Pros: Well controlled DD
Cons: Treble could be more laid back
Nozzle may fall occasionally but does not affect performance at all
A little about myself: I find the most important factors to be detail, fit and build. I would classify myself as one who cares about the aspects that would appeal to the general consumers too. Personally I favor a flat sound signature and as naturally sounding as possible. Apologies my hearing ain't godly so I will not comment on bass/treble extension. *I will not attach photos or specs since they can be googled*
Package/Accessories (4/5) : Quite a big box, but within it is a ton of accessories. A bunch of tips, adapters and a metal case with spongy inner linings. Of course, the Oriveti Primacy itself sits on top within a foam holder. I never really like generic accessories that are provided. But however, I would say that Oriveti has blown me away with their accessory pack.
Eartips: I have tip rolled here and there and really, the stock silicone tips they provide have the best synergy both in terms of comfort and sound. Their foam tips are quite lacking though, and the regular comply would be recommended.
Cable: The stock cable is great. I am never a believer of cable sound but in terms of ergonomics and build, it is really good. It has a pleasant texture close to something of rubber/plastic. There is a simple heatshrink and plastic chin slider. It fulfills all the basic requirements. However, the cable is mildly microphonic. Personally I have been using this as is without any upgrade cables. Oriveti could have provided a second cable with a microphone though.
Case: The full metal case it has provided is as really trust worthy to protect the IEM within. However, it is fairly large and will not fit in your pocket. Nonetheless, it is a great case.
Sound (4.5/5) : I will make this as short and sweet as possible. This is a hybrid of 1DD+2BA, and still follows the signature TWFK driver sound. The soundstage is somewhat below average for hybrid/DD IEMs, but fairs well against pure BA ones.
Lows: The bass is presented really well, with the 8 mm DD within producing great punches that are very well controlled. The bass is present when needed and will give way if the piece is more mid/high heavy (i.e. acoustic covers). Being a hybrid IEM gives it a huge edge in producing a more non-fatiguing and natural bass response.
Mids: Some people feel that the mids of Primacy as its main advantage over others of similar prices and it is. The mids are really clean and detailed, and I would say it is nearly as clean and pure as that of an Etymotic line one. The comparatively lesser detail is however not a disadvantage. This gives it a smooth feeling to its sound which many complain about the Etymotics being too clinical. The design is also really well made that the DD meant for the lows does not really interfere.
Highs: This is the segment where the Primacy could have done better albeit it being rather pleasing already. The highs are presented a bit too forward, and could potentially compete with the vocalists of pop genre (or similar ones). The highs also could be crisper, but at least it is still sufficient to be thoroughly enjoyable. Once again, the DD does not intrude.
Body (4/5) : This follows the generic Shure / Westone shell layout, but is really small for a triple driver hybrid. Personally having somewhat small ears, this fits me perfectly. I am able to sleep comfortably with these so it says soemthing. However, the MMCX connector could be more angled, but this has not really been an issue. The build of the IEM itself is as tough as its case. I have 0 worries about damaging it via normal usage or unlucky drops. Regarding its nozzle though, it may drop out when changing tips but it does not affect it in any way. Someone might just be able to DIY frequency filters thanks to this "feature"? Would be interested if this is possible!
Overall (4.5/5) : This is my favorite IEM thus far. A great balance between price, sound, comfort and build.
Pros: Ergonomics and comfort, Isolation, Accessories, Aluminium build, Clean, clear and extended sound, Value
Cons: Straight nozzle, Cable is rubbery with shielding issues
The conventional earphone uses a single dynamic driver, essentially a minute speaker that injects a high energy dose of audio energy directly into the pleasure centre. Conversely, the more boutique earphones out there assume a completely different technology, the ultra-high precision armatures used in devices such as hearing aids where accuracy of spoken voice is key. Unfortunately, these two technologies were rarely combined with palatable results. For instance, cheap hybrids were either fake or had significant crossover issues whilst, on the opposite end of the spectrum, AKG’s K3003 once considered the pinnacle of portable audio, carried an equally unmatched RRP of $1499 USD.
