Which integrated amp for better musicality - Parasound Hint vs Primaluna vs ???

I've been having a blast looking up threads and doing some research but my dilemma is this - I want to get more enjoyment out of my music (don't we all). My Anthem and Oppo setup honestly sound great but I can't help but think that maybe I am missing out. I am thinking of upgrading some of my gear by either adding an integrated amp or separates. I'd love to hear some recommendations. Based on some reading, I am considering: 

1. Parasound Halo Integrated 6
2. Primaluna Dialogue Premium or Premium HP

My current setup is as follows: 

Oppo 105D
Anthem MRX 510 AVR
Ascend Acoustic Sierra RAAL Towers and Horizon Center

Any recommendations or thoughts would be greatly appreciated. 
I really don’t want to spend more than the Dialogue Premium HP which is about $4300

Parasound's Hint 6 is about $3,000 which leaves room to add a DAC if needed. So that's a consideration as well. 

I would recommend looking into a Lyngdorf 2170. Or if you like that tube magic, one of the Line Magnetic integrated amps. I have the LM 508ia, which is amazing, with 48 watts of SET power. I love this amp, but may end up replacing it with a Lyngdorf 3400, another great choice but a bit out of your price range. It just depends on the kind of sound you want.
Like d2girls said, Kinki EX-M1. That's around $2200 which leaves you a lot of leeway for options.

All the best,
Try the Rotel separates.  CD Player, Pre Amp and Amp will cost you $3,000. You would be very surprised how well they work with some speakers like B & W.  All Rotel products use DNM caps, made by Dennis Morecroft from DNM Audio. Some say his pre amp and amp are the best money can buy and he makes his own amps.
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The Prima Luna HP by far.  If you want bells and whistles, get the Parasound, if you want pure musical bliss, go with the Prima Luna. 
Without a doubt, the Primaluna.  What stereo5 said. Parasound integrateds get you in the "value trap". At a certain point, that's not what you want / need anymore.

I suppose it's not a surprise that the overall vote is the Primaluna! I really would like to try it out and having heard such good things about Kevin Deal's customer service, I don't think I risk much with the Primaluna. 

With my setup including the Dialogue HP, do I need an additional DAC? Theoretically, I guess my Oppo can do that work if I am playing my Apple TV and bluray/SACD media through an optical cable?
Another theoretical question... what if the choice were between the Primaluna Dialogue Premium HP and a McIntosh MA5300 or a Naim XS 2? I heard the Naim XS 2 today and it was fantastic. 
rogue cronus magnum ii plus about $400 for NOS small signal tubes , fuggetaboutit.  

It would be helpful to state the speakers you want to drive.
Regarding your first question; my choice would be the PL you referenced
Cant comment on the McIntosh MA5300 or a Naim XS 2. 

I was once considering the LM 508ia (currently 3 ea for sale on usaudiomart.com) but I think I am going to hold out for a Decware
 Zen Mystery Amp.  40W Class A Push/Pull with a huge power supply that uses voltage regulator tubes for line A/C filtering. Jupitor Caps, all hardwired, lifetime warranty

You may want to check out Decware if you haven't already

 I own the octave v70se intergrated amp. It sounds fantastic. Everybody (probably fifty people) who have heard it love it's sound. Great amp. Great company.
Prima Luna is tubes sounding Chinese dreck.
The Parasound is good value, particularly with a Transparent Audio or Shunyata AC cord.
If you can swing it, a Luxman 550AXII is musical and built!
@bradf thanks for the suggestions. I have Ascend Acoustics Sierra Towers and the Horizon Center (all with the RAAL ribbon tweeter). I haven’t heard of Decware before but will certainly check it out.

@avanti1960 @meadowman I’ll have to do some research on Rogue. Have you compared those to the Primaluna’s and the McIntosh’s?

@kearny @musicloversaudio so many great suggestions. I will have to do some research on both the Octave as well as the Luxman as I have not heard those but have heard the Primaluna, Parasound, and Naim. The more I think about it, the Parasound has more features than I need and I want to focus on what's important to me which is enjoyment from my music. 
I vote with Waltersayless. LM is musical!!
Have read very provocative statements about Lyndy
and the room correction equipment. Do more listening 
before buying. Enjoy the journey!!
I went to the Ascend Acoustics web site and found the specs. for the Sierra Towers.  Power wise, the PrimaLuna (both Premium and the Premium HP),Decware ZMA and LM 508ia are all good matches, with respect to the impedance curve, phase angle and speaker sensitivity. 

