With some reviews you prefer to go straight to the conclusion. However, we’re going to hold back for a while. First we are going to introduce the Primare i15 and SC15. Because this Swedish Duo just deserves that. In short: first things first… what are we talking about?
Primare is a brand that your editor has worked with a lot during his ‘store-time’ at Wilbert in Utrecht. It was one of those brands with a wow-factor. Super heavy built. Tight looks. Kind of chic… and the AV-products sounded great at the time – around the year 2000 – in both multichannel and stereo. Unique, because in most cases it was either/or.
Of course there were also products that were less great. The DVD30 was not a huge success due to quality problems. And some amplifiers sounded a bit ‘dark’ or ‘brown’. But overall: beautiful brand.
Between 2010 and 2018 we lost Primare out of sight for a while. We don’t know exactly why. But since last year it’s back. Colleague Geoffrey tested the Primare i15 prism and was very impressed. Fast, neutral and very versatile. With our multitest amplifiers from a few months ago, the I25 left a very good impression. Fast, open, neutral… just like the i15. Now it is the turn of the i15 integrated amplifier and the SC15 Prisma streamer / dac / pre-amp. What kind of impression is it going to leave?
Let’s start with the Primare SC15 Prisma. This is a very extensive device. This streamer (hence the name Prisma), dac and pre-amp can do almost anything. Streaming – cable and wifi – via Airplay, UPnP and Spotify. There are analog inputs, bluetooth and we notice a WISA for connection to a few speakers that are WISA compatible. That’s quite a bit.
Now Chromecast should work as well, but strangely enough we didn’t see the i15 Prisma coming up. Not in the Google Home app, Youtube or ROON. Weird. Spotify works flawlessly. And the App of Primare itself works fine after the last update.
Then the Primare i15. So this is the non-Prisma version. This is the normal amplifier with only analog inputs. We see five single ended inputs, including phono (MM). Then there is a pre-out and a line-output. Simple, solid. The two Class D mufflers (Hypex UcD) deliver 60 watts per channel. A switching power supply delivers energy. That sounds like a recipe for sharpness and some harshness. But nothing could be further from the truth. This is a smooth and fast machine. But more about that later.
Primare has provided the most recent line with a lot of technical ingenuity. Especially the SC is really a new design. Whether it is also KallaxFi – as Darko calls it – we don’t dare say; it could be just too wide. But it is FutureFi with bluetooth, wifi and WISA. In fact, all you need is a set of WISA speakers to control the whole thing completely wirelessly. OK: mains cables are always needed. But still… beautiful.
The App of the Prisma line is certainly not bad. However, it is not the best app we know. It feels a bit rudimentary; it also lacks some intuïtivity in operation. However, since the last update, the small but annoying bugs are gone. (We couldn’t turn shuffle off and sometimes the app crashed). That has been fixed.