The sensitivity is clearly a lot higher than most loudspeakers, and this means that level differences between tracks are far more obvious, which resulted in leaping for the volume knob when flitting between tunes on my Resolution Audio Cantata streamer. The Prime’s presentation is also rather different to typical ported loudspeakers, making them seem timid and restrained by comparison. The Prime is bounding with energy in a fashion so exuberant that it takes some getting used to. Put on a tune (pun intended) with a bit of low end on it, such as Lorde’s ‘Royals’ [Pure Heroine, Universal], and the whole room is clearly joining the party. Tune Audio recommends corner placement in order to reinforce the low end, but in my long and narrow room I had to bring the loudspeakers well away from walls in order to keep them on the straight and narrow.
When it’s called for, the Prime does scale with no effort whatsoever; if you like your music to sound ‘live’ (read: energetic) then this speaker should figure on your ‘must hear’ list. It’s also very strong on texture, and while the bass is not as deep as you’d get from a more traditionally aspirated box of this size, it makes up for the shortfall due to its timbral character, because many speakers tend to sound thick in the bass. Another bass-heavy piece, James Blake’s ‘Limit to Your Love’ [James Blake, ATLAS], doesn’t disturb the furniture in the usual way, but instead has an ease at higher levels that is very difficult to emulate with lower sensitivity speakers.
Amplifier choice proved fairly critical with the Prime. My current reference, the ATC P1, proved to be totally unsuited because its massive damping doesn’t suit the high sensitivity of the main driver or the nature of the horn. In the end, I borrowed a Modwright KWI200 integrated from BD Audio and this worked a treat. It’s a smooth, solid-state amplifier voiced in the style of a valve design, and this provided speed that the main driver was able to really make the most of, as well as fluid rather than bone crunching bass. The treble likewise became more open and relaxed.