Peachtree Audio nova300 integrated amplifier Page 2

When listening resumed, the nova300 sounded considerably less dry, if not quite tube-like, though a trace of treble grain remained audible. But that was offset by exceptionally good musical momentum and at least decent sonic color, both of which I heard in the nova300's portrayal of "At the Meeting House," from Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge's Close to Picture (CD EP, no label, no catalog number). The Peachtree presented the two acoustic guitarists in a manner that emphasized the lightness and delicacy and precision of their flatpicking, as opposed to presenting a meaty or corporeal sound. This carried over to the duo's rendering of the traditional fiddle tune "Cattle in the Cane," which was beautifully melodic, but with more of a sense of fleetness than a sense of drive, per se.

Looking for recordings of arrangements a bit more complex, I turned to an SACD reissue of the Band's The Last Waltz (SACD/CD, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab Ultradisc UDSACD 2-2139, footnote 3)—while taking extraordinary care to skip over the opening number, "Theme from The Last Waltz," which is perhaps the most wretched piece of music in my home. But this album's version of "It Makes No Difference" is a fine performance of a decent song, so I gave that a spin. Here, too, the watchwords were musical and light. As for the former, Richard Manuel's piano and Robbie Robertson's guitar worked together to propel the song and to maintain a solid temporal backbone behind Rick Danko's engagingly rubbery lead vocal; as for the latter, the best aspects of Levon Helm's drumming—his typically rich snare-drum tone and nonbombastic senses of drama and gravitas—were in short supply, replaced with a light-touch sound that contributed little to that propulsion. And the sound of Robertson's guitar—in this performance, he relies heavily on the "false harmonic" technique he learned from Roy Buchanan, in which the thumb of his picking hand lightly damps each note attack—was too light, lacking in substance.

It was time for some vinyl—and time to act on the inspiration I'd been given the previous weekend, when my old friend George Stanwick and I attended a concert by the Hagen Quartet, whose program included Bartók's String Quartet 3. As luck would have it, I'd recently received a superb new vinyl reissue of the Juilliard Quartet's recordings of all six Bartók quartets (3 LPs, Columbia/Speakers Corner D3S 717). (In just a couple of months, the music world will celebrate the 97th birthday of Robert Mann, for over a half century the Juilliard's first violinist—an accomplishment even Keith Richards could envy.)

After experiencing an excess of lightness from CDs and SACDs, I braced myself for similar results from LPs—and was relieved to hear no such thing: perhaps a simple consequence of the fact that the Shindo SPU pickup I was using has a proper, God-fearing spherical stylus, which doesn't lighten or brighten recordings as can other styli. Indeed, the viola that opens Bartók's Quartet 6 sounded rounded and unbright, with fairly good color if an absence of naturally occurring texture. There was decent force behind the many pizzicato notes, and very, very good musical momentum. But the most striking, immediately apparent aspect of the nova300's sound with this selection was its good—in fact, nearly perfect—portrayal of the relative sizes of the four instruments: Wow! And although texture was, again, deficient in comparison to what I hear from this recording through my far more expensive tubed electronics, I was impressed by the way the nova300 communicated how all of the players, especially the violist and the cellist, dug into the scherzo-like third movement, Mesto – Burletta (Moderato), in which plucked notes are even more plentiful and were very realistically portrayed.

Now we were getting somewhere!

Next up was Otto Klemperer's recording of Mahler's Symphony 2, with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Hilde Rössl-Majdan, and the Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus (2 LPs, EMI SLS 806). Until the louder climaxes, in which the sound was just a little brash, and except for the nova300's enduring lack of natural texture in its portrayal of stringed instruments, all was quite well. String tone was lovely—in the introductory measures and elsewhere, the upper registers of the cellos and double basses had just the right "throatiness." Momentum and drive—good qualities to have in reserve for such an at-times-energetic performance—were also quite good. And timing, as evident in the tautly precise ensemble playing in the second movement, was exceptional—sufficiently good that I listened all the way through to the end of this long symphony. But by then I'd noticed, with disappointment, that the nova300 was a bit bass-shy in its reproduction of orchestral bass drum and timpani, compared to my Shindo separates. Then again, while there wasn't a lot of bass depth, there was a lot of very enjoyable momentum and thrum from the double basses and harp.