I also agree with waltersayless regarding the LM 805ia but I think its worthy to point out that the tubes used (805, 300B, 6SN7, and 6SL7) with this circuit can be limited and costly.  See watersayless AG discussion;  https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/line-magnetic-508ia-and-the-elusive-805-tube 



It turns out that the stock tubes--even the 805--were not that expensive. I bought a replacement pair of 805s for about $90 each. I know some owners have replaced the 805 with much more expensive tubes, but I find that the stock tubes sound great!

The other tube types--300B, 6SN7, and 6LS7--are plentiful and vary greatly in cost, depending on what you are willing to spend to try different flavors. The stock tubes are really not that expensive. You have lots of choices for other types of tubes in these circuits. Only the 805 has limited options, in my opinion.

In short, this is the best tube amp I have ever owned. I am considering selling it only because I am currently trying a Lyngdorf 3400 and I am benefiting from the room correction and convenience. I just wish it had that wonderful SET magic that the LM 508ia has in spades.

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Primaluna is extraordinary, I had the HP integrated and the Dialogue Premium integrated (4 power tubes) and love the smaller version. To me it is much more musical and the sound is just fabulous!
Of the choices in your OP my vote would be for the Primaluna.

However - 

I'd strongly advise you to check out the Rogue Cronus Magnum II. Great integrated, USA made, owner Mark O'Brien is always reachable by e-mail or (best) by phone and is extremely helpful. Think about how much help you might get with one of the Chinese brands from the manufacturer or one of the BS artist importers.

I've owned a CM I for about five years and am completely satisfied, maybe thrilled is a better descriptor. I swapped the single stock preamp tube for a Mullard and am pleased with the results, but it wasn't completely necessary to do that. Go for the Rogue, especially if you can use the 100 wpc.
@ waltersalas

Good to know that the LM tubes are $90.00. I question if a LM dealer would sell to the 2nd hand market?.  I guess I will have to ask.

I was looking at the moderately priced Psvane 805 @ $325.00 per pair
and the Psvane 300B (LM Stock) $405.00 $- 749.00 per pair as options. 


I believe you can order replacement tubes directly from Arizona HiFi, instead of having to go through Line Magnetic. It would be worth a visit to their website, or a phone call. It was a very simple process for me, and the owner is a very congenial and helpful fellow.

Yes, the Psvanes are a bit pricier, though some people have reported good results. There are several good options with the the 300B tubes. It just depends on how much you want to spend. Contact me via private message if you are interested in discussing different tubes I have tried, and associated pricing.

There's more than one previous thread where the relative merits of the Rogue and Prima Luna integrateds are debated.
I back up Waltersalas on the LM-508. 
Its a hell of an amp. 
Im from Argentina and I bought my LM508 from china directly because there's no Line Magnetic dealer here. 
Of course if you do that you wont get the support from USA dealers, but the chinese one aint bad at all. 
Everything I bought from that dealer went smooth and fine. He is an authorized dealer from Line Magnetic and a very proffesional one. 
Them I upgraded the tubes, the power cord and the fuse and WOW!!! 
Its just incredible... TONS of dinamics, detail, smooth SET sound, deep and wide soundstage and a bass you can feel inside of you... AMAZING. 
Just to mention, Ive heard an EL34 Prima Luna tube amp (I dont remember the model but it cost about 3500 bucks un the USA) and I was kind of dissapointed. At that time I had an EL34 chinese Yaqin tube amp and I dont think IMHO that the Prima Luna was better. 
The LM-508 is in a VERY different league, trust me. 
From China, with all the upgrades I mentioned above, it costed me about 3700 bucks. 
I hope it helps. 
I forgot to mention. 
I haven't heard the well knowned Naim Supernait 2 amp, but Tim Smith from wallofsound.com considers the Line Magnetic LM-518IA, a brother of the LM-508IA, to be better than the Naim. Tim raves about the 518.
I haven't heard the 518, but I've read in more than one place on Internet that the 508 is better, so it should be also better than the Naim. 

