Peachtree Audio nova300 integrated amplifier December 2017

Art Dudley returned to the nova300 in December 2017 (Vol.40 No.12):

Come back, baby. You'll find a million poems deep in your destitute soul.—Richard Hugo, "Second Chances"

The poet Richard Hugo (1923–1982) was known by his students for suggesting that every poem has two subjects: the thing that triggered the writing of the poem in the first place—the writer's Grecian Urn, if you will—and, beyond that, whatever eventually becomes the finished poem's actual subject. Hugo observed that the latter often isn't known to the writer when he or she begins work, but reveals itself over time.

I think the same can be said of a good review (by good I mean an interesting and useful review, not necessarily a positive one): A critic can set out to evaluate something as small as a piece of wire, only to end up discovering—and ultimately communicating—a larger truth.

When I set out to review Peachtree Audio's 300Wpc, class-D nova300 for the June 2017 Stereophile, I thought I was just reviewing the latest iteration of an affordable DAC–integrated amplifier from the company that popularized if not invented the genre. Only after I'd written the piece was it apparent that I'd also critiqued my review regimen itself. Although I'd enjoyed the nova300's musical strengths, in particular praising its onboard phono preamp, I considered its sound inferior to that of an earlier Peachtree, the iDecco integrated amp, which I'd reviewed for the December 2010 issue. My evaluation wasn't entirely positive, and Peachtree and readers alike were concerned that my testing conditions were unfair, inasmuch as my very high-sensitivity Altec Flamencos are so unlike the loudspeakers owned by normal people.

Until now, my view has been this: As long as I describe—for the benefit of readers and equipment suppliers alike, in these pages and on Stereophile.com—the associated products I use to review new gear (and I do), and as long as equipment suppliers send me review samples in full knowledge of the system in which they will be used (and they do, at least presumably), then I'm off the hook, free and clear, untroubled and unconcerned. But on reflection, I think my critics (footnote 1) have a point: I may indeed be off the hook when it comes to writing reviews of low-power amplifiers, low-compliance moving-coil cartridges, and suchlike, but in this case, my published observations were of limited use to people who own the sorts of systems most likely to be used with the device under test.

Partly because John Atkinson's measurements revealed "a high level of switching noise," he and I wondered if our sample of the nova300 might not have been exemplary. In our correspondence with Peachtree, we suggested that they check out that sample on its return to their facility, but if they did, Stereophile wasn't informed of the results. In any event, we remained in touch with Peachtree, who assured us that a second sample would follow. It arrived in August, described by Peachtree as having been run in and made ready for use.

Meanwhile, earlier last summer, I was sent Stereophile's review pair of Wharfedale Diamond 225 loudspeakers ($449/pair), which I reviewed in a Follow-Up in the October 2017 issue. With its modern soft-dome tweeter and Kevlar mid/woofer; its modern, reflex-loaded, not terribly wide enclosure; and its modern (read: average) sensitivity (Wharfedale specifies 87dB, though JA measured 85dB), the unambiguously affordable Diamond 225 is everything the Altec Flamenco is not: a perfectly likely mate for the nova300 or any other contemporary, budget-priced integrated amp. It seemed a fine pairing, so pairing is what I set out to do—though I also thought it would be a good idea to try the new nova300 with my Altecs, to determine whether this sample sounded different from the old one.

What pipes and timbrels?
I began by evaluating the sound of the new nova300 precisely as I'd done the old: through my usual system, Altec Flamencos included. This time I started out with LPs, specifically with one of my favorite Ella Fitzgerald collections, Ella Swings Lightly (Verve MG VS-6019). Overall, the sound was musically engaging: dramatic, forceful, detailed, colorful. That said, the sound of Fitzgerald's voice, especially in note attacks, was just a bit dry, with sibilants that were very slightly exaggerated and drawn out—especially in the opening track, "Little White Lies." But that shortcoming wasn't as severe as with the first nova300 sample, and those negatives were overwhelmed by such positives as the sounds of Mel Lewis's drums in "Teardrops from My Eyes," which were richly toned and impactful.

