Primare

Mid range Multi format Blu-ray/CD/SACD players, DACs, Integrated, Stereo amps, Preamps, Phono stage & Home Theatre Processor & Amps out of Sweden
The Sound and Vision of Scandinavia
Nature favours better design. Wherever you look, the most successful designs are always the most efficient. By rejecting unnecessary features, they have evolved to become simpler but also more sophisticated.
Scandinavian design is like this: practical, unpretentious, beautifully efficient and powerfully satisfying in its simplicity. And when you own a home entertainment system from Primare, you’ll sense that we celebrate these values as well. Through Primare audio/video systems you’ll enjoy the benefits of cutting-edge technology and high performance without complexity, in a form that is easy to use and appreciate over many years.

In the mid 1980s, long before anyone had heard of 'lifestyle' design, the first Primare range of hi-fi components was launched. The now celebrated 900 Series and 200 series products symbolised a radical shift in the way music systems were perceived: they proved that great sounding hi-fi could also be rewarding to look at and easy to use. Overnight the rules of engagement had changed: Primare made hi-fi for living as well as for listening! Then an association with Xena Audio of Sweden, famous for its Copland and QLN brands, integrated the talents of Primare’s Bent Nielsen and Xena’s Lars Pedersen. Pedersen’s production experience and Nielsen’s unrivalled comprehension of the brand’s ethos combined to create a new commercial momentum for Primare, which would optimise its potential to enhance every living space with extraordinary looks and breathtaking sound. By the mid 1990s the true nature and appeal of Primare had been defined. Continuous Innovation and entrepreneurial dynamism gained Primare a reputation for excellence among consumers and designers alike.

When engineer Bjorn Holmqvist joined the team in the late 1990s, Primare was ready to be counted as one of the world’s most progressive and desirable high-end hi-fi companies. Since then successive generations of Primare products have enshrined the brand’s uncomplicated Scandinavian design ethos. Individually or combined within matching systems under the command of a single intuitive handset, they continue to prove that great hi-fi design can inspire lovers of fidelity and aesthetics in equal measure.

PHILOSOPHY
Technology should evolve to remove complexity, yet bundled with each new gadget are features we’ll never use, programming tasks we’d rather not think about and multi-functional controls that seem counter-intuitive. Primare’s answer is quintessentially Scandinavian: embrace the best technologies but simplify access to them. We try to understand the complicated stuff so that you can appreciate and enjoy the value of simplicity. We believe that real sophistication resides in the power of a functional, reliable design that looks and feels good and that performs really well. We incorporate the qualities that we think will bring you satisfaction over many years. Primare is a democracy of design: a close-knit team of experts seeks the most practical solutions required to deliver the Primare user experience.

A Primare Sound?
There is no ‘Primare sound’: Primare is in the service of audio and video fidelity. There is no specific design objective to create the ‘Primare sound’. The goal is to reduce noise and distortion in the signal path by using the best possible components, multiple internal power supplies, short signal transits, isolated display/control/processing/amplification circuits and by placing all gain control in one device. Primare's product is... Uncomplicated: it rejects gadgetry and complexity; it is easy to understand and use. Pure: promotes performance and reliability through innovative use of high quality materials. Evolutionary: it is guided by a practical, logical, common sense design approach. Designs are realised with the best technologies appropriate for the application. Beautiful: its appeal is of uncluttered elegance, which is easy to appreciate and integrate at home. Consistent and reliable: all Primare products are conceived and built according to a long-established design ethos.

UFPD - Leaner, Cleaner, Greener amplification
Primare’s new UFPD (Ultra Fast Power Device) amplifiers represent a new type of purified Class D/switch-mode design which delivers a natural dynamic quality of sound across the entire audible spectrum while retaining an amazing energy-saving efficiency. The original Class D modules worked well as compact bass amplifiers but proved to be inherently unstable when asked to do ‘hi-fi’ things like accurately reproduce a female voice or percussion instruments: distortion at 7kHz could be as much as one hundred times the level at 1kHz. UFPD has the ability to apply a constant loop gain across the entire audio band, treating all frequencies with the same level of care, and producing a response which is consistent regardless of load. This means that UFPD is able to drive any speaker, creating a vividly natural rhythmic sound while keeping power consumption at a fraction of that used by a traditional amplifier. With UFPD, Primare has inspired a new generation of smaller, more powerful hi-fidelity amplifiers, perfect for our environmentally conscious multi-channel age. Download the PDF for more information.

Modular design:
What if the only thing you ever trashed was built-in obsolescence?
The virtues that make Primare special can be yours to keep for as long as you like. In typical fashion, Primare is looking beyond the latest fad or next format war to secure for its owners long-lasting peace of mind and enduring satisfaction. Its new modular design approach means that you can continue to cherish Primare’s indomitable build quality and sophisticated Scandinavian aesthetic in the knowledge that its world-class performance will never be out of date. Our engineers have endowed the new designs with an open modular structure where upgradable video, DSP and communications boards simply locate and connect with our award-winning analogue architecture. Higher order video resolutions and connections, faster digital audio and even streaming will enhance rather than threaten the Primare design you love. More importantly still, you’ll know that the feature, once implemented, will have been optimised by Primare for state-of-the-art performance and reliability. Our choice of modular topology gives you the time to appreciate the reality that in a throw-away world, Primare’s quality really is timeless.

Featured

All Products

Reviews

Testimonials

Featured

PR 04 CD32
NZ$ 1,995.00 (incl. GST)
Original: NZ$ 4,295.00 (incl. GST) Saving: NZ$ 2,300.00 (incl. GST)
  Audiophile Topology    The CD32 Compact Disc player is housed in an alloy heavy gauge steel chassis, which  provides strength, rigidity, and screening, while being effective at...
Mechanism: Asatech 8210.B01-02, Sanyo SF-P101N D/A converter: 2x PCM1704, DF1706 (digital filter),...
CD32 CD player

All Products

DACs

PR 01 DAC30
NZ$ 3,995.00 ea (incl. GST)
Audiophile Topology The DAC30 is housed in an alloy heavy gauge steel chassis, which provides strength, rigidity, and screening, while being effective at damping vibrations from external sources....
• 24 / 192 kHz • Crystal DSD DAC CS4398 (BD32) • Fully balanced analogue output stage (BD32) •...
DACs

Music / Media Network players, Streamers & Servers

PR 02 NP NP30
NZ$ 4,295.00 ea (incl. GST)
German magazine i-fidelity.net loves the NP30! winner of Top-Design award "With the NP30 Primare delivers an ultra-modern D/A converter, which can do more than most competitors. It also plays music...
Audio formats:  WAV, AIFF, FLAC, MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, ALAC Sample rates:  32-192kHz WLAN b...
Expanded review: With digital amplifiers, it is now increasingly common to receive music via...

CD / SACD / Blu-ray & Multi-Format Players

PR 03 CD22
NZ$ 2,195.01 ea (incl. GST)
Audiophile Topology The CD22 Compact Disc player is housed in an alloy heavy gauge steel chassis, which provides strength, rigidity, and screening, while being effective at damping vibrations...
PR 04 CD32
SOLD
NZ$ 1,995.00 ea (incl. GST)
Original: NZ$ 4,295.00 (incl. GST) Saving: NZ$ 2,300.00 (incl. GST)
  Audiophile Topology    The CD32 Compact Disc player is housed in an alloy heavy gauge steel chassis, which  provides strength, rigidity, and screening, while being effective at...
Mechanism: Asatech 8210.B01-02, Sanyo SF-P101N D/A converter: 2x PCM1704, DF1706 (digital filter),...
CD32 CD player
PR 05 BRP BD32
NZ$ 6,795.01 ea (incl. GST)
Audiphile Topology: Audio
High performance multi-format/multi-channel player Blu-ray, DVD, CD, SACD, DVD-A and media ...
Before you read any further, check the price of the Primare BD32 .

Phono Stages

PR 06 PS R32
NZ$ 1,795.00 ea (incl. GST)
If you cherish your vinyl and want to hear the most from it, the R32 MM-MC amplifier provides the ideal interface between the low-level output of a cartridge and the line-level inputs of your hi-fi...
Audiophile Dual-Mono Circuit Design Aluminium chassis R-core transformer Gold Plated Connectors,...
Having to spend extra for a separate phono stage because your amp didn’t come with one as standard...
Phono Stages

Preamplifiers & Line-stages

PR 07 PA PRE32
NZ$ 3,495.00 ea (incl. GST)
The PRE32 is an upgradable audiophile pre-amplifier designed to match the Primare A34.2 and all Primare power amplifiers. It features the comprehensive OLED display and control parameters...
Analogue Inputs 2 pair XLR (L & R) 4 pair RCA (L & R) Other In/outputs RS232, IR in/out,...
PR 07 PA PRE32MM
NZ$ 6,295.00 ea (incl. GST)
The PRE32 is an upgradable audiophile pre-amplifier designed to match the Primare A34.2 and all Primare power amplifiers. It features the comprehensive OLED display and control parameters...
Preamp Features:Analogue Inputs 2 pair XLR (L & R) 4 pair RCA (L & R) Other In/outputs...

Integrated amplifiers

PR 08 IA I22
NZ$ 2,195.01 ea (incl. GST)
The I22 is a two x 80 watt integrated amplifier utilising our acclaimed proprietary UFPD power technology. It is designed to provide high power output with very low distortion and system control....
Output Power 2x 80W at 8Ω, 2x 160W at 4Ω Analogue Inputs 4 pair RCA (L & R) Optional DAC Board...
Integrated amplifiers
PR 08 IA I22DAC
NZ$ 2,995.00 ea (incl. GST)
The I22 is a two x 80 watt integrated amplifier utilising our acclaimed proprietary UFPD power technology. It is designed to provide high power output with very low distortion and system control....
Output Power 2x 80W at 8Ω, 2x 160W at 4Ω Analogue Inputs 4 pair RCA (L & R) Optional DAC Board...
Integrated amplifiers
PR 10 IA I32
NZ$ 4,295.00 ea (incl. GST)
The I32 is an upgradable two x 120 watt integrated amplifier utilising proprietary UFPD power technology. It is designed to provide high power output with very low distortion and system control for...
Output Power: 2x 120W at 8Ω 2x 230W at 4Ω  Analogue Inputs: 2 pair XLR (L & R) 3 pair RCA...
I anticipated the arrival of Primare’s I32 with a bit of fever. It represents the currently most...
Integrated amplifiers
PR 10 IA I32MM30
NZ$ 6,695.00 ea (incl. GST)
It is designed to provide high power output with very low distortion and system control for Primare’s new 30 series range of hi-fi separates. UFPD’s instantaneous rise time results in a naturally...
Output Power: 2x 120W at 8Ω 2x 230W at 4Ω  Analogue Inputs: 2 pair XLR (L & R) 3 pair RCA...
Expeanded review:
Integrated amplifiers

Power amplifiers (Stereo & Mono)

PR 12 AMP A34
NZ$ 3,595.00 ea (incl. GST)
The A34.2 is a 2x 150 watt stereo power amplifier utilising proprietary UFPD technology. It is designed to provide high power output with very low distortion for Primare’s PRE32 audiophile...
Stereo: Output power 2 x 150W / 8 ohm THD+N <0.1% Inputs 2x RCA / 2x XLR switchable, RS232,...
PR 13 AMP A32
NZ$ 6,495.00 ea (incl. GST)
With the mighty A32, Primare has set foot on truly esoteric ground. This is a massive fully balanced design capable of controlling the most demanding low-sensitivity speakers - even at the very...
High Current Dual Mono Fully Balanced Power Amplifier. 2000VA toroidal transformer. A total of 180...

Home Theatre amplifiers & receivers

PR 15 AMP 307
NZ$ 4,995.00 ea (incl. GST)
The A30.7 is a seven-channel 7 x 150 watt  power amplifier utilising proprietary UFPD technology (please see technologies). It is designed to provide high power output with very low distortion...
Output power: 7x 150W / 8 ohm all channels driven    Signal to Noise:  20-20kHz...

Surround Sound Processors

PR 16 AVR SPA23
NZ$ 6,794.99 ea (incl. GST)
Is this the world’s greatest and greenest A/V integrated amplifier? The new SPA23 combines the advanced control flexibility and upgradable topology of the SP32 with five discrete channels of super-...
Modular design architecture 1080p/1080/24 HDMI Switching. Component / Composite / S-Video  HD...
PR 20 SSP SP33
NZ$ 7,995.00 ea (incl. GST)
Combining amazing operational versatility and elite audiophile design with the power to incorporate future technologies, the SP33, like its cool, confident styling, will always be in vogue. It’s the...
Modular Architecture. Multi Channel PCM Compatible Dolby® Digital, Prologic IIX, EX 7.1, dts®, dts-...

