Peachtree 2.0

No second acts in American lives? That might have been true in the dowdy old 20th Century. But today, thanks to Yankee ingenuity and the plasticity of the English language, we have something called the reboot, which has made possible a great many interesting things—not the least of which being the reintroduction and reimagining of Peachtree Audio.

Ten years ago, Atlanta, Georgia-based Peachtree hit the scene with a small selection of distinctly affordable DACs and integrated amps, their existence motivated by the then-nascent computer-audio market. Peachtree did well, and sold a considerable number of Nova amps and Decco DACs and suchlike—but after the initial cheers faded, co-founder David Solomon left the company for two years ("Went on vacation" is how partner Jim Spainhour now puts it, with a smile). Solomon's recent return to the company (as you can see in the photo above, he held on to the first-ever Peachtree Audio shirt) and the addition of new CEO Andrew Clark—formerly of Harman International—herald three major changes:

• The hiring of a new engineering team.

• A different approach to manufacturing, including the assembly of electronics in Canada as opposed to China.

• A new approach to retailing, in which bricks-and-mortar stores are given the nod over internet sales for some new products.

Appropriately enough, the reboot—unofficially referred to as Peachtree 2.0—was announced at a bricks-and-mortar store: Stereo Exchange, at 627 Broadway in New York's East Village. While there, members of the press—including Kal Rubinson, John Atkinson, and myself (above) for Stereophile, plus Michael Lavorgna for—were invited to audition Peachtree's first post-reboot product, the nova150 ($1499-1599, depending on casework finish). This 150Wpc class-A/B integrated amplifier includes a USB DAC (powered by an ESS chipset), a phono preamplifier, and a home-theater bypass.

Like a hi-fi show in miniature, the reboot was a better opportunity for catching up with members of the Peachtree team—Jim Spainhour and Andrew Clark were also on hand—and with our Stereo Exchange hosts than for doing any serious listening. But David Solomon has promised us a sample of the nova150, so a review will surely appear in the current volume of Stereophile.

Anton's picture

That was a nice, optimistic report. I wish them good fortune.

fetuso's picture

I love my nova125se.

monetschemist's picture

... I am guessing there is an interesting story about their building of gear here. I wonder if we'll get to hear about it?

Anon2's picture

I look forward to a full test of the Nova 150. $1499 - $1599 for any integrated amp having more than the customary 50w to 70W range typical for this price range is a bold statement indeed.

These Peachtree products are a welcome entry into a field of integrated amps. There are many stalwart products from the usual high quality manufacturers, but not much broadening of the field.

I'd expect that there would be many more new integrated amps entering the market; there have not been many. Space constraints and expense probably preclude many from going to separates. Receivers have gone the HT route; the discontinued Marantz SR4023 was probably the last great 2-channel receiver.

I'd also expect to see more expansion of integrated amps for something that is "going away" (take note hi-fi prophets of doom): non-automotive-based, home-based, radio-tuner FM radio listening. Radio apparatus listening will remain for garages, backyards, picnics, camping, and for HF/SW/Ham enthusiasts.

The only observations I'd make for new integrated amps is my desire to see more non-DAC options. My guess is that a good integrated might make it to 15-20 years with careful use. DACs are a more rapidly evolving technology. Some enthusiasts would probably like to option to keep the DAC separate as newer models seem to evolve almost on a 1-2 year cadence now. DACs (and materials-science based speakers) are the fastest evolving products in hi-fi.

Arcam and Naim, for example, have figured this one out and have kept DACs out of their dedicated amplification products. Naim has all-in-one options for those who want it; this is a smart way to offer products to the consumer.

Another thing I'd point out about Peachtree that should make the industry take notice is that the products are available through e-commerce. Enter Peachtree Nova into Google; then see what comes out on top of the search. This is an option for hi-fi fans who don't fancy a 200-300 mile drive to the city to audition something. Hi-fi fans, relying on good reviews like those in this publication, are probably going to save the car wear and tear, gasoline, increasingly valuable weekend time. They will more often spare the audition, roll the dice, and hit the "buy" button with greater frequency.

This product is one of the best price point placements I have seen for a product in a few years. For integrated amps, it is probably one of the best for a longer time.

Nellomilanese's picture

I agree with you 100%. They're making one hit after another.
1500 for a 150W integrated and with great looks to boost is a welcomed addition. I really like their products although they're not exactly what I'm looking for but I recommended them to a few friends after hearing 2 of their models.
Having said that your remark about the other amps in that price range beeing 50-70W should be put in perspective. Peactree amps use Class D amplification (which explains the relative small size and price given how powerful they are), while most other amps in the 50-70W and price category are Class AB.

David Solomon Peachtree Audio's picture

Thank you for making such a long trip to cover the event.
Just a couple of small corrections.
Although I do live in Atlanta, thus the name Peachtree, we actually reside In Bellevue, WA.
And while we do use proper analog volume and phono input, the amplifiers are ICE.

You mentioned our new internet policy, but to define it a little better, nova integrated amps or anything needing expert advice will available exclusively through brick and mortar retailers, their web sites and the Peachtree website.
Product like DeepBlue, Shift and our Bluetooth receiver will be available on line.

Now that Peachtree is offering more power and features for the dollar than any other manufacturer made in N. America, we should be looking at a very successful relaunch.
Thanks again,
David Solomon