I heard more or less the same pros and cons with a fine, recent reissue of Procol Harum's A Salty Dog (LP, A&M/Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab MFSL 1-474), an album recorded in 1969, mostly at Abbey Road Studios. Despite sounding decidedly compressed—but no more so through the Peachtree than through any other amp of my experience—Barrie Wilson's drumming came across with good, colorful tone, and his tabla playing in "Boredom" had decent touch and snap. Melodic flow and the ability to involve me were superb through the Peachtree: Listening to "Too Much Between Us," I was left marveling at the song's very typical Gary Brooker chord progression, in which the transition from the end of the chorus to the beginning of the next verse made complete sense, even if it was impossible for me to determine how he got there. Again, however, vocal sibilants intruded: The s in sow, in the second verse of "The Milk of Human Kindness," made me wince a little, and the marimba's note attacks in "Boredom" were somewhat too crisp.

Then I switched over to the Wharfedales and relistened to the Harums. The sound was much better: smoother and less edgy. That s sound in "The Milk of Human Kindness" still ran at me to the end of its chain, but this time it didn't get far enough to bite. That said, the sound was also more opaque overall through the Wharfedales than through the Flamencos: The worst traits of the Peachtree-Altec combo were now subdued—but so, to a lesser extent, were its best.

The Wharfedales still in place, I switched over to my Sony SCD-777 SACD/CD player and, in a nod to my original nova300 review, returned to the SACD of the Band's The Last Waltz (SACD/CD, Warner Bros./Rhino/Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab Ultradisc UDSACD 2-2139) and the song "It Makes No Difference." And indeed—the Wharfedales made a difference, if a modest one. Through the Wharfedales, this recording's treble range was more enjoyable than when I'd first reviewed the nova300, but a slight excess of energy in vocal sibilants ("the sun don't shine") endured.

I connected my iMac to the new nova300 and switched to the Peachtree's internal DAC, then fired up Roon and tried listening to "Passion Dance," from McCoy Tyner's The Real McCoy (AIFF file of unrecorded provenance, Blue Note 84264), first through the Flamencos. Upper overtones of Joe Henderson's tenor sax were edgy, and the sounds of drummer Elvin Jones's cymbals were all swish and no body—a characteristic that also plagued the end of "Four by Five," from the same album. That said, the trebles didn't seem quite as grainy as they did with the previous Peachtree sample.

Better still, when I moved over to the far less sensitive Wharfedales, all was, if not quite perfect, a whole lot better. After listening to a few more files through this combo, I forged two opinions: At least through its phono stage, the new nova300 sounded slightly less edgy than the old one, though I'd still characterize its sonic fingerprint as dry and crisp overall; and, in the sense that some amp designers feel that the first watt is the most important, with the Peachtree that seemed not to be the case: This amp performed its best only after its legs have been stretched and its reserves tested.

Had these second-round listening tests been definitive—in a manner and to an extent that such things almost never are—I'd now be suggesting that, in my first round, the fault was in both my review sample and in myself. Reviewing a 300Wpc class-D amp—even a good one—with my horn-loaded Altecs was a mistake from which I have now learned. That said, even though my first sample of the nova300 seems to have underperformed, this Peachtree model combines, in all settings, excellent musicality and an overachieving phono stage with an inherently dry sound—not a deal breaker, but something the prospective buyer should take into account.—Art Dudley


Footnote 1: See the Comments section.
COMPANY INFO
Peachtree Audio
2045 120th Avenue NE
Bellevue, WA 98005
(704) 391-9337
ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
Matias's picture

Very strange review... Totally agree with the manufacturer's comment.

