By combining Primare’s traditional build quality and analogue circuit design with the finest digital processing, the first 60 series music system represents a major step-up from the 30 series and introduces a new supremely audiophile level of performance to Primare’s product range.
The PRE60 features the comprehensive OLED display and control parameters established by the EISA award-winning I32 integrated amplifier. It is housed in a heavy gauge alloy steel chassis (15mm front panel), and incorporates two pairs (L/R) of low-noise balanced XLR inputs, four pairs of RCA inputs, RS232, trigger and IR inputs. There are two pairs of RCA outputs and two pairs balanced XLR outputs, as well as a record output.
In addition, the PRE60’s integrated DAC/media board offers MEDIA/streaming connections such as USB, iPod, LAN etc. It provides up to 24 bit/192 kHz streaming of files from Internet, NAS or PCs, as well as Internet radio content and also a digital audio input from a range of devices including CD players, smart phones, personal layers, sat boxes etc. Input/outputs include 3x optical, 1x SP/DIF, USB-A, USB-B, WLAN, LAN inputs (incorporating an asynchronous master clock for low jitter), and a Digital (192 kHz) output.
All signal paths are fully balanced and as short as possible. All signal treatments (source selection, volume and channel balance trims) are performed purely in the analogue domain. Unbalanced inputs are converted to balanced signals by a conversion stage buffered by the excellent sounding Burr Brown OPA2134 op-amps and fed to volume and balance controls employing closely matched NJW1195 attenuators in a balanced configuration. Source selection is via high performance signal relays.
Balanced signal transmission means that two identical signal lines are used to carry the same signal with opposite phase. Any noise is common to both lines is present in equal amounts and with identical phase. At the receiving end a (differential) receiver retains the opposite phase signals (music) and rejects the common phase ones (noise), leaving only the pure original signal. Balanced circuits therefore keep the signal as free as possible from interference.
The four (L/R balanced) single-ended 16dB gain stage modules are fully separated. Each has its own proprietary PCB. The gain module layout is fully integrated with the PRE60’s main PCB and incorporates ultra-short signal paths and only the finest discrete components such as MOSFET transistors, MELF resistors and polypropylene capacitors. Active, well-balanced current sources are used instead of passive resistor networks.
The fully-balanced DAC section uses the flagship Crystal DSD DAC CS4398. It features an improved output buffer employing a discrete FET output device. To ensure the cleanest signal transfer, a gold pin connection from the media board to analogue pre amplifier stage is used.
The PRE60 is DC coupled from input to output. There are no capacitors in the signal path. Instead, active DC servos are used to compensate for any DC present, ensuring that the outputs are always free from DC artifacts.
All the front panel control components are kept well separated from the analogue part of the PRE60 by the front panel’s intuitive design: the electronics are placed between the front panel and the main steel chassis.
Clean power with ultra-low-power standby
The PRE60 uses a very high quality, ultra-quiet C-core transformer, custom-made for the role. Discrete analogue and digital power supplies are kept well separated. For the analogue side, a discrete ultra-fast voltage regulation circuit using discrete power transistors is deployed. The power supply capacitor bank is very large (43.000uF) and for lower ESR and best performance, is divided between many smaller capacitors. These measures have produced excellent THD+N and S/N ratio figures for the PRE60.
The PRE60 incorporates a very low eco mode for standby. Power consumption is just 0.2W. In order to minimise high frequency components originating from the standby (high performance switch-mode) power supply when the PRE60 is in operation, the standby supply is switched off when the PRE60 is powered up, and a linear power supply comprising high quality discrete components and the C-core mains transformer takes over.
Easy User Interface
An easy set-up menu is available via the PRE60’s graphical display, which is dimmable in four steps. The display auto-dims after a few seconds and returns to programmed brightness at the touch of a control. Set-up includes power-up volume, input re-naming (up to 6 characters), input disabling and trim function (volume and balance) in steps of 1dB, as well as a surround processor bypass feature.PRE60 functionality and streaming options can be fully controlled using the Primare App for iOS and Android, including input selection, volume control, file browsing and selection from online and stored music libraries.