience anything with the others.
Re speaker set up, it’s really not possible to suggest a set up starting point as you have not really described your room, however tablejockey’s recommendation for the Cardas calculator is a good one as a starting point. Overall your end result will probably be optimum with your speakers further out into the room (mine are 5 1/2 feet) your listening chair well out from the back wall (mine are 4 feet) set up in a equilateral triangle or something close thereto (mine are 9 feet apart and my chair is 10 back from the plane of the speakers). The speaker are toed in substantially to reduce side wall reflections (but it seems you have plenty of space on the sides already). Another consideration is whether to put you speakers on a long wall or a short wall. I’ve always found the short wall better, but if you can, try both.

There, that you keep you busy. Getting your room right takes quite a bit of time. Although room treatments can be helpful, I would recommend that you get the fundamentals right before you start on ’treatment’. FWIW.
@tablejockey awesome thanks for the link. I'll do some reading. I followed the basic guidelines in the focal manual but I'm always open to trying different. 

And I've heard the PL input tubes make the "biggest" sonic impact. What I may do is start with the flanking tubes and let them burn in to see if I experience anything. I greatly appreciate the input. I think the experience is what I'm ultimately after and maybe not the major $$$ I was originally considering. 
This is a hobby and we do what we want or think is best to improve our listening enjoyment. I’d like to offer another route to consider.
I looked at your setup and you have a turntable. Is analog your main source of enjoyment? It’s certainly mine! I stream from my phone to a 1987 DAC. It sounds good but can’t touch my analog particularly if I’m listening to a killer pressing! It’s night and day! When I sit down for a serious listening session, my analog system takes me on a journey.
So may I suggest this: In an analog system, two of the most important components in the chain are at opposite ends of the system. The cartridge and the speakers. The cartridge turns mechanical energy into electronic energy; the speakers turn the electronic energy into mechanical energy. That’s probably an oversimplification but those two ends are a good place to start. But alas, the 936’s are already part of your system (I also own a set). You could put 20k worth of components in your system, but without a decent cartridge, you’ll never begin to reap their benefit.

I have the PrimaLuna Dialogue. Cost slightly less than your EVO. To put things into perspective- I have about 12k into my turntable, tone arm, cartridge, and phono preamp. The first time I played a killer pressing (white-hot stamper), I got teary-eyed. I couldn’t believe what my ears were hearing! And that’s before I upgraded all of my power cords, interconnects, and power conditioner.
Lastly, don’t underestimate a decent album cleaner. That’s another story. Couldn’t live without one. Night and day in most cases. I have a friend who is a picker and has an antique shop. He lets me go through his albums; I’ll take 30 or so and clean them before playing them. I’ll cherry-pick the ones I want to keep and return the rest. I kept about 15 of them. the criteria I use to decide is: 1. Does the music speak to me and would I want to listen to it again. 2. Condition of the album. Scratches, ticks, pops, etc 3. Quality of the pressing (sonic quality) Not often, but some albums I’ll keep just because they are killer pressings.

The third batch I got from him I figured I’d save some time and listen to a couple of tracks or even an entire side before cleaning it. Sadly, the first three albums went into the "return pile". Even though they were in perfect condition and were albums I would certainly want to listen to again, the sonic quality of the pressings was very poor. After placing the 4th album in the return pile, I figured I’d immediately clean it and give it another listening to see if it made any difference. Again, after cleaning it, I couldn’t believe what my ears were hearing! Night and day.
Sorry for the ramble.

I'm currently running a Clearaudio Concept Wood with Carbon Fiber Tonearm, Hana EH cartridge with Audioquest Big Sur interconnects (had Transparent Audio interconnects on lend, but honestly could not tell they a difference). Phonostage is a Musical Surrounds Nova III with the outboard Linear Power Supply. Evo400 power cable has been upgraded to an Audioquest NRG-4. 

I strictly listen to vinyl and keep the digital for in the car as digital is less involving for me and enjoy the human experience with records.