"I would never recommend a 300Wpc solid-state, high-resolution, integrated amplifier with a pair of vintage 60-year-old horn loudspeakers. Those should be driven by a moderately powered tube amp and preamp. That's what has always sounded best to me with a speaker like that."

dalethorn's picture

Normally I'd be OK with trying just about anything, as long as it were tried at length to be certain. But in this case I agree with you.

BK Audiophile's picture

I am shocked and bewildered by this review. Admittedly, I am a fan and owner of Peachtree products, but I'm also a long-time lover of rich-sounding hi-fi systems and quality audio. This write-up simply does not compute with my understanding of or enthusiasm for Peachtree's sonic signature. I'm surprised that Stereophile, which I usually agree with whole-heartedly, would publish a report that's so contradictory to my experience with Peachtree's products. I sincerely hope there was indeed some system mismatch, such as was suggested by Solomon in the manufacturer's comment. Shame...

David Solomon Peachtree Audio's picture

Soapbox warning: Leave now while you can.
After all of the time I've spent with this unit and so much glowing praise from so many, I was initially shocked and in a state of disbelief. Regardless, I continue to respect and revere the integrity I've known from Stereophile since I was a kid. No one I've known from this long lasting publication writes without passion and a love for music. Most like the gear as well. I know Art to be honest as the day is long and has always been very kind and respectful. Although I don't agree at all with the review based on my own experience, I can easily see how the conclusions were drawn, given the set up.

Thankfully there was a delay because reviews do matter and the fairly harsh and pointed opinions are in direct opposition to every other review of the nova150 or 300. So far, we've received top performance rewards in every review published. Although, I'm guessing we get no reward for this one or if we did, I'm pretty sure we wouldn't be displaying it.
:-(

You'll never be a perfect fit for "all" systems or people, as proven here. There will always be a some product returns and there will always be haters for whatever reasons, so I'm sure you could find a few who don't like what we've done, but the overall feedback has been incredibly positive.

As you can probably tell, we look at Peachtree like our baby (because it is) and it does hurt when she's put in a mismatched in a relationship that never stood a chance.

But I look at the bright side. Hopefully this article and subsequent user experience comments will spawn a flood of curious customers running into our dealers to hear and decide for themselves. Stereophile is welcome to have it back in a system more compatible with our unit.

We allow quite a long audition period and I always tell people to please return it if you only "like it". These are our babies and if you don't love it, I'd rather have it back home.

(Last note: This finish is not available. This was a first run picture that's no longer in our art circulation.)

Onward and upward. Breaking into chorus of " I believe I can fly "

David Solomon
Peachtree Audio

dalethorn's picture

I dunno what others are reading into this, but I caught on to what Dudley was getting at with the "slightly grainy" etc. Perhaps that 'grainy' was raised to an exaggerated level by the choice of speakers or other ancillary components, but it did seem to be within the acceptable range of reviewer opinion.

maelob's picture

Lack of Common Sense, If I were a reviewer of a highly regarded magazine, it would make sense to have a "reference system". I am sure the reviewer love his speakers but cmon using vintage equipment to do reviews does not make sense in my book. This is an example of how we can get blinded by our preferences and not use common sense. At least it would have made sense to have another set of speakers to compare. Don't get me wrong, Vintage equipment can sound great, but I would not use it to review the latest hifi equipment. Very dissapointed

Chris Johnsen's picture

With all due respect given to the estimable Mr. Dudley and his unique system, I'd like to request Herb spend some time with a Nova300 at some point in the near future and submit his impressions. I've owned several pieces of Peachtree Audio gear and have literally sold a half a dozen others to my close friends based on my word-of-mouth raves. I've read ALL of the other reviews of this particular new unit, as I'm eager to ultimately replace my original Nova currently sitting in my rack, and am almost as disappointed as Mr. Solomon himself. Perhaps Mr. Dudley's unit was deficient in some way but I hope not, as I expect immaculate QC from Peachtree 2.0!

