Prisma is the name for Primare’s bundle of network player technologies, bundled together to provide a complete streaming experience, and is composed of two basic elements.
The first is the Prisma application is designed to perform two essential functions: setup of any Prisma model, allowing for the customization of the device to best suit the system needs, and control of a network connected hard drive (NAS).
The second element is the suite of connection and control platforms providing direct access to hundreds of music streaming services. In addition to AirPlay 2*, Bluetooth®, Roon Ready*, and Spotify Connect, Prisma features Chromecast built-in, a unique streaming portal allowing effortless direct connection to hundreds of streaming applications.
*available throughout the Prisma model range by future update beginning with NP5 Prisma second quarter of 2020.
USB A input on Prisma was not designed for critical listening connection or control, nor for long–term large–scale digital media music library storage. Rather for temporary, more informal listening, with a thumb or portable drive.
The reasons for this are primarily performance related. The USB A connector is not the best sounding digital connector, partly as a result of its handling both audio signal and power, and as larger drives draw greater power from the socket, this can adversely affect both operation and performance quality.
Therefore, an Ethernet or WIFI connected NAS drive with media management software installed (such as MinimServer) has been prioritised as it offers the best performance and fullest functionality for Prisma connection and control
If USB A remains the preferred option, some information may be helpful:
- Drives must be formatted to either FAT32 or NTSF
- Maximum drive sizes are 512gb for FAT32 and 2tb for NTSF
- 50 folder or file limit, with no cover art, so recommended to:
Arrange files on the drive using a computer to sort by artist folder, and then within the folder by artist (last or first name), then album title, and then individual tracks. Once sorted, folders and files will be displayed by alphabetical order, so file numbers should be removed at the head of any name or title (such as track numbers within albums).
- Searching, queue or playlist function are not available with USB A input, but full functionality is available from NAS connection, either by WiFi or ethernet.
- The use of a USB noise reduction device, such as the Audioquest Jitterbug or IFi isilencer, is recommended to improve performance.
- Begin by playing a track or album on the music streaming application.
- Once the selection has begun to play, press on the thumbnail image of the selection at the bottom of the play window on the left.
- Upon entering the larger play screen, there will be a cast symbol that looks like a speaker.
- Press the cast button and cast options should appear in a directory for either Chromecast built-in, Spotify Connect, or AirPlay and Bluetooth.
- You should see your Prisma product or products on that list, if it has been connected to the network.
- Press the Prisma product you wish to cast to, and casting should begin within the few seconds.
- Note: there will be a longer delay between the time of command and corresponding action when using AirPlay and Bluetooth than with either Chromecast built-in or Spotify Connect.
What music streaming service applications support casting with the Chromecast built-in technology that is included with Prisma?
There are hundreds, including Amazon Music, Google Play, Apple Music, Spotify, and the most popular services providing higher resolution playback options, such as Tidal HiFi, Qobuz, and Deezer HiFi, with resolution up to 24/96kHz. Use this link to see a list of Chromecast built-in enable service applications. https://store.google.com/us/product/chromecast_apps?hl=en-US
Tidal Master playback with Prisma is available using:
- AirPlay (with Master file playback resolution at 16/44.1)
- with Chromecast built-in as endpoint, resolution up to 24/96,
- or directly, following Roon Ready certification, resolution up to 24/192
(Roon Ready certification and automatic over the air – OTA – update expected by the end of second quarter 2020).
Tidal Master file playback is not available for playback using the Chromecast built-in platform directly. We are exploring options with Google for Chromecast built-in and Tidal to provide Tidal Master playback with Chromecast built-in and directly with Tidal HiFi with Prisma in the near future.
Another option would be to use a third party UpNP control application such as mconnect or BubbleUpNP, with resolution up to 24/48.
Currently, Amazon Music is available with Primare Prisma using Chromecast built–in. However, Amazon Music HD and Ultra HD have not yet been made available on that platform at this time.
It is our understanding that, for the initial phase of the HD/Ultra HD launch, Amazon has entered into a limited number of hardware manufacturer partnerships similar to the limited number of countries where the service is available. (US, UK, Germany, and, Japan). and that the next phase of the platform’s development includes accessibility to Chromecast built-in with the expansion of service availability to other countries.
