Is the Primare NP-5 an upgrade over a Google Chromecast?
This is a question we get asked a lot, and its understandable, as the Primare NP-5 has Google Chromecast built in, so it's far to consider if the Primare will give you the enough sonic benefit to justify the price difference.
In order to answer that question, we decided to do a pure blind test of both products on several differently priced systems:
System A: Under £500
System B: £5,000
System C: £10,000
It might seem strange that we are testing it on a system which is under £500 however we wanted to see if the sonic differences could be heard at all levels, to better establish a bases for the test.
The simple answer to the question we posed is "YES". It is without question, sonically vastly superior. It is however not that surprising. While the Chrome cast uses a 3.5mm headphone jack, whereas the Primare NP-5 has a dedicated optical out as well as a coax out. (Personally we all found that the Coax was the better of the two options) A 3.5mm jack has physical limitations, as it has smaller contact areas, and of course the it always comes down to the quality of the components that are used. The Chrome cast is also very small in physical stature, which is great as it doesn't take up any room, and can be hidden away, and while the NP-5 is by no means a large unit, and is by all means very compact itself, it is larger than the chrome cast, which offers the designers more room for higher quality components.
Across the 3 systems, there was a sonic difference, and it wasn't subtle. The dynamics where vastly improved, the clarity of the voices was distinctive, the bass was firmer, and less boomy, the instruments offered more detail and subtly. We could go on and on, but the difference was night & day. We are actually quite big fans of the google Chromecast, as it offers customers a way to try streaming at a very reasonable cost, however when looking for a true audiophile sound, the Primare NP-5 is the option to go for.
Without question, there is sonic benefits with the Primare NP-5. It is worth the extra £££ for the benefit you receive. The difference is very noticeable and even people who are new to HiFi will be able to hear the differences the Primare makes. The sonic benefit can be heard across all frequencies, and it improves the music in all areas.
For under £500 it is certainly one of the best sounding and easy to use streamers we have come across. In many respects its not surprising as Primare's Prisma system is multi award winning and has many wonderful reviews, so when they took it, and put it in its own box, it was sure to be a stunning product that anyone can add to their system!