Primephonic streaming service

Dedicated Classical Music Streaming

[Italian version here]

Product name: Primephonic - streaming service
Cost: see text
Reviewer: Chris Templer - TNT South Africa
Reviewed: March, 2021

As I am an inveterate listener of Classical music (I know Classical represents a musical period, but is a good description) finding more music relies on search engines and those are often a bit "iffy" when presented with the variables needed to select what I want. TIDAL's search function might work well for popular music but is woefully inadequate for my needs. An example here is the search term "Pipe Organ" or "Orgue", the former gets perhaps 30 albums with no regard to the alphabet or genre and I imagine Spotify or Qbuzz will work in a like fashion. The seems to be designed for more popular music or something...!

Enter Primephonic. The first few words on the home page says it all. "Home of classical music lovers - The streaming service designed for classical music." There is a great deal of exploration to be done on this site and three means of streaming allow you to delve around to your hearts content. Apps for Android and Apple plus Windows. Primephonic makes much of their dedicated staff and ability to meet the needs of the classical music lover. There is not much point of me trying to extol their good points as the website is very comprehensive but I will say it really does work!

There is also a free 14 day trial period after which you can sign up at a reasonable price - see website for Pricing. Also there is no contract as such, you can stop at any time. There are a lot of good things about this service, in no little part in app links to composers, artists and the ability to collect easily things into groups. Something of interest to me in these times of change is how artists are paid. No payment, no artist - they also would like to eat I suspect - and Primephonic is trying to cover this aspect too. Years ago I read a book by Hank Bordowitz entitled Dirty Little Secrets of the Record Business Amazon and for a pdf file and it resonated with me. More about Hank Bordowitz.

Primephonic like all streaming services claims to have large quantities of music available and having used them in tandem with Tidal for a few months the truth is somewhat North of center. The do have many items I have found Tidal not to have and although the reverse is sometimes true generally I have found Primephonic comes out way ahead. One item I have been looking for is this Jean Guillou album.

I could have no doubt bought this via EFT on the web but South Africa has a postal service that is very poor and things regularly vanish into the system, sometimes for ever.

The point here is that I can now listen to something which tome is extraordinary albeit a "strange" recording, the sound engineer obviously stymied by where to put his microphones!

[The Doppio Borgato is a double concert grand piano, joining a regular concert grand together with a second piano that is played from a pedal board with 37 pedals (A0 to A3), similar to that of the organ. Designed and hand-crafted by Luigi Borgato, it was patented in 2000. The next two links are to YouTube videos Doppio Borgato - Mirco Bruson plays J.S.Bach Passacaglia and something labeled Double Borgato in Palermo (Piano and orchestra)]

The Primephonic Search function via the BROWSE option is very well done and enables easy searches which are targeted towards your needs and quite specific.

From my point of view and this is probably due to failings in how my system works it is not possible to directly stream via my Cambridge 851n and compromises need to be made. Streaming via my pc or cell phone works seamlessly - to get it to my 851n is a problem for me. The sound quality via pc or phone is excellent and recording it to a digital wav or flack file and then transferring that file to my streamer hd yields excellent results. Cambridge advertises a fancy Blue tooth dongle which is not available is South Africa. This is advertised to use the Apt-X codec which supposedly makes Blue tooth transfer almost audiophile grade.

I searched around and found this thing: Zoweetek Blue tooth Audio Transmitter + Receiver ZW-420
The blue tooth audio transmitter + receiver is a Hi-Fi transceiver with built in CSR APT-X decoding technology, to realize CD audio effect for professional audio field by high quality audio converting and transmitting. It is connected at one end of the audio cable to the TX interface and the other end to ipod, mp3, tv, speaker audio output interface.

It connects up to to my TacT preamp and via my Samsung Galaxy S8 plus with APT-X activated allows me to stream Primephonic however the audio quality is a cross of rubbish to not good. Turning the APT-X function off makes it terrible so beware - APT-X is not audiophool grade!

Primephonic as mentioned allows a 14 day free trial period which should be enough to satisfy your experiments.

DISCLAIMER. TNT-Audio is a 100% independent magazine that neither accepts advertising from companies nor requires readers to register or pay for subscriptions. After publication of reviews, the authors do not retain samples other than on long-term loan for further evaluation or comparison with later-received gear. Hence, all contents are written free of any “editorial” or “advertising” influence, and all reviews in this publication, positive or negative, reflect the independent opinions of their respective authors. TNT-Audio will publish all manufacturer responses, subject to the reviewer's right to reply in turn.

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