Optoma NuForce Primo8 review

Lovely design, comfy fit and lots of accessories can’t hide an uninspiring sound... Tested at £400

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

These in-ears are comfortable to wear, but they’re simply not exciting or subtle enough to justify that expensive price tag


  • +

    Decent detail

  • +

    Agile and definite with edges of notes

  • +

    Well built and comfortable fit


  • -

    Limited dynamics

  • -

    Muffled quality

  • -

    Not very exciting or transparent

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Most in-ear headphones get by with single drivers, but the Optoma NuForce Primo8s have four tiny balanced armature drivers in each bud, which promise superior sound quality akin to ‘full-size speakers’.


The Primo8s certainly sound loud and spacious with great note control, especially when paired with an appropriate DAC such as the £260 Oppo HA-2.

There’s a fair amount of detail, too, letting you pick out the crunchy bass and various intensities of Rihanna’s voice in Rude Boy.

They’re agile performers, but don’t quite have the dynamic ability or organisation to really hold our attention. At this price, you really want these headphones to knock your socks off with their incredible sound.

Alas, the Primo8s don’t quite have the ‘wow’ factor.

There’s little sense of excitement from these in-ears, dynamics are squashed, the bass doesn’t reach that low and the top notes are too smooth and rolled off.

Voices are a touch muffled, and there’s no sense of drama or build up with songs.

MORE: Best in-ear headphones 2015


It’s a shame they are uninspiring, because these Primo8s are so well built. Ear hooks and oval-shaped ear buds mean a secure fit.

They come in a lovely box, with eight pairs of tips, a chunky in-line mic and remote, but that’s not enough to negate the Primo8s’ lacklustre performance.

It becomes difficult to justify them when we prefer listening to in-ears at a fraction of the £400 price tag.

See all our Optoma reviews

MORE: Awards 2015: In-ear headphones

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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