Audio Aero Prima 24/192 Mk II cd player......

I would like to have some opinions on this cd player .....

Your comments are appreciated.

I think you are asking about the audio Aero Capitole Mark II Cd player. The prima is it's "little brother'. Both are wonderful players. Try doing a discussion forum search on 'Audio Aero' and you will be quite impressed by all of the feedback.
Ooodles in the archives. Unclejeff brings up a major point, especially when it concerns $$. The Capitole is 4 times the price of the Prima, but not 4 times the sound. Both are impressive players, but the Prima is probably the best value for the buck. Hard to beat at that price and more...The Capitole? I'd own one now if I wasn't married. I'll settle for my Prima. love it....warren :)
The Prima is one of the best values in audio if you can find one pre-owned. At retail price it is somewhat less of a bargain. In either case it buries products at and around its' price including the much overhyped Jolida JD-100, modded or stock.
I have the Prima Mk2 and love it. It has a slightly forward tilt which gives the soundstage a natural-sounding depth with incredibly good layering and dynamics. I made some specific comparisons in my "system" page if you want more details but overall, it has high value and superb sound quality.

The Capitole is top loading which I don't care for. I prefer the Prima's conventional transport and its much lower price. Arthur
The rest of my system ...Pathos Logos,Merlin VSM-MM speakers,Merlin BAM(balanced and single ended) Ridge street Audio Poiema !! XLRs and Ridge Street Audio Poiema! sp cable.
The AA Prima IIs balanced inputs will be used and I like the idea of tubes in the output stage.....
Thanks for your inputs.
I bought a new Prima II this past spring(thanks for the tip Warren) and I have to say it was the best single piece improvement Ive ever done. I love it,and can absolutely recommend you give it a listen.
You have a great system. I owned the Prima and another dozen Dac's and players - all very good. The Prima is a little forward sounding. I found the Ack Dac V2 to sound better and it can be had for $650 used or $850 new.

I also found the Cary 308T to be better than the Prima. The Prima is good, but you can do better for less money IMHO.

Wow, the Prima forward sounding? Cannot relate at all. Do better for less money? Hey, that's what makes the world go round in this audiophoolish hobby. Listen for yourself. It's your tympanics that count. warren :)
Grannyring I suspect it is your other components, not the Prima, that sound forward. In and of itself the Prima is not a forward sounding cd player. If anything it has a reticent, relaxed, or laid back presentation. To close, in a well designed system there is no way the Ack Dac will sound better than the Prima. It's no contest.
Judy, you said it better (nicer) than I could. You're dead on.....
I agree with Grannyring that the Prima can be a little forward in some cases. Don't forget everything is relative!!

Is "forward" supposed to be bad? Some of you seem to take offense to what I find is a good trait. I guess that is further proof of relativity.

Doing A/B comparisons with the Consonance, CAL, Music Hall, Sony ES and Jolida CD players I have had in my system (the reference point), the Prima is a little more forward in the midrange than any of them. This impression could stem from the fact that the Prima has exemplary soundstage depth. However, it is more laid back than the Arcam and Cary CD players I have tried. It all depends on the comparison you are making so don't leave out this pertinent information when making a "generalization."
Judy 426 thanks for your comments. I owned the Ack DAC V2 and it did better the Prima. I love the Prima, but trust me it was a contest. My system when I had both units was far from forward sounding.

Cain & Cain IM Ben double horns
Wright 3.5 SET monoblocks
Wright top of the line preamp
Tara Air 1 IC's
BPT conditioner
Echo Buster and other room treatments

Very nice and intimate sounding system that was very revealing. As good as the Prima is it did sound forward compared to many top end units passing through my reference system. I prefered my Metronome C20 Signature DAC also at the time.

This is a matter of personal taste of coarse. I just found the forward nature a little much over extended listening sessions.

The Prima has one advantage over the Ack dAck that is undeniable - no battery! If you like long listening sessions, or don't want to wake up in the middle of the night trying to remember if you shut off the dAck, the minor audio differences are not worth quibbling about.
"the minor audio differences are not worth quibbling about"

That is what this hobby and love is all about! Those small differences in one's system, room and personal taste is what makes a system come together in the end. It is what turns a stereo into music.