johnnythunder's picture

A reviewer of modern digital audio equipment should be judging his reviews using equipment that is compatible and accessible to the people who would be buying the product. I can see trying the Peachtree in his vintage system as a fun aside but in this case, DS from PA is correct - there's a big mismatch here. Sort of like reviewing modern video equipment on a 1960s era TV and wondering why the picture isn't so good. OK a bit of an extreme comparison but still valid. Those speakers were not voiced back in the day to be played with a modern high efficiency amplifier. Probably designed with a Macintosh/Marantz or Fisher EL34/EL84 tube amp. I think most readers read Art's review with a bit of a raised eyebrow. The Peachtree deserves a 2nd shot from a Stereophile writer whose system and tastes are more in sync with one another.

m-sevs's picture

Gotta say that I love the backlash. This sort of comment sensitivity is why I read all the way down. A couple questions though. Has anyone considered that given the innumerous reviews praising the above unit, all within the context of modern/contemporary loudspeaker systems (see Manufacturer's Comment), that Maybe Mr. Dudley was providing a valuable insight? I.e., given the overwhelming praise for this amp with B&Ws, why corroborate the known? Is it really so uninteresting and/or offensive that a reviewer review a product within a different context? Might that actually be beneficial to some people?

rockdc's picture

I agree, to a point. Arts Altecs are likely much more revealing of the characteristics he found than are more current speakers. Having said that, this is the last type of amp I'd use with these speakers. Hard to imagine doing a review like this, using only vintage Altecs. This amp definitely deserves a review using a variety of speakers.

cybershoplifter's picture

Let me start with, I'm sure I'd enjoy having this Peachtree in my current KEF LS 50 + sub system. I've always liked integrated amps that are all-in-one's with a DAC, lots of connections for devices and sources that can drive just about any 2.0 or 2.1 system. With those requirements you are not missing much with Nova300. I've also always liked the aesthetic of Peachtree amps with curved corners and a wooden case. I was also glad to see them rid of the gimmicky tube/valve on the front faceplate.

What I don't like is the price, digital amps, and the company lacks 'heritage'. Peachtree is sort of a newbie compared to other mfgs. In this price range other integrated amps would get my hard earned cash. Maybe a Rotel 1570 a solid piece of gear with Class AB amps and a great sounding pre-amp and DAC. Parsound has a full featured bad-ass integrated for about the same price or Schiit Audio's Ragnarok.. I could go on but won't..

Thank goodness Peachtree has a decent design an good marketing because the competition for $2500 integrated amps is stiff.

mrkaic's picture

Just skip the review and read JA's measurement section only.

texanalog's picture

J.A.,
I'm puzzled.

The Peachtree Audio website touts the Nova300 amplifier as having a "World-Class Preamplifier" , stating that the "Previous generation Peachtree preamps had a signal to noise ratio in the range of 95 to 100dB, ..." and that "By contrast, the newly-designed preamp section in the nova300 has a S/N ratio of 111dB."

Peachtree further describes the Nova300 as "Quiet as a Mouse", stating "The nova300 utilizes an extensive power supply and grounding design to ensure the noise floor is pushed as far down as possible to allow the music to shine through. Our engineers spent hours upon hours determining the optimal power supply filtering and grounding scheme to prevent any unwanted noise from finding its way into the signal path. As a result, the nova300 achieves a remarkable dynamic range and signal-to-noise ratio."

https://www.peachtreeaudio.com/nova300-amplifier-with-dac.html

Per Stereophile's Measurements, you state "the unweighted, wideband signal/noise ratio was okay, at 66.5dB. This improved to 84dB when the measurement was restricted to the audioband, and to 87.5dB when A-weighted."

I'm puzzled trying to square Peachtree's touting of the Nova300's preamp S/N ratio of 111db, description of the Nova300 as "Quiet as a Mouse" and achieving "a remarkable" "signal-to-noise ratio" with your measurement statements on signal/noise ratio.

