Still in its Primacy!
PROS: ergonomics of the design, updated sound tuning, premium 8-conductor cable, accessories.
CONS: included case is not pocket friendly, would like to see the cable with a balanced termination, “new” naming could be confusing.
The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.
The original Oriveti Primacy came out of nowhere and surprised everyone with their 3way premium hybrid IEM. It was a mature debut, not some budget release, and in my opinion Oriveti quickly elevated themselves to a level of other established 3way hybrids. After reviewing their original Primacy, I was approached with a request to look into their NEW Primacy, and assumed it will be just a minor refresh. After all, they didn’t change the name, kept the same price, and from the initial pictures even design looked similar. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure if Primacy needed an update, but decided not to jump into any conclusion until I have them in my hands and my ears.
As soon as I got them out of the box and after a quick burn in and listening, I quickly realized they do deserve a full review. As a matter of fact, my first feedback to Oriveti was regarding their name where in my opinion “NEW Primacy” should have been called “Primacy 2.0” because we are talking about updated sound, updated design, updated cable, and even some updated accessories. On the surface it looks very similar to original Primacy (Pold), but once you take a closer look at NEW Primacy (Pnew), you will quickly realize the magnitude of changes. Here is why.
Due to a lot of similarities between Pold and Pnew, I will recycle parts of the unboxing, accessories, and design from my original Primacy review.
Starting with a packaging, you are greeted with a gift box quality sturdy cardboard enclosure with a bold glossy image of NEW Primacy. Pnew has a very strong resemblance to Pold, and only a side-by-side close up can reveal minor differences in the shape of the shell. Looking at the back of the box, you can find a detailed Specification and Content of the package with all the included accessories. Here, one thing that stood out for me was DD change from 8.6mm (Pold) to 8mm (Pnew). But the highlight was still CAD drawing of the IEM. The design diagram provides details of the shell material, 2xBA and DD driver placement, and detachable nature of the cable.
With a top cover off, you get a jewelry box setting with small metal Oriveti shells inside of a heart shaped cutout and cable snaking around it. While lifting up the top foam insert, it took me a second to realize why I didn’t find a dangling cable – this insert was designed like a spool for cable storage. With foam insert out, you will find a Quick Guide page covering the bottom tray with the accessories. This bottom tray was cleverly partitioned into one layer with through-hole cutouts for all the accessories and another foam layer protecting it underneath. In the past I have experienced other products with similar foam cutouts and jammed accessories where it was a challenge to take them out. Here, you can either pick accessories up with your finger or headphone jack (useful to get eartips out), or lift the tray and push them through to remove it.
Similar to Pold, the presentation and the amount of accessories makes Pnew stand out as a premium product. Starting with eartips, here you will find a set of large and medium soft foam eartips (not Comply), 2 sets of each S, M, and L silicone tips, and 2 sets of double flange tips. I think it’s a great idea to include double set of each size, in case if you lose one. Each pair was stored neatly in corresponding tray cutout pocket with one M-size pair already fitted on IEMs. One noticeable change in here is that Pnew has a more common all black silicone rounded tips vs custom looking white silicone tips featured in Pold. Not sure for the reason of this change, but I assume it was probably due to a customer feedback.
You also get 3.5mm to 1/4” adapter, something I used to be in denial of need until testing a few amps that had 1/4” plug by default. Flight adapter is also included, not sure about a personal value since I haven’t been on a plane for awhile, but I’m sure some might find it useful. A pair of soft rubbery earhooks was also a nice addition – I have plenty of earhooks but they are usually stiff, plasticy, and not comfortable, while these were soft and flexible. I’m sure some will argue these are fillers, but when you look at the foam tray with all the accessories stored in their individual custom cutouts – it makes up for a very impressive presentation, regardless if you use it or not.
Finally, there is an aluminum puck-shaped case with a soft felt lining on the bottom and the cover. This storage case is quite nice, something you won’t typically see in sub $300 product. But I wouldn’t call it exactly a “carrying case” because it has a hefty solid metal construction and it won’t fit comfortably in your pocket. But as a storage case to showcase on your desk, or even as a paper weight – it looks cool. With Pold case you had to be careful when picking it up by the top because the cover can slide off if you are not paying attention, but I noticed that Pnew case cover had a little tighter fit.
