Review: Oriveti Primacy – primate

Disclaimer: Oriveti supplied Primacy for the purposes of this review. I paid nothing for it. Primacy goes for 299$ USD. You can find out all about it here: Oriveti Primacy Premium Triple Driver Hybrid.

Relevant links:

headfonia: Lear BD4.2
headfonia: Ultrasone IQ
headfonia: iPhone 4s – A beautiful old Leica
ohm image: AudioFly AF78/m
ohm image: Astrotec AX-60

Not that I’m into every hybrid earphone out there, but I’m definitely a fan. The first hybrid I heard is probably the first you heard: AKG’s clear, contrasty, K3003. That was all it took. I’m hooked. Primacy hooks up a single 8,6mm dynamic driver with two ‘exclusive’ dual armatures. 

Not sound

To this myopic reviewer, Oriveti appeared out of thin air. With my specs fitted, I’m super impressed by Primacy. It is a pleasant-looking earphone in a fat, understated box, in a physiologically familiar shape, in an understated colour.

Oriveti Primacy-1

Its nomenclature is at once religiously pious, at once pompous. Both adjectives sum up its simple, all-seeing eye. Primacy it glares, unblinking, from your ears; Primacy! glares out, wreathed by its black, beautifully CNCd aluminium chassis.

Unfortunately, its slim, soft-angled body has a few fit issues, arising from perpendicular lines. Primacy sits flush and comfy in the ear, but the cable juts straight out and up. Smallish eared people will find the cable juts out over the helix’s descending front edge. A quick, cheap fix would be something like an elbowed MMCX plug. A more expensive fix would be to extend Primacy’s MMCX neck further forward at an acute angle to the sound tube. Ultrasone’s IQ is a good study.

Oriveti Primacy-4

That is my biggest gripe with Primacy.

The other is the cable. It’s not a bad cable. It makes next to no microphonic noises. But both its internal architecture and sleeve are sub-par. It stretches when pulled and absorbs body oil and sweat. I fully expect it to harden and crystalise in short order, especially in the warm, wet climes.

What it nails: 1 – robust, simple, and utilitarian neck cinch 2 – low-profile heat-shrink y-split 3 – slim and case-friendly plug – are brilliant. As always, I’d prefer it terminated in a low-profile L-shaped plug, which better fits the rigours of in-pocket life.

With a better angled neck, Primacy would be THE bedside earphone. As it is, if your pillow is soft enough, you can sleep with Primacy in. If not, you will feel the cable digging into your helix.

Oriveti Primacy-7

The accessory package is the sort of overkill often seen in budget, fly-by-night companies with brute-force tactics:

4 foam tips, 16 silicon tips, a wax loop, 3,5mm to 6,3mm step-up adapter, airline adapter, thick-arse ear guides, and a tightly engineered metal case. The latter is so tightly machined that its lid glides down on a cushion of air when not forced. But I don’t get the idea that Oriveti are a fly-by-night. Primacy is too well designed and delivered. 

I don’t remember when I’ve been as split. Primacy’s misses stick out the more for its nearly perfect hits.

Sound and more after the jump:

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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.

17 Comments

  • Reply April 19, 2016

    Barun C

    One of your best articles Nathan, it was a very enjoyable read. Just wanted to know a few things. 1.How is the attack & decay in the Primacy?
    2.Would you recommend it with electronic nu breaks music e.g. Tipper ?

    Thanks

  • Reply April 19, 2016

    Michael Gunin

    Nathan, thanks for reviewing! I’m choosing between Primacy and Kennerton Jimo which you’ve written about as well. From your experience, how do they compare?

    • Reply April 19, 2016

      ohm image

      Jimo is more laid back across the board, closer to the AF78 in many respects. My personal sound preference is for Primacy, but I can’t speak for you. And it fits far more securely. Because of the angle in which the cable juts up across rather than around the helix, it’s not a great active lifestyle earphone but it is FAR better than either the AF78 or Jimo for activity.

      And the level of quality in both finish and accessories shown in Primacy far exceeds Jimo.

      • Reply April 19, 2016

        Michael Gunin

        Thanks. I’m listening to jazz, soul, funk and look for something smooth and non-harsh/sibilant. Laid back is good, but I guess Oriveti is also fatigue-free for long-term listening?

        Have you by any chance heard Cardas A8?

        Durability is important, so Primacy seems better than Jimo as I plan to choose something to be used for a long time.

        • Reply April 19, 2016

          ohm image

          I have not had the opportunity to hear the A8. I hope to get the chance at an upcoming headphone meet in Tokyo. If I do I’ll tell you. Do you own it?

          • Reply April 19, 2016

            Michael Gunin

            Not yet, but it might also suit my tastes. Really curious how it will compare with Primacy, since these two are my main options (DX50 is the source).

            • Reply April 19, 2016

              Michael Gunin

              Still, I also see AF78 available at USD 160-180 which is very attractive.

              • Reply April 19, 2016

                ohm image

                I have not tried the AF140. There are some warm gems among AudioFly’s line up, though.

                • Reply April 19, 2016

                  Barun C

                  I’m considering buying an IEM to accompany the Velvet but I want something different in the overall flavor of the sound. Needed your opinion on that Nathan. Thanks

                  1. Audio Technica CK 10
                  2. Ultrasone IQ
                  3. FLC 8
                  4. Oriveti Primacy

                  • Reply April 19, 2016

                    ohm image

                    I haven’t heard the FLC 8. But each of the others is different to Velvet, the farthest being the CK10, followed by IQ, with Primacy being tokenly close, but only by dint of IQ and CK10 being quite different. I think you’ll find Primacy to be a large remove from Velvet. But if you’re a fan of the ER4 sound, the CK10 is the closest thing.

                    • April 19, 2016

                      Barun C

                      Okay. I used to love the ER4S to bits, unfortunately I lost them in a theater 5 years ago. In terms of isolation they are still unparalleled compared to any IEM I’ve owned or heard.

                      How is the isolation of the CK 10?

                    • April 20, 2016

                      ohm image

                      CK10 is nowhere near the ER4, but it is good. Primacy isolates better than CK10.

                    • May 30, 2016

                      Michael Gunin

                      Hello Nathan, I wonder if you’ve managed to try Cardas A8?

  • Reply September 6, 2016

    Goran

    Can you give me suggestion for earphones for htc 10. Pop music + Enya, enigma style. Budget 300$. I have some ideas like ath ckr10, dunu 2000j, sennheiser ie80…or even primacy. Prefer in ear.

  • Reply January 17, 2017

    Wan

    Hi thanks for the review, I’m looking for a smooth yet detailed IEM (may be slightly warm) , may I ask is this Primacy a good choice? How is it compared to Fidue A83 or IBasso IT03 for that purpose? Thanks

    • Reply January 17, 2017

      ohm image

      I’m sorry but I’ve not heard the Fidue long enough to comment. The same goes for the iBasso. As for smoothness, Primacy is special: detail, but smooth.

  • Reply January 17, 2017

    WAN

    Hmm then it’s really special because smoothnesss sometimes is at the expense of detail, nice to hear this is not the case for Primacy, thanks for your advice!

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