Can you enlighten me?

John Atkinson's picture
texanalog wrote:
I'm puzzled trying to square Peachtree's touting of the Nova300's preamp S/N ratio of 111db, description of the Nova300 as "Quiet as a Mouse" and achieving "a remarkable" "signal-to-noise ratio" with your measurement statements on signal/noise ratio.

Can you enlighten me?

I measure integrated amplifier S/N ratios in the worst possible case, at the speaker terminals with the volume control set to its maximum. In the case of the nova300, the wideband ratio in the review is dominated by the residual switching noise from the class-D output stage. The audioband ratio is the significant one.

The ratio will increase as the volume control is turned down and will be at its maximum when the control is all the way down. But no-one listens to an amplifier with the volume control all the way down.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Anon2's picture

I'll give my endorsement to anyone who can provide amplification in one piece for below $2,500.

Some caution is in order with the new "Classes" of amplification. One venerable brand has 20 watts Class A, blooming into to some multiple of that on some sort of separate track thing-a-ma-jigger. Sorry, I'm not buying it, literally. I'll stick with an older model from the same company.

My prediction is that the used market for amplification will be "heating up" as these new standards become more prevalent. My greatest fear is that a certain western state, nearing 40 million souls, and perfect weather year-round, might consign Class A amplification to midnight smuggling along the Arizona, Nevada, Mexican borders. (Oregon will legislate accordingly and sympathetically.) Maybe you will be allowed Class A amplification if you can certify that it's from renewable sources.

My only wish is that integrated manufacturers would eschew the urge to put DACs into their products. Someone said it best in an article I read somewhere: "the DAC inside your integrated is obsolete the second you take it home." Just focus on amplification, whatever the "Class." Let your consumers decide which DAC they want.

I heard one of the products from this manufacturer in a retailer's showroom. I can't report any deficiencies in the sound. I am glad that this manufacturer, at least, seems to be dispensing with putting a little, Christmas tree light-type, vacuum tube into their products. I don't know who wants this. Another manufacturer seems to be pressing ahead. Good luck getting your little tube replaced for whatever benefit it may have yielded sonically. Maybe a Christmas tree light would actually work as a replacement.

If you want a solid state amplifier, then buy one. If you like tubes, then buy one. If you want one of each for two rooms, so much the better. I must question this "hybrid" approach to putting a little tube in an otherwise solid-state device. Maybe a Christmas tree light, with an easily accessible little door to change the light, or 20-year LED bulbs will achieve the same effect.

At least this manufacturer seems to be abandoning this "hybrid" approach. I'll leave it at that. I will also encourage this manufacturer to prove the case for "DAC-less," non Class-A amplification.

neogeo's picture

The number of comments alone is telling that something is not right with this review unit.

I heard this same amplifier at the 2016 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest driving very high efficient speakers. They literally turned the volume to the max and I put my ear to the tweeter; it was dead silent! I'm not sure what "grain" art is hearing, but it stands in direct conflict with the amazing sound I heard at the show.

Someone else at Stereophile should do a "2nd opinion " or a "follow up".

Johan Bottema's picture

I have been reading Stereophile for a couple of years now and enjoy the reviews and technical measurements. Many articles write about the probable decline or death of High End produce, I agree with that for different reasons. When I splash out $500+ for a product I want to know that it is durable, reliable and good performance. Now with that in mind and yet here another article about a product that seems to have something wrong with it. I read the Focal Utopia article on innerfidelity and the inconsistency of the products. I am losing trust in the high-end industry. How do I know that a product works? It drives me down the path of buying Sony, Yamaha, Harmon because these big boys have a quality control department! Perhaps Stereophile can blacklist companies that fail to provide a working product. The High-End industry is failing in credibility people!

dalethorn's picture

I partly agree with this. J. Gordon Holt, the founder of Stereophile, famously said: "Who cares how long it lasts if it doesn't sound good?", and I thought the reverse would be equally true: "Who cares how good it sounds if it doesn't last?" - but high-tech gear that pushes the state of the art is prone to bugs. Be thankful that most of these state of the art products have far fewer bugs than the most popular software that runs on today's computers and cellphones.