Have you ever had the bottom panel removed to view the circuit. Would like to know what type of coupling caps are used and if the same cap is used in the signal path. Also would like to know the capacitive value of the filter cap and if there is one or two power x-formers supplying the power (True mono block on one chassis?).

If your familiar with any of this info, would you please pass it along.  I have looked / researched and found too few answers combined with conflicting info.



No, I have never taken off the panel or viewed the circuit, though I think there may be photos online that may tell you what you want to know.

Sorry I can't be more helpful. Plga's appraisal of the LM 508's sound is on the money. 
Within your budget

Kiky EMX1 if you want lot of power 225W for 8ohm

Rogue Cronus Magnum II if you want tube 100W power

Lyngdorf 2170  if you want room correction and decent dac.

If you do not have separate dac,  Lyngdorf 2170 is a good try with digital out from Oppo


Micromega M-One M100 is another good choice.

One people reported that Micromega M100 have more power than Lyngdorf 2170 at audiogon forum thread.
Line Magnetic LM508
@waltersalas @plga some very convincing arguments for the LM508. @waltersalas are you selling yours? The only concern I have is the lack of ht bypass. I have a center channel that I like to run for movies and the like and I would like to be able to continue utilizing a 3.1 setup for those times. 

@bradf I am liking what I am hearing about the Decware. Sounds like only good things said about this one. 

This thread has been eye opening. I originally went in considering Primaluna as my tube choice but I'm seeing that there are other great options in that price range including Rogue Audio, Line Magnetic and Decware. 
@freesole I am reluctantly selling it. I bought a Lyngdorf 3400 and really love both of these units, but my room is a bit odd-shaped and benefits the room correction. It does not, however, have that SET magic that the Line Magnetic has.
There are a couple of Audio Research Integrated Amp options you may want to consider. Both are above your budget off the shelf new. but sell in the 4500.00 to 5000.00 range used.

I have not heard either of these integrated amps, but based on other AR equipment I have heard and reviews of both these I/amp's, I would be incline to find a nearby dealer and have a listen


The Rogue Pharaoh integrated would be a good choice. It is a hybrid tube pre with a class D output. (175 wpc.) Also has HT bypass. MM/MC phono stage and a pair of balanced inputs.
The Rogue Pharaoh integrated would be a good choice. It's a hybrid tube pre section with a class D output (175 wpc). Also has a MM/MC phono stage and a pair of balanced inputs.
Sorry about my double posts. Had some computer problems. Or maybe it was me.....:-)
I've owned the Halo Integrated, the Rogue CMII (stock tubes), and the Pharaoh. Both the Cronus and Halo are better amps by a good margin. I actually preferred the Sphinx V2 to the Pharaoh as it seemed to have more grunt despite the specs.

I'd check out Raven Audio's recently revised Nighthawk - the only tube integrated I'm aware of with a built-in, adjustable high pass filter for sub integration.

If you want a SS amp that can actually mimic some tube sonics (unlike the Rogue hybrids), consider the Yamaha A-S2100. 

This amp is very intriguing:
Intesting of your observations of the Rogue CMII and the Sphinx vs. the Pharaoh. I replaced the stock tubes in the Pharaoh with British Mullard NOS tubes. It went way above the sonics of the stock tubes. 

Also talked to guys at Rogue about the above comparison of Cronus Mag.II , Sphinx V2 vs. Pharaoh. They all preferred the Pharaoh. But then, what do they know? Right???

I also spoke to the guys at Rogue before purchasing a Pharaoh. My local dealer suggested the Cronus is the better amp and he was certainly correct. In my system, it was better in every regard: resolution, instrument separation, imaging, bass... you name it. I’m not talking small margins either. IMHO, it’s the CMII that should be their flagship integrated. I’m baffled as to why the Rogue rep I spoke to claimed to prefer the Pharaoh. He said it manages greater detail than the Cronus, but my experience was quite the opposite.