As it is uncertain when this next phase of HD/Ultra HD development might take place, we are exploring options for direct access to this and other high resolution streaming services outside of the Chromecast built-in platform, but cannot provide confirmation at this time of when those features may be available with Primare Prisma.
Which will provide me better performance when casting from Spotify, Spotify Connect or Chromecast built-in?
Spotify Connect should provide better audio performance due to it 320kbps capabilities compared to 256kbps when Chromecast built-in is used.
There are literally hundreds of radio apps that are part of the Chromecast built-in platform, with TuneIn radio being the most popular. You can find a list of most of the applications available for casting at this link (you will need to hit the “show more” button many times in the Music & Audio section of the page, as there are many apps 😉
Chromecast music and audio apps: https://store.google.com/us/product/chromecast_apps?hl=en-US
Yes, there is a free ad-based subscription tier offered by TuneIn radio, but it may be difficult to find and select. When first opening the TuneIn application after downloading to your mobile device a full screen offer for the paid Premium service will be visible, giving the appearance that this is the only option. However, there is an “X” in the upper right-hand corner of that screen that when pushed will reveal an alternative screen where the free subscription can be selected, allowing connection to live sports, up-to-the-minute news, curated music, millions of podcasts, and over 120,000 streaming radio stations.
Voice control is available with Prisma through Google Assistant and Chromecast built-in technologies when using an Android mobile device or Google Home speaker like the Google Home Mini. Once the Android device or Google Home speaker is connected to your network you can begin casting the following supported services:
- Google Play Music Free and Premium
- YouTube Music (Select markets) (requires YouTube Red subscription)
- Spotify Free and Premium
- Pandora (U.S. and Australia only)
Keeping the music streaming service applications outside of the Prisma application allows for direct connection to those services, removing an unnecessary layer of additional software controls that can lead to unintended consequences resulting from updates to both operating systems and music service applications. By avoiding these complications, the results should be more consistent operation of Prisma streaming over the long term.
Testing of our Prisma models has begun with the NP5 Prisma. As soon as that model has been certified and OTA update released (expected second quarter of 2020, the remaining Prisma models will be tested, with the expectation that related updates will be launched immediately following that. In the meantime, the many performance, connection and control features of Roon can be enjoyed with Chromecast built-in acting as endpoint for resolution up to 24/96kHz. For more information about Roon go to https://roonlabs.com/
Can a playlist be made by combining tracks from multiple streaming services and files from a network connected hard drive?
With the addition of Roon music player and media management software hybrid playlist creation is possible from tracks stored on a NAS and those available from Tidal HiFi and Qobuz music streaming services. For more information go to https://roonlabs.com/
With the addition of Roon music player and media management software, a number of digital signal process controls are available, including sample and bit rate management, digital filter slope characteristics, and multiple audio equalisation options for remarkably effective frequency response adjustments, including parametric equaliser and a variety of filters and plug-ins. For more information go to https://roonlabs.com/
Prisma uses standard Bluetooth SBC Codec (4.1, Low Energy), with sampling rates of 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, and Joint Stereo 32 kHz, optimised for best performance for more casual, less critical listening experiences, while recommending the use of the high–performance connection options for more critical listening, such as Spotify Connect, AirPlay (for true 16/44.1kHz) and Chromecast built-in (with resolution up to 24/96kHz)..
We have elected to do so as any of the other Bluetooth codecs, no matter how advanced, do not deliver true high resolution. More importantly for us, the most advanced codecs, such as aptX and aptX HD, are available only to those who have that technology in both receiver and transmitter. Meaning that this technology is not accessible by too many people (including all iPhone users) to meet our goal of providing the best possible experience for the greatest number of people.
Currently Qobuz is played from the application on your mobile device and cast to the NP5 Prisma using either Chromecast built-in technology (resolution up to 24/96kHz, not gapless) or AirPlay (resolution up to 16/44.1kHz, gapless).
You can access Qobuz in two ways:
- Using Chromecast built-in, with resolution up to 24/96
- Using Roon, either with Chromecast built-in as endpoint, with resolution up to 24/96, or directly with Roon Ready, following pending update, with resolution up to 24/192
We are currently in discussion with Qobuz regarding the adoption of their Connect platform, in part to provide gapless and resolution up to 24/192kHz, but can’t be sure when we might be able to offer that (maybe around the time Qobuz is available in Sweden 😉
One final note: with Roon, either using Chromecast built-in as endpoint (again 24/96) or soon with the pending Roon Ready update (24/192), you will be able to play Qobuz gapless, along with the many other features Roon media management software provides.
