What was the most amazing thing I saw at AXPONA 2013?

 

It wasn’t the ultra high-end loudspeakers (of which their were many) that dazzled and entertained me.  It also wasn’t the prolific expansion of headphone gear surfing the rising tide of personal audio. No, the biggest surprise emerged from a category I expected the least.  It all started in the fiscally responsible PeachTree room.

Peachtree is known for their consumer friendly amplifiers with the little see-through window.  Said window allows onlookers to view the included tube stage which has been known to add a little body as well as smooth out the rough edges from less-than-perfect sources.  Peachtree has also seen some recent success with its Apple-inspired standalone DAC named the DAC-iT ($460). The room at AXPONA was graced with the Nova125 ($1500) pushing two Martin Logan Montis Electrostatic speakers ($10k).  The sound was precise and saturated the room with a voluptuous sound stage.  Jonathan Derda’s tiered presentation included an interesting mix of both vinyl (via a Pro-Ject Experience turntable) and digital music.

PeachTree Nova 125

But like so many things in life, the real excitement didn’t start until the after-party. The door was shut, the lights were dimmed.  To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect.  I had heard that PeachTree had something new but I didn’t see anything unusual in the room.  What emerged from a rear cabinet was not a new amp or DAC, but a full speaker array similar in size and style to some of Bose’s satellite iDoc efforts. If weight is any indication of the contents then I was in for a treat, the unit was very heavy for the size.  The new product is called DeepBlue, and the finalized version should be ready to hit the streets in late May.

Peach Tree Deep Blue speaker System
I wasn’t able to get any direct picture of the prototype, but PeachTree was kind enough to supply me with this logo. You can see an out-of-focus image of the unit in the background.

For the start of the demonstration a laptop was used as a source and an AudioQuest Dragonfly ($250) as a DAC.  An interconnect was then plugged the 3.5mm input of the DeepBlue. The sound that emerged from the unit was quite a surprise.  It could just have been the size of the room, but unless my ears deceived me the bass sounded like a good Los Angeles burrito at 12am, very filling.  It wasn’t until later that I found out the roughly 2’ by 1’ box had a 6” inch woofer hidden away in its pockets.  In addition to the woofer, the DeepBlue sports 2 custom designed 3” inverted dome drivers for the mids and 2 custom 1” soft dome tweeters in the sealed cabinet design.  240 watts total feed the loudspeakers, 120 of that is for the 6” woofer.  The sound that enveloped the room was loud.  Loud enough for a bedroom, and dare I say, loud enough for a living room as well.  Fidelity was equally impressive.  Vocals were delightfully clear and very forgiving of the Spotify streaming we heard. Input capabilities also include CSR Bluetooth for even more versatility, but for the utmost in fidelity I would still recommend utilizing the DeepBlue 3.5mm input.  Peachtree is obviously targeting the Bose and the Zepplin Air crowd at full tilt with this collection of speakers, especially when you hear the price – $400. These days I don’t get excited about to many things; I know what I know, if you know mean…but a $400 price point is impressive in a world where a simple interconnect can relieve you of more of your hard earned bread.  The DeepBlue didn’t sound awesome for $400, it just sounded awesome. And I’m excited.