Pryma by Sonus Faber (2019) Stereo Headphone review

Discussion in 'Headphone Reviews' started by dalethorn, Jan 16, 2019.

  1. dalethorn

    dalethorn Obsessive Auditor

    Jul 3, 2011
    Charleston South Carolina
    Youtube review:

    EQ Curve:

    This is a short review of the Pryma by Sonus Faber headphone I just purchased at a steep discount in January 2019, about 3.5 years after its introduction. My original Pryma ca. 2015 was the Carbon Marsala edition, and my current Pryma is the Coffee & Cream version. I presume that these Prymas are discontinued, given the high quality and low price, and I don't know whether Sonus Faber has any plans to introduce another headphone in the future. The sound of this Coffee & Cream version headphone is similar to the Carbon Marsala edition I had, and given typical sample variations in consumer headphones, there was probably no change to the design or manufacture in the past 3.5 years. In fact, this headphone may be from the original Sonus Faber production lots.

    Another headphone I purchased this month that I also purchased an original edition of 3.5 years ago is the AudioQuest NightHawk - the wood-color edition then and the carbon-color edition now. The NightHawk and Pryma share a lot in common - both retailing for approx. $550 to $600 USD then and both heavily discounted now in an apparent closeout. Both headphones have a dark and somewhat cavernous sound without EQ, and both are easily corrected to a more neutral signature using a parametric equalizer. The main differences favor the NightHawk - a better sound due to the audiophile driver design, whereas the Pryma was marketed to a fashion and aesthetics demographic. The NightHawk's sumptuous earpads fit very well around the ears and provide a decent bass seal right away, where the Pryma's leaner pads take some time to get an adequate seal, especially when used in a lower-temperature (cooler) environment.

    The Pryma's double-entry (and detachable) cable seems thin for this class of headphone, so I'd recommend not yanking the cable or putting any significant stress on the ends going into the earcups or the music player. The headband and earcups are modular, so each of the three pieces can be replaced individually. Typically, users might order an extra headband in a different color, but retain the original earcups. The Pryma is very efficient and can be used with cellphones and other handheld devices. There is almost no isolation and leakage is high, yet I think it's a closed design. The weight is significant for its size due to the luxurious build with strong metal components.

    I bought my first Pryma at the original price, and did not regret it due to the unique and beautiful aesthetics, not to mention the build quality. The sound as I've EQ'd it is fine for most casual hi-fi listening, but it doesn't have quite the smoothness and detail that the NightHawk has. Still, given its design objectives, I don't hesitate to recommend it to anyone who knows what they're getting.

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