I always consider a removable cable to be an accessory, and here we have a premium Silver Plated Copper (SPC) cable, soft, pliable, and with an excellent build quality. It still has a rather generic looking braided design with a tight black shielding, but this time Oriveti doubled a number of conductors, going from 4 to 8. Closer examination reveals four separate braided conductors attached to rubbery housing of each standard MMCX connector, going down to shrink wrapped y-splitter and continuing as 8 separate braided conductors to a right angled rubbery connector with TRS gold plated termination and a nice stiff strain relief. There was also a black plastic rubbery chin-slider, cleverly shaped to provide a better friction when sliding along braided wires. With all these multiple wire conductors, I would have loved to see a balanced 2.5mm termination with 3.5mm adapter.
The build of the cable is very good. You get a nice grip with headphone connector and mmcx connectors, latter one labeled with R on the right side and triple-dots for a blind id on the left side. Also, cable is soft enough for a comfortable fit over your ears, the preferred way to wear Pnew. If you feel you’re missing memory wire, you can always use included removable earhooks. I think it’s quite impressive they upgraded the cable to a premium 8-conductor SPC design, and still include it as a stock accessory without raising the price. And thanks to a soft tight shielding – there is absolutely no microphonics effect.
I don’t have as many mmcx connector cables as I do with 2pin connectors, but while trying other replacement cables (TWag v3 modular and Ref8) I always came back to a stock 8-conductor design which offered just a perfect balance of lows and mids without lifting the bass or exaggerating the brightness. Also, I measured and compared the original 4-conductor (Pold) vs the new 8-conductor (Pnew) cable, and found the latter one to decrease the impedance by more than half. That actually makes sound louder (better efficiency), and when volume matching between both cables – I also found the sound to be a little more revealing and more expanded. Despite doubling the number of wires, the cable is still very soft, supple, easy to manage, and very comfortable going over-ear.
As I mentioned before, the shell construction is all metal, CNC machined from aluminum with anodized black finish. Everything from a build quality and a seamless joint of both halves, to a slick design with ergonomic shape is an example of a fine craftsmanship. The design drawing on the back of the packaging box reveals how tightly drivers are packed inside, to the point where dual BAs are going into the extended nozzle area, leaving just enough room for 8mm dynamic driver inside of the main body of the shell and mmcx connector at the top.
With Pold, I remember holding the tiny shell in my hands and turning it around trying to find the venting port for the dynamic driver. In there, the vent was built around mmcx connector which left cable joint with a small gap when mated, keeping the port open to pump the air from dynamic driver. Clever idea, but it could lead to dust getting into the connector, though I never experienced that problem with Pold. In Pnew, Oriveti revisited the design and decided to move the vent to the middle of the shell facing toward the ear, thus eliminating a gap when attaching the cable. Also, you will still find a bold L/R marking on the inside, and Left side has “O” symbol while Right side has “Oriveti” name.
Next big change between Pold and Pnew is the nozzle design. The nozzle opening in Pold was narrow and didn’t have a mesh cover, thus requiring a cleaning tool to get the accumulated wax out. Pnew has a nozzle with a wider opening and a metal mesh cover to keep the wax away. In my opinion, DD venting port reallocation and nozzle update were a welcome change. For me personally, it wasn’t an issue in Pold, but you do appreciate it after closer examination and comparison between old and new Primacy models.
The original intent of the design is to wear Pnew wire up, in my opinion the most comfortable fit with shell sitting inside of your ear’s concha area. But you can still wear them wire down without a need to flip Left/Right earpieces, if you have a tight fitting eartips to keep them in. Still, wire up fit is preferred and the most secure way. Wire is soft enough to go over your ears and probably won’t even get in the way of those wearing glasses, and you can go to sleep with your ear resting comfortably on the pillow with IEM inside.
In terms of the comfort, I rate these on the same level as Westone. They are light and nearly disappear in your ears. There is no sound leakage, and with a right selection of eartips – sound isolation is pretty good. And as I mentioned before, with a stock cable I didn’t sense any microphonics.
Pold cable connector gap vs Pnew (w/nozzle mesh).