NuForce drops the quad-driver hammer with new Primo 8 in-ears

Check out our full written review of the NuForce Primo 8 headphones.

The Primo 8 may sound a bit like your local Italian eatery’s combination pizza, but it’s actually the moniker for a top-tier pair of balanced-armature in-ear headphones from the folks at NuForce. The flagship model for the company’s expansive headphone lineup, the Primo 8 leverage a mound of technologies, including four individual armature drivers per earpiece to create what NuForce is calling an “extraordinarily natural, lifelike sound.”

For those unfamiliar, balanced armature drivers differ from the dynamic drivers most in-ear headphones employ in that they are extremely tiny, and also don’t require external air to operate. Their design often allows them to create  more precise upper register sounds than dynamic drivers, but often hampers their ability to reproduce convincing bass. To combat this obstacle, each Primo 8 earpiece employs a 3-way crossover design, with two drivers for the bass register, and one each for the midrange and treble.

While NuForce calls the design “unique,” we’ve seen the process employed before – specifically in the Westone W40 – with brilliant results. However, NuForce has put its own perfectionist spin on the process, creating a patented “three-way phase-coherent crossover design” to combat frequency overlapping. The design promises linear phase performance for superior clarity and accuracy up top, while maintaining smooth and powerful bass response down below.

If we weren’t burning to go ears-on with these uber-engineered buds already, a walk-through of the Primo 8’s cable design struck our gearhead funny bone even harder. According to NuForce, the Primo 8’s Litz cable design uses a Kevlar Silk core, surrounded by seven strands of silver wire in a star pattern (and gratuitous alliteration), that’s then wrapped with seven-stranded OFC (oxygen free copper) wiring. So yeah, NuForce wasn’t kidding around when it came to the Primo 8’s cable design.

All of those pretty pieces of tech are wrapped into a sleek frame, matching rippled earpieces with a rubberized, wrap-around design for a smart fit, and a futuristic look. At $500, the Primo 8 are priced exactly where we thought they’d be, positioning them head-to-head and dollar-for-dollar against the previously mentioned W40, and other competitors in the slim field of premium in-ears. We can’t wait to find out where they stand.

It’s certainly imprudent to to judge a book by its cover, and we’ll have to spend some ample time with the Primo 8 before we’ll know if NuForce’s new gems deliver, but with comparisons to “the most costly over-ear dynamic and electrostatic designs,” and multiple promises of lifelike sound, we have to admit we’re excited to see what these new headphones can do.

The $500 Primo 8s are available starting today. Stay tuned for our full review to see if all of those enticing promises ring true.

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