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alexi2
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Primare i22

Hi,

I currently have a pair of B&W DM602 S2 that I am thinking of pairing with a Primare i22. In the future I want to upgrade the speakers to a higher end stand speaker such as the B&W PM1 without having to change the amp. I play good quality digital recordings off a dedicated computer and the DAC in the Primare is a selling point.

Any thoughts? Will the PM1 slot into the system when I decide to upgrade again in a year or so?

Thank you,
Alex

commsysman
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alexi2 wrote:
alexi2 wrote:

Hi,

I currently have a pair of B&W DM602 S2 that I am thinking of pairing with a Primare i22. In the future I want to upgrade the speakers to a higher end stand speaker such as the B&W PM1 without having to change the amp. I play good quality digital recordings off a dedicated computer and the DAC in the Primare is a selling point.

Any thoughts? Will the PM1 slot into the system when I decide to upgrade again in a year or so?

Thank you,
Alex

My first choice would be the Musical Fidelity M3i.

As a general rule, I do not like amplifiers with a DAC incorporated, because putting the digital circuits in the amp is a design compromise that can affect sound quality.

I suggest you get a separate DAC. Lots of good ones are available at reasonable prices, such as the Audioengine D1.

bierfeldt
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Things to consider

The B&W PM1s have an 84db sensitivity, extremely inefficient and are a hard speaker to drive. 80w should be plenty of power to drive them. At 3/4 (60w of power) volume output would be 92dB at 20ft and 98dB at 10ft. Unless you are in a big room or regularly "turn it up to 11", you would be fine.

Alternatively, I have never heard the Primaire amp and know nothing about it's sound profile. It is a Class D which makes it a touch unusual. Lots of benefits from a power consumption perspective but I am not sure if anyone has truly mastered that technology yet.

I do know the PM1s and they are extremely revealing, ultra detailed speakers and the amp needs to compliment that. I want to preface this by saying I have no idea if the Primaire can be classified this way, but any amp that hints at brightness is probably not a good match for those speakers. I would lean toward an integrated that is neutral to a touch warm. Otherwise, acoustic guitar, horns and strings can become painful if you are sensitive to brightness.

Basically, if you have your heart set on those PM1s, I would spend some time listening to them and the Primaire (or any integrated) before I pulled the trigger. The PM1s are really awesome speakers but are not forgiving at all.

Also, I agree wholeheartedly with commsysman on the external DAC. I don't know the Audioengine D1 but I am sure it is great. You could also consider the Peachtree Dac iTx which is a darn nice unit.

alexi2
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Primare vs Musical Fidelity vs Creek Audio vs Roksan

Hi,
Thanks for the help, I listened to the Primare with the PM1 and I was a little disappointed. I have the feeling they do not match well with the PM1s but I am considering other speakers as well (I come from a sound engineering background "retired", so I am inclined more toward multiple speakers than not having spent time with a host of speakers over the years). I have the chance to get the Musical Fidelity M3i, Creek Audio 50A, at about the same cost, and the Roksan K2 integrated as the cheapest option. I am also considering the primate i32 simply because it has balanced inputs and I will be looking at an outboard DAC. Can't listen to the Roksan but hopefully I will get a chance to ABC the other three, time permitting. Any thoughts on these options? As far as the DAC I am considering the irArcam.

Cheers

bierfeldt
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Thoughts

The Musical Fidelity M3i is awesome. Outstanding detail and clarity. It is very neutral. The Roksan K2 is a great sounding unit. Has a big sound, nice balanced level of detail and is an amazing value at its price point. It would never say it is better than the Musical Fidelity, just different. It's like trying to choose between a BMW Five Series and a Lexus GS. Both are great cars, but very different to drive. I have not heard the Creek 50A and can't offer any opinion on it outside of reviews.

If you can deviate from the above three units, I would seriously consider the Jolida JD502CRC. It is a tube amp and I think might be a great partner to those PM1s. There is something special about a tube amp and those PM1s can really bring that to life. The other unit I would consider is the Rega Elex R. Exceptional clarity and neutrality with a big soundstage. They are both priced similarly to the Roksan K2.