I tried one pair of NOS tubes in the Pharaoh and Sphinx - Brimar 4003s. Didn't make any notable improvement. Have you owned a full-tube integrated? They don't sound anything like the hybrids I've encountered.
Two extra options to consider:

1-I bought the AUDIO-GD Master 1 preamp (it should be a VERY good pre). I will have it in a couple of weeks, so then I will be able to tell how good is the Line Magnetic LM-508IA solely as a power amp. It should be a noticeable step up in quality... I hope! 

2-I have a contact from Argentina who is living in Australia and he is the owner of a Boutique Speaker brand, Hulgich Audio. He won the Better Sound Stand Price, awarded by stereonet.com in a Hifi Show in Australia. He told me he was competing against 500.000 dollar systems and his own was about 20.000 bucks. Besides his Ella Speakers, he usted two Nord Acoustics One UP NC500MB class D mono power amps and those cost about 1.000 US Dollars each, if you buy it directly to the factory. He really got me thinking.

By the way, the DAC he usted in that show was an Audio-gd with double Sabre 9038 chip. This brand, Audio-gd, is also another one to consider if you want solid state amplification. 
Then I would have to presume Rogue's integrated amps (hybrid or all tube) are very much system dependent. Therefore I could no more say you are wrong then you could about me. I made this recommendation to the OP in good faith. You undermined my opinion. Not the first time you did this to me. So I felt I had to respond. I stand by my opinion that the Pharaoh is still a good option albeit system dependent.
No worries all  - I appreciate hearing everyone's opinion and do not look at differing opinions as one usurping the other. Rogue sounds like they make some amazing product based on several threads that I have read including this one. 

I may have a chance to go to an authorized dealer to take a listen to both the Rogue and the Line Magnetics... definitely looking forward to it. 

Really? I undermined your opinion? My opinion is based on real experience with all three Rogue integrateds. Yours is based on a biased manufacturer's assertion.

The CMII is the far better amp. They don't even belong in the same conversation. You obviously have very little or zero experience with tube amps if you think tube rolling a Pharaoh gets it even remotely close to producing real tube sound. If you ever get a chance to hear a real tube amp you'll understand why. 
I had an opportunity to hear a couple systems with Primaluna.  For a tube integrated, I actually think they are pretty damn good sound quality.  Very good resolution for a tube amp, but I can definitely hear just a bit of the "tube amp sonic signature".  You would have to listen to some tube amps to know what I mean, but even then, the Primaluna is not that "colored" in the sound as other tube amps are.
The Parasound HALO Integrated is actually going to sound a lot warmer.  Yes, it will have more power and it will have great dynamics and slam, but will have very warm and rolled off highs (the high frequency resolution will not be nearly as good as the Primaluna).  The Parasound resolution can be fixed with a massive fuse overhaul (there are at least 4 fuses internally in addition to the main A/C fuse - recommend Hi-Fi Tuning Supreme for the main fuse and Furutech for all internal fuses).  Stock Parasound will actually sound a lot like the Marantz "warm" sonic signature.

The Anthem MRX 510 receiver is probably one of the highest resolution and fastest sounding receivers.  The Parasound Halo will be the complete opposite and may sound too warm/dry.
The Primaluna will probably be the closest sound to the Anthem.  It will have a little less "speed", but it will have very good resolution and "sing" much better than the Anthem.  Be aware that the Primaluna is a tube amp and will only have about 43 watts per channel (or 27 watts in triode mode).  The tubes will start to saturate at about half power and you'll get tube saturation/distortion.  So if you are out for seriously loud music with lots of bass, the Primaluna will likely fall down in this aspect.
The Parasound Halo will be able to slam out the loud bass a lot better, but it is warm/dry in comparison (unless you do fuse upgrade).  Even with fuse upgrade, the Parasound will likely not "sing" quite as good as the Primaluna.  Your RAAL tweeters are very fast responding and if you are listening with the Anthem MRX, you could be dissapointed with the Parasound (unless you do fuse upgrade).
@auxinput thank you for the very detailed response. You are right, the Anthem is sonically, surprisingly good. Clarity and resolution is great but I can't help but think that an integrated amp for music will bring that to another level. 

Other than Parasound, have you heard the Naim Supernait 2 or McIntosh MA5200/5300? Curious to hear your thoughts on those if you have heard them.