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Review Primare A35.8 – the bridge between movies and music

Pros

  • Flexible through bridge mode
  • Up-beat character
  • Lots of power

Cons

  • High current power cord needed
  • Lower gain (doesn't need to be an issue)
  • Prijs: € 5000

    Build quality
    Usability
    Sound
    Price

    The Primare Sound

    Contents

    The Primare A35.8 is a true powerhouse. And that power is sent to the speaker very cleanly and accurately. Now many enthusiasts associate Class D with dry and sometimes a bit sharp, but it doesn’t have to be. Standard Class D sometimes is, we agree. But when a manufacturer gets their design right, Class D is just very nice and clean. If you are looking for a colorful warm reproduction, then it may not be the right route to take. But if you are looking for pure and clean power, Class D is definitely an option.

    Tight and fast

    Now, we don’t always have the best experiences with power amplifiers with lots of channels. Often it’s a compromise. There is less power, we lose dynamics or air…. so on and so forth. This has everything to do with the fact that the power supply is shared with many channels.

    Primare – as we also say in the video – has done that very nicely. Their multi-channel set-up is often still very good at reproducing stereo music signals. And that’s no different now. Thank goodness for that.

    The A35.8 is primarily (pun intended) an excellent amplifier for the home theater enthusiast. Just hook up your processor and run some nice cables to the speakers. In 5.1, you can bridge the front channels for more power or perhaps bi-amp if you like it better. If you want to play music, it’s crucial that the processor handles it well. We just hooked up the Pass Labs XP12 to it and put half of the amp – in bridgemode – on the speakers. And that sounds… incredibly good! Not for a moment did we feel like we were listening to an eight-channel multichannel amplifier. The whole sounds smooth, dynamic, loose … just very good!

    If we switch off the bridge mode we notice without a doubt that there is less power available. This is also due to the lower gain of 20dB (we had chosen bridge +6dB … that gives some more punch). We must now turn up the Pass XP-12 quite far. Now that in itself is not bad, but we get the feeling that a little less headroom in combination with speakers that are also less sensitive. Think of the Dynaudio’s that are quite hungry for power. The Kudos fare a little better on that front.

    Agnostic

    Now we have had a lot of speakers on it. And both in bridge and in single wire and bi-wire / bi-amping. And actually we can conclude that the Primare A35.8 is quite agnostic when it comes to loads. At least: if the speaker behaves a bit normal. There are of course very crazy speakers that dip towards 1 Ohm. That will make bridge mode not very useful. The question is: do you really want such a speaker…. all the models we tried work fine with this Scandinavian.

    Cinemamonster

    In the cinema, we had this multichannel monster playing in bridge on the Phantoms. Movies are a different kind of load than music (more dynamic), and since this power box also ends up with movie lovers, it’s important to see how this amp behaves there.

    Now, for some time we have been using a pair of Bryston plate-amps for our rear channels – Bowers 702S2. Those have a higher gain than the Primare, so we have to let Illusonic IAP8 know that the gain settings are different. After some adjustments, everything is balanced and we can play.

    Normally we have a B+K Components amplifier (7 channels). That is in a completely different class than this Primare. And we hear that immediately. The Primare plays much looser, more refined and bigger than the B+K. What a huge difference! Partly because of the looseness and grandeur, voices are easier to follow and they also have more realism; it is less veiled.

    In dynamic pieces – think of some rougher fighting and shooting – the Primare follows very quickly. In fact, it’s only now that we hear what the DALI Phantoms are really capable of… and that is impressive for an in-wall and a compliment to this Primare which can be very versatile…

    Video Primare A35.8

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