Review: Oriveti New Primacy – Newer, primmer, just as precious

Sound

I loved the original. Consequently, my expectations for New Primacy were sky high. Largely, New Primacy has met or exceeded them.

Primarily, the Oriveti New Primacy inherited a dose of what I like to call the Ultrasone IQ soft-edged bass. The original Primacy wowed because it lacked the v-shape of many hybrids. It even introduced a soft high-end roll off. New Primacy further refines that image, adding wetter upper mids reverb, and deeper z-axis positional detail. The highs, softish though bright enough in the original, remain largely – but not wholly – untouched. Still, they gently roll off toward the top end, but not as much. Still they front incredible stereo detail, much of which covers for the mild roll off.

Largely, bass is untouched. Bass to mids transitional zones are seamless. For what it is worth, New Primacy’s transition zone is even smoother. Volumetrically, lows spread wider across the stereo spectrum than previously, evincing greater warmth. And yet I’m unconvinced that New Primacy is actually warmer than Old Primacy. Its bass just spreads laterally farther than previous.

It goes without saying that these differences aren’t night and day. They are minor, evolutionary modifications in an already great-sounding earphone. That New Primacy’s highs are simultaneously smoother and better extended than the original is absolute icing on the cake. This is especially true for trance fans, and I assume, classical fans who infer the shape and size of the musical venue thanks to detailed high-range cues.

The downside is that the Oriveti New Primacy lacks some of the inter-frequency bite and contrast that defined the original against single driver and hybrids. In fact, eyes poked, leg drained, shoe in the nuts, I’d happily describe New Primacy as less hybrid-y sounding than the original – if that were possible. New Primacy sounds damn close to a good single dynamic driver earphone, but with greater high frequency layering. And that is quite a feat.

It is also more 3-D sounding than old Primacy. Primarily, the z-axis is deeper. It’s still not a crazily layered sounding earphone. It won’t put you right in the middle of the music, and it won’t describe a crazy large stage, but the medium-size stage it describes is nuanced and textured. You’ll hear some hiss through Basic, but not a crazy amount. Next to Basic, it is mild, mature, and a bit more comfy for the long listen. Honestly, it’s hard for me to choose a favourite between the two. Basic fits more comfily, but its deep, low, throbbing bass makes for a harder, strained long-term listen. I should also mention that I have a hard time choosing between the Oriveti Primacy and the Oriveti New Primacy. The latter is both smoother and more extended, and therefore better meets the demands of faster music, and is great for trance. But I really like the original.

The meh

Which brings me to my biggest criticism. As long as Oriveti debut a new, improved Primacy, whose base sound signature cleaves closely to the original, surely they could improve other areas. The MMCX-side cable sleeve being too long and the earphone’s neck angle being so damn open was an issue from day 1. It still is. Close the angle. And angle the sound tube up, into the ear rather than at a perpendicular. Primacy’s rounded edges are super comfy. If it sat flat in the ear thanks to improvements I suggest, it would be one of the most comfy earphones on the planet.

End words

New Primacy’s 3D layering, soundstage, and new, more extended high frequency extension are worthwhile, iterative improvements. The new, stereo-wide bass is the bee’s knees. What’s not is its insertion and same-old MMCX neck angles. Still, it is a damn fine earphone. It is built well. It looks great. Oriveti brand their stuff great. And yet I expected more from the word New. That may be my fault.

New Primacy is worthwhile, but not altogether New, not altogether a fix to the original. If you’re in the market for a new earphone, the Oriveti New Primacy, like Primacy before it, remains a recommended buy. It comes in at the same price as the original, which makes the decision easy. But if you are a happy Primacy owner – and you should be – stay happy with what you have.

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Back before he became the main photographer for bunches of audio magazines and stuff, Nathan was fiddling with pretty cool audio gear all day long at TouchMyApps. He loves Depeche Mode, trance, colonial hip-hop, and raisins. Sometimes, he gets to listening. Sometimes, he gets to shooting. Usually he's got a smile on his face. Always, he's got a whisky in his prehensile grip.

4 Comments

  • Reply August 24, 2017

    Juan Luis

    How compared with earsonics es3???

    • Reply September 2, 2017

      Unkown music lover

      Hi just backing him up, whats the comparison of the new primacy and es3?
      Kindly add the noble sage if possible.

      Thanks!

  • Reply September 7, 2017

    Music is life

    What IEM can you recommend as an upgrade to this within the price range of 400-500?

  • Reply April 9, 2019

    Jason

    Hi Nathan, just wondering, does your New Primacy also experiences driver flex? Just curious if it is a common problem and won’t effect the lifetime of the IEM.

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