But the same cannot be said in 2016 with beginner audiophiles being blessed with dozens of brilliant hybrid earphones ranging from Xiaomi’s $20 hybrid pistons to custom monitors that out-value some vehicles. Chinese hybrid earphones have gained quite a reputation lately, Dunu, Xiaomi and Astrotec are just a few of many names that come to mind. These are earphones unlike others, with extraordinary attention to high frequency intricacies offered by lightning fast armatures, augmented by a textured, extended bass reproduction that only dynamic drivers can achieve. But the new upstart company Oriveti, situated in the UK sets out with ambitious intentions, utilizing the tried and tested dual TWFK armature setup enhanced by a custom dynamic driver. Oriveti hopes to best these models and establish themselves in the competitive world of hybrid earphones with their $300 USD Primacy, let’s see how their first earphone performs.
About Me – Some background, Gear of choice, Preferences and Biases
I generally prefer a slight v-shape to my sound, but still closer to neutral. I like a lot of detail and clarity, but can appreciate a smooth, laid back sound such as that on the X10`s. I prefer a more neutral midrange within a relatively tight tolerance, but I`m probably more forgiving of brightness over darkness. I`m not particularly treble sensitive and can tolerate large amounts without fatigue, though too much ruins the enjoyment. If I use a different eartip/pad/cover during the review I will note that and describe the sound changes.
Oriveti makes a great impression with their professional packaging and comprehensive suite of accessories. With embossed renders on the front and an exploded vector of the earphones on the rear accompanied by specs, the packaging exhumes quality whilst remaining easy to digest.
Sliding off the top cover reveals the earphones snugly nestled within a velvet textured foam that also acts as a cable winder.
Whilst insignificant in the long run, the cable didn’t have the curl associated with new earphones that are usually tightly wound in box.
Underneath the display foam lies the accessories in a very satisfying presentation. Each accessory is nestled within a custom cut inlet of foam with a small notch for easy removal. In this layout it’s easy to see that the Primacy comes packaged with a very comprehensive set of accessories. Orivetti include 2 pairs of each of the 3 sizes of silicone tip along with 4 one size fits all foam tips.
The silicone tips are of good quality without moulding issues and a soft feel in the ear. They are transparent and perhaps prone to discolouration over time but they also have a longer than average stem that well compliments the Primacy’s medium depth fit. Using spinfits achieves a similar depth of fit and the flexible sound tube of the spinfits will fit snugly on the Oriveti’s larger sound tube.
In addition, the Primacy comes with a nozzle cleaning tool, rubber ear guides and, for frequent travellers, a 1/4inch adapter and dual mono to stereo adapter. The Primacy’s come with a very nice aluminium carry case that showcases the level of finish offered by the full aluminium Primacy’s with extremely tight tolerances and a smooth sliding action. Oriveti even mill a small air channel in the top lid to prevent suction. The insides of the case have a soft velvet texture to prevent scratching the earphones though this finish did tend to leave some fur on the silicone tips.
Whilst such an accessory set more or less just matches the similarly expansive set of accessories we can expect from upcoming manufacturers, Dunu is another company that likes to smother the buyer with extras, I’m not complaining about spares. Oriveti provide almost everything users could ever need, it would be nice to see some authentic Comply tips in there, preferably even a pair of Spinfits as they both work brilliantly with the Primacy. But until next time, Oriveti still do an outstanding job.
Design is definitely where most hybrids falter, most simply struggle to fit such an elaborate driver array in a conventional housing, instead mustering up monstrous designs that surely appeal only to the more masochistic buyers out there. But what if you didn’t have to compromise fitment for sound quality, what if you could attain comfort, isolation and stability?
Image taken from ilounge.com
If I had to choose a housing to satisfy these criteria, it would probably be that of the Phonak PFE series, PFE standing for perfect fit earphone, some of my absolute favourite earphones of all time. It takes a glance to acknowledge the similarities in form factor and the Primacy takes this classic design one step further with several key improvements. One advancement is the longer stem, allowing for a deeper fit and thus far more noise isolation. Where my former PFE232’s were a very shallow fitting earphone, the even sleeker Primacy offers a deep insertion depth only outmatched by Shure and Westone style monitors.
Through it is technically vented due to the presence of a dynamic driver (vents located within the MMCX connector), isolation is very good, roughly on par to the Klipsch X10 if not better. Isolation is still slightly lower than monitors such as the Westone Um Pro line-up due to the slightly shallower fit but the metal housings isolate different frequencies better, namely low frequencies seem to be better attenuated whilst higher frequency isolation is slightly worse. Overall a great earphone for travel and given the stable over-ear fitment, activity too.