Remote Controls

Reviews

Technically and sonically brilliant. Elegant high quality housing. The Primare R32 is clearly a "Best Buy" for its price tag.
THOMAS SCHMIDT - LP Germany magazine
Well Prepared
The Primare R32 preamplifier is a properly mature device: the design of restraine elegance with well-ordered material strength makes it right – especially given the price tag. 
975 Euro is exactly what is called for in the R32 – just slightly below the psychologically important 1,000 Euro mark. That, I think, is a very positive characteristic from a manufacturer of high quality hi-fi equipment. From the outside, the phono preamplifier fits exactly with other Primare 32 series products–but will also cut a fine figure in every hi-fi rack. Three solid feet ensure a wobble-free and above all quiet base – the powerful, matt brushed front panel carries just the engraved company logo (it looks very nice by the way) and an LED which provides information about the operating status. 
 
Despite its Danish roots, Primare is a Swedish company – obviously, a country where high-quality hi-fi does well. The R32 builds on Primare’s twenty-five year history of development. It has a clear relationship to the R20 predecessor, which was produced in the midi-sized format. 
 
Unscrew the cover (which is a few millimeters thick) and you’ll see lots of interior space and very little phono amplifier - clearly even more minimalist in phono pre-amp design. There are two amplifying stages and RIAA equalization, plus a MC amplifying stage and that's about it. The electronics are divided into three "sites" that are cleanly separated and shielded. The actual phono board is located at the rear of the power transformer. The power supply board is a good 20 inches away from the other components. The parts quality is very good and the dual mono design potentially makes for a very clean performance. Our measurements in the lab showed the usefulness of the large housing: hum is not an issue in the Primare R32 – other phono amplifiers have to fight it a little more. The gain is a good 40 decibels in the MM operation (internally, you can switch to 46 decibels). There is a 62 dB gain available for MC signals and that is enough for the most current pickups. The values for the impedance matching at the two step switchers (one per channel) are constructed accordingly: the input can be adjusted between 10 ohms and 47 kohms, where the values of MC are indeed graduated finely enough. For me, the 1000-ohm setting is still missing, but that is a matter of taste. In the listening test, I found the very fine gradation useful for one or other exotic pickups, and can confirm that the very good measurement values in the product specifications are accurate and conservative. I found during our tests that performance exceeded these values on occasions. 
 
The Primare R32 is a device that sees itself as a noble all-rounder rather than as a specialist for a single area. Performance was clear and consistent across the spectrum – the upper edge of the audible spectrum was very open and airy, and in the presence area where the human ear is most sensitive, the R32 was always accurate, according to what comes out of the pickup. The sometimes oddly arranged chorus of Jennifer Warnes’ version of “A Singer Must Die“ from her “Famous Blue Raincoat” tribute to Leonard Cohen, is perfectly audible and despite the very dynamic recording still remains beautifully controlled – I've heard it quite differently. The subsequent piece “I Came So Far For Beauty“, shows how wonderfully the Primare can handle voices: the poignant and wistful piece is portrayed in all its depth and, in an emotionally poignant way, communicates the wonderful voice of the singer. It goes just as well for male voices: Eric Anderson’s latest disc “The Cologne Concert“, from Meyer Records demonstrates the full expressive power of the old master, who, accompanied sparingly, reprises his decades of work for a live audience. 
 
Deep Purple’s masterpiece “Machine Head” was recorded exactly 40 years ago but is still vigorous. The Primare R32 renders this milestone of classic hard rock, which has a great sound quality, in a punchy and open way. It’s fresh and open in the highs while properly communicating the pulsating pressure from the drums and bass in the deeper layers. Guitar and organ swap between virtuoso solo and accompaniment, while Ian Gillan’s unique voice is fully opened – all display their impressive bandwidth. 
 
Change of scenery: 
 
A visit to the green hill in Bayreuth. The R32 can differentiate the large orchestra and chorus so finely that one can very precisely follow individual voices. Yet - and this is extremely important - the organic interplay remains fully intact. The body of sound remains such that the individual voices, overlapping in shifts of tonal colour, form an expressive background for the solo singer. The balance between throat and body is absolutely right, and the localisation succeeds wonderfully. What’s really impressive is that the enormous breadth and depth of the rchestra’s sound, combined with the unique acoustics of the festival hall, are reproduced with an almost lifelike quality. If such a thing is possible in a device, then my conclusion of the R32 is that everything is right! 
 
The bottom line … 
 
Technically and sonically brilliant. Elegant high quality housing. The Primare R32 is clearly a "Best Buy" for its price tag.
 
Teammates 
Turnables: VPI Classic 3 - The Funk Firm Vector III - Rui Borges Uno 
Pick-ups: Benz ACE SL - Nagaoka MP-500 - Denon DL103R - Phase Tech P-3G 
Amplifiers: Malvalve Preamp Three Line and Power Amp Three - SAC Preamp + Igel WLM Sonata 
Speakers: Sonics Allegria - K+TTitania
Accessories: Bases fromThixar and Accurion - Power cord from HMS and PS Audio 
Phono cable from Nordost and Furutech - Interconnect cable from van den Hul
 
Adversaries
Phono Preamplifiers: Trichord Dino MKII - Quad 24P Phono - MalValve Preamp Three Phono Modified PS Audio GCPH
 
Measured
Test comment 
Very well balanced frequency response with wide bandwidth. Good channel equality. The manufacturer's specifications are exceeded by the measured -77.3 dB (A) for MM and -66.3 dB (A) for MC. The values for the channel separation are only slightly lower. The distortion is negligible at 0.01% (MM) and 0.09% (MC). The Primare is frugal with power consumption: It allows approximately 10 watts from the outlet.
Possibly the ultimate universal disc player – and more, says Andrew Everard
Andrew Everard

The BD32 is by no means a mass-market product, and I expect relatively small numbers of this unit will be sold to high-end audio/video enthusiasts willing to invest in the rest of the system required to justify buying so accomplished a player. But that shouldn’t detract from what is a remarkable effort by the Primare team in creating one of the very best disc players on the market.

Before you read any further, check the price of the Primare BD32 . Yes, that is £3250, (NZ$6,495 incl GST) and now you’re probably experiencing the kind of feeling I had when the initial press release hit my email inbox.
 
After all – as many will tell you – everything from streamed music to films or concerts on Blu-ray is all about ones and zeros, and thus any piece of equipment designed with any degree of competence will play the material to the same standard.
 
Yet having seen the information on the Primare, I was more than a little fascinated. After all, it will play just about any disc, from Blu-ray to DVD to SA-CD to CD, and will also play music from external hard drives or – via built-in Ethernet – from a home computer or network-attached storage device. But then so will many players selling for a tenth of its price. Or less.
 
Of course, we’re all aware of how the law of diminishing returns works in consumer electronics, in that you have to spend ever greater amounts to achieve smaller gains in performance: it’s (relatively) easy to get the first 80 per cent of the performance right, but each percentage point thereafter is hard-won.
 
That’s what you’re (hopefully) paying for in the Primare: a no-compromise player able to handle a wide range of media and formats, and play them to the highest possible standards.
 
To that end, the Swedish manufacturer takes the basic building blocks of a universal disc player with streaming capability, in this case Oppo’s BD-93, and around them designs an audiophile-quality audio player as well as a highly accomplished home cinema machine.
 
For that reason, this review will concentrate on the BD32’s audio performance – take it as read that the Primare is a fine performer when hooked up via HDMI to a suitable AV receiver, and capable of smooth, stable 3D performance, as well as playing standard Blu-ray discs and DVD-Video titles extremely well.
 
However, the meat on the bones here is the work Primare has done on the audio performance of the player, the use of 
custom-engineered power supplies (for video and audio), and the addition of a better user interface and enhanced control and input options to suit the enthusiast.
 
The audio section here is able to decode all audio formats without an intermediate conversion stage, including Dolby True HD, DTS Master HD and – most significantly – the DSD format at the heart of Super Audio CD.
 
Stereo output uses Crystal’s top-end CS4398 DSD digital to analogue conversion, with separate circuitry for the balanced stereo output on XLRs and the conventional single-ended phono outputs, plus a dedicated relay-controlled filter path for DSD.
 
A standalone multichannel output stage is used to feed the 7.1-channel analogue outputs, using a Crystal CS4382A DSD DAC chipset, and both stereo and multichannel sections use Burr-Brown op-amps, audiophile quality capacitors and resistors, local voltage regulation and relay-controlled muting – all for the lowest noise and the best sound.
 
The BD32 has two main power supply sections: one for operational power, the other for standby, the latter switching off when the player is being used. The main PSU uses an entirely linear design, with separate windings on the main transformer feeding the analogue and digital power supply circuits mounted on opposite sides of the player. The entire chassis of the player is used to disperse the heat generated by the power supplies.
 
PERFORMANCE
It’s a chunky piece of equipment, the BD32, built in cool metal in that very Scandinavian, very Primare fashion. And while it’s neither huge nor especially heavy, it feels both reassuringly solid when unboxed and nicely planted – on its three feet – when installed.
 
And where it counts – on sound quality – the Primare has everything going for it, whether one plays concert or opera Blu-ray discs with DTS-HD or Dolby HD soundtracks, one of the growing range of audio-only Blu-ray discs, SA-CD titles or even CDs.
 
This is a player capable of thunderous bass weight allied to as much agility and low-end speed as anyone could ever want, a treble fully able to make the most of the extended frequency range available on higher-resolution discs without ever becoming hard or strained, and the most appealing midband, combining expression and openness with a beautifully natural flow.
 
Put simply, this is a multiformat player more than capable of holding its own against the very best dedicated SA-CD and CD hardware, and requiring no allowances to be made for the wide range of material it can handle.
 
That’s as true when playing music from an external drive, or streaming from a network: the Primare is dependent on the quality of the files it’s playing, and thrives on higher-resolution FLAC or WAV, but it’s not too hard on low-bitrate MP3s.
 
If you’re just going to use it connected to an AV receiver via an HDMI cable, then on to a display using the receiver’s monitor output, you could just be wasting your money on the BD32: to make the most of this player, you have to use its onboard decoding, digital-to-analogue conversion and analogue output stages, into a stereo amplifier of very high quality, or AV amplification with multichannel analogue inputs.
 
For most of this review I used my old, but still excellent TAG McLaren Audio AV32Rbp-192 processor, which has analogue bypass inputs, and the TMA 100x5R:10 power amplifier. By dint of its age it’s now a 100X5R:9, but still sounds wonderful with so accomplished a source.
 
The BD32 is by no means a mass-market product, and I expect relatively small numbers of this unit will be sold to high-end audio/video enthusiasts willing to invest in the rest of the system required to justify buying so accomplished a player. But that shouldn’t detract from what is a remarkable effort by the Primare team in creating one of the very best disc players on the market.
 
Design Notes: Lars Pedersen – Managing Director, Primare
Lars Pedersen has run Primare since 1996, when he took over the company and moved it to Sweden. He’s still heavily involved in the design of all of its products, and can trace his earliest musical influences back to traditional music at school when he was learning to dance at the age of 6..
 
Then came pop music on the radio, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, while one of his most memorable musical experiences was Jimi Hendrix at the Tivoli concert hall in Copenhagen. When asked about his favourite classical music and composers, the answer is unequivocal – ‘Mahler 2’.
 
Classical music plays a major part in the tuning and design of the company’s products – ‘Bruckner Symphony No. 9 from Skrowaczewski and the Minnesota Orchestra and Varujan Kojian and the Utah SO’s recording of Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique spring to mind’ –though Pedersen says team design means everything from jazz to hard rock is used.
 
He enjoys the experience of music on Blu-ray, saying that ‘today’s multichannel can liberate the space and acoustic of a live recording like no other source.’
 
But stereo quality is vital to products such as the BD32: ‘It’s a Primare universal player not just because it can play all discs, but because we think it plays them at a universally refined level.’
....the Swede impressed with its dynamics. From micro dynamic finesse which teased out fine nuances of the flute squadron to macro dynamic jumps with the kettle drum interlude, the Primare had push and shove to spare.
Martin Mertens

......Here I first noticed the hall. Particularly impressive was how even during very subliminal passages this venue ambiance was audible – and how the entire orchestra seemed at the ready gathering momentum to pounce. The Primare excelled at conveying both this spaciousness and tension by resolving the very subliminal noises which cue our ear/brain into these attributes.

The spatial perspective was quite classy....the Primare maintained greater distance.

