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Primare Pre30 and A30.2

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by JH1, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. JH1

    JH1
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    OK, I'm tempted by this pre/power amp combo, but to get a good deal in time, I won't get the chance to demo/trial them.

    I was looking at just adding an Arcam P85/P90 power amp to my A85 and Biamping my B&W 704's but from what a few have said, the P85/90 will improve the sound but not by much.

    So the questions are:
    1. I've seen a tempting deal on the Primare kit, which I love the look of and it gets a great review in What Hifi but will I really get my moneys worth in sound improvement over the Arcam kit?? (Ps I don't always trust Magazine "hype" alone)
    2. Will these really make my 704's sing to the best of their ability or should I really wait and look at something different when I have a bit more time???

    Also if anyone knows of any other good deals on these amps, I would be interested to hear about them.

    Jason
     
  2. Daneel

    Daneel
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    All I can tell you is I loved the sound of the A30.5 when I used it. It has a very valve like sound for a solid state which I found gave music a wonderful glow.
     
  3. JH1

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    Thanks for your response. I have found somewhere within a reasonable distance to demo now so I'm off to try 'em out later this week. Not many people seem to know a lot about Primare, but those that do seem to highly recommend their products, so it will be interesting to hear the results.
     
  4. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    JH1

    Pre-power wise I would not be interested in anything below £1500, ie I would opt for an integrated solution before that (and have done so), all down to the quality of the pre-amp IMHO. I can say having heard a SP30 & A30.5 into Proacs that I think, Primare Pre-amps are pretty top drawer. And in a different class field to youe current Arcam kit, FMJ Pre-powers are more a contender than the Diva range to Primares pre-pas IMHO.

    Small tip, if you get a chance at demo switch the unit from standby into ON mode, sounds like the reassuring clunk of a german car makers door shutting. No joking.

    As for deals I would speak to the dude who runs this place (Marcus) very friednly and he was doing some deals as Primare changed their stock line up late last year.

    http://www.audio-cinema.co.uk/used.php

    ATB & good luck.
     
  5. JH1

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    Cheers CJ,

    Hoping the Primare's will reach the dealer today. Looking to compare 3 different combinations:

    1. I30 Integrated amp alone
    2. Pre 30 and A30.2 Power
    3. I30 integrated and A30.2 power biamping.

    Will let you know the outcome over the next few days. Out of interest, you mention the FMJ range being the more comparable range to the Primare's. Have you compared the two?

    Jason.
     
  6. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Jas, not heard the FMJ range in hifi terms, but have heard the FMJ AV wise and it was pretty nice. Akin to the Primare AV range into the A30.5, have also heard a few mentions of the FMJ A22 being one of the best stereo amps ever made by Arcam, and this is from a dude who went onto Primare amplification over @ HFC.

    BTW Very interested in your demo so keep us posted, I think the pre-amp is very nice in the A30.1 so biamping wise its still a good option with a A30.2 (Im a single terminal speaker user) the Pre 30 users seem to me to be chasing purity of pre-amp signal quality to the nth degree, but hey every connotation you mention aboves looks like a stunning Primare system.

    ATB
     
  7. JH1

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    Well the demo is done and it didn't quite go to plan but it has an extremely pleasing outcome nonetheless.

    First up was my Arcam CD73 linked to the Primare Pre30 and A30.2. The Primares connected to Spendor S8's. A nice detailed sound. It had a warming feel to it and certainly was well ahead of the A85. I tried various Cd's including Sting, Maroon5 and Sarah Mclachlan to name a few. I have to say it was good but I wasn't convinced is was the big leap I wanted for the £1200 (a piece) price tag.

    Then the dealer was about to go and get the A30.1 integrated (as the new I30 hadn't arrived) in order to try this biamped with the power amp. But as he did so I became curiously interested at what was set up next to the Primares. This is where it really got interesting. The dealer then gave a knowing smile and offered to rig up the NAIM amps sitting next to the Primares. I had nothing to lose and had never heard any NAIM kit so agreed to give it a go. He then replaced the Primares with a NAIM NAC 202 Preamp (~£1400) and a NAP 200 power amp(~£1350), still using the CD73 and Spendors. Prior to listening, he pointed out that the DIN lead interconnect which links these two amps is supplied with the amps so therefore slightly reducing the difference in price between the NAIM and Primares, considering I would have to buy a new interconnect for the latter.