The feel of the housings is also incredibly solid and reassuring, each machined aluminium shell smoothly sculpted and impeccably finished in a soft black. They’re also very compact, I don’t think I’ve seen a more ergonomic hybrid and they’re also very reasonably sized for an average earphone as seen below.
UM 50 Pro – Primacy – ie800
The Primacy’s visual design also impress with a thin profile that lies flush in the ear, permitting side-lying whilst maintaining essentially no contact with the outer ear during normal use. The earphones slender housings also don’t protrude form the rear like most monitors and as a result, I didn’t find the earphones to form hotspots at the rear of my ear like some of these monitors. In fact, with the exception of the cable that routes over the ear, you can definitely forget you’re wearing the Primacy’s; when paired with a set of Spinfit CP100’s (used for sound analysis and photos), they’re on par with the insanely comfy PFE and Klipsch X10’s. Though the housings consist of two halves, the join is very precise with palpable but otherwise insignificant seam. They are completely aluminium but the Primacy’s aren’t much heavier than traditional monitors and stayed put during my usual 6Km run, requiring at most only a single adjustment, impressive. This stability is imparted by the longer nozzle within which Oriveti have placed the two armature drivers. There’s also a lip on the end that holds eartips on reliably. The straight, thick nozzles might look imposing but in the ear are actually very comfortable, comfort that is further enhanced when Spinfits are installed.
Part of this stability also comes from the super lightweight cable. It’s a 4 core braided SPC variant with a sheath that is more rubbery than I would like but a very compliant nature that resists memory and tangles better than most. The cable also has minimal microphonics due to the combination of braiding and an over ear fit.
The design is almost identical to that on the UE900 with a similar tight braid and flexible nature. I do appreciate the absence of any intrusive memory wire and the rotating MMCX connector does well to prevent the cable from flicking over the ear (silicone ear guides are included should you experience such issues). The jack is straight but luckily very compact to avoid too much strain in the pocket (also case friendly) whilst the Y-split is a simple heat-shrink affair. Whilst it doesn’t present quite as well as a moulded one, these splits tend to be more durable than molded y-splits as the cable doesn’t need to be terminated.
This leads up to a straight and very tightly fitting gold-plated mmcx connector that I found to be absolutely reliable during my testing, free of any stuttering or static; I think manufacturers have mostly sorted this connector out by this point in time. There’s also a basic chin slider that gets the job done in a pinch. I do have one main caveat with the cable. I noticed that when running with my synthetic top, the cable seemed to pick up static, resulting in a kind of clicking, in that sense the cable probably isn’t adequately shielded. That being said, I didn’t notice this issue in any other instance but I also didn’t notice the static with any other premium earphone I’ve tested.
I think Oriveti really nailed the design and fitment on the Primacy. They look as premium as any high end earphone and beat out almost every competitor in long term comfort whilst retaining high levels of passive noise isolation. They also have quite a lot of stability in the ear, they’re actually not a bad choice for discerning runners but I wouldn’t push them too hard given the top mounted vent that may be prone to liquid ingress. Given that most hybrid earphones have housings that defy human ergonomics, the fact the the Primacy’s outdo most conventional earphones only heightens Oriveti’s achievement.
Modern hybrids have never disappointed in the audio department with a vivid, contrasty sound derived from the combination of tried and tested drivers. Oriveti is no different, more or less following this structure by combing the impeccable dual TWFK setup with an in-house dynamic driver. I love the TWFK setup to bits and have been impressed by a number of earphones using such drivers, the Audio Technica CK10, Fischer DBA-02 Mkii and Rockit R-50 of note. All had their own sound per say but remained a TWFK earphone at their base level; if you’re unfamiliar, they all sound leaner and brighter than neutral but also extremely detailed and crisp. But the Oriveti strays the furthest out of all I’ve tested and the vast majority of the time in a good way, it’s high end is smoother and the midrange tonality is closer to neutral.
The low end, of course, has the biggest deviation from the TWFK sound with a very extended bass response that actually has a decent sub-bass emphasis. This leads up to the nicely textured mid and upper bass responses that are slightly elevated from neutral but otherwise very thoughtfully tuned. From basic comparison to other TWFK earphones, the dynamic driver seems to be tuned to exclusively reproduce only very low frequencies, leaving the midrange clear and the low end tight and without bloat.