I anticipated the arrival of Primare’s I32 with a bit of fever. It represents the currently most modern amplification type available, i.e. an analog switching amplifier with switch-mode power supply. Class D and SMPS per se weren’t new to me. The combination was. I’d previously hosted Onkyo’s €399 integrated class D challenger called A-9366. But that ran a conventional power supply. Chord’s €5.400 CPM 2650 Integra had been a linear class A/B design with SMPS. Both amps left a lasting impression. Now I was curious what an amp with switching output stage and switching PSU would bring to the table. At ca €2.500 it even occupied the golden middle between the former two.
 
Another reason for my curiosity was being a conceptual antichrist to my cherished Jadis Orchestra. That runs a conventional power supply and a maximally minimized class A/B push/pull valve amplification stage. True, a SET like Mastersound’s 300B SE would have been more polarized yet. Still, I looked forward to this clash of two opposing amplifier approaches. the Jadis is admittedly a bit more expensive. 
 
Already externally the Primare is quite the antithesis. The exposed transformers, valves and capacitors of the Jadis are terribly retro, the chromed chassis with acrylic front and lacquered cheeks plus chromed controls are luxurious but on fit ‘n’ finish more … er,  artisanally charming as likely enforced by French manufacture and chosen sell price.
 
Not the Swede. Its sheet-metal steel, matte Titanium-anodized aluminium front (or black), perfectly contoured knobs, expertly shaped and recessed display with a few additional controls exude such perfection that one reflexively assumes a higher price class.
 
The main controls seem turned from solid stock and run on ball bearings. While the luxurious optics somewhat overshadow the tactile inspection—the controls could turn a bit more stately—the Primare seems to come from an altogether different world than the Jadis though the fat ‘Designed in Sweden’ in the back indicates that whilst being engineered in Sweden, final fabrication does happen offshore.
 
On features too the Primare trashed the Jadis. Two symmetrical inputs belong on pricier turf. Those are joined by three RCA inputs and one fixed and variable output each. Creature comforts come by way of infrared remote, trigger and RS232 ports which can synchronize operation with for example Primare’s CD32. Then there are digital conveniences like input naming and gain trim/balance per input. Those are doubly appreciated and extra slick because they’re accessible both from the remote and front panel. There’s also dimming or full off for the display which in standard mode confirms the active source and volume strength, in menu mode various adjustment options.    
 
A optional Media Module will fit into the empty rear slot to add digital inputs and expand functionality to a streaming client which can accept digital data from a network, NAS or Internet radio source. But that’s still future tunes. My I32 loaner was thus fed from my Logitech Transporter or my vinyl front end of Thorens TD-160HD, Benz Micro Gold cart and Lehmann Black Cube II SE phono pre. Speakers of choice were my customary Geithain ME150.
 
Before I get to sonic impressions, a quickie detour into EU compliance. The much discussed 1275/2008 regulation "Ökodesign Anforderungen an den Stromverbrauch elektrischer und elektronischer Haushalts- und Bürogeräte im Bereitschafts- und im Aus-Zustand" will no later than 2014 make life tough for hifi kit that’s tweaked for top sound without regard for current energy consumption trends.
 
Discussions about the actual merit of said regulatory missive are legion, particularly so regarding the vanishingly low percentage which hifi usage contributes to the EU’s total energy consumption. How entities and industries of truly flagrant abuse and disregard are protected by exemptions could be cause for civil disobedience. The Primare I32 meanwhile anticipates this future with a standby power draw of 0.2 watts. This machine also won’t encounter aggravation from the low-voltage mandate of 2006/95/EG which controls "die Angleichung der Rechtsvorschriften der Mitgliedstaaten betreffend elektrische Betriebsmittel zur Verwendung innerhalb bestimmter Spannungsgrenzen".
 
Primare’s speaker terminals are so well insulated that humans and pets are perfectly protected from harm -  "Menschen und Nutztiere angemessen vor den Gefahren einer Verletzung oder anderen Schäden geschützt sind, die durch direkte oder indirekte Berührung verursacht werden können". Here’s to hoping that the brain trust in Brussels won’t outlaw the use of speaker cables on the grounds of safety altogether. End of sermon.
 
On to the auditions.

During my first get-to-know-you session I found myself surprisingly stuck on left-wing stuff, be it ethno fare from Marie Boine, prepared piano by Herbert Henk or Stockhausen’s Mantra. If I can enjoy such fare it’s mostly a sign that a component under assessment contributes novel insights into the material which I previously missed.

 
To apply medias res, I then turned to classics. Liszt’s Preludes with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir George Solti quickly determined that grand orchestral forces are a special fondness of the Primare. Here I first noticed the hall. Particularly impressive was how even during very subliminal passages this venue ambiance was audible – and how the entire orchestra seemed at the ready gathering momentum to pounce. The Primare excelled at conveying both this spaciousness and tension by resolving the very subliminal noises which cue our ear/brain into these attributes.
 
I also enjoyed the playfulness and drive the machine applied to such material. My favorite movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is neither the fourth act, the Presto nor the "Ode to Joy" warhorse but the second, the ‘Molto Vivace’ [Karajan and Berlin]. I love the massive voltage swings of the nearly Baroque leit motif which in variations through various instrumental constellations escalates to multiple crescendos with intermittent moments of retardation and repose. The mounting energy is re-channeled to form anew before it once again gushes onto the scene. Here the Swede impressed with its dynamics. From microdynamic finesse which teased out fine nuances of the flute squadron to macrodynamic jumps with the kettle drum interlude, the Primare had push and shove to spare. 
 
Without deliberation I saw the scene of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange where Alex lies in bed facing a wall of speakers whilst listening to this movement. Incidentally the I32 is one of the few amplifiers where I strongly recommend the XLR inputs. This increases musical freshness over the RCAs.
 
The spatial perspective was quite classy. My Geithains tend to foreshorten it by nearly depositing the listener between the performers. The Primare maintained greater distance. Its orchestra began behind the speaker-to-speaker line and extended well beyond the boxes’ outsides. This made for a compelling concert hall illusion including lacking the razor-sharp localization focus other amplifiers contribute. I never encounter that during live performances to find it artificial and unrealistic. Put differently, the I32 suited my personal taste.
 
After classical seriousness it was time to roll up the sleeves. With Fat Freddy’s Drop I attempted to mine the Primare’s talents at depth only to come up slightly short. The infrasonic synth touches seemed rather shy. Extension was in order but heft was lighter than usual. The fat pressurization which usually floods my room reduced to neighbourly friendliness. Thumbs up for speed and control, a minus for lack of meat appeal. Ditto the synth bass orgies on various Madonna albums. Particularly on American Life—for example the quick brief volleys on "Die Another Day"—the amp’s good control shone while the attacks missed heft. Acoustic basses fared likewise. This was less apparent on material which places their upright in the background. In general the lower registers were a good match for the quick and overall lean voicing of this Scandinavian amp. 
 
Vis-à-vis my Jadis valves the highs were rather fresh – I believe my American colleagues call this crisp. This didn’t default from a neutral balance but when in doubt seemed on the more lit-up side. In general this instilled an admirable freshness I enjoyed but recorded flaws also were laid bare rather than obscured. Take the brushed cymbals on Chihiro Yamanaka’s Abyss which produce a glorious flicker above the energetic piano game of the Japanese. This was very appealing. With hissy sibilant voices the I32 showed less tact but that wasn’t its fault. It simply passed on what’s recorded to leave it to me to blame the performer or mastering engineer. My personal yard stick is Patricia Barber’s Modern Cool which the Primare moved to the edge of tolerance. But that’s less criticism than observation.
 
Remaining on jazzy ground for a bit longer, it’s rare to come across an amp in this price range which screws up tonal balance and the Primare hit all the right notes to seem neither too energetic nor dull. On nits it was about nuances that are harder to identify clearly. I did miss some of the more intimate moments which the Jadis offers with for example’s e.s.t.’s furious Live in Hamburg concert. The insistence of the prematurely passed Esbjörn Svensson’s piano play didn’t telegraph alike. Despite all its other talents the costlier Jadis bested the Primate on midband expressivity. The I32 isn’t really tonally recessed. Clearly its frequency response exhibits no wild squigglies. What was up? Further A/Bs with the Jadis put me on the right trail.
 
The Jadis retrieved more detail and microdynamic fluctuations in the critical vocal range. I noticed this predominantly with voices and particularly with those on vinyl. On Bettye LaVette’s Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook, the Jadis conveyed more information about how her pronunciation involves breath, vocal chords, lips, tongue and throat. The Primare simplified these elements. It didn’t manage to tease them out into individual parts. Digitally sourced voices followed suit. Lucinda Williams’ smoky pipes [World without Tears] were plainly more persuasive with valves. Granted I was shamefully pleased to have found something about the Primare to criticize. 
 
Conclusion. 
 
On technology Primare’s I32 is the height of tech. On features and trim there’s absolutely nothing to fault particularly when price enters the picture. On power efficiency and standby consumption one feels squarely future-proofed. I would recommend this machine to devotees of massive classical fare where its realistic roominess, dynamic verve and control over complexity shine. With Rock and Pop the Primare too is in its element if the speakers aren’t tuned too lean down low..... 
 
Psych profile 
•The bass is lean and quick rather than massive, reaches deep and never wants for control.
•The mids continue seamlessly and any kind of music sounds fast and dynamic. Here the machine pulls no favorites. In direct comparison to amps with superior midband resolution one realizes how more remains possible.
•The treble is crisp to contribute to the amp’s signature of being agile and open. Not hyper present the highs aren’t recessed either and mostly just right.
•The dimensional perspective is flawless, realistically sorted and comfortably distanced. Localization focus is believable, i.e. neither artificially sharp nor diffuse.
 
Facts: 
•Concept: Class D integrated with SMPS
•Dimensions and weight: 430 x 420 x 10 6mm (WxHxD), 11kg
•Trim: Titanium or black
•I/o ports: 3 RCA in, 2 XLR in, fixed and variable RCA out, speaker terminals
•Other: Remote control, dimmable display, option slot for digital expansion card
•Power consumption: 31 watts at idle, 0.2 watts in standby
The Primare digs deeply into the minutiae of recordings, highlighting for example the artificially created acoustic halo around Tori Amos’ voice

This Primare sounded tight and grippy along with a highly explicit treble that made the percussion of Brand X’s Morris Pert and Chuck Burgi (‘The Ghost Of Mayfield Lodge’ from 1978’s Masques album – Charisma VJCP-68785) sound uncannily real, the ringing of cymbals struck by wooden sticks entirely palpable. And the bass was impressive: extended, powerful and highly descriptive.

Sweden’s Primare company is renowned for its chic ‘designer’ components with immaculate alloy fascias and classy stainless steel controls. This I32 integrated is more than just a makeover of an existing design, however, as it employs the latest generation of Class D switching modules introduced in Primare’s multichannel AV amps in 2008 – dubbed ‘Ultra Fast Power Device’.
 
The I32’s preamplifier section has a dedicated power supply and is isolated as far as possible from the two UFPD modules. As high efficiency is a given with Class D designs, here is an eco-friendly amp you needn’t feel guilty about leaving in standby, as it draws just 0.2W. Power consumption is only 24W when fully switched on.
 
Also new for the I32 is an organic electro-luminescent (OEL) function/status display that is simply gorgeous. It’s dimmable/defeatable. Moreover, each of the inputs can be named and individually trimmed for both level and balance via a simple menu system. At the rear is a blanking plate for a forthcoming media input module that will give the I32 an on-board DAC, with S/PDIF, Ethernet, USB and iPod connectivity.
 
PRISTINE CLARITY
 
Sounding crisp and squeaky-clean, the I32 delivered startling clarity that was captivating. Forget any preconceptions about Class D switching amps having impressive bass delivery but offering grainy high frequencies.
   
This Primare sounded tight and grippy along with a highly explicit treble that made the percussion of Brand X’s Morris Pert and Chuck Burgi (‘The Ghost Of Mayfield Lodge’ from 1978’s Masques album – Charisma VJCP-68785) sound uncannily real, the ringing of cymbals struck by wooden sticks entirely palpable. And the bass was impressive: extended, powerful and highly descriptive.
 
The Primare digs deeply into the minutiae of recordings, highlighting for example the artificially created acoustic halo around Tori Amos’ voice in ‘Cornflake Girl’ [East West, 7567-85688-2]. There was no softening of the piano here, yet neither was the edgy sound of the dense production uncomfortable. The sound was open, the pristine clarity allowing one to hear individual layers of the recording.
 