Agree with the battery comment and that is why I don't own it any longer. However, my system is on for day parts all the time!

For those who don't care about small differences - continue to enjoy what you have and pay no attention to the rest of us nuts :-)

Please keep in mind that I am replacing a Mark Levinson 37 and 36s.Does the Prima Mk II have what it takes to compete with the Levinsons ? I have a gut feeling that a tube output cd player will suit my system well.I also need the balanced outputs .Not much to compete in the market at the pricepoint of the Prima with its features.
Not the Capitole Mk II ~ dont want to spend that large amount of money on a cd player.It would have been the logical purchase...
Is the Prima what I am looking for or am I expecting too much ...?
Why not try something like this....
Link should have directed you to their ZBOX.
Bluebull, would you consider $2300-$2500 to much? If not, then get a Resolution Audio Opus 21 used. I have also owned this unit and it is the second best unit I have heard in my home system. It is right behind the AA Capital Sig Version.

It would be wonderful with the rest of your system. The Prima would also sound good, but the Opus 21 is certainly a step or cut above in every way. It offers XLR's and has a wonderful analog volume to. I am sure you are aware of this unit as I have seen your username quite often on this site.

Matty ~ Thanks for the link on the ZBOX.Interesting concept.Not an option,since Levinsons sold,only RCA ,no balanced connection(My whole system runs balanced,RSA Poiema !! cables and Merlin BAM also XLR connection)Dont want to change any of these.

Grannyring ~ Resolution Opus.Have read very fovourable comments.Not distributed in my country.We have 230V,so an used option(110V) also, not on.Also,review by Hi Fi Plus not very favourable(The second time they reviewed the Opus. Not the first review.)
Another vote for the Prima...I have compared the Prima to the Unison Unico CDP, the Linn Genki, Rega Planet and found the Prima to best, smooth with lost of detail, a nice deep soundstage. I have not heard the Ack Dack, but I would certainly not describe the Prima as forward sounding, and I heard the Prima now in three different systems. If something sounds forward I would look elsewhere (single driver speaker with slightly forward sounding amp, like the Abby/Jolida combo I have now). Compared to the above three players the Prima was in fact the lest forward sounding of the bunch. So far I have not heard a single player that portrayed instruments (piano sax) as realistic as the Prima.

I am not sure how the Prima would compare to a Levinson though. One other option you might look into is the APL modified Denon 3910. Howard (Boa2) used to own the Prima, the RA Opus, the Capitole, and the Denon. TOns of comments in the archive as well.

Happy listening,

Now, with all this, do you know which one you should purchase? Of course not! Put the ole tympanics to the test. I will bet anything: the Prima will make it to the finals....warren :-)
I have heard that you have to send the Prima to the factory to replace the output tubes. Is this correct? If so, it seems to be a bit of a hassle.
The 6021W subminiature tube have a fairly long lifetime (20000 hours). Assuming you leave it on 24 hours 365 day =8760 h, the tubes will last for 2.5 years. At that point you there is no warranty left and you (or a friend) can safely solder new ones into the player yourself. If the player is still under waranty you might want to sent it back to the distributor. In the worst case shipping it to the US distributor and back should not be more than $150 roundtrip, which is still less than what most people spent on tube rolling in three years.

Also one more comment: I have had pretty good experience with the Audio Aero distributor (Globe Audio). I got my Prima as a DEMO from the dealer with a slightly dented cover. Globe Audio send me a new replacement directly from Canada to the US, no shipping charges. Also, they always answered my questions with great detail and promptly. Nice to have someone standing behind the products they sell, which is particularly important with overseas products.