Compared to some higher end earphones, the primacy's low end response remains pretty competitive. Bass extension as aforementioned is very good, in-between the bottomless ie800 and the 5 driver UM 50 Pro, which is to say, impeccable for a $300 earphone. They are missing some bass texture in comparison to both the UM 50 Pro and ie800, though they are also around half the price. Sub-bass is boosted a few dB more than the ie800 which is slightly too much for me when listening to songs which are already mastered with a lot of low end. Luckily, sub-bass notes remain relatively tight through quick decay times and the earphones rarely sound boomy or uncontrolled. Mid and upper bass responses are fairly neutral, mid-bass slightly elevated and upper bass perhaps slightly reduced from neutral resulting in a colder but not sterile midrange. As a result there is also no bass spill and I didn't notice any coherency issues between the dynamic driver and armatures, keeping the sound nice and consistent throughout. The bass performance is very good but not quite as flawless as higher priced models, within their price range, the Primacy's are a strong performer, suiting those who like a little more sub-bass slam whilst maintaining a super clean mid-bass response.
The midrange maintains the TWFK sound, in this case, the slightly forward tuning achieving a nice balance with the similarly elevated low end. The body is slightly thinner than neutral though the lower midrange is still more natural than pure TWFK earphones. The upper mids are sublime, aggressively detailed and super clean. Vocals are sweet and nicely layered with a sharper tone than dynamic earphones without sounding grating or sibilant.
As expected, the midrange of the Primacy is clearer than the UM 50 Pro, especially lower mids and upper mids are not as dark resulting in a more balanced midrange on a whole. The Primacy also has more clarity than the UM 50 Pro but slightly less detail overall. The ie800 is a more fair comparison with it's more linear tuning, both are bright but the ie800 sounds more natural with more lower midrange body. Upper mids keep up well with both of these earphones and outpaces most I have heard in their own price range. They are slightly more detailed and details are more forward than the Westone W30 and W40 but the Primacy is also brighter. They lack just a bit of micro detail in comparison to the UM 50 Pro and ie800 however they are not that far behind. The upper midrange presentation is actually very similar to the ie800, I'm sure listeners that like a lot of clarity whilst retaining smoothness and a decent price tag will really enjoy the Primacy.
The treble response takes a bit of a dip, just about neutral overall but slightly below in certain regions. For my tastes, there's just enough to maintain an interesting listen but treble details don't pop like the upper mids. Now by no means is the Primacy's treble sedate or recessed, it's just not as crisp as one would expect from a TWFK setup. I do think this will be the most polarizing aspect of the earphones, the treble is thinner than neutral and nicely extended but the quantity will not be enough for those coming from more vanilla armature earphones. I have the luxury of owning both the ie800's and Primacy's and I find them to compliment each other really well with a similar low end and midrange response but opposing treble tuning. Whilst the ie800 is more immediately engaging and even impressive, the Oriveti has the smoother, more listenable response of the two. The same goes for Westone's W30 and W40, both of which boasting similar extension but a more linear tuning with additional sparkle and texture. The Primacy's treble is smooth but slightly uneven, there's a dip somewhere in the middle of the high end that saps presence from certain high notes. Otherwise, I didn't notive any raspiness or graininess to the treble and the majority of the time, instruments were well reproduced.
Soundstage & Imaging -
The soundstage is really nice for a sealed earphone with very impressive width and great depth. They still lack the outright space and pinpoint imaging of the vented ie800's and perhaps lose a little depth to the UM 50 Pro's but compared to other $300 earphones I've tested, the Primacy's are among the best. Imaging is probably the weakest part of the soundstage due to the more oval presentation, the Westone's and Sennheisers are more well rounded in that regard, but separation is fantastic, just behind these much more expensive models. Westone's W30 and W40 both lose out in terms of space but have a slight advantage in terms of imaging accuracy and I do slightly prefer the more rounded presentation of the Shure SE535 LTD.
Drive-ability and Sources -
The Primacy's have a very low impedance of 11ohms but still aren't the most sensitive earphone out there, being slightly less sensitive than the Westone UM 50 Pro and similar to the ie800's. I also didn't notice too much impedance swing with my HTC M8 when compared to my Oppo HA-2 which will suit portable listeners running the Primacy's through their phones. Due to the low impedance, amping isn't required, the earphones don't benefit a lot from an amp besides reduces background hiss, to which they are decently but not outrageously sensitive, and will scale nicely with a solid DAC. I couldn't hear any noise from my HTC 10 but could discern a slight hiss from my Oppo HA-2 on high gain.