The brightly-lit recording of James Brown’s ‘Give It Up Or Turn It A-Loose’ from his 1970 album for King Records, It’s A New Day – Let A Man Come In [Japanese re-master on Polydor, POCP-1856] was full of space and atmosphere too. The Primare I32 seemed to tighten the rather boxy bass, allowing the notes to be pitched more clearly, where a cheaper amplifier might tend to honk a one-note bass line.
 
An audiophile recording of Liszt’s First Piano Concerto with soloist Todd Crow, recorded in the mid- 1990s in a 500-seat theatre [First Impressions Music FIMCD 006, a compilation disc], was spectacular in its three-dimensionality and explosive dynamic swings, and the space of the recording venue was clearly resolved.
 
VERDICT
 
Allowing microscopic analysis of the recording engineer’s art, Primare’s I32 is a fine example of modern industrial design that looks a million dollars. And its variable-brightness OEL display is simply gorgeous, as is the ability to name and configure its inputs. Moreover, with the optional ‘media module’ plug-in board it is tantalising indeed.
With its new approach to Class D amplification and a new CD player, Primare's new duo is a force to be reckoned with
Richard Black
■Smart and slick
■Balanced output
■Selectable upsampling
■Gorgeous sound full of detail
■Precise timing
■Effortless musicality

Our first impression is of exceptionally assured sound, with heaps of detail, beautifully neutral tonal balance and really gorgeous, tactile solidity. Close your eyes and you're convinced that with just a couple of steps towards the speakers you'll be in danger of impaling yourself on the end of a cello spike or copping a drumstick on the nose.Images are simply superb, immaculately spread out in all directions and utterly stable, fully vindicating the 80-year-old confidence trick that is stereo.

Timing? Like an atomic clock. The CD player's upsampling options make very little difference: we slightly preferred 96kHz, but not by much. Perhaps, just perhaps, we slightly preferred the unbalanced connection to balanced, but that could simply have been our cables. Sonically, we have nothing but praise for these newcomers and that would still be true if they were considerably more expensive. .

Primare has at last updated its distinctive CD player and matching amp for 2011 and on the amp especially, it has gone to town. From the outside the CD32 and I32 don't look wildly different from previous Primare offerings, so what's new? 
 
Most obviously, the I32 amplifier is a whole new design, using as it does a Class D topology. As Primare is at pains to point out, this isn't digital amplification, but it is a switching approach, modulating the power applied to the output at a fast rate rather than tracking it in traditional analogue manner. 
The CD player is less revolutionary, but still has some new features, including a USB-A socket for connecting a memory stick, music player or hard disc. 
 
Quick-switch act 
 
Class D amplifiers aren't new (the idea goes back decades) and they aren't exactly rare in 2011, either. That said, there aren't all that many individual designs. 
Many manufacturers are using bought-in modules to do most of the hard work, such as Bang and Olufsen's successful Icepower modules. Primare, however, has gone it alone and developed a proprietary circuit called UFPD, short for Ultra Fast Power Device. 
 
'Fast' is very much to the point in Class D circuits, because when you are switching a signal on and off rapidly, any departure from truly instantaneous on/off transitions upsets the whole performance. Primare's claim is that the unusually fast switching achieved in UFPD allows more consistent feedback to be applied to the circuit.
 
In the great majority of modern amplifiers, linear and switching, feedback is used to turn a basically accurate circuit into a highly accurate one, but it can be a double-edged sword. Primare has arranged things so that the feedback applied to the circuit is the same at all frequencies, which is generally a safe route to consistent performance. 
 
As a result, we're told the specification of this amplifier over the whole audio range is at least as good as previous Class D designs and in the treble a lot better. In addition, performance is more assured into real loudspeaker loads. 
 
One of the unavoidable drawbacks to switching amplifer design is the need to filter off the high-frequency 'carrier' signal so that it doesn't fry tweeters. Trouble is, the filter tends to be a bit intrusive on the audio signal path. It increases the output impedance, which in turn gives response variations into real-world loudspeakers: sometimes it distorts the audio signal, too. 
 
The I32 still has an output filter, but it's been designed as part of the overall amplifier circuit rather than a bolt-on extra and so it has a less intrusive effect. Output impedance is lower than from most switching amps, especially in the treble, and response is therefore much closer to flat – and, of course, the damping effect on a loudspeaker is better. 
 
Other benefits of Class D still apply, including better efficiency than a conventional linear amplifier, in turn reducing the requirement for large heatsinks (there are still heatsinks but they're small for the I32's 120-watt rating) and allowing Primare to build the amp into an unvented case. 
With dust being one of the biggest enemies of electronic reliability – a blanket of dust is the best way of getting components to overheat – that can only be a good thing. 
 
Discs and transistors 
 
The CD32 much more closely resembles CD players we've come to love over the years, with a conventional drive mechanism, high-quality sample-rate converter, digital filter and DAC chips of recent vintage, as well as a linear power supply based on an R-core transformer. 
 
One rather unusual feature is the use of discrete transistors for the current-to-voltage convertor which follows the DAC. This isn't unique, but most CD players use an op-amp at this point. Many of them achieve very good results too, but Primare isn't alone in believing that discrete transistors still have advantages if done right. 
The relevant circuits are implemented with surface-mounted components on small circuit boards, screened with solid copper plates. Features on the CD32 include balanced analogue outputs and also a balanced digital output (AES/EBU), alongside the usual phono and S/ PDIF versions. 
 
The USB input we mentioned is a nice touch, though we were disappointed to find that it only recognises MP3 and WMA files. WAV and/or FLAC compatibility would be nice. 
 
With memory prices for SD cards and USB sticks now down to barely £1 per GB (60p per hour for CD-quality WAV format), surely MP3's days in any audiophile environment must be numbered? 
The I32 doesn't offer a vast array of features in standard form, though we certainly approve of the two pairs of balanced inputs. A total of just five line inputs isn't enormously generous by current standards and there's no option to add a phono stage. 
 
The clever part, though, is that Primare has announced (though not yet made available) a 'media upgrade' for the amp, which adds a host of latest-generation features: digital inputs of all flavours, Ethernet (and wireless) network connectivity and hence media and internet radio compatibility.
 
We do have one quibble, though, and it concerns the operation of the CD player. The amp responds exactly as one would expect to front panel and remote controls and it's no trouble at all. The CD player has several functions only available from the remote and we're not sold on it. For one thing, it's just not the sort of device we'd want to have alongside four grand's-worth of classy hi-fi . It looks and feels every bit like the remote for a £200 telly from Tesco.
 
Also less then ideal is the fact that, although the CD32 can upsample to 48kHz (unusual!), 96kHz, or not at all, it's only mentioned in passing in the instructions. Anyway, both that and the remote itself are addressable concerns and we very much hope that Primare will consider our comments. 
 
Making sweet musi
 
Our first impression is of exceptionally assured sound, with heaps of detail, beautifully neutral tonal balance and really gorgeous, tactile solidity. Close your eyes and you're convinced that with just a couple of steps towards the speakers you'll be in danger of impaling yourself on the end of a cello spike or copping a drumstick on the nose.Images are simply superb, immaculately spread out in all directions and utterly stable, fully vindicating the 80-year-old confidence trick that is stereo. It's a finding we repeated over and over as we trawled through the widest selection of recordings, old and new, from jazz to rock to classical to unclassifiable.  Cue up some operatic monster and the panoply of 200 players and singers is there before you: play the simplest voice and guitar ballad and the intimacy is immediate. 
 
The specifics
 
We did make an effort to check the usual hi-fi specifics, though we'd struggle to identify any we could criticise. 
Bass ticks all the boxes, with extension, weight, solidity, tuning and kick all first-class. Midrange is natural and lifelike with no coloration we could detect. Treble is open, clear and pure with entirely believable decay into ambience and not a hint of exaggeration or spit when things get busy. There's lots of power on tap and at no point did we feel the amp was struggling even at levels barely below overload. 
 
Timing? Like an atomic clock. The CD player's upsampling options make very little difference: we slightly preferred 96kHz, but not by much. Perhaps, just perhaps, we slightly preferred the unbalanced connection to balanced, but that could simply have been our cables. Sonically, we have nothing but praise for these newcomers and that would still be true if they were considerably more expensive. 
HiFi News Phono Stage Group Test Winner - Primare’s ‘effortlessly involving’ R32 is a bargain
Beginning with Harvest, I was immediately pulled into the album by the soundstage’s depth which Primare R32 lays out in front of you. Each instrument had plenty of space to breathe and none fought to dominate a song. Young’s slide guitar was full of detail and I noticed its fading reverb far more through the Primare than the other phono amps, which gave it a natural edge. 
 
The R32 has a mellow, unfazed personality which marries rhythm and emotion with a balanced sound that is easy to live with. ‘Spiralling’ flowed forth at an unforced pace, allowing the song the space to grow, and while the piano sounded laidback it gelled with the bass guitar in a way that none of the other phono stages had been able to capture. 
Having to spend extra for a separate phono stage because your amp didn’t come with one as standard used to be considered a means of overcoming a frustrating oversight. These days however, many audiophiles accept that to get 
the best out of your pick-up the use of a carefully chosen separate phono stage is de rigueur. And one with a 
variety of gain and load settings is essential future-proofing for anyone who is partial to a bit of cartridge swapping when the mood dictates. 
 
The Contenders
 
Thankfully, as the entry level Clearaudio in this month’s group test demonstrates, you can have a well built model that will cater for both moving-magnet and movingcoil types (and with a choice of loading options for the latter) for comparatively little outlay. 
 
All models under scrutiny in this test offer dual mono circuits, and Lehmann’s Black Cube Statement, with its pro-audio credentials, represents the next rung on the ladder. It’s also the cheapest model on test to feature part passive equalisation (considered by many to be superior to all-active designs). 
 
Both the Astin Trew and Musical Fidelity models offer balanced outputs, which will be welcomed by those with pre/integrated amps with corresponding inputs. 
 
The MF clearly majors on the user experpence, with a digital interface that sets new standards at this price point for how a phono stage can be operated. Housed in a chassis that dwarfs the competition, the Swedish Primare represents the big bruiser of the group, with a meaty PSU, part passive EQ and shielded circuits. 
 
Finally the Creek combines all of this functionality and more. With a separate DC PSU, three stages of RIAA equalisation and a user interface that can be programmed to match the settings for any given cartridge, this is a phono stage for the digital age.
 
System and Music
 
To get the full measure of each unit on test, a selection of MM and MC cartridges at varying prices was made: these were Nagaoka’s MP-100 high-output MM; a Benz Micro ACE SH high output MC; and Roksan’s lower output Shiraz MC. 
We used a Roksan Xerxes 20plusdeck with Tabriz ZI tonearm [HFNDec ’11]. Amplification came via a Musical Fidelity M6PRE and M6PRX pre/power combination driving Dali floorstanders. Van Damme cables were used throughout and I took 
advantage of the preamp’s balanced inputs by using balanced cables between preamp and phono stage for the models that could take them. 
 
Review albums included Neil Young’s Harvest [REP 54 005], chosen for its contrasting hard and soft rock tracks, and Antony And The Johnsons’ I Am A Bird Now [Rough Trade RTRADLP233] – with particular attention paid to ‘Spiralling’ for its atmospheric vocals and piano, combined with strong bass. I also used a Decca pressing of Charles Dutoit conducting the Montréal SO in Respighi’s grandiose Roman Festivals [SXDL 7591] which revealed how each phono amp 
coped with a large and complex soundstage. (Note: SQ ratings reflect the price bracket of each product.)
 
Primare R32:
Uncomplicated Scandinavian design’ is how Primare defines its ethos and a quick glance at the R32’s front panel tells you that this phono stage is truly living Primare’s ‘brand values’. Since it measures 430x95x380mm (whd) and weighs a substantial 8.5kg, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve been sold a power amp in the wrong box. Of course much of this weight can be attributed to the R32’s case, with its 8mm-thick front plate and solid feet. 
 
According to Primare this large chassis makes it easier to keep sensitive signal circuits away from the PSU in a bid to reduce noise. Also justifying the R32’s weight is its R-core type transformer with separate windings for each channel. 
 
There are no capacitors in the signal path and a shield-plate inside the unit further isolates the signal circuits from the PSU. For MC cartridges, the R32 offers seven load resistance settings between 10ohm-47kohm, with gain set at 62dB. For MM types, gain is factory set at 41.4dB and there’s also a 5dB boost setting which is accessed from inside the casework. (Although given that the rest of the settings are on the back panel, and removing the top panel means undoing ten screws, this seems a bit of a design flaw. Why couldn’t this setting be accessed via jumpers on the underside or the back panel?)
 
