Posted on Thu, 07 Dec, 2017
Posted by Bob

Primare R32 phono stage offers an extremely high quality, highly versatile phono stage for those truly committed to vinyl as their source of choice.

Swedish Hi-Fi company, Primare, are noted for their high-end audio products which blend clean modern aesthetics with high-end audio designs. Proving that they’re very much a company for every Hi-Fi enthusiast, Primare offers the R32 phono preamplifier; a design which has much to offer the dedicated vinyl lover.

Let’s take a look at the R32 and see if it promises sonic Nirvana for dedicated fans of the black circle…

Primare R32 Front Angle

The importance of good phono pre-amplification

A good “front end” phono stage is of vital importance for extracting the very best from one’s phono cartridge and vinyl playback system. The signal coming from a phono cartridge is low level and delicate in nature; correct amplification of that signal and the subsequent processing makes a huge impact on the resulting sound.

A phono amplifier is expected to perform a number of tasks: firstly amplifying the signal from either a moving coil or a moving magnet pickup faithfully and cleanly, and secondly, enacting the necessary RIAA equalisation faithfully and without distortion.

Additionally, a really top-flight phono preamplifier should allow some degree of adjustment in the impedance matching, and gain levels presented to the phono cartridge. As every cartridge is uniquely different, a “one size fits all” approach will never allow for true playback optimisation.

Primare R32 rear

The Primare R32

Enter, the Primare R32; a very high-quality phono preamplifier designed with the discerning vinyl enthusiast firmly in mind. Capable of optimised operation with either moving magnet or moving coil phono cartridges, and with a number of user adjustments available, the R32 could be exactly what the doctor ordered!

Taking a look at the Primare R32, we’re greeted with the familiar Primare minimalist styling, in a full-size Hi-Fi component format. Unlike many half, quarter or even smaller sized phono preamplifiers, Primare have endowed the R32 with a full-size enclosure.

This in itself provides benefits: a high quality, internal power supply ensures low noise and fuss-free operation without unsightly “wall warts”; the extra internal space of the R32 also allows the internal components sufficient spacing for shielding from potential power supply induced noise, too.

A tweakers delight

Heading around the back of the R32, we’re presented with phono inputs and outputs, grouped together on a channel by channel basis. This is due to the R32’s dual-mono circuit design, which has been employed to offer greater isolation and with it, cleaner sound and greater fidelity.

Situated next to each input, is an adjustable control which allows the user to set the input impedance of each channel to match that of their phono cartridge. Input impedance matching is an important factor, often overlooked, which has a bearing upon the frequency response of the phono cartridge employed.

Preset gain positions for moving magnet and moving coil cartridges are provided via a two position switch on the rear of the Primare R32. For particularly low outputs cartridges, an additional gain stage can be engaged via an internally set jumper on the R32’s main board.

Primare R32 rear angle

An “Effortlessly involving” sound

That’s exactly how Hi-Fi Choice magazine described the Primare R32 Phono Preamplifier in their phono pre-amp shootout. Amongst pre-amplifiers ranging in price up to £1500, the Primare was awarded the title of overall winner, achieving a coveted “outstanding product” award representing “The pinnacle of quality within its group”.

If you’re serious about the quality and presentation of your vinyl playback, then a high-quality phono preamplifier is a solid investment. The Primare R32 phono preamplifier must surely represent one of the best currently on the market.

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