Primare SP32 & SP33

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by Krobar, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. Krobar

    Krobar
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    I know Vix has one of these too but I just received an SP32 to test and wanted to share some thoughts.

    I currently have an Integra Research RDC-7.1 (Onkyo flagship from 3-4 years ago, RRP was £4K, it was a higher end design than the current PR-SC886). Other gear is an EAD Powermaster 7300 and a full set of Dali Euphonias.

    Build Quality:
    Very solid build with a sort of minimalist front panel, not as intricate as the more expensive Integra but well above build standards for some other equipment in the £2K+ market.

    Connections:
    Only 3 HDMI inputs and basic video. Sound and hifi type connections are much better catered for, 2 Balanced Stereo Inputs, AES/EBU input and 3 fully programmable triggers were the more unusual bits I saw on the back. HDMI and whole video board is a removable module, a 5 HDMI input card with HD codec dcode and full VP is already announced for Q2/Q3.

    Operation:
    Very nice clear display which enlarges text for volume changes or input changes, unlike the Integra you can clearly read the volume and input from the listening position (Sounds minor but it is actually quite important).

    Powerup inludes a short warm up and some relay switching but no relays switching seems to occur once it powers up. Volume is quite sensitive but no clicks or hiccups. Input switcher is stiff on the demo unit. Remote is very cheap but I guess most people will use a bigger multi remote. Input switching is very quick with the exception of HDMI that takes 5-7 seconds to lock on! (I have asked Primare about this). Its a bit odd that there is no info type button, the Primare only gives the most basic info about the input (Dolby, DTS, 2ch PCM or Multi PCM).

    All inputs can be renamed and can have any audio or video assigned (Including HDMI for Audio and a different connection for video type combos). Crossover is per speaker pair in 10hz steps (I use 70/70/100). There is also delay and trim setting per input. Triggers are fully assignable to zone or particular input. I like the way you can disable unused inputs to make selection using the selector knob much easier.

    HDMI Compatability:
    Surprisingly good. I have a BH200 which is known to cause issues with some gear but it has behaved very well so far. The SP32 cannot decode HD codecs but does accept multichannel PCM up to 7.1. Apart from the long lock on I have not had any dropouts or issues so far, my chain is actually BH200 to SP32 to Lumagen HDP over DVI to Projector and it works well including input switching and powering on anf off various parts of the chain. In fact the SP32 seems to negotiate video levels with the BH200 and so I get better video performance with the SP32 in the chain!?!

    I tested DD, DTS, DTS24/96, DTS-ES, DD-EX, TrueHD5.1 (Decoded to 5.1PCM), TrueHD 6.1 (Decoded to 6.1 PCM) and PCM 5.1 and all worked fine. The only complaint I have is DPL2X is forced on for lossy codecs and forced off for MPCM (Again I have asked Primare about this). 1080P/24 pass though was OK too. Delay is a global setting, not a per input one (Seems like an oversight).


    Sound Quality:

    First up, the noise floor it is incredibly low. A volume of 30 is more than loud enough for most sound tracks on my setup, I could not hear any noise with my ear at point blank to the speaker above the very very low amp noise floor until I reached 65 on the dial. The volume goes up to 99, this thing could happily tear your head off in most setups, considering the Integras known peak voltage figures I reckon this thing must be capable of 20V+ on the balanced outputs.

    Sound quality with stereo source is rather excellent, its is on the slightly lush side of neutral, probably well suited to the likes of B&W. Imaging and the very low noise floor make for some lovel clarity and an excellent dynamic range. I experienced better imaging and a stronger midband than the integra, detail was likely helped by the very low noise floor. Contrary to what the manual says, 24/176 and 24/192 stereo work fine over coax digital and they work well.

    Films were more enveloping with all soundtracks and had more depth and body than I'm used to in the HD soundtracks. Steering was as expected fast and accurate, the very low noise floor helps, it seems some lossless tracks have a very high dynamic range on this unit (The first attack in iron man has explosions that must be +15-20db over dialogue), great if you like to be around reference level but there is a night mode to compensate for quieter times. My test discs were The Rock Bluray, Dark Knight Bluray, Live At Abbey Road Vol 1 Bluray, Lady in the Water HDDVD, Matrix HDDVD, Master and Commander DVD, DVE HDDVD, Iron Man Bluray and NIN HDDVD.

    I only tried digital inputs. The unit has a true balanced analogue pass through and I suspect an even lower noise floor with balanced analogue. I would consider the new Sony SACD player to go with this unit if I buy but until then I unfortunately dont have an analogue source I would conisder worthy of listening to.

    Verdict:

    If they fix the missing parts in the user interface and the HDMI slight noise on hand shake I will probably buy this unit (They are doing comparatively well considering its Firmware V1.00). These fixes are all that keeps it from a kind of minimalist perfection for my own use, the sound quality and noise floor are excellent so if it is made functionally perfect then I cant ask for a lot more and in my case it is then worth £2.5K.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2009
  2. Mr_Orange

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    Interesting read, thank you, although I'm not in the market for a new processor.