So, open Tidal, pick a track and album, press play, and then click on the now playing thumbnail in the lower left of the home screen. This will open up a larger play screen that will have at the lower left a small icon of a speaker with sound waves coming out of it. Click that icon and a new menu window will open up showing all of the devices you might have on your network and the various options you can use to connect to the Prisma device: AirPlay&Bluetooth (to further select connection options on those platforms) and the Chromecast devices that may be available. Select the device you wish to listen with and the music should stop playing in the device and begin to play from your speakers connected to the Prisma product.
WiFi – you can setup a Prisma component in your network without a Google account when using WiFi network connection, either by following the instruction prompts found in the Android Prisma application, or if using an iOS device, following the instructions below:
Go to the Wi-Fi menu under Settings on your iOS device. Select the Prisma model you wish to setup under “SET UP NEW AIRPLAY SPEAKER…” at the bottom of the list. Select the network you want your speaker to connect to and select “Next”. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete setup.
Ethernet – using ethernet connection provides immediate setup in your network simply by inserting the cable into the ethernet socket on your Prisma component. However, currently Google Home, and a Google account, must be used to configure a Prisma component when using ethernet connection, but we are exploring options for allowing direct connection as described above for WiFi.
Note: with either WIFI or Ethernet connection, to take advantage of Chromecast built-in related features and functionality, such as casting, voice control, and multi-room/multi-zone configuration and control, set up and configuration must be done through Google Home, with a Google account.
So, you can “configure” a WIFI connected Prisma component without having a Google account or having used Google Home to “set up” the component’s network connection, but you can’t “configure” an ethernet setup/connected Prisma component without having a
Google account and using Google Home. Yes?
You are able to use any Prisma model as a network player without connection to the internet, but you will need to have set up a local area network by adding a small router to the system if you don’t already have one in the home.
To that we would recommend adding a NAS (local area network connected self-powered hard drive with media management software installed) in order to take advantage of full Prisma connectivity and control functionality, as well as best audio performance.
The mobile device with Prisma installed will be used to control the NP5 Prisma connected over wifi, while the Prisma component can be connected either by wifi or ethernet (we prefer the latter for both connectivity and performance reasons).
You can play files from a portable drive connected to the USB A input on NP5 Prisma but note that the USB A input on all Prisma models was was not designed for critical listening connection or control, nor for long–term large–scale digital media music library storage. Rather for temporary, more informal listening, with a thumb or portable drive. For further details click “What can the USB A connector be used for?”
We are working hard to launch an all new range of home theatre models before the end of 2020, including:
SPA25 Prisma integrated amplifier
- 9 channel,100 watts per channel (all channels driven)
- Dolby Atmos and DTS X
- 4K UHD HDR switching
- Dirac Live DSP capabilities
- Prisma network player technology
- MSRP TBD (estimated €5000)
SP35 Prisma processor preamplifier
- 16 channel fully balanced preamplifier
- Dolby Atmos and DTS X
- 4k UHD HDR switching
- Dirac Live DSP capabilities
- Prisma network player technology
- MSRP TBD (estimated €6000)
A35.8 multi-channel amplifier
- 8 channels, 150 watts per channel (all channels driven)
- XLR and RCA inputs
- Each pair of channels is bridgeable to mono
- MSRP TBD (estimated €4000)
Both the Primare BD32 and BD32 MKII universal disc players utilise HDMI 1.4 video output stages, making them compatible with any Atmos enabled receiver and processor for playback of Atmos encoded discs if the following steps are taken:
- Connect the player using HDMI to any Atmos enabled receiver or processor.
- Select the bitstream output on the player.
- Be sure that the secondary audio feature is turned off.
The receiver or processor will decode the Atmos signal sent to it from the player. The display on the Atmos enabled receiver or processor should indicate “Dolby Atmos” or “Dolby Atmos – TrueHD.”
With a fully configured Atmos speaker system, the result will be a true Dolby Atmos experience.