Primare I15 Prisma MK2
Primare I15 Prisma MK2
Primare I15 Prisma MK2

Primare I15 Prisma MK2: Compact integrated stereo amplifier

The Primare I15 Prisma amplifier is part of a new line of compact components with a slightly different philosophy for building audio systems. Formally, this is a stereo amplifier with a power of 60 W per channel. He received a prize from the EISA association precisely as an amplifier. But in fact, this is an all-in-one type device, which, to create a complete system, only requires acoustics, and not necessarily compact ones.

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It is equipped with its own network audio player and DAC that supports files up to PCM with a frequency of 384 kHz and DSD128. Accordingly, it can act as a DAC for external sources, including a computer and TVs. In addition, it easily connects to mobile devices via Bluetooth and AirPlay. But the most interesting thing is that it can be controlled by voice!

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Such advanced capabilities of this amplifier appeared thanks to proprietary Prisma technology – special software from Primare, which combines the usual functions of a streamer and Google Chromecast. The amplifier connects to a local network (preferably with a cable, but you can also use Wi-Fi) and through an application on an iPad or Android tablet (for smartphones it will appear a little later) connects to any smart speaker that supports Google Assistant – for example, an inexpensive one Google Home, which becomes a microphone for Primare. After which you can control all the main functions of the amplifier: turning on, switching inputs, adjusting the volume, searching and selecting music in the library and connected services.

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Such a connection with a smart speaker, naturally, does not become exclusive – several devices can be connected to smart speakers for control, so to control the amplifier, you need to add the word “primer” before each voice command. Thanks to Prisma technology, the amplifier works as a very versatile streamer. It supports a variety of streaming services, including Spotify and Tidal, works with any Internet radio, and acts as a Roon client. That is, it does not contain the Roon player itself, but the amplifier interfaces with devices on which it can be installed, say, computers, and acts as a streamer for them.

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It is also universal as a player for already downloaded files. From USB flash drives and disks, it, of course, plays everything except DSD256 files, which can be played in another way, for example, through the same Roon or another player on a computer, which, in turn, just needs to be on the same network that this Primare I15 Prisma. But using USB is not the most popular way to deliver files to the device these days, so this port is located on the rear panel along with the other connectors.

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The main way, of course, is through the network from a local server. If you connect in the simplest way using the UPnP protocol to a shared drive or folder, then only folders with files will be displayed in the application. In this case, searching by titles, artists or albums will not work as expected – this is the case for everyone. When you install a DLNA client on a server or computer, everything listed will already be available, and album covers will be displayed large on the tablet screen if their images are prudently placed in folders with audio files, regardless of whether they are listed in tags or not. The company promises that soon after updating the software, text information about the artist and album will also be loaded. And in this case, full voice control through a smart speaker will be available.

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If you play music from a computer on which Roon is installed, then everything will be even cooler. Both information and loaded images (in addition to covers) will be available initially, and the sound on files that are difficult to decode will be even better. Of course, there will be no restrictions on formats at all. Moreover, for the user, the listening procedure using this method will not differ from using a standard application, with the exception of the design on the screen and the additional features that appear. You just select the Roon app on your tablet and everything you need will be connected automatically.

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This is exactly the “delicious” part of the Primare I15 Prisma – the capabilities of today’s most advanced network devices combined with sound quality, which is inaccessible to most of these devices by definition. And, what is important, increasing the level of sound quality in this case applies not only to music on files or in streaming, but in general to everything that can sound and that can be connected to this device. After all, this is not a player, but an amplifier. It has a lot of inputs, both analog and digital, for every taste and color. You can connect your computer directly via USB Type B, or you can connect a disc player via coaxial cable – this is standard.

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I found another scenario very interesting – working in tandem with a TV! Today, many people refuse to deploy multi-channel systems due to the hassle of laying tens of meters of wires, the need for a special arrangement of furniture and the unclear result in the end. Unpretentious listeners choose soundbars instead, while connoisseurs of good sound choose conventional stereo systems. The only problem is that most often, to control when viewing, you need to use several remote controls or buy a universal one, and then program it.

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There is no need to do this here. We connect the TV in any way: analogue, coaxial or optical; although the latter option is, of course, preferable, since most modern models are equipped with an appropriate connector. And having connected, we can safely use one remote control, at least for most operations – the amplifier itself will turn on simultaneously with the TV, select the appropriate input and set the user’s preferred volume, which can be set in two clicks through the application in the input settings section. And if the TV has Smart TV functions, then there will be only one “remote control” in such a system – a tablet with a corresponding application for the TV. Well, isn’t it cool?!

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However, the main result, I repeat, will be a dramatic increase in sound quality. What will it be like in the end if we evaluate all sources? I will say this: neutral, without coloring or embellishment, but with decent dynamics. The Swedes from Primare used, in general, standard, proven components for their brainchild. The output stages are based on Hypex digital amplifiers, which today many manufacturers use even in very expensive components. The power supply is proprietary, with a pulsed source and huge capacitors for such a device. All this together perfectly drives even very large speakers.

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The Primare I15 Prisma amplifier is an excellent option for those who want to immediately enter the world of good sound, but do not intend to give up the conveniences that modern wireless and network technologies provide. It has everything you need to organize a stereo system, and even more possibilities than other amplifiers with built-in streamers.

Characteristics Primare I15 Prisma

Output power (at 8 ohms) in W 2 x 60 W
Output power (at 4 ohms) in W 2 x 100 W
Frequency range 10 Hz – 20 kHz, -0.5 dB
Signal-to-noise ratio 95 dB
Coefficient Harmonic distortion <0.05%, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 10 W / 8 ohms
File formats: WAV, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF, DSD64, DSD128, AAC, MP3, OGG, WMA, M4A
Maximum resolution: 32 bit / 384 kHz ( WAV), 24 bit/384 kHz (FLAC, ALAC, AIFF)
Streaming services and protocols: Chromecast, Airplay, Bluetooth (aptX HD), UPnP, Spotify Connect, Tidal, InternetRadio (vTuner Premium), Roon Ready
Inputs: 3 optical ( up to 24 bit/96 kHz), coaxial digital RCA (up to 24 bit/192 kHz), USB Type B (up to 32 bit/384 kHz), 2 x analog stereo RCA, coaxial digital mini-Jack
Interfaces: 1 x USB Type A, Ethernet, RS-232
Outputs: coaxial digital RCA
Dimensions: 350x73x329 mm
Weight: 6.4 kg

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