BTW, the Focal Elear I had (similar to Utopia) was a breakthrough item, with great reliability. Too many of the reviews of the Utopia and Elear discussed modifications such as changing to different earpads, which changes the sound, and I had the impression that it caused confusion for potential buyers.

tonykaz's picture

It can be a dangerous thing to have an Audiophile review something, you never quite know what to expect.

I clearly recall TAS's Harry Pierson panning loudspeakers that I knew to be outstanding.

Our Mr.Dudley is a "vintage" fan, perhaps a bit quirky, certainly opinionated ( aren't we all? ).

This Nova can output 450 Watts, it has a DAC, it has Phono, it can Wi-Fi, it has a Real Wood cabinet, it's made in good ol' USA and it's only 17 lbs!

It's like a Mustang Convertible with 750 hp. Geeeez

Having a vinyl-horn lover review this thing is like having a Sailboat lover reviewing a 3,000 hp Ocean Racer.

I suppose that this Nova300 review makes sense from Mr.Dudley's point of view but I don't think the design is aimed at his type of owner.

Rather it's seems like a "Real World" product for "Real World" Customers.

Tony in Michigan

ps. I'll bet it'll be a darn good seller

dalethorn's picture

"Having a vinyl-horn lover review this thing is like having a Sailboat lover reviewing a 3,000 hp Ocean Racer."

I wrote code for a Defense Industry CEO to control the instruments on his $35 million racing sailboat. I'll bet he knew how to work a motor when necessary.

tonykaz's picture

This thing is a One Box - does it all.

It's a minor Miracle it made it into an Audiophile Rag for consideration! Audiophiles buy Seperates, for god's sake.

Just add some B&W's with matching Wood Grain and you're ready to pardee.

I'll bet it's half way between a Bose Wave Radio and darTzeel/Wilsons.

$2,500 outa the box, how bad could it be?, it's a Peachtree!

Anyway, Jana should'a been the reviewer, the Nova is aimed at her generation not seasoned Audiophiles.

Tony in Michigan

dalethorn's picture

Something I missed in Peachtree's response: "This finish is not available. This was a first run picture that's no longer in our art circulation."

So the very look of this product was just "Art circulation"? Reminds me of Frank Zappa asking "What will you do when the coating comes off?"

tonykaz's picture

Whalllleeee, it's an early pre-release item they pushed out to get some Sizzle excitement.

I'll bet that they've got more stuff that this thing will be able to do along with some Software development yet to be announced.

By the way, are you aware the Firefly Red is now MQA capable?

Tony in Michigan

dalethorn's picture

I dread updating my DF Red. Just like I dread updating my iPhone 7. I can't even use the DF Red with my iPhone 7 because of constant interference, even though I have every non-essential communication setting turned off. All auto-updates, background refresh etc. turned off. I checked every sub-menu and made sure of it. Fortunately I have an iPod Touch, which works with the DF Red with Wifi and Bluetooth off, and Airplane Mode ON.

David Solomon Peachtree Audio's picture

The original picture was changed. The finish shown in the main picture is Gloss Ebony Mocha and is available.

dalethorn's picture

Good, thanks. As an aside, if you have or are creating a paper to correlate the significance of Atkinson's "worst-case" S/N measurement with something that offers insight on how that plays out in listening under best (very quiet) conditions, I'd like to bookmark that article. Just having the extremes of -111 db and "worst case" loading to judge from, I'm lost.

texanalog's picture

JA's response to my request above (my request: "I'm puzzled trying to square Peachtree's touting of the Nova300's preamp S/N ratio of 111db, description of the Nova300 as "Quiet as a Mouse" and achieving "a remarkable" "signal-to-noise ratio" with your measurement statements on signal/noise ratio. Can you enlighten me?") added a smidgen of clarification but did not square the perceived discrepancy.