If you`re new to audio, a little bit of research and a mindset open to new, perhaps slightly more budget orientated brands, could save you a whole lot of time and money. If it isn't apparent already, the Primacy is a very impressive earphone, not only in the ever important sound department but also pretty much everywhere else. The un-boxing experience oozes character with that same meticulous detail extending to the perfectly machined alumium housings and custom tuned drivers. The Primacy provides some of the best comfort I've experienced from an over ear iem whilst retaining isolation, something that's a lot harder to find than one might think.
Oriveti have done a fine job tuning the sound as well, you can see that I've made comparisons to some much more expensive earphones and whilst they still out perform the Primacy, the law of diminishing returns has never been so pertinent. But comparisons to similarly priced models such as the Westone W30 and Shure SE535 (both are actually more expensive) reveals that the Primacy is undoubtedly the better performer, with a more versatile sound that has greater extension on either side of the spectrum with some extra finesse in between. When compared to similar "flagship killers" such as the Dunu DN2000, from my brief time with the Dunu's I would say that the Primacy is on par, not wose, not better, just different, but is ergonomically far superior.
Accessories - 9.5/10, Nice un-boxing experience with a huge selection of accessories. Great for travel, plenty of tips for almost every buyer. Wish they would come with Spinfits since they have great synergy. Fantastic aluminium case is not portable but very protective.
Design - 10/10, Super solid housings that are both extremely comfortable and stable. Still a little more prone to losing seal than traditional monitors due to less ear contact but also have more long term comfort as a result. Great isolation for travelers both with silicone and foams. Cable is nice but still less supple than the Westone EPIC cable, also has some shielding issues. Wish it had a right angle 3.5mm plug but at least the straight plug is compact. Logos laser etched for longevity.
Bass - 8.25/10, Very extended, elevated sub-bass but otherwise quite neutral. Very clean response without flab or bloat, no midrange spill. Great texture and PRAT, faster decay times retain punchiness without sacrificing slam.
Mids - 8.75/10, Very clear mids with spot on vocal presence and a slightly brighter than neutral tonal tilt. Great clarity, nice sense of body and a lot of detail up top.
Treble - 8.5/10, Crisp and clear with just a slight dip in the middle. Sits slightly behind the upper midrange but never gets overshadowed. Retains enough clarity for an engaging listen but doesn't put emphasis on treble notes. Slightly thin body. Higher details can get messy.
Soundstage, Imaging and Seperation – 7.5/10, Great sense of space with an emphasis on width. Imaging is very good but not quite as accurate as pure armature earphones. Separation is also impressive, with much more delineation between notes than the Westone W30.
Overall - 9.25/10, Ultimately, Oriveti have nailed hybrid technology and provided it within an approachable form factor and price point. The combination of ergonomic and sonic excellence create a truly compelling listening experience whether plugged into a smartphone or dedicated source, just don't expect tons of mid-bass punch or treble shimmer. Thanks for reading! This review was taken from my blog, please have a look for guides and more reviews like this:
Oriveti seems to be a rather obscure company, without any big breaks or long-running hype trains. They offer a single model that seems to be highly regarded, but hasn't really seem to caught on and taken off. The Primacy is a hybrid IEM, with a single dual-driver accompanied by two balanced-armature drivers. It retails at $299. The Primacy is seemingly well regarded, but its pricing falls in the gray zone between entry-level IEMs and higher-end IEMs; I purchased it in hopes of adding it to my recommendation lineup for those who look for suggestions around this range. Let's see if Oriveti is able to provide a good value and find a place on my list.
My general structure for the review will consist of:
Packaging / Accessories
Build Quality / Design
The Oriveti Primacy ... sounds as smooth as it looks.
Packaging / Accessories
Unpacking a well-presented IEM is always a great experience, that can really affect someone's overall thoughts on the product. The Primacy's packaging is organized, premium, and clean. It comes with an unexpected amount of tips in various sizes, both foam and silicone. The accessories are packed in snugly and the presentation is impressive.
The Primacy comes with:
Metal storage cylinder
Tons of tips
The Primacy comes with a slew of accessories, and it's all presented properly. Ear hooks, adapters, case, and tips are all packed snugly.