Space To Breathe
 
Beginning with Harvest, I was immediately pulled into the album by the soundstage’s depth which Primare R32 lays out in front of you. Each instrument had plenty of space to breathe and none fought to dominate a song. Young’s slide guitar was full of detail and I noticed its fading reverb far more through the Primare than the other phono amps, which gave it a natural edge. 
 
The R32 has a mellow, unfazed personality which marries rhythm and emotion with a balanced sound that is easy to live with. ‘Spiralling’ flowed forth at an unforced pace, allowing the song the space to grow, and while the piano sounded laidback it gelled with the bass guitar in a way that none of the other phono stages had been able to capture. 
 
The higher horns within the Respighi piece were deeper in the mix, and while the R32 might have lacked the last word in power compared to the MF, for example, it had just the right amount of attack to keep me engaged. Indeed, it 
was this inherently ‘natural’ and well-ordered perspective that won the day for the R32. Finally, more than with any other phono stage, the Primare’s sound continued to improve with each cartridge upgrade. The R32 just gets better!
 
hi-Fi news lab report
 
As befits this black slab, Primare’s R32 is a rock-solid performer. Gain is bang-on specification at +41.4dB (MM) and +62dB (MC) but unlike some other stages with this ‘industry standard’ gain, the R32 offers greater headroom: +26.1dB (101mV) for MM and +25.4dB (9.3mV) for MC. The A-wtd S/N ratio is impressive too, amounting to 87.2dB re. 5mV and 67.6dB re. 500μV (or 91.9dB/71.6dB re. 0dBV) ensuring the R32 is very quiet, especially with MM pick-ups.
Full output is a preamp-busting 11.5V from a low ~90ohm source impedance which, unusually, drops lower still from 
66ohm at 100Hz to 0.5ohm at 20Hz. Coupled with the R32’s exceptionally flat and extended response that’s a mere –0.3dB down at 2Hz, this almost guarantees a subjectively strong bass. However, this lack of subsonic filtering also warns against arm/cartridge combos with little damping at resonance, especially when coupled with reflex-loaded loudspeakers. Harmonic coloration is not an issue though, with THD uniformly below 0.004% at all frequencies. RIAA-corrected response (black) with low bass filter plus distortion versus frequency , 20Hz-20kHz) Sound Quality: 86% 0 - - - - - - - - 100
 
Group Test Verdict:
 
With the Primare, NZ$1,495 buys you a lot of phono stage. Okay its features are quite straightforward but its tank-like build and classy looks impress. ‘Effortlessly involving’ are the two words I’d use to sum up the Primare’s sonic signature. The R32 gives off a sense of having oodles of power in reserve, able to cope with anything that’s thrown at it calmly but not without passion. The resulting soundstage is unforced yet expansive, with bass that’s deep and lithe. Detail is plentiful and natural: with the Harvest album, the full emotion of Young’s voice was laid bare on every track and the guitar and harmonica had a lush sparkle that showed why this artist has gone the distance. This kind of quality for well under a grand is what constitutes a top-flight bargain, making the R32 our clear winner
The Primare has something Electrifying, but it remains very unobtrusive. (review German/English translation)
Raphael Vogt

Summary review:
Primare builds with the NP30 an ultra-modern D / A converter that can do more than many of his competitors: He also plays music directly from your hard disk or on a server, even via Wi-Fi.

The tone of the NP30 joins the Primare family good one. Everything sounds tight and controlled, but never severe, but good gripping and always supple and with a good sense of rhythm.

the NP30 also musically long suspense delivers an entertaining, which is appreciated especially classical music listeners and lovers of jazz and minimal music very much. The Primare is perfect for music listeners - who prefer to analyze its investment, should look for another converter.

Expanded review:
With digital amplifiers, it is now increasingly common to receive music via different interfaces and a network player is integrated. The offer by now, most AV amplifier, as well as high-end stereo equipment such as audio Nets DNx series or Trinnovs amethyst. Now begins - actually surprisingly late - that era too far for classical digital / analog converter. Primare In the latest converter naming suggests NP30 also suggested the presence of a network player. NP30 in the core of a conventional D / A converter for digital signals to a sampling rate of 192 kHz. There are three basic optical TosLink and RCA input ready. But apart from the balanced and unbalanced outputs and the IEC socket for the power supply, it was the then already for ordinary connections. Like most newer D / A converter has the Primare beyond a USB 2.0 audio port for signals up to 192 kHz in stereo, which is embodied in the form of a USB B socket. But then it gets a little exotic for this type of device, as can music via USB-A connector to be fed. And the sockets for LAN cable and wireless antenna promised access via music server, Internet radio and control via app. Memory sticks, hard drives and Apple mobile devices can be docked to the flat USB connector. The latter then provide a direct digital connection from their music. However, they must be wired, because AirPlay does not control the Swede. Navigating for infected memory takes over the house Primare app on an Apple iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. For this, the NP30 must of course be connected to the local network. This is the safest via LAN cable. But also thanks to Wi-Fi discrete antenna provides a stable connection. Since the converter has only a few LEDs and not a display, the configuration of the WLAN via a detour must be made, after all, you have to select the correct network and enter a password. This is either via the app if you include the Primare at least for this configuration wired into the home network, or via a Java utility program that can be downloaded exclusively from the Primare homepage. There you will enter the wireless data and exports it to a USB stick, this turn of the NP30 then can read the configuration. This path must go who does not have Apple iOS mobile device, but still want to use Wi-Fi. Sounds a bit awkward, but it is pretty easy if you follow the instructions, also you have to make it so only once. Since the NP30 network as "UPnP" client (Universal Plug and Play) logs in, he can control all operating systems, if you do not own Apple devices with the majority of the network player apps.
 
For completeness, a few more ports are here mentioned, used exclusively for the management and control: With them, the converter can be started by a trigger signal, you can use an optional IR receiver or embed the whole thing in a room control system such as Crestron. The last date unmentioned jack is a digital RCA output, which may for example, provide data for recording. This interface receives its signal after the internal processing and therefore provides a constant 24-bit 192 kHz, regardless of the input signal.
 
Precision Art
 
Physically considered, the NP30 leaves so typical of Primare impression of safe-like processing with massive steel and aluminum sheets, of excellent fit and confidence inspiring robust and perfectly flush countersunk machine screws. The whole thing rests on three kippelfrei thick damper feet. The small, spherical keys provide a crisp pressure point. Turn off the standby and select the sources. On the back there is a decent main power switch. Primare lodged with a slim remote control system. Thus, the NP30 can quite comfortably in almost all functions controlled from the couch and especially also configure. You can catch her ​​but also, for example, define how to deal with trigger signals, whether its output is to be controllable in the output volume or use a fixed level. In practice, the tester used the remote control but only for switching on and off and completed the rest of the app on the iPad. A look under the heavy hood we discovered at least six separate network formats for the different components: three for analog and three digital , which is powered from the central switching power supply. The digital and analog sections even use separate ground guides. In the fully symmetric and discrete analog board with their FET amplifiers also sit high quality relay, which keep the amplifier, especially when switching between sources and potential emergence when changing the resolution noise. All digital signals arriving thread the engineers in a SRC4392 sample rate converter from Texas Instruments. They have programmed so that it always converts to 192 kilohertz. This allows an optimization of the output filtering by the Burr-Brown PCM1690 converters on this extremely high frequency noise components and thus far beyond that which could irritate the speakers or your hearing.
 
In the listening room, the testers tried out every conceivable input and output signals at the Sweden. Thanks to the built-in volume control, which is dosed in 79 steps, they tested even a direct connection to active studio monitors. The six-meter-long balanced lines were the strong output driver in any case cold. And although the volume control is digital, there is no loss of resolution or other disturbing effects was practically perceive that everything seems to be solved technically clean. Even for such an extremely purist solution - converter, powered speakers, finish -. Good for the NP30 So As to the input side, there was, as expected, no abnormalities in conventional digital sources. A device connected via USB iPad sounded precise and clear. A memory stick with music files in various formats settled navigate quickly and easily via app. This was especially true for the music from the local server. The settled with all standard UPnP control apps - easily control how plug-player or UPnPlay - also by other operating systems such as Android. The advantage of the Primare's own app is but among other things, that a so ago and rewind the current track is possible, which was not possible on generic UPnP. The USB audio input needed for a custom Windows driver to download at Primare gives it for free. Latest Apple computers do not require extra drivers, they can be plugged in directly. Experiments with the listening room laptop with Windows7 and the JRiver Media Player did not show any problems.
 
Basic musical understanding
 
The tone of the NP30 joins the Primare family good one. Everything sounds tight and controlled, but never severe, but good gripping and always supple and with a good sense of rhythm. If you prefer a cautious lies with the Primare wrong. Who sees itself as a purely analytical listener, as well. If you just want to listen and bobs up and down with your foot, enjoying a glass of red wine, sitting right here. The Primare has something Electrifying, but it remains very unobtrusive. The fact that the signals are internally handled properly, you can hear from the fact that this character pulls regardless of the source device or the dissolution thereof by all input signals. Only you can tell just that a CD drive sounds better than an MP3 file from the memory stick and a high-resolution Flac file from the server lets in just listen even deeper into the recording. Never the sound appears nervous, always the picture remains stable and tangible and without any - not even in the recording itself known - emphasis. Thus, the NP30 also musically long suspense delivers an entertaining, which is appreciated especially classical music listeners and lovers of jazz and minimal music very much. The Primare is perfect for music listeners - who prefer to analyze its investment, should look for another converter.
 
Primare delivers with the NP30 from a highly advanced D / A converter. It offers traditional converter features of XLR outputs up to several remote control options, which flexibly integrated it into any system. Clearly he, like any newer D / A converter also offers USB 2.0 audio with asynchronous 192 kilohertz, which sounds great. Smart but is the integrated network player, plays music via LAN or WLAN in the finest quality from the server and can be controlled comfortably via app with the iPad. Even Internet radio played by the Swede. If you want your stereo system with a single investment at the level of the digital time and this is one more benefit listeners, which invests in the Primare with secure interest.   
……Raphael Vogt
The final frontier - if you want to add a bit of substance and integrity to the sound of your vinyl and have the shelf space, the R32 is winner.
Jason Kennedy
Brief:
Primare's beautifully built, full-width phono stage is the perfect partner for serious vinyl systems says analogue addict Jason Kennedy

LIKE: Revealing and substantial, with plenty of impedance settings

WE SAY: If you are into vinyl for the music, this is one of the most revealing, examples on the market

Extended review:
Primare’s new R32 has got to be the biggest phono stage on the market for under a grand, In fact, you could fit a dozen Dynavector P75 MkII stages inside it! Size is not usually considered a bonus in such devices but it has two benefits: you get a component that matches the rest on your rack and it’s extremely well built. You also get plenty of space between the power supply and the internal circuitry. When you are amplifying the pitiful output of a moving coil cartridge you need the quietest environment you can get and this is one way of achieving it.
Back in black
 
In 2009, we reviewed Primare’s R20 phono stage (HFC 320), which was half the width of the R32 and nearly half the price, but had the unusual feature of variable gain for the MM input only. The R32 also has this quirk, which suggests that is uses the same circuit. However, all that extra space allows for a totally revised and largely dual-mono power supply.
 
Components used in the low-noise design include polypropylene caps and an R-core transformer with separate windings for left and right channel power supplies, Primare also uses Tantalum and low-impedance caps in this crucial part of the amplifier. There are, however, no capacitors in the DC signal path, which might explain why it has such impressive grip in the bass.
 
Wide-spaced RCA in and output sockets flank a pair of impedance selectors for MC cartridges (changing MM gain involves removing the lid).
Economies of scale
 
Build quality is superb – Primare’s aluminium casework is top-notch gear and looking at the majority of the competition at this price you wonder how it can be done. Presumably its down to using the same chassis that the company employs for other components and the economies of scale it brings.
 
The only practical flaw in the design is the placement of the grounding post – this is quite a way from the input sockets which meant that only one of the earth leads on our SME arm cable would reach. The sockets themselves are very decent, though, – much like the overall build.
Detail resolution
 
As suggested above, this is a solid sounding stage. It’s a little on the dry side by the standards of the Trichord Dino+ that we use as a reference, but is more revealing, incisive and sure-footed.
 
With the low-ish output of a van den Hul DDT II (0.4mV) gain is a little on the low side, but not to the point where dynamics suffer – you just need to wind the wick up a bit more. We really like the solidity of timing that it brings to the sound of every slab of vinyl that’s spun, be it a high-tempo or chilled-out tune, you always know where each note starts and stops. This is partly because of the balance, but largely because detail-resolution is very good, the acoustic around voices is well defined and they can really project into the room with remarkable realism.
 
