- Written by Jim Clements
- Published on 28 April 2011
My review unit was not completely broken in when it arrived for evaluation. And I put it in my system after having listened extensively to a pair of excellent Mark Levinson No 531H monoblocks. So the Primare A30.7 started out at a bit of a disadvantage. I must say that my initial impression of the A30.7 was that it had a sort of grainy character to its sound. This graininess slowly diminished to nearly imperceptible levels over a fairly long break in period, but it never worked out completely.
The first material I reviewed after the Primare's amplifier equalized was the Inception Blu-Ray. As far as I am concerned, you can keep The Matrix now that Inception has been made. Inception is more fun than The Matrix and I found it to be more intellectually stimulating, holding up much better over multiple viewings.
Inception has a high energy DTS HD Master soundtrack and it is on full display with this Blu-Ray disc. Over the Primare A30.7, I got the total impact of the sound loud and clear. Because the A30.7 weighs less than 30 pounds, I felt that it might be lean-sounding. Boy was I wrong about that! This amp was so delightfully punchy and dynamic I could hardly believe it. This amp is a bantamweight that packs a heavy weight punch.
I heard it right from the opening dream sequence. When Saito's house collapses, the sound was nothing short of majestic. Everything about this event sounded "correct" except that the glass breaking was a little on the harsh side. Because of the efficient technology behind the Primare A30.7 its simultaneous multi-channel power output was quite strong.
The music on this disc sounded tremendous from top to bottom, from left to right and from front to back. I did detect a little bit of a clinical antiseptic quality to the sound at times. This was detected in the reproduction of the mids and highs. But the music and ambience were widely distributed beyond the limits of the room. Really.
We had a little get together at our home for the Super Bowl this year. I had the Primare A30.7 in my main system for the big game. Just a few nights earlier I had been to see Lady Antebellum at the AT&T Center. The PA system at the AT&T Center really stinks and it seriously detracted from my experience of the concert. They play the system way past its limits and its bass response is challenged in the overly resonant acoustic space of the arena. So it was with great delight that I found the sound of the Super Bowl halftime show over the Primare A30.7 to be revelatory in its clean and intelligible sound. I mean, it really was better than being there. Also, the show with the Black Eyed Peas and their guests was one of the best I've seen. Bravo!
Now on to some music selections with a new release from virtuoso five-string bass player, Renaud Garcia-Fons. His new CD is titled Mediterranees. This disc takes you on a musical journey around the Mediterranean Sea. You begin at the southernmost tip of Spain, working your way around clockwise and ending close to the point of beginning at the Straits of Gibralter. I listened in Dolby Pro Logic II Music mode.
The perspective on this disc was a little forward, but not distractingly so and after a while, I realized that I could step in to the recording when listening over the Primare A30.7. The amp did at times sound a little brittle on some of these tracks. I also felt that the sound was somewhat clinical again. But I am not sure if this is a negative or not. I now believe that this was nothing more than the Primare amp's adeptness at faithful reproduction combined with a dry character. I misinterpreted these qualities as a clinical sound.
On the plus side, the Primare amp really lit up the room with transients. And the pacing of the music was beyond reproach. The Primare A30.7 drives all channels simultaneously without strain and offers up great dynamic headroom. Take "Las Ramblas" – the percussion had excellent tonal balance from the highest frequency of the attack to the lowest fundamentals of the decay. Or "La Demoiselle De Céret" – the theorbo came through with excellent mid range clarity and purity of tone.
One more great quality of this amp was the way it painted an extremely stable image of the music. Take "Camp D' Argeles" where the plucked 5-string double bass finds Garcia-Fons in his natural element. I was simply transported away to this historic place along the Mediterranean.
The Low Anthem's third album is entitled Oh My God, Charlie Darwin. I listened to the CD in Dolby Pro Logic II Music mode. The voice reproduction was spectacular, very clean sounding over the Primare A30.7. There was a consistency in the voice reproduction: laid back, natural and eerily realistic. The harmonica was nice and raspy with all the harmonics intact. The physical perspective of instruments and voices was spot on. Many of these songs have a far-off point of view. Most of the time, I felt as if I were in a sparse crowd in a theater someplace. This album was a downright joy through the Primare A30.7.
I also listened to the Bonobo Black Sands CD which features vocals by Andreya Triana on a number of tracks. The claves and the highs on this disc really shone. The mixed in "static" brought along all its concomitant edginess. I found little to criticize about the sound of this CD over the Primare A30.7 amplifier.
I closed out my auditioning of the Primare A30.7 amp by watching Jewel, The Essential Songbook Blu-Ray Disc 2. This concert begins with her playing solo acoustic guitar and singing many of her standards as well as some of her lesser-known compositions. Later, she is joined by a small string orchestra.
Jewel writes songs, plays guitar and sings. She is extremely talented. Her voice has a lovely tone and I heard it clear as a bell over the Primare amp. It really was just like I was sitting there in the audience experiencing this concert live. The Primare A30.7 was very musical with a lively sound that created a natural hall ambience in my living room. The orchestra was equally fabulous sounding. By the time the encore came along, I was like a bowl of Jello for this singer, Jewel. She is my cup of tea. By the way, the encore performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" was simply stunning through the Primare A30.7.
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