Peachtree is off to a new start this year with a totally revamped line of amplifiers that land delightfully in centerfield between the price tags of the ultra high end and entry level offerings. The new lineup is manufactured in Canada promising more even more bang/buck and presented as an easy-to-follow three-tiered amplifier offering.
The new Nova line may share some of the same external aesthetics that you have come to expect from the US-based company but feature new internals dramatic enough to fly under a big official “2.0” flag. The internal design has been revamped from nut to bolt and is marketed with traditional Peachtree nomenclature that aligns the model name with the wattage (per channel into 8Ω). The Nova 150 is 150 watts, costs $1,500 and is available now. The 300 (which I also heard at the show) will be $2,200 when it launches next month. The highest tier will measure in at 500 watts and cost $3,500 when it hits at the end of the year.
For those not familiar with Peachtree’s fare, their rounded, textured wood construction is now complemented with both ICEPower loudspeaker amplification and a hearty digital section centered around the ESS Sabre 9018K2M with double DSD capabilities (for the 150 and 300). The inputs expand even further to include a M/M phono preamp, Apple Lighting (for phones and iPads) and home theater options for a simple, one-box option for sonic translation. David touts the Nova’s Lighting connection as an optimized alternative for getting services like high resolution Tidal into the amplifier. He explains that the some components from the device (like the screen) can inadvertently add hum or noise to the experience though traditional means where the Nova’s input is able to circumvent some of the unwanted unpleasantry for a cleaner and more detailed tablet experience. In any case, the response from the Wilson Audio Sabrinas ($16k) they had lined up on the long wall of their show room was quite pleasant. Although a bit high in terms of a realistic price ratio for speaker to amp, I can’t fault Peachtree for wanted their gear to sound their best. The end sum from that side was impressive, delivering excellent clarity with a dash of high end hifi polish that doesn’t always make the rounds like it should.
The “realist” take on the far wall of the 10th floor room swung this ratio in the opposite direction. I prefer to leave dead horses as they lie, but the sound that came from the Nova 150 paired with Andrew Jones’ ELAC UB5 ($500/pair) was absolutely phenomenal for the price as it was when I heard it [here] and [here] at previous shows. Total package on that wall was a mere $2k in total, pushing terms that even non-audiophiles would agree with.
Mid demo we were blessed with a quick introduction and presentation by Cookie Marenco of Blue Coast Records. Cookie is the founder and executive producer of the DSD-centric music label and retail site. Her acoustic cover of Wicked Game performed by Jenna Mammina & Rolf Sturm from the Newport Blue Coast Sampler 1 was dynamic and dimensional through the Sabrinas. The lone vocals and single nylon-stringed guitar really give you a chance to dive head first into fine detail with out all the trauma of a full orchestra or walls of giant sound. The placement was excellent, as was texture and tone of the adamant but tender singing from Jenna. I first began to play guitar (as many musicians do) on a nylon string instrument as it is a little easier on soft, unlearnt fingers. The simple acoustic sound through the Peachtree/Wilson system flourished with a palatable tonal rightness that easily triggered memories of long hours of practice in slightly damp midwest basements. Good things coming from this direction at the show.
Peachtree direct: http://www.peachtreeaudio.com/
Newport Blue Coast Sampler 1: http://www.bluecoastrecords.com/
ELAC UB5 Loudspeaker: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01CRYWVG2/