    The difference, I have to say, was astounding. I have never heard such a real and compelling sound. These NAIM's really were, IMHO a world apart from the already impressive Primares. After that, there was no going back and I now have the NAIM's at home on trial connected to my 704's, where to me, they sound even better. I can't really even describe what it is about these amps but if anyone is looking to spend this sort of budget, you have just got to listen to 'em. They have just grabbed my 704's by the scruff of the neck and gained the utmost control over them whilst feeding through the most detailed and refined sound I have ever heard in a system.........and that's before any kind of CD player upgrade. The trial continues, but I know what the outcome is going to be.....my wallet's trembling at the thought of it!! :devil:

    BTW, as a point of interest the dealer who has never used Arcam was very impressed by the perfomance of the CD73 with this equipment. He couldn't believe the performance it gave for it's measley £400 price tag and as a test swapped it with the NAIM CD5x (£1450). Both he and I could not believe the incredibly minor differences between the 2 players. The CD73 really is an incredible performer for the price and I just wonder now whether I can put up with the silver CD player to match the black amps or if I'll weaken and want a better asthetic match to the NAIM's. Problem is, after it's recent performance, I wonder what I'll have to do to improve on it without going mad????
     
  8. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Please please JH dont say you bougfht a Naim pre-power combo pppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppplllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And yes I have heard lots of naim kit !!!!

    Lovely CDPs IMHO but Bass is seriously derailed in amplification terms from Naim kit IMHO. Im interested to hear your vibes of the bass performance ? Anyway nice read otherwise and good luck.
     
  9. General Skanky

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    Out of interest, who is the dealer?
     
  10. JH1

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    Blimey, I'm shocked !!!!

    Am I getting this correct as I'm getting a subtle hint of dislike for the NAIM kit???!!!!

    I have to say I'm surprised at your response, 'cos I thought it was a cracking bit of kit and the bass was as tight and extended as I've heard in a long time. Plus the mid range was wonderfully detailed and expressive. Have you guys actually heard the NAC202 and NAP200 combo or is this a reaction on other NAIM kit you've heard???

    If you've heard this particular combo then I really don't understand your response and I'm baffled.....begining to wonder if I've missed something here!??

    The dealer is Signals in Ipswich and I have to say he seems about as genuine and helpful as they come.

    I'm intrigued now as to why you're so horrified??? :lease:

    Jason.
     
  11. General Skanky

    General Skanky
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    I agree with you JH1.

    I have frequented Signals many a time and as you state, a very helpful team.

    I too heard that Naim set up he has in the living room, and I too think it sounded wonderful.

    Having bought Primare kit in the past from there, I personally totally agree the Naim is far better.

    And I too am taken with CJRoss's reply.

    So you are not alone.:)
     
  12. Daneel

    Daneel
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    Alistair at Signals is a great guy. I've demoed a few pieces of kit there (the Neat Ultimatum MFS being the best by far).

    I can't say I was hugely impressed with the Naim sound but then I have only been demoing speakers when it was used rather than swapping out their pre or power units for others.

    I'm glad you are happy with your purchase.
     
  13. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Was having a joke sorry back to ultra serious mode, Im not the geatest fan of Naim amps I find them harsh & strident a world away from the sound I prefer other marques TBH, I like their CDPs though which I did say earlier.

    Right I'll get my coat.
     
  14. General Skanky

    General Skanky
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    :laugh: Hook, line and sinker.

    Naim will always create a bit of banter.

    Why that is I really don't know.

    Just like to add though, that what you find strident, others like me find exciting.

    Definately a personal taste thing.
     
  15. JH1

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    Thank God for that!!!!

    When I read CJ's first response I felt a sharp pain in my wallet and wondered if I'd missed something!!! ............Not that it would have changed my decision as it sounded great to me, but I did wonder for a while what would cause such a response!!

    I guess I'm just gonna have to get used to the NAIM banter!

    Yep, have to agree, Alistair at Signals was a great help. I liked his style, he let me choose what to listen to by giving a few subtle hints and letting me make my own mind up rather than him trying to sell me something. Now the old ticker has reduced to normal pace, I'm off to celebrate my purchase with a bottle of the red stuff!

    BTW, nice one CJ.
     
  16. Daneel

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    I just came back from a similar demo to the one you did JH1. I took my Arcam along and my B&W 602s.

    The Primare separates were not available so I had to make do with a A30.1 integrated. With the 602s the difference between the two systems was not vast. The Primare was a little more mellow and didn't separate as well as the Naim.

    It was fairly clear though that the speakers were limiting differentiaion so we swiched to the Spendor S6e (which I believe is what you used). The difference between the Naim and Primare was now day and night. The Primare really didn't sound very good at all. The Naim was a vast improvement and I found myself thinking that it was actually similar to what I'm used to at home, which given the difference in the kit, I find quite perplexing. Having heard this it is now very clear to me why you went for the Naim over Primare.