When considering new speakers, I would check out the Revel Performa3 line, the Monitor Audio Gold line, Dynaudio Excite & Focus lines, PSB Synchrony One line and the Paradigm Signature and Inspiration lines along with the Wharfedale Jades. And if there is a dealer near you, the Acoustic Zen Adagio Jr's though they are very hard to find. That would give you a solid sampling of speakers between $1500 and $3500 with extremely different sound profiles as alternatives to the PM1s. For what you are going to spend, I would invest a little time shopping and/or taking advantage of 30 day return policies.

commsysman
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Jolida??

Sorry, but I have to disagree about the Jolida.

Those speakers need an amp that will deliver around 100 watts per channel, with their low sensitivity, and the Jolida doesn't even come close. It is rather optimistically rated at 60 watts per channel, and it will have very limited output below 50 Hz; the bass just won't amount to much.

The Musical Fidelity M3i would be good, or the Arcam A28. They both put out close to 100 watts at 4 ohms and have solid bass.

On the other hand, if you choose a pair of speakers that are 90db/watt or higher sensitivity, you could use almost any amplifier and have plenty of power.

I have a suggestion for you, but you would have to take advantage of it soon; Music Direct is closing out the excellent Focal Profile 908 speakers, which normally list for $3000, at the super price of $998 per pair!

If I was in your shoes I would jump at that.

bierfeldt
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i would most definitely defer to commsysman on the Jolida

I forgot about the modest power rating on the Jolida. He makes a great point. I was trying to think of a good tube amp in that price range as I think a Tube would sounds great with the PM1s. I think the Jolida sounds great, but commsysman is spot on. Those PM1s need lots of power and the Jolida won't deliver that.

alexi2
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I went with the Primare i22

Thanks again for the helpful suggestions. I went with the i22, after many listening tests and reading up on the various technology. My head kept telling me that the Class D was in some way deficient, but my ears kept telling me that I actually like the precision that this amp offered when compared to similarly priced amps. Another factor was the built in DAC, which again, I am sure, works more precisely when separated from the current draw of both the pre and amp. However, the primare is very competitively priced at $1800 AUD, and the DAC compared well with an outboard DAC of about $500-1000. The amp is running in at the moment, and I also bought an Isotek evo3 board and power cable. Perhaps it is my engineering background, but the first thing I listen for in an amp is the spatial field and the dynamics. In my opinion, at the price point for DAC and integrated, the primare was excellent.

I am presently listening to Billy Cobham - Spectrum, and the dynamic attack and separation on the drums is phenomenal. At higher volumes the amp reveals its weakness in its capacity to clearly articulate the lower frequency range, however, the speakers are still my trusty DM602 S2, and they are hard to drive below 100Hz and have a significant 120Hz peak.

As far as my speaker upgrade, that will take a little while. I listened to the Dynaudio Excite X38 and thought they were good, but lacked the subtlety of the sonus faber venere 2.5. The excites seem to bloom a little too much at around 250Hz, drawing some of the precision out of the mix. I have yet to put the BW CM9's through a serious listen, but I will shortly. I also want to try the SF venere 3.0 and Revel equivalents. The Paradigms 60 and 100s are not great, but pump out a big sound.

I am also considering a sub, but not sure where to go with that?

Thanks again for all the input.

Catch22
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I'm glad you updated this thread

I'm always curious what someone ends up choosing and their impressions.

bierfeldt
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2nd Catch22s thoughts

Thanks for updating us. That is great that you picked what you liked and enjoying it.

Good luck with the speaker demo's and please share where you end up with that selection.

wkhanna
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+3

Appreciate the feedback & happy that you are enjoying the music.

Bill - on the Hill
Practicing Curmudgeon & Audio Snob
- just an “ON” switch, Please –

alexi2
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Cheers

Thanks everyone again, posted a review in the "rants and raves" section.

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