Happy listening.

you'll be ready for a new cdp, particulary if you are an audiophool, before those tubes go...
O.K. there's one critizism to the Prima that I will even agree on:

The remote has to many buttons that have no function:

Display, CD, Pre/Amp, CD/Pre, Ch up, Ch down, Vol up, Vol down, Phase


you're fishing Rene. After a couple of cds, you know what you gotta know about that remote. I least I do...
Hey,Warren,you really like the Prima ! Thats a good sign for me ...I am deciding soon.
Waiting for the verdict from someone who's Prima II is breaking in at the moment...
Can anyone comment on how it compares with a stock sony xa777es?
The Prima is nice but gets blown away by the new and similiarly priced Canary CD-100. It uses 6922 output tubes which allows the owner to upgrade significantly.
I love that "blown away" Stan. But you're the man..the Prima doesn't get blown away by the Capitole MkII..."blown away?"
The Capitole MkII is a very nice component but it is by no means a reference player. Indeed it bests the Prima but not by the large difference in price.
"Blown away" was my metaphor for the combination of sonics and price. That being said, the Canary blows away the Prima.
Vertigo. I can't answer your question, but I have to say that my Sony XA777ES with superclock II mod is the only non tubed CD player in my price range that I'll listen to. I keep trying to replace it with a tubed output CD player, but everytime I listen to other players as good as they are in the price range I like the Sony better. I'm only talking about redbook. It is very smooth not digital sounding. And the low level detail is just amazing and hard to give up. It's also not analytical like some very detailed players.

I bought it modded so I can't speak for it's original sound. I will say however that with this modest mod (superclock II), I prefer it's sound to a stock SCD-1. I just wanted to give impressions.
Since you have listened (for extended periods of time with various music selections and the same power cords, ICs,amp, cabling, etc.) to both, do you mind explaining specifically how the Canary "blows away" the Prima. I have owned mine for three years and am always amazed at the Prima's sound.
It sounds better very simply. You've been a strong proponent and very defensive of the Prima as evidenced by your plethora of posts on the subject. Unlike you, I have no dog in this fight. It might be difficult for fragile egos, but the Prima is not the best cd player at its' price.

Just wondering where I can get some info on the Canary
cdp? I have held on to my Audio Note 2.1x now for a couple
of years and had the Prima right before it. I love the
AN 2.1x and don't want to change until I find a
significant upgrade.
How much is Canary. I had the CA 160 monos for a short
period. (Fantastic!)
Canary makes great stuff.
I suppose it is going to be impossible to get a direct answer from you. "simply better?" That is your audiophile critique? "fragile egos?" Stan, my man, give me a break. I'm open to anything, but "blown away?" No price, no nothing. I'd love to hear your experiences with the Prima. Since I know this cdp intimately, I, hopefully, will see what page you're on. No cogent (perhaps that's expecting to much) response, but simply: simply better? The insanity of all this, is that I expected different from you. My fault... :)
Hey Warrenh,

FWIW, 6 Moons has one now for review, I guess we can
all wait to see. I went ahead and bought one yesterday,
(I know that's taking a chance but!?) and am selling
my present cdp. I hope it's not a mistake, but from
what little I can gather it sounds like the Canary
CD100 will be a real winner. I took a chance based on
what I heard from the CA 160 mono blocks I once had.
I also for the record "recently" owned the AA Prima, Rega Jupiter 2000,
Eastern Electric Mini Max, (auditioned and took back). Oh yea, I also had the 3.1x, but still liked the 2.1x better.

Anyway, you may not get your answer here, as there is just
not enough info floating around yet, but I assume a 6 moons
review will answer some of our questions. I do hope it's a
good one believe me.
Bob, I look forward to your impressions, especially since you owned the Prima. I hope that baby delivers for you...warren
Bluebull, I have owned the Prima and have compared it at lenght to many other good players and DAC's. Check my feedback and see I am a long time and active audiofool.

My system (systems) were well matched and good for comparing various front ends. We all have opinions to be sure. We all have a sonic personality we like and thus we are all right.

I can honestly (IMHO) say the Prima is not the best in its price class as several other players in my home were better and by a good margin. I found it tilted up sounding and in the end fatiguing to my ears. Yes, a little forward and a little less body then I like. I like meat with my potatoes.
The Prima needs more meat and balance top to bottom. Perhaps the lack of meat made the sound seem tilted up or forward.