Notice that the case doesn't have any threading or mechanism to keep the lid secure -- it spins freely, and can uncover freely as well. The only thing that keeps it shut is air pressure / vacuum!
Build / Design
The build of the Primacy feels very solid, but there are some questionable aspects to its design. I don't see any major downfalls to its design, except for the cable's connection point. The MMCX connector seems to be angled a little too high, compared to other IEMs with a similar fit. The connector might be more comfortable if it were angled lower. Also, I found the MMCX cables to be extremely difficult to remove from the Primacy -- but that's more a downfall of MMCX in general than the IEM itself.
The MMCX jacks are angled a little too obtusely, and cables were tough to remove. The design is slick and there are very few rough edges, which makes it even harder to remove cables.
My preferred signature is usually a balanced sound with a slight emphasis in the bass, gentle slope into the midrange, and good treble extension. I would say that I listen to the music more than the equipment -- I don't want to pay too close attention, I want to get lost in the music. In other words, I am not a critical listener. I found the Primacy to suit my tastes best when paired with the included silicone tips, so I will describe the sound as I hear it with those specific tips.
I found the Primacy to suit my tastes best when paired with the included silicone tips, so I will describe the sound as I hear it with those specific tips.
The bass on these feels to be feel plenty in quantity, but probably not enough to satisfy bassheads. I've seen some other reviewers state that the Primacy's bass is 'neutral', but I'd classify it as slightly north of neutral. The impact is average while the rumble is a little greater. It's a little faster than what I would typically expect from dynamic drivers, which is a good thing -- I don't like sloppy bass. Considering the Primacy is a hybrid, the bass from the dynamic driver feels a little less detailed than full balanced-armature IEMs; texture is a little smoothed down as a cost of the greater impact. Thankfully it's clean and extended, but the bass doesn't necessarily provide anything to write home about.
The most distinctive aspect to the Primacy's sound is its mids: they are slightly pushed forward ahead of the treble, and have a slight emphasis on the lower end of it. In other words, vocals are full and with plenty of body -- these excel on male vocals, and perform quite admirably with female vocals. Most IEMs actually have an upper mid emphasis, these switch it up and put the emphasis on the lower mids. Vocals can sometimes be seen as a bit 'rounded-off', i.e. it doesn't sound incredibly sharp at the end of female vocals. However, there's this characteristic texture to the mids that makes them sound really appealing; I'd go as far as to say that the Primacy's mids are the most alluring aspect to its overall sound. I don't feel it sounds overly lush or congested with its lower-mid emphasis, while it doesn't come off as completely dry either.
The treble is characterized by its relaxed nature; it sits behind the vocals and provides enough detail and air to keep the sound from becoming too stuffy / suffocating. There are some times where I wish there were more treble quantity (extension is fine) to make the sound more detailed. The upside to the laid-back treble is that Primacy doesn't get fatiguing after long periods of listening, something that high quantities of treble can definitely do. This contributes a lot to my overall impression on its sound.
I don't like to comment too much on psychoacoustics much, but I don't think Primacy does too well in the soundstage department. It sounds slightly closed-in in terms of size, but imaging is pretty decent in terms of directional placement.
The best way for me to describe the overall sound of the Primacy is slightly relaxed, and plenty musical. When I listen to the Primacy, I find it harder and harder for me to focus my attention on the actual lyrics of a song. Music tends to stray into the back of my head, playing like soft background music. It seems to perform well overall: a warm, slightly laid-back sound without being too boring -- as a positive of this, it's also never really fatiguing. It's the ideal sound sig I think of when someone mentions 'natural'. Though the sound is not the most technically capable, nor is it without imperfections, something about the sound is so enchanting and musical. it's an addicting sound that works. However, Primacy probably is likely not a prime choice for you if you want your IEMs to sound spacious and huge, or you are looking for a treble / detail focused sound.