It’s better at texture than tone and is not for those looking for a lush sound, rather it brings some of the precision of digital formats to vinyl which is preferable to excess warmth.
Bass grip
 
The combination of superior build quality, a good selection of matching options and a taut, revealing sound make the R32 a good buy, even at its high price.
 
It doesn’t have quite the thrill power of last month’s Dynavector stage, but it does give you more bass grip and an equally engaging end result. If you want to add a bit of substance and integrity to the sound of your vinyl and have the shelf space, the R32 is winner.
I’ve tested a lot of integrated amps in this segment and on balance you’ll have to go a long way to match the I32. Primare’s done its homework and the I32 is ready to come out and play.

Summary Review:
I’m not even going to try to restrain my enthusiasm for the Primare I32 integrated amp. It’s one of the most successful implementations of Class D I’ve yet heard it’s a strikingly good deal. All the more so when fully equipped with the MM30 media module. 

This is not an amp that merely scratches the surface of musical reproduction.......what I did hear in spades were pristinely clean backgrounds and an atmosphere devoid of any suggestion of electronic hash or grain. .....Musical transients are snapped off smartly with the clean report of a starter’s pistol. And more generally, the bright, crisp edges that are heard from small percussion instruments like a tambourine, an orchestral triangle, or a set of bar chimes are resolved as purely as by any amp I’ve heard at or near this range. ......I was hearing a wonderfully articulate musical conversation taking place between the banjo, Dobro, and bass guitar during “Twenty-One.” Cymbal crashes seemed lifted into the soundspace on a cushion and then decayed naturally, ........t’s the reproduction of the superb balance of voices that producer Glyn Johns attained during “Saturday Night” that makes using the I32 so rewarding. Its “insider” resolution is so good that harmonies can be followed as a single collective voice or as a chorus of discrete voices brimming with unique inflections and character.

Expeanded review:
I’ll bet we all remember what our parents asked us before we went out to play on a Saturday afternoon. The fateful question was, “Did you finish your homework?” How this question applies to the digital wing of the high-end is just as fateful. As competitive and fast-moving as this segment is, pity the product that is brought out to play without having done its homework. After spending a lengthy period road-testing the new Primare I32 integrated amplifier, I can say without reservation that beyond its power, looks, and user flexibility, the Primare has done its homework and may even deserve some extra credit.
 
For those less familiar with this Scandinavian firm, Primare’s lineage can be traced to the stunning 900 Series and 200 Series products of Danish industrial designer Bo Christensen from the 1980s. More recently Primare has teamed with Xena Audio of Sweden—known for its Copeland and QLN brands—to bring together the talents of Primare’s Bent Nielsen and Xena’s Lars Pedersen. The final piece of the puzzle was filled in the late 1990s with the addition of brilliant engineer Bjorn Holmqvist.
 
Still, it’s been something of an on again/off again love story between the U.S. and Primare. Gaining a secure foothold in the American market can be a tortuous road for even the canniest foreign electronics manufacturer. Economic variables, marketing savvy, timing, or just dumb luck can make or break a company’s fortunes on this side of the pond. However, with the leadership of a new and highly experienced distributor in Kevin Wolff of Vana Ltd., my instinct tells me that Primare is here to stay on this go-round.
 
The I32 is a 120Wpc integrated amplifier, a rating that nearly doubles into 4 ohms with 230Wpc. Output power is achieved via twin proprietary Ultra Fast Power Device (UFPD) power modules, a Class D technology which has a consistent 26dB feedback-loop gain across the entire audio range and is stable way beyond the audio band like traditional linear, non-switching amps. In Primare’s words, “The UFPD amplifier actively adapts the loop gain to keep the total loop stable during start-up, clipping, and current limiting. It senses the changes to the filter output and applies the correct amount of feedback to compensate. [It] allows for several more dBs of constant loop gain across the audio band.” The claimed result is lower noise, lower output impedance, and lower harmonic distortion. Because it’s load independent it’s able to accurately drive even difficult speakers. The thermal efficiency of these designs is well documented, but many users will be pleased by their eco-friendly standby mode of just 0.2 W.
 
The I32 revisits the low-profile, small-footprint form-factor of earlier Primare models. It exudes quality and craftsmanship. It’s elegant to the touch—control buttons and aluminum knobs for volume and input selection have a nicely weighted feel. The OLED screen is very sharp (Apple-Retina-display-like in clarity). The smart screen illuminates brightly when an operation is selected and then dims to a softer light. A numerical value for the current volume setting is always visible but increases in size and brightness when volume is changed. Operationally it’s a dream, and menu navigation, the hobgoblin of complex “hub-style” integrated amplifiers, is comprehensive and intuitive. All inputs can be renamed and enabled/disabled and their outputs optimized.
 
MM Good
 
Speaking of inputs, the I32 is available in two versions—the traditional integrated amp with analog inputs or with the MM30 multimedia-upgrade-module that transforms the I32 into a digital media central. With its 24-bit/192kHz DAC board it offers network streaming via Ethernet or wireless, plus Internet radio and gapless audio playback. The more common digital inputs haven’t been put out to pasture either; they include SPDIF, TosLink, plus USB-A and-B inputs (asynchronous for low jitter). Since the MM30 is compatible with UPnP controls like PlugPlayer or Asset UPnP, integrating the panoply of UPnP devices from PC/Mac/NAS to various iDevices or USB thumb drives is (with some patience) a relatively simple procedure. Consistent with Primare’s design philosophy, the digital and analog signal paths within the Primare have their own dedicated ground planes—a design feature that preserves the purity of analog signals. Similarly the electronics package in the front-panel display is electrically isolated from the chassis, and there’s extensive use of ribbon connectors and surface-mount circuitry for low noise.
 
The Primare tablet app (a free iTunes download) is graphically solid and is a good organizer of imported album metadata. But it could be easier to navigate. I’d like to see a more sensitive volume indicator, and ideally a way to input network settings from the app rather than entering alphanumeric characters via the front panel. As this review was going to press I was informed by the distributor that a newer, more refined app is in the works that should address these issues including source-selection, volume, and renaming functions. Lastly, this new application will also notify the owner of future software updates.
 
I had to go a long way back to recall the first Primare integrated I reviewed. It was the $1250, 70Wpc I20 in Issue 143. It was a very good amp for the time, but time marches on. The I32 is an entirely different animal sonically. Where the I20 seemed to place a lid over the treble, darkening the sonic landscape and tamping down harmonic detail, the I32 is vastly more open and expressive. Tonally it’s superbly balanced across the audio spectrum. Images are allowed to spread as effortlessly as their timbral character allows. While there is still a hint of residual dryness on top, any impression of constriction, of harmonic and ambient compression, is largely absent.
 
This is not an amp that merely scratches the surface of musical reproduction. Even in some of the most popular of pop releases, there are levels of texture and dimension that only need a good amp like the I32 to be heard. Just listen to “Going Home,” the first track from Leonard Cohen’s latest album Old Ideas, if you want to hear what I’m describing. Musical transients are snapped off smartly with the clean report of a starter’s pistol. And more generally, the bright, crisp edges that are heard from small percussion instruments like a tambourine, an orchestral triangle, or a set of bar chimes are resolved as purely as by any amp I’ve heard at or near this range. As I listened to versions of the Eagles second album Desperado (an original British Asylum LP and the terrific HDtracks 24-bit/192kHz download) I was hearing a wonderfully articulate musical conversation taking place between the banjo, Dobro, and bass guitar during “Twenty-One.” Cymbal crashes seemed lifted into the soundspace on a cushion and then decayed naturally, as opposed to sounding thickened and abruptly clipped off. The band’s trademark harmonies still remain admirable, but it’s the reproduction of the superb balance of voices that producer Glyn Johns attained during “Saturday Night” that makes using the I32 so rewarding. Its “insider” resolution is so good that harmonies can be followed as a single collective voice or as a chorus of discrete voices brimming with unique inflections and character.
 
I customarily associate the retrieval of these low-level harmonies with classic Class AB designs, not Class D—a result that further supports my belief that, next to cone-driver box-loudspeaker technology, the components that have made the greatest leaps in sound quality are Class D amps. As many recall, the early returns for switching technology were lackluster. Although they featured exceptionally well-defined bass, many designs were highly load-dependent—harmonic distortion might increase and select frequencies and dynamics could be constricted depending on the load. Recent designs, like MBL’s LASA technology found in its Corona amplifier, have largely solved these issues. And now I would count Primare among the success stories as well. The shaded top end and the glaze that often smeared transparency were not part of the I32 personality. What I did hear in spades were pristinely clean backgrounds and an atmosphere devoid of any suggestion of electronic hash or grain. For example, during the lightest pianissimos from a solo piano, individual notes can sometimes sound as if they are being projected with a vestigial veil of sonic texture that lightly smudges the transient and clings to the note like a spider web. The I32 was simply spotless in this regard—not a hint of noise affecting Laurel Masse’s a cappella vocals on Feather & Bone [Premonition] in the vast acoustic of the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. As if emerging from the blackness of space, there was simply her articulation of a note and the long, unbroken, reverberant decay of that note saturating the venue.
 
The I32 resolves mid-to-upper bass pitches very well. The signatures of orchestral instruments like doublebass and bassoon, and percussion instruments such as bass drums and tympani, are unmistakably lifelike from opening transient to the outpouring of reverberant bloom. They fill every acoustic corner of a space rather than sounding overly tightened and harmonically strangled. Ultimately the I32 can’t fully grapple with music’s deepest timbres and most sledgehammer dynamics. A true avalanche of low-frequency percussion and dynamics will reveal the differences between the I32 and a clean-up hitter like the mbl Corona C21 stereo amp  Take for example Copland’s Fanfare For The Common Man [Reference]. The I32 can’t quite match the big MBL’s weightiness and dynamic energy. Its grip loosens slightly trying to reproduce the full duration of the note’s resonance. Like a hammer striking a nail, the I32 won’t drive that nail as deeply as the Corona does, so some parts of the floor-rumbling reverberations are slightly subdued, (but of course the price difference to get the little extra is sugnifcant...)
 
Turning to the Hatfields and McCoys of digital media— Ethernet vs. USB—I concluded that they performed in a near dead heat. Which is to say both are very, very strong, especially whenever I turned to high-resolution material. Every time I felt myself wavering, leaning to one camp or the other, I’d have another listen and find myself leaning in the other direction. Worth mentioning was that over Ethernet there was a very short lag when changing song selections on the fly. Then again I was informed by others very knowledgeable in this field that there are many potential logjams in the world of networking that can’t be directly ascribed to the Primare—even the choice of routers could be a culprit. (In the interests of full disclosure, I used a Netgear GS605.) To my mind USB remains the most straightforward configuration, but I can appreciate the allure of the networked system for multiple users. So for me the jury is still out. But for the digitally progressive, future-proofing your investment with the MM30 is a no-brainer decision. That’s how I’d take delivery of an I32 without question.
 
At this point I’m not even going to try to restrain my enthusiasm for the Primare I32 integrated amp. It’s one of the most successful implementations of Class D I’ve yet heard and it’s a strikingly good deal. All the more so when fully equipped with the MM30 media module. I’ve tested a lot of integrated amps in this segment and on balance you’ll have to go a long way to match the I32. Primare’s done its homework and the I32 is ready to come out and play.
would recommend this machine to devotees of massive classical fare where its realistic roominess, dynamic verve and control over complexity shine.
Martin Mertens

SUMMARY:
On technology Primare’s I32 is the height of tech. On features and trim there’s absolutely nothing to fault particularly when price enters the picture. On power efficiency and standby consumption one feels squarely future-proofed. I would recommend this machine to devotees of massive classical fare where its realistic roominess, dynamic verve and control over complexity shine. With Rock and Pop the Primare too is in its element if the speakers aren’t tuned too lean down low. Those who rather feel glued to the lips of a small Jazz combo leader or who consume their classical composers in small settings and preferably on period instruments might want to check whether the Swede does alright.

EXTENDED REVIEW:
I anticipated the arrival of Primare’s I32 with a bit of fever. It represents the currently most modern amplification type available, i.e. an analog switching amplifier with switch-mode power supply. Class D and SMPS per se weren’t new to me. The combination was. I’d previously hosted Onkyo’s €399 integrated class D challenger called A-9366. But that ran a conventional power supply. Chord’s €5.400 CPM 2650 Integra had been a linear class A/B design with SMPS. Both amps left a lasting impression. Now I was curious what an amp with switching output stage and switching PSU would bring to the table. At ca €2.500 it even occupied the golden middle between the former two.
 