    Audiolab could do with taking note of these particular settings for 8000AP. They have been much requested, but so far not forthcoming.
     
  3. TopMeTom

    TopMeTom
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    V.Interesting, just picked up a power amp off here, going to run a 906 as a processor till I find a dedicated processor, look forward to reading more!
     
  4. Krobar

    Krobar
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    Updated.
     
  5. Krobar

    Krobar
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    Update:
    Upgraded from V1.00 to 1.25 firmware. Minor pops on HDMI change gone, no spurious noises at all now.
     
  6. Vix

    Vix
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    Glad to hear that the firmware upgrade has made some discernable improvement. I will now have to get mine done asap! :thumbsup:
     
  7. PitBull

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    Krobar/Vix,

    My SP32 is on v1.00 currently.

    How did you do the firmware upgrade - is this dealer only, or can you do it yourself ?

    My only big issue (complaint) is currently you cannot play component input through HDMI output - rather annoying as my DVD player has component and scart but not HDMI. However this will apparantly be fixed by the upcoming video board upgrade - waiting to hear whether this will be free or payable (should be free in my view - it's a defect that was not noted in the specs).
     
  8. Krobar

    Krobar
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    The firmware upgrade can be installed by yourself if you have a serial null modem cable and a computer/laptop with a serial port.

    The current version has no Video Processing or Transcoding to HDMI, I very much doubt the upgrade will be free. Why not upgrade your dvd player?
     
  9. clint1972

    clint1972
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    Someone can give me the last firmware of sp32?
    Primare :nono: give me the firmware 1.30 of spa22 and now I have some problem.......

    Thanks to all
     
  10. Vix

    Vix
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    Hi, I am now on firmware V1.3 - but this came loaded on what is now my 3rd SP32 following issues with the two previous examples. :rolleyes:
     
  11. clint1972

    clint1972
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    I have all I need (program, null modem cable and PC)
    Primare gave me firmware 1.3 for spa22 and I have installed; this is the problem.
     
  12. clint1972

    clint1972
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    I have installed firmware v1.30 for sp32 and it is ok.
    I notice that when turn on it the volume is set to ten.
    Someone use sp32 with play3?
    When enter or exit from games the signal (multimch) from hdmi is lost very often. I need to change input to return it .
     
  13. PitBull

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    Clint1972,

    I have Firmware v1.0.

    Always set to volume 10 at start up (actualy the Pre30 pre-amp does the same.

    I have the same issue with PS3 - need to flip the input up/down to get it to relock. Somewhat annoying - and would have assumed this was fixed in later Firmware releases.
     
  14. hificork

    hificork
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    I have my sp32 for over 9 months now, and I have added the dvd 26 hdmi as my previous V25 had component output only. I also have a ps3 blue ray player and a sky HD box all connected with HDMI to the SP32.

    Question:
    There are 2 upgrades coming up for the SP32
    1) the HD audio module
    2) the scaler module

    Does anyone know what clear advantages these upgrades offer in my current setup?
    2ndly I have never done a firmware upgrade, can somebody explain what is involved to do this myself?
     
  15. Vix

    Vix
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    Hi,
    I can't help on the hardware upgrades although I'll be interested in any responses.
    AFAIK the firmware upgrade involves downloading and burning the upgrade to a CD or DVD then running the upgrade on a computer connected with a null modem cable from a serial port to the RS232 port on the rear of the SP32.
    I was glad that I got the dealer to do this as my upgrade went wrong and I lost stereo sound and was left with only multichannel. I ended up with a replacement SP32!
    As a matter of interest what do you think of your SP32. I enjoy the sound quality but the delay in audio lock can be very annoying when selecting chapters on a DVD.
     
  16. hificork

    hificork
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    Overall I am very happy with it. I replaced my sp31.7 with the SP32, and the sound seems to be opener in stereo and generally better sound with movies. Also I can now display my ps3, sky hd box and dvd player all on my projector which is nice.
    What is not so good is: the sp32 finding the correct sound setting, ie 2 channel pcm or multi pmc.
    I sometimes have to change source and go back again to get a signal. Also when switching between region 1 and other region DVD's the picture flickers for 20 seconds.
    I also found when installing or connecting new sources that there is no sound. It needed some sort of a reboot, to get everything working.
    But overall still very happy with it. I hope the firmware update solves some of my problems.
    I see that you have a cd31 from primare. I have the older d30.2 and am curious if the cd31 would be a significant upgrade. What is your experience?
     