It is a very good player and my comments are about degrees of performance only. A used Opus 21 is better in every sonic way. I found the Cary 308T to have better dynamics, more meat/body and it is less money used or new.The Metronome CD players and DAC's are also better performers. I owned the C20 Signature DAC and that bested the Cary and Prima and reaaly gave the Opus 21 a run for the money. The older Metronome tubed Signature players can be had for a song used and they are wonderful sounding.

My current Muse Thalia CD/DVD player also bests the Prima from top to bottom. It is not tubed, but has XLR and no need for a preamp if you want. $1000 used on Agon.

I had the AA Capitole Signature version in my home two months ago and it is the finest player I have heard. That unit has meat, body, detail, huge stage - everything! The Prima is not 80-90% as good. They have very different sound and share only the company name.

Make sure you get a trial period if you go for the Prima.

Grannyring, that is a very astute and honest appraisal. Your findings are very similiar to mine. If you have a chance to hear the Canary you will find it better balanced than the Prima plus the bottom end is far more solid. It is one of the finest players at its' price point. My only complaint is lack of full functions on the remote. However the same can be said of the Prima and others in this price range.
Bluebull, don't get nervous about what Bill is saying. It is all, down that audio highway, very subjective. The best advice he gave you? Listen before you purchase. I feel very different about the Prima, though I haven't heard the variety of cdps he has, in the same rig. I'm a tough sell, but the Prima delivers in my system. The others may deliver as well. Perhaps more, but I'm satisfied for this hobby, everything is temporary....for now, I'm good. You got quite a high class problem choosing from the above list of cdps that have been mentioned.
Stan, I asked of you for specific info about your experiences. You gave me nothing but circumlocution. Now, Bill gives an astute, cogent response, and you jump on it. Your experiences are the same? Give me a break. Who are you fooling here?
Warren stop feeling sorry for yourself because the Prima is not the best player at its' price point. That's the issue here and you can't deal with it. I'm not "fooling" anyone as you suggest; my impressions are objective, as opposed to yours, who as a Prima owner are tainted by your own subjectivity and bias. As I said earlier, I have no dog in this fight but you do correct? So stop the silliness and give the other players a listen before taking such a hard-nosed unrelenting posture. Thank you and good luck.
Man Warren, I have never seen you foaming at the mouth before. :) All this subjective talk doesn't amount to a hill of beans anyway. We love our Primas and that's that so don't worry about the others.
Stan sounds like Warren...too funny. Likes repel, sure enough.
>>Stan sounds like warren<<
Yes and no. Yes in the sense I am firm in my beliefs based on what I hear. No in the reality that I accept the fact that there is a plethora of players around the Prima's price point; many of which are simply better. I also concede that system dependency is a salient issue. However there are quite a few players that will outperform the Prima if A/B'd in any given system. Thank you.
Abal, "likes repel" ouch!
Yes, don't worry and be happy as all of this is fun! The Prima may be perfect sounding to another who likes a different sound. This hobby is all about what you like to hear.

If you try the Prima and like it, then keep it and enjoy. If you find it lacks body, send it back and try another. That simple. Even better, buy it used for the right price and sell if you want to try another. If you buy right you wont lose money and can try another. I love this site just for this reason.

So many have raved about the Prima I had to try it. My experience was not like theirs. I sold it after two months hoping it would "change". Rooms can also impact the sound of a system and front end dramatically. A system that works great in one room will have "issues" in another.

Just try and enjoy like other posters have said. Great to try your two top choices side by side and decide. Sell the loser or send it back as part of a trial!

I had AA Prima MKII DAC and replaced it a week ago by Metronome C1A mkIII, the latter being MUCH more musical (in my system)
This is how I deal with knowing, or suspecting, that there are cdps out there for the same price that may be better. If I'm grooving with mine, it (the Prima in this case) is a keeper. I think I have a ridiculous pair of tympanics as far as being on the picky side. If it works for me, that is all that matters. Sometimes I get, yeah, a bit ridiculously zealous passing the audiophoolish word. Now, believe me, if I get the upgrade itch (anyone know about that?) you can bet that I'll think about replacing my Prima. For now it (my entire system) meets my tympanic needs. Proud of me?-- I didn't mention you know what.... peace, warren