Another reason for my curiosity was being a conceptual antichrist to my cherished Jadis Orchestra. That runs a conventional power supply and a maximally minimized class A/B push/pull valve amplification stage. True, a SET like Mastersound’s 300B SE would have been more polarized yet. Still, I looked forward to this clash of two opposing amplifier approaches. At €3.000 the Jadis is admittedly a bit more expensive.
 
Already externally the Primare is quite the antithesis. The exposed transformers, valves and capacitors of the Jadis are terribly retro, the chromed chassis with acrylic front and lacquered cheeks plus chromed controls are luxurious but on fit ‘n’ finish more … er,  artisanally charming as likely enforced by French manufacture and chosen sell price.
 
Not the Swede. Its sheet-metal steel, matte Titanium-anodized aluminium front (or black), perfectly contoured knobs, expertly shaped and recessed display with a few additional controls exude such perfection that one reflexively assumes a higher price class.
 
The main controls seem turned from solid stock and run on ball bearings. While the luxurious optics somewhat overshadow the tactile inspection—the controls could turn a bit more stately—the Primare seems to come from an altogether different world than the Jadis though the fat ‘Designed in Sweden’ in the back indicates that whilst being engineered in Sweden, final fabrication does happen offshore.
 
On features too the Primare trashed the Jadis. Two symmetrical inputs belong on pricier turf. Those are joined by three RCA inputs and one fixed and variable output each. Creature comforts come by way of infrared remote, trigger and RS232 ports which can synchronize operation with for example Primare’s CD32. Then there are digital conveniences like input naming and gain trim/balance per input. Those are doubly appreciated and extra slick because they’re accessible both from the remote and front panel. There’s also dimming or full off for the display which in standard mode confirms the active source and volume strength, in menu mode various adjustment options.
 
A forthcoming media module will fit into the empty rear slot to add digital inputs and expand functionality to a streaming client which can accept digital data from a network, NAS or Internet radio source. But that’s still future tunes. My I32 loaner was thus fed from my Logitech Transporter or my vinyl front end of Thorens TD-160HD, Benz Micro Gold cart and Lehmann Black Cube II SE phono pre. Speakers of choice were my customary Geithain ME150.
 
Before I get to sonic impressions, a quickie detour into EU compliance. The much discussed 1275/2008 regulation "Ökodesign Anforderungen an den Stromverbrauch elektrischer und elektronischer Haushalts- und Bürogeräte im Bereitschafts- und im Aus-Zustand" will no later than 2014 make life tough for hifi kit that’s tweaked for top sound without regard for current energy consumption trends. 
 
Discussions about the actual merit of said regulatory missive are legion, particularly so regarding the vanishingly low percentage which hifi usage contributes to the EU’s total energy consumption. How entities and industries of truly flagrant abuse and disregard are protected by exemptions could be cause for civil disobedience. The Primare I32 meanwhile anticipates this future with a standby power draw of 0.2 watts. This machine also won’t encounter aggravation from the low-voltage mandate of 2006/95/EG which controls "die Angleichung der Rechtsvorschriften der Mitgliedstaaten betreffend elektrische Betriebsmittel zur Verwendung innerhalb bestimmter Spannungsgrenzen".
 
Primare’s speaker terminals are so well insulated that humans and pets are perfectly protected from harm -  "Menschen und Nutztiere angemessen vor den Gefahren einer Verletzung oder anderen Schäden geschützt sind, die durch direkte oder indirekte Berührung verursacht werden können". Here’s to hoping that the brain trust in Brussels won’t outlaw the use of speaker cables on the grounds of safety altogether. End of sermon.
 
On to the auditions. During my first get-to-know-you session I found myself surprisingly stuck on left-wing stuff, be it ethno fare from Marie Boine, prepared piano by Herbert Henk or Stockhausen’s Mantra. If I can enjoy such fare it’s mostly a sign that a component under assessment contributes novel insights into the material which I previously missed.
 
To apply medias res, I then turned to classics. Liszt’s Preludes with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir George Solti quickly determined that grand orchestral forces are a special fondness of the Primare. Here I first noticed the hall. Particularly impressive was how even during very subliminal passages this venue ambiance was audible – and how the entire orchestra seemed at the ready gathering momentum to pounce. The Primare excelled at conveying both this spaciousness and tension by resolving the very subliminal noises which cue our ear/brain into these attributes.
 
I also enjoyed the playfulness and drive the machine applied to such material. My favorite movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is neither the fourth act, the Presto nor the "Ode to Joy" warhorse but the second, the ‘Molto Vivace’ [Karajan and Berlin]. I love the massive voltage swings of the nearly Baroque leit motif which in variations through various instrumental constellations escalates to multiple crescendos with intermittent moments of retardation and repose. The mounting energy is re-channeled to form anew before it once again gushes onto the scene. Here the Swede impressed with its dynamics. From microdynamic finesse which teased out fine nuances of the flute squadron to macrodynamic jumps with the kettle drum interlude, the Primare had push and shove to spare. 
 
Without deliberation I saw the scene of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange where Alex lies in bed facing a wall of speakers whilst listening to this movement. Incidentally the I32 is one of the few amplifiers where I strongly recommend the XLR inputs. This increases musical freshness over the RCAs.
 
The spatial perspective was quite classy. My Geithains tend to foreshorten it by nearly depositing the listener between the performers. The Primare maintained greater distance. Its orchestra began behind the speaker-to-speaker line and extended well beyond the boxes’ outsides. This made for a compelling concert hall illusion including lacking the razor-sharp localization focus other amplifiers contribute. I never encounter that during live performances to find it artificial and unrealistic. Put differently, the I32 suited my personal taste.
 
After classical seriousness it was time to roll up the sleeves. With Fat Freddy’s Drop I attempted to mine the Primare’s talents at depth only to come up slightly short. The infrasonic synth touches seemed rather shy. Extension was in order but heft was lighter than usual. The fat pressurization which usually floods my room reduced to neighbourly friendliness. Thumbs up for speed and control, a minus for lack of meat appeal. Ditto the synth bass orgies on various Madonna albums. Particularly on American Life—for example the quick brief volleys on "Die Another Day"—the amp’s good control shone while the attacks missed heft. Acoustic basses fared likewise. This was less apparent on material which places their upright in the background. In general the lower registers were a good match for the quick and overall lean voicing of this Scandinavian amp. 
 
Vis-à-vis my Jadis valves the highs were rather fresh – I believe my American colleagues call this crisp. This didn’t default from a neutral balance but when in doubt seemed on the more lit-up side. In general this instilled an admirable freshness I enjoyed but recorded flaws also were laid bare rather than obscured. Take the brushed cymbals on Chihiro Yamanaka’s Abyss which produce a glorious flicker above the energetic piano game of the Japanese. This was very appealing. With hissy sibilant voices the I32 showed less tact but that wasn’t its fault. It simply passed on what’s recorded to leave it to me to blame the performer or mastering engineer. My personal yard stick is Patricia Barber’s Modern Cool which the Primare moved to the edge of tolerance. But that’s less criticism than observation.
 
Remaining on jazzy ground for a bit longer, it’s rare to come across an amp in this price range which screws up tonal balance and the Primare hit all the right notes to seem neither too energetic nor dull. On nits it was about nuances that are harder to identify clearly. I did miss some of the more intimate moments which the Jadis offers with for example’s e.s.t.’s furious Live in Hamburg concert. The insistence of the prematurely passed Esbjörn Svensson’s piano play didn’t telegraph alike. Despite all its other talents the costlier Jadis bested the Primate on midband expressivity. The I32 isn’t really tonally recessed. Clearly its frequency response exhibits no wild squigglies. What was up? Further A/Bs with the Jadis put me on the right trail.
 
The Jadis retrieved more detail and microdynamic fluctuations in the critical vocal range. I noticed this predominantly with voices and particularly with those on vinyl. On Bettye LaVette’s Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook, the Jadis conveyed more information about how her pronunciation involves breath, vocal chords, lips, tongue and throat. The Primare simplified these elements. It didn’t manage to tease them out into individual parts. Digitally sourced voices followed suit. Lucinda Williams’ smoky pipes [World without Tears] were plainly more persuasive with valves. Granted I was shamefully pleased to have found something about the Primare to criticize.
 
Conclusion. 
 
On technology Primare’s I32 is the height of tech. On features and trim there’s absolutely nothing to fault particularly when price enters the picture. On power efficiency and standby consumption one feels squarely future-proofed. I would recommend this machine to devotees of massive classical fare where its realistic roominess, dynamic verve and control over complexity shine. With Rock and Pop the Primare too is in its element if the speakers aren’t tuned too lean down low. Those who rather feel glued to the lips of a small Jazz combo leader or who consume their classical composers in small settings and preferably on period instruments might want to check whether the Swede does alright.
…..Martin Mertens - fairaudio
 
Psych profile
The bass is lean and quick rather than massive, reaches deep and never wants for control.
The mids continue seamlessly and any kind of music sounds fast and dynamic. Here the machine pulls no favorites. In direct comparison to amps with superior midband resolution one realizes how more remains possible.
The treble is crisp to contribute to the amp’s signature of being agile and open. Not hyper present the highs aren’t recessed either and mostly just right.
The dimensional perspective is flawless, realistically sorted and comfortably distanced. Localization focus is believable, i.e. neither artificially sharp nor diffuse.
 
Facts:
Concept: Class D integrated with SMPS
Dimensions and weight: 430 x 420 x 10 6mm (WxHxD), 11kg
Trim: Titanium or black
I/o ports: 3 RCA in, 2 XLR in, fixed and variable RCA out, speaker terminals
Other: Remote control, dimmable display, option slot for digital expansion card
Power consumption: 31 watts at idle, 0.2 watts in standby
SUMMARY OF CD32 INTERNATIONAL REVIEWS

CD32 CD player

Reviews

 

 

CD32/I32 is Europe's Best Music Systsem

 

The citation that appears in the UK's EISA representative magazine, Hi Fi News, says: "Designed to be the perfect pair...their deceptively simple and elegant appearance belies their versatility, as all functions, including volume control and display brightness, are accessible via Primare's system remote. Audiophiles will be keen to learn of the CD player's balanced outputs and the amp's inputs, the latter employing a bespoke Class D technology to deliver a rated 2x125W/8ohm and with plenty in reserve to drive some very difficult loudspeaker loads...most important of all, this pair offers a crystal clear sound, always bubbling with engaging musical detail."

 

 

CD32/I32 system in Music Emotion magazine (Holland) December 2010

“Primare is one of the relatively few brands that has a deep understanding of how important it is to be different and especially to stay different. It has a very strong character that manifests itself in these new models as a wonderful, almost irresistible combination of elegance, modesty, high-quality build and advanced yet easy operation. In the new I32 we have real evidence of the technical progression that drives Primare’s desire for change, for despite the recognisable Primare design signature outside, the design inside has clearly been transformed in comparison to its predecessor…the I32 is a totally modern amplifier with the tonal quality that is characteristically Primare in spite of the use of the modified D class technology. If anything that familiar rhythmic coherence and smoothness has been enhanced by a more grown-up and realistic representation of low level information and more powerful dynamics. In the end the I32 and CD32 have become devices through which everybody will find an involving music experience. They’ll make you smile with their user-friendliness and excellent quality at such a reasonable price.”

 

 

CD32/I32 system in Audio-Video magazine (Poland) January 2011

"I had formed my opinion of the amplifier’s sound when I learnt that it works in Class D (but) what is interesting is that this, the first Class D amplifier from Primare, also features a sound quality that is unique to this company – a sense of analytical detachment, a feeling that it is presenting the sound in the most objective way…this creates a very interesting effect. You’re surprised by tiny musical resonances that were always present on the disk but now reproduced with honesty. Although at first this seems cold and impersonal, eventually it proves to be very complex and rich. What is perceived as lacking in emotion at the start becomes more engaging with every album played. It is the micro detail that is responsible for inspiring new emotions...to tell you the truth I did not think that sound of this character could be so musical.”rimare 32 is a system that's not only pleasant on the eye. It also has a precise, clean, detailed and really musical sound. It is well worth to listen and recommended".

 

 

CD32/I32 system in Stereo magazine (Germany) March 2011

“Primare uses a high-efficiency Class D amplifier technology for the I32 known as "Ultra Fast Power Device ": UFPD in short. There is no question that you can produce high performance in this mode, and the Swedes prove it again. However, Class D amps must still defend themselves against the suspicion that they are only partially audiophile. With UFPD, Primare wants to circumvent all the pitfalls of standard Class D and provide the highest quality by realising stable gain and a high damping factor…particularly noticeable in the high performance of the I32 was the way that it handled B&W‘s 802 Diamond without a hint of trouble. It’s not a flashy sounding amplifier: despite all the speed and lithe playfulness, it does its job discreetly and inconspicuously, yet with real commitment. The Primare components are not only able to keep up with their peers, they’re at the head of the list and are a powerful statement from the Swedes. A genuine recommendation for Nordic design in sound.”