Lost and puzzled but not dazed; only confused.

Bubbamike's picture

I'd really like to have the Nova compared with the Parasound Halo Intergrated. They sell at the same price, they are both Intergrated Amps with DACs and while the Nova is more powerful, they both offer lots of power and value for the money. I doubt that will happen but a shootout would be a good thing. It's a shame that JA doesn't do in the US what was done in the UK.

egsp's picture

It seems odd to use vintage speakers, nay, rebuilt vintage speakers and complain of graininess. I would be very surprised if the THD of the speakers was less than 5% (or maybe even 10% or more) which would seem to make discerning the quality difficult at best.

Catch22's picture

I've not listened to the new Peachtree and can offer nothing in that respect. However, I am impressed with Peachtree's very classy response to Art's review and for anyone in the industry that may see this, pay attention, that's how to respond.

As I read Art's review, I found myself nodding and saying, "Yup, sounds like another switching amp."

Something is going on with this technology that just doesn't sit well with a certain subset of audio nerds like me and it's always in the upper frequencies.

paulcoyne's picture

I just purchased the Peachtree Nova 300 integrated amp. It replaced an NAD C390DD. I have PSB Symphony One speakers. I thought the NAD sounded great, with some slight boom in the bass. Now with the Peachtree, the bass is tighter, the soundstage is better, the ability to hear each instrument is improved, the sound is a little warmer, not as shrill as it was with the NAD. The added power of the Peachtree can be heard right away. It's the best sounding amp I've owned. It's fabulous. I recommend it. The price is right. Plus, Peachtree let's you trade in your old amp for a decent credit on the Peachtree. I kept my NAD but they did provide a good offer for my old Creek.

Musicforhire's picture

Oh ! This one looks exactly like the Quad Vena, except for its higher price. I wonder if it sounds alike too lol.. Better?? I don't think so. Wonder why would anyone pay more than double for a copycat ??
The $900 Quad Vena bluetooth amp with DAC will beat any bluetooth amp 10x its price. It could easily sell 3x higher than its current price if it was made in the UK

Dougr33's picture

Sorry, but not even close. I admit they look alike.. in fact, I thought the Vena was a cheaper copy of the Peachtree. I bought the Vena, but coming from an Oppo HA-1 feeding a Parasound A23, it sounded veiled and weak (and the tiny remote is useless).OK..that's a bit strong, it's not bad for the price and facilities, but I wasn't impressed. So I replaced it with the Nova 150. Light years better sound, period (and the remote is much better too).

And I have to agree with others. .Art is great, but clearly the speakers were a poor match. This is an amazing sounding system for the price, and currently going into my new KEF LS50s and REL T5i, the best sound I've had in my 43 years of buying audio.

Musicforhire's picture

The Quad Vena's look is a traditional similar to their preamps from the 60's QC II and their latest TwentyFour. How would an 80yr old company copy a company that hasn't even been around for over 10 years? Besides, Quad Vena came out to the market earlier than the Peachtree's. You've had 43 years of buying audio and you're using some chinese designed Oppo's ?? And that answers every question here. 'Guess you didn't learn much for 43 years LOL

Dougr33's picture

Gosh, you're a lot of fun. Enjoy your Vena. I've owned both, and the Vena is not in the same league as the Nova. China bashing says all I need to know about you.

Musicforhire's picture

Grow up and learn something, boy !

neogeo's picture

I've had nova for a month now, and it's amazing. The amp is so quite and revealing. It sounds better than my Schiit Bifost DAC and Creative phono preamp separates. I don't hear any of "harshness" that the review calls out. But then again, I'm using modern speakers (Evolution Acoustics MMMicroOne).

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