  17. Vix

    Vix
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    Hi,
    Unfortunately I can't really comment on the CD31 vs previous models as this is my first decent system - in recent years my audio experience has been limited to the computer and the car! I am still struggling to get the system how I want it and probably have some work to do on wall treatments, different inteconnects etc.
    From my limited experience, and given the vagaries of CD quality (I had not realized just how bad some of them are), I'm not sure personally that I'd be able to notice much difference.
    Can you get hold of a loan machine and try it out?
     
  18. Cees Kok

    Cees Kok
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    I bought my Primare SP32 in Dec 2009 and got the following two problems:
    HDMI wiring:
    Input 1: my HD set top box (provided by my television provider with both standard and HD tv channels)
    Input 2: a Pioneer blu-ray player
    Output 1: my Samsung HD television
    The SP32 is connected to a A30.5 Primare power amplifier and 5 speakers.
    The SP32 has the following SW level:

    MCU: V2.08, dsp: V1.0, HDMi: V2.0


    Problem 1)
    When I switch channels on my set top box, it takes around 10 seconds before the sound of the new channel can be heard.

    Answer Primare:
    Please use SPDIF or Toslink instead of audio over HDMi and the SP32 will lock a lot faster, also there is a lot less jitter over these connections than over HDMi so they probably sound better as well.

    My remark:
    I can read in this forum this delay is normal. But what's the use of HDMI if you need another connection for the audio ?


    Problem 2)
    When I switch to a HD TV channel, the SP32 gets in a totally frozen status - I cannot adapt volume or input (not via the remote and also not on the SP32 itself).
    Only thing I can do is power off the SP32 (main switch at the back of the processor)

    Answer Primare:
    Can you please check if you unit contains the latest 2.08 software.You can find this number in the ABOUT menu of the onscreen.


    My question:
    Does anyone else has this problem?
     
  19. Vix

    Vix
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    Hi,

    Your Problem 1.
    When I change source or switch chapters on a DVD my SP32 typically takes 4-5 seconds to regain audio lock. This is annoying as any dialogue is lost during this period. I use audio over HDMI and my SP32 is running V1.30. Given the problem previously experienced upgrading the firmware I won't be rushing to upgrade further! :thumbsdow

    I hope you get your problems sorted.
     
  20. Krobar

    Krobar
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    Anyone notice the HD audio upgrade is now available:
    Primare : HD Upgrade Shipping!!!

    Cees,

    The first problem you are having sounds very similar to the issues I was getting with my test unit when changing chapters with my Bluray/HDDVD player.
     
  21. dnlyko

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    Hello all,

    :lease: What are the differences between the...

    SP31
    SP31.7
    SP31.7MKII

    Thanks
     
  22. cammy

    cammy
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    hi there!

    if you send primare an e-mail at [email protected] they will tell you the differences between the versions.

    they will also tell you anything you want to know about the sp32.

    they usually reply fairly quickly with any queries you may have.
     
  23. cameronl

    cameronl
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    hi, how is everyone finding there SP32?

    Are you all happy with the stereo performance?

    I am thinking of buying the SP32HD.

    thanks

    CaM
     
  24. cammy

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    hi there,

    i've had the SP32 HD since april

    sounds great in stereo and anything else for that matter.

    i think it's a great av processor with excellent sound quality.
     
  25. Vix

    Vix
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    Hi,
    Can I ask what the audio lock time is like on the SP32 HD? As mentioned above, my SP32 takes an annoying 4-5 seconds. I still haven't dared upgrade from V1.30.
     
  26. cammy

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    hi vix,

    been checking out the audio lock on the SP32 HD.

    on sky only a second or two when switching channels(hardly noticeable)

    there is a 4-5 second delay when playing a br disc from the menu but when skipping chapters,visual searching back and forward,stop resume, the audio locks on instantly after pressing play again.

    firmware version

    MCU-V2.15
    DSP-V1.03
    HDMI-V2.00
     
  27. cameronl

    cameronl
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    hi, thanks for your reply.

    Can you please tell me what other processors you have tried?

    I currently have the Halo C2 along with matching power amps. I am thinking of keeping the power amps and getting the SP32HD.

    I would probably get sometype of room correction afterwards i.e. Audyssey

    The only competition to the SP32HD for me is the ADA, but it is more expensive. The Arcam seems to buggy and I do not need any type of video scaling as I only watch movies through my htpc.

    thanks for your time.

    CaM
     
  28. cammy

    cammy
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    i've only had one other processor which was the arcam av9.

    it too has excellent sound quality but with music it was too bright for my ears.

    i've never tried room correction apart from the ypao room equalizer that came with the yamaha Z7.

    i also have the antimode 8033 for the sub but i haven't even used it with the SP32 yet.

    i would try to get a demo of the SP32 if you could.
     
  29. cameronl

    cameronl
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    hi, thanks for your reply.

    CaM
     
  30. cammy

    cammy
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    no problem mate,hope you find what you're looking for.
     

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