 

 

CD32/I32 system in AudioVideo Magazine (Czech Republic) February 2011

“Power amplifiers operating in class D are often referred to as digital, but this is not completely true with reference to the nature of the analogue processed signal…the sound reproduction through this system is spectrally balanced with a deep velvety bass and a non-distorted treble. Spatial localisation is stable and clear. Playback of CDs with a sampling frequency of 44.1 kHz is concrete and "tight", and sounds quieter and more ‘open’ with increasing sampling frequency reproduction. The properties of the amplifier will force even an average loudspeaker into "brisker motion". The bass has adequate power with an unlimited dynamic range and solid contours for high-volume listening. Both Primare devices also afford excellent quality of reproduction.”

 

 

CD32/I32 system in Hi Fi Test Audio Video (Germany) February 2011

It is not easy to identify what I liked most about the Primare combination. Was it the unique design, the solid workmanship, the touch and feel of quality materials or the high-tech electronics with their excellent measured performance? In the end I think it was the sheer joy of playing the combination that exited me most. Performance, dynamics and precision without limits, coupled with open, honest timbres and a touch of individuality: just like a Swedish Turbo!

 

 

CD32/I32 system in Hi Fi Choice (UK) April 2011

"Close your eyes and you’re convinced that with just a couple of steps towards the speakers you’ll be in danger of impaling yourself on the end of a cello spike or copping a drumstick on the nose. Images are simply superb, immaculately spread out in all directions and utterly stable, fully vindicating the 80-year-old confidence trick that is stereo. It’s a finding we repeated over and over as we trawled through the widest selection of recordings, old and new, from jazz to rock to classical to unclassifiable. Cue up some operatic monster and the panoply of 200 players and singers is there before you: play the simplest voice and guitar ballad and the intimacy is immediate."

 

 

"If you have a high quality amplifier and loudspeakers, the CD32 will give you a more precise and richer high-end sound."  Hi Fi & Home Theatre Audio, Korea, March 2011.

 

 

Performance and Potential

Primare's CD32 and I32 system has impressed Andrew Everard, the Audio Editor of the UK's revered classical music title Gramophone. In a two page eulogy in the May 2011 issue, he says of the CD32 that "Allied to impressive handling of both microdynamics and really big swings in level, it opens up even the most complex recording to expose its components, which will appeal as much to score followers as audiophiles."

 

 

Hi Fi Lessons

“With the I32 and CD32, Primare from Sweden is introducing a special combination at the cutting edge of technology, which addresses the performance needs of even the most demanding audiophile. The combination produces very high resolution, huge reserves of power, excellent tonal balance and graduation. But if you were to ask us which is the main protagonist of this test, we would tell you without hesitation that it is the CD32, which is a real bargain in this price level because it combines excellent build level, hypermodern aesthetic design and a sound which nails it in terms of resolution, transparency and speed in every musical style.” HXOS magazine, Greece

 

 

CD 32 Highly Commended

In a group test of its peers the CD32 has achieved a ‘Highly Commended’ badge from Hi Fi News. This special status gong, the second to come Primare’s way from the magazine in as many months, joins an ‘Outstanding Product’ award for the I32. As the review states “needless to say Primare’s CD32 can be regarded the de facto choice for partnering with its eco-friendly I32 Class D amplifier that featured in last month’s group test. With their matching OLED displays (very classy) and common remote control handset the two components will make a lovely couple.” Of the CD32 itself the review concludes “you’d need to spend a small fortune on a very esoteric high end player to better it.”

 

   

The sound from USB memory stick was excellent. The USB was loaded with MP3 music files, but the clarity and freshness of the sound was still very good. There was a slight reduction in the stereo image compared to lossless music files, which is down to the limitations of MP3, but it was noteworthy that the CD32 improved the sound of MP3 very much. In fact, sound reproduction through the USB connection is very convenient, and even though the compatibility of CODEC may matter in some cases, this feature makes CD32 far more flexible than competitors. The performance of the CD32's twin PCM174 DAC chips was fully satisfactory, and its sound good enough to compete even against high-end outboard DACs, The resolution of the CD32’s front display was also superb, and its readability was excellent compared to previous products. The chassis and the panels were very substantial, designed to combat resonances. All these features support the reputation of Primare for high quality construction. Multi-function CD Players like CD32 are very rare yet in the market, but the debut of CD32 will get a good response from many audiophiles. Hi Fi Choice Magazine, Korea, June 2011.

 

 

CD32/I32 Hi Fi Stars, Germany, November 2011

To the point, the Primare combo consisting of CD player CD32 and power amplifier I32 has what it takes for a true dream team. The Swedish manufacturer Primare shows that with regard to sound, ease of use, workmanship, design and sustainability (through the optional media module) a really fair price is possible.

.

 

CD32, Hi-Fi i Muzyka, Poland, December 2011

"At the price the Primare has all virtues of good CD player: great sound stage, dynamics, accurate bass, neutrality and details. Can you ask for more? Yes, but not at this price point. This is a very, very good player with excellent build quality. You have to try it."

 

 

CD32/I32 Hifi Test , Germany, February 2013

Hi Fi Test announces Primare CD32/I32 as amongst the BEST HIFI PRODUCTS EVER.

With unique design, massive build quality, high quality materials and excellent measurements, combined with the great joy of playing this combo is a Swedish duet with turbo. The performance has dynamism and precision without limits.

 


What the NP30 represents is actually a kind of musical life, not the limitations of musical hardware.
Zhi-Yu Lin

Summary review:
I believe that the NP30 will bring users who want a simplified music player and place more emphasis on quality of life and home atmosphere, an opportunity to be moved. What the NP30 represents is actually a kind of musical life, not the limitations of musical hardware.

As soon as the music starts, the NP30 exudes lively, cheerful personality, a kind of inviting sound, which does not need bothersome adjustment or anything else. As soon as everything is in place, and the music starts, it will sound good, better, even, than the 380D. 

Expanded review:
So, what functions does the NP30 have? First, the NP30 supports UPnP, allowing it to connect to a network system such as a computer or an NAS through a cable or wireless connection, directly playing music files saved on such equipment. Different file formats, such as WAV, AIFF, FLAC, MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, and ALAC pose no challenge to the NP30. What's more, it supports sampling rates of up to 24 bits / 192kHz. The NP30's panel is so attractive because it has no display panel, and so the trend for apps operated by shaking cannot be avoided. Here, Primare has written its own program, known as Primare App, which can be downloaded free of charge by iOS or Android users. 
 
USB A and USB B ports can be found on the back of the NP30. These allow connection to Windows or Mac computers, and the NP30's internal XMOS USB Audio 2.0 receiver chip provides asynchronous transmission at rates of up to 24 bits / 192kHz. But mobile software, which can be downloaded from Primare's official site, must first be installed on computers running Windows. The USB A socket, meanwhile, can be used to connect to an iPhone / iPad / iPod, flash drive or high-capacity hard drive.
 
Can Stream from Spotify 
 
Another of the NP30’s strengths is that it can use a wireless connection to stream media from an iPhone/iPad/iPod through Primare App, making it more convenient to use. Aside from streaming and USB connection, the NP30 is also a dedicated digital-to-analogue converter (DAC), providing 3 optical fibre ports and 1 RCA socket; it can be connected to your old CD player or blue-ray player. 
 
Of course, you can also listen to Internet radio through the NP30. Internet radio is the core functionality of today's streaming media players, but the NP30 also provides a vTuner service; only a one-time username and password are required to add the vTuner streaming platform to your favourites on Primare App, where they can be managed, making station selection more convenient. Better yet, the NP30 has integrated the Spotify music streaming service into its streaming functionality. That means as well as using it to listen to Spotify outside, you can keep listening after you go home - with a wireless connection! 
 
Full Bass Eminently Fashionable 
 
Let's really start listening. The NP30's back panel provides an XLR balanced audio socket and RCA connectors. Based on the advice given in the manual, if your backing stage also has an equalization circuit, the NP30's XLR connector can use it to its full potential. When listening, a full set of internal Neo series of 350P Moon and 400 MONO channels also feature an equalization circuit, making the NP30 a convenient accompaniment. The NP30’s mobile speakers are Dynaudio Focus 160 speakers, for details of which please refer to the Moon 380D DAC
 
As soon as the music starts, the NP30 exudes lively, cheerful personality, a kind of inviting sound, which does not need bothersome adjustment or anything else. As soon as everything is in place, and the music starts, it will sound good, better, even, than the 380D. There are a few secrets to the NP30's good acoustics, including a feeling of greater scale, and greater proximity, allowing  listeners to come closer to the music. What's more, its high frequency, fine quality, and strong intermediate frequency, and strong bass, is both fashionable and possessed of high quality. 
 
Take Jane Monheit's album “Taking a Chance on Love” for example: listening to the first track, Honeysuckle Rose, you can sense the happy, lively, bouncy quality of the song. This is because the NP30's bass is not only full, but also clear, tight, and even amidst the greater mid and lower frequencies, it doesn't lose the vital elements which make one feel alive, bringing also a feeling of happiness. 
 
The Musical Lifestyle 
 
Next, listen to the ever-shifting The Dali CD Volume 3: well-suited to gauging all-round musical function, it brings out the NP30's balanced, approachable quality and well-roundedness. I can easily sense that the music played by the NP30 combines low, medium and high frequencies so well that their proportions seems to stretch out before me. The bass is clean enough to set many details off; full, plentiful, and layered, it makes the music deep, solid, and neat. Although not in the same league as the 380D, it is still a superior flexible, mobile source. I believe that the NP30 will bring users who want a simplified music player and place more emphasis on quality of life and home atmosphere an opportunity to be moved.

What the NP30 represents is actually a kind of musical life, not the limitations of musical hardware.
.........Zhi-Yu Lin 

Testimonials

colour me one happy owner.
Hi Terry,
We're about a month into enjoying the new Primare i32/MM30 (120w Integrated amp with media module 24/192 DAC streaming), it replaced the previous combination of a Primare i30, Simaudio Moon 100d DAC and 1m Nordost Heimdall RCA's making the link between DAC & amp.
 
Of course it's tricky making comparisons between the two amps directly considering I've changed my DAC in the process too - complicated further by its integration into a shared chassis in the form of the MM30. But over the course of the 3 and a bit years I owned the i30 I tried it with various source components including several outboard DAC's ranging in price from under $1000 to just north of $4000 which provided fair insight into the old amps signature.
 
The new unit is an intriguing prospect offering a sound that is at once familiar - refined, capable of subtlety and nuance - and simultaneously a significant departure from the i30's comparatively laid back nature. Here there's a forthright approach to dynamics - micro dynamics particularly - with each transient demand - apparently no matter how subtle - met with an immediate response by the amp making for a lively, engaging sound alongside a level of transparency that makes even familiar recordings sound freshly minted. As much as I enjoyed my time with the highly regarded i30, the i32 makes it sound a little lifeless, possibly even a bit sluggish in certain areas - like low frequency control and articulation.
 
I reckon the June 2011 HiFi News review nailed it when they wrote:   "Sounding crisp & squeaky clean, the i32 delivered startling clarity... tight & grippy along with a highly explicit treble... the bass was impressive: extended, powerful and highly descriptive. The Primare digs deeply into the minutiae of recordings... the sound was open, the pristine clarity allowing one to hear individual layers of the recording."
 
The MM30 DAC section is at the very least playing a highly complementary game to the amps fine qualities, and the above description of the amp could easily suffice for both units in operation - it's very much the kind of component that gives the impression of passing signal unimpeded and uncoloured, producing a quality of reproduction explicit enough to banish the nagging sense of the music's subtleties escaping you - it would not be far out of step with some of the more expensive converters I've demoed and pulls comfortably ahead of the DAC it's replaced. Put another way - this is high end sound and more than just a teasing foretaste of it. All wrapped in a single, stylish, compact and dare I say it... "eco friendly" package built to Primare's usual standards. 

Hopefully focussing on certain performance aspects - as I have in the text - doesn't imply that the new Primare is the type of component that elicits a sort of dry, analytical response - far from it - our musical enjoyment has been greatly enhanced by the upgrade, very much a case of less of the electronics coming through & more of the music, - colour me one happy owner.

 
Regards,
Barry
Simon loves his new Primare reference DAC30.....

The Primare Dac30 is wonderful, it has really come into its own, additionally on the balanced circuit it is sonically amazing. Everything the reviews have stated and some.

......Simon