Primare's DVDi10 is an integrated DVD player, 2.1-channel receiver, and DAB radio tuner, the natural evolution of the Swedish company's CDi10 CD/amp combi. It aims to deliver separates performance from a single stylish unit. Just match it up with stereo speakers and a powered sub.
For this money, you'd expect rock-solid build quality and that's what you get. The metallic bodywork is sturdy, and the fascia moody and minimal. Three thick feet quell vibrations and the row of bullet-like buttons with illuminated green icons on top is delightfully old school.
From the spec sheet, its DVD credentials are solid. At its heart is the Genesis FLI2300 video processor, which handles 1080p DVD upscaling duties, ably supported by an Analog Devices ADV7320 video DAC. It also plays back MP3s and JPEGs from DVDs or CDs, but not DivX, SACD or DVD-Audio – all missed chances.
On the back, three sets of analogue phonos cater for external sources, but there are no digital inputs. Coaxial and optical digital audio outputs offer a path to full 5.1 with a separate receiver, and the built-in analogue to digital converter lets you pass on line sources from these outputs.
On the video side, you get HDMI, component, S-video and composite outs and there's an iPod connection offering front panel control and a metadata display.
On the receiver side, Primare claims a rating of 75W per channel and naturally it decodes Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks. The DAB radio tuner offers 10 presets and 196kHz/24-bit conversion.
One odd thing: I thought the OS menus distinctly old-fashioned. It's since transpired that Primare has updated these – existing owners can take their DVDi10 to their dealer to get the new software.
Putting that disappointment aside, I fired up Apocalypto on DVD and was hit for six by the sound. The drums that propel Jaguar Paw through the rainforest are vital and urgent; the sharp, sweet treble coaxes out subtle detail and there's a depth and richness that also permeates CD playback.
The 1080p picture quality is immaculate too – the rich tapestry of the film's rainforest was conveyed with pristine clarity, and there are no noise or upscaling artefacts to report. Contrast, colour saturation and edge definition are excellent. A run-through of the Silicon Optix HQV underlines the quality of the video processing, as diagonal lines are free from stepping and feathering.
The DVDi10 is pricey for what it is, lacks a few features you might expect, and has a clunky, operating system. Luckily, it makes up for it with a classy AV performance and an eye-catching esoteric design.
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