When it comes to my style of comparisons, I tend to make a list of obvious bullet points that characterize the sound of the IEM. I feel that this is helpful to those who are looking for a reference point of the IEM’s sound, compared to something that they may have already heard. However, I don't own all these IEMs at the moment/have them on hand so I won't go into detail about the small differences. Mee M6 Pro ($50): M6 Pro has very slightly greater bass quantity, but has some sort of 'gap' between the bass and midrange. The mids are a lot colder and thinner on the M6 Pro when compared against the Primacy. Treble on M6 seems peakier and much harsher in comparison, exhibits sibilance much more often. Build quality seems to be very good on both, but Primacy feels more premium TFZ Series 5 ($80): The TFZ 5 is a very hard value to beat, its sound is IMO worth more than its asking price. The TFZ 5 has more bass quantity and quality, the bass is tighter while sounding more detailed and textured. However, mids are thinner on the TFZ 5 compared to the Primacy, with more apparent bleeding from the midbass into the lower mids. TFZ 5 has less treble extension and a harsher treble peak than Primacy. Overall the Primacy sounds similar, but with superior mids + filling all the missing gaps of the TFZ 5. Audio Technica ATH-IM02 ($150): The IM02 is leaner sounding than the Primacy. With much less bass quantity, the IM02 pulls ahead in terms of vocal isolation and mid presentation. However, the Primacy outdoes the IM02 in terms of male vocals, as there's an authoritative heft to the mids. IM02 sounds cleaner overall, switching between them will probably leave the Primacy feeling slightly veiled. In terms of musicality I think the Primacy is more emotional and much less fatiguing. IM02 is a lot pickier about its source though. Mee Pinnacle P1 ($199): The Primacy has greater bass quantity, more forward mids, and more relaxed treble. I would say that the P1 is more versatile in genres, as it's not nearly as warm. P1 has a much larger soundstage, which sounds great -- but sometimes, instruments can sound a little distant (maybe a little unengaging). The P1 shows a better sense of balance, but subbass is lacking in comparison to Primacy. Build quality on both is exceptional, but the P1 offers a better value IMO. Alclair RSM ($649): Kind of similar signatures here -- the RSM had emphasized bass, followed by mids, which was on the same level of treble. Personally, I felt the Primacy sounds cleaner and less coloured by the bass emphasis. The bass also feels faster; the RSM's bass was surprisingly slow in decay for a balanced-armature CIEM. Mids are similar in which lower-mids are emphasized over upper-mids, but RSM has more bass-bleed than Primacy. Primacy's vocals are more forward/isolated than RSM for this reason. Treble is about the same in that they tend not to highlight sibilance. Vibro Labs ARIA ($599): The Primacy is what the Aria should have been, if not better. Slightly north-of-neutral bass, forward mids, and extended treble. The Aria does a better job creating pleasing texture in the bass, as well as subbass extenstion. The punch : rumble ratio seems more accurate on Aria as well. However, that seems to be Aria's only upper hand in this comparison. Primacy's mids leave Aria in the dust -- Aria has a large dip in the lower mids while Primacy emphasizes it. Aria might have a very slight advantage in treble extension, but Primacy remains competitive and superior in terms of overall coherence. Shure SE846 ($999): Had a brief listening from this one but was straight out of my phone output, as usual. Much more bass than the Primacy, similar quantity mids. But I felt that the SE846's transition between bass and mids was hard to detect. Treble is superior on the Primacy as it's extended much further. Take it with a grain of salt as I don't have a top-notch source to run the SE846 from, which people keep telling me I need. Unique Melody Miracle ($1049): Layering on the Miracle is better as well as spacial imaging. Miracle tends to highlight sibilance more than the Primacy. Bass quantity is about the same, but Miracle hits with better impact and detail/texture. Primacy's mids are more forward and fuller, they have better body but can sometimes sound unnaturally emphasized when compared to Miracle. Extension on Miracle's treble goes further, but tends to be more fatiguing than the Primacy. Conclusion
The Primacy sounds good, though not entirely versatile as it doesn't excel in detail. I found myself reaching for it over my customs at times, and I'm not 100% sure why. I'm going to blame it on the simple fact that it makes my music sound like music -- it's a relaxing, enjoyable IEM that doesn't fatigue. It doesn't feel too boring nor does it feel too exciting, which proves to be a good thing at times. They're very easy to listen to, as it stops me from trying to analyze the sound or whatever else audiophiles tend to do. Sound is mid-forward, with sufficient bass and slightly relaxed highs. Soundstage is not too big, but imaging seems natural. At $299 it feels like a pretty safe purchase, I don't think anyone would feel disappointed or upset with the Primacy. Is it an 'excellent value'? Not really, but it sounds really good and I am definitely going to be recommending these.