    Alastair was concerned that my interconnect was limiting things (Blue Jeans Cable using Belden wire and Canare plugs) and swapped it for something else. He seemed to think there was an improvement, I was not so sure.

    We then swapped out my Arcam for the Naim CDS3 (just a slight jump there). There was a noticeable difference here, in particular the treble which became more focused (it sounded a little like turning EQ on with my Pioneer :) ) and the bass was a tad tighter. Over all though not as much as you might think given the move from a budget CDP to top of the range.

    A home demo of the Naim could be on the cards this week.
     
  17. dave48

    dave48
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    Ok, so I am seem to now be going away from the direction this thread is taking, but I got a D30.2 / PRE30 fairly recently (and then the D30.2 CD player). Running this lot fully balanced is a HUGE leap over my previous A30.1. It is also a huge step just going from RCA to XLR. It's the first time in years that I have lost the urge to fiddle with the system - the only real upgrade I'm after at the moment is a detached house. Oh, and I'm still half curious about mains upgrades, since I am utterly convinced that it often sounds significantly better late at night (the difference is often quite dramatic) and the only difference I can think of is the quality of the mains supply and the large number of household devices such as cookers, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers who are polluting my electricity.

    I have to confess that I have not listened to Naim kit at all, for two reasons: (1) it is always described as being very in-your-face and exciting and sometime bright; I prefer a more relaxed, whilst detailed presentation, (2) the kit looks so c**p, I just couldn't face sitting on my sofa looking at it, thinking how much many I paid for something so lacking in visual design.

    PRE30 + A30.2 cost about £1,350 together which seems pretty good value for money to me.
     
  18. Daneel

    Daneel
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    Naim kit is ugly.

    Naim kit isn't all in your face, there are degrees to it.

    New, at RRP, the Primare combo and Naim combo are fairly similar in price. 2nd hand the Naim holds its value much better and new you won't get much discount, unlike Primare.

    There are two other things that put me off Naim, their DIN connections, making it hard to integrate Naim into a system using other components and the attitude of many of Naim owners (some people say the same about SVS owners). However, I cannot deny that it sounded good, although not unique. As I mentioned, it wasn't disimilar sounding to my current setup (if I said that on the Naim forums I'd be crucified). As a stand alone set-up, it's an option worth investigating.

    I'd say the differences between your day and night time listening are: light level, level of background noise and your state of mind. I find listening to music in dim lighting and in the evening or early morning better than during the day.
     
  19. JH1

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    Daneel,

    Sorry for delay in reply, first chance to get on computer this week! I think you're right, you need to use the right speakers with the NAIM kit. I found my 704's sounded even better than the Spendors when I got the demo stuff home....crisper, cleaner more rounded and extended bass aswell. All round, in my system, the NAIM's were just superb. I note the points about looks made after your post.....fair enough but to me I prefer to listen to music than stare at the units and do they really look any worse than the Primare??????...a matter of opinion I suppose.

    Anyway, I've had a call from Alistair today and my amps are in, so I'm off to pick them up tomorrow :thumbsup:

    Glad you gave the NAIM kit a try. I was sure I wouldn't be the only one who found them impressive. Just goes to show you should trust your ears, not other people's!
     
  20. JH1

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    If that is your preference, I would find it hard to believe you won't like the new NAIM kit. When I compared the equivalent Primare kit to the NAIM, I found the NAIM to be very detailed and more "real".....not bright and in your face. I think maybe there must have been a time when NAIM did sound like that for it to have got that reputation, but this new stuff was far from it IMHO.
    I'm not saying there's anything at all wrong with the Primare, it was nice stuff....I just found the NAIM more involving and realistic in comparison. Don't just write off the NAIM because of it's previous reputation for bright and in your face sound, you may be missing out on something you might just like!
     
  21. dave48

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    You are quite possibly right! Maybe I'm just worried that I might like it if I tried it! :cool:

    I'm a bit committed to Primare now, and I really like the sound now that I've got the fully balanced setup. The other factor is I know that I am a pathological upgrader, so if I'd started off on Naim, I would have eventually ended up with a fully active six-pack type set-up, or whatever is Naim Nirvana these days! At least I've reached the end of the Primare upgrade chain.

    Glad you've found something you really like!
     
  22. JH1

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    I don't think it matters what you've got....if it sounds good to the 'ole ears...that's gotta be what counts. The majority of the products we talk about on these forums are excellent products, no matter what the make.....all very good at what they do. Some do it a little different than others, but then I'm glad they do...it would all get very boring otherwise. You wouldn't get that buzz when you hear the sound you've been waiting for; if everything sounded the same!
     

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