Given that the nova300 supplied more bass momentum—if not ultimate bass extension—through its phono and line stages than through its line stage alone, I began thinking especially highly of said phono section. To confirm this, I switched to an outboard phono preamp—the very recommendable Sentec EQ111—also driven by my Hommage T1 step-up transformer and now feeding the nova300's other line-level input. Listening to a number of selections from Folk Banjo Styles, by Eric Weissberg, Marshall Brickman, et al (LP, Elektra EKL-7217), confirmed that good impression: I preferred the phono stage of the nova300, which transformed Brickman's guitar accompaniment in "Flop-Eared Mule" and "Wildwood Flower" from nothing-special rhythm work to pleasantly nuanced rhythm work, with occasional interesting bass-string runs emerging nicely from the mix.

By the time I'd progressed to the nova300's DAC, I was in even more of a folkie mood; as it happened, "The Way It Goes," from Gillian Welch's The Harrow & the Harvest, (AIFF from CD, Acony ACNY-1109), encapsulated the nova300's musical and sonic signatures: Musical drive was extraordinarily good—overall, the music leaned forward in a manner that was breathtaking, and David Rawlings's solos were no less relentless, with enough nuance and clarity of touch that elements of his technique were easy to hear, especially in solos played as pull-off notes within richly voiced chords. Welch's lead vocal and Rawlings's harmonies were pitch-perfect, clear, and compelling—but here, in the dynamic peaks of the harmony choruses, I also heard that bit of added grain, an artificial texture I also heard in the sibilants of Welch's lead vocal in the same album's "That's the Way the Whole Thing Ends." That last characteristic was minor, though, and didn't detract from my overall enjoyment.

The same mix of qualities was on display in "Search for Peace," from McCoy Tyner's The Real McCoy (AIFF file of unrecorded provenance, Blue Note 84264); some grain was audible in the decays of Elvin Jones's cymbals, though it didn't intrude on the tone of Ron Carter's typically brilliant bass playing—which had lots of timbral color, and walked the line between rhythmically taut and colorfully meaty. Similarly, in Robert Plant and Alison Krauss's recording of Gene Clark's haunting "Polly Come Home," from Raising Sand (AIFF from CD, Rounder 11661-9075-2), the nova300 drew from the 16/44.1 file a compelling performance with fine temporal momentum—no small feat in such a downtempo number. That said, the nova300 provided less bass depth and oomph than I'm used to hearing from the combined double bass and bass drum. "Lonesome Tears," from Beck's Sea Change (DSD64 file of unrecorded provenance, Geffen), was also riveting through the nova300, thanks in part to its pleasantly huge sense of scale.

There being a few albums I keep on both my computer and my phone, I had some opportunities for comparing the nova300's USB-B and USB-A inputs—the latter, again, intended for iOS. Listening to "(Are You) The One That I've Been Waiting For?," from Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds' The Boatman's Call (Mute AIFF file of unrecorded provenance), I heard a number of differences between the two, all in the computer setup's favor: streamed from my iMac, the song was hypnotically compelling, the sounds of the instruments and, to a lesser extent, Cave's voice, more than generous in their scale. Musical and sonic detailing were fine, although, as I had by then come to expect, I heard a bit of grain in the trebles.

Streamed from my iPhone and matched for playback level, the Cave track occupied a considerably smaller soundstage. At first, that seemed offset by what appeared to be more generous bass depth via iOS, but on closer listen was revealed to be a mild midbass boost that made for a more rubbery, less precise portrayal of the electric bass. Detail was still satisfying through the iOS input, the nova300 making a good show of the electric organ's increase in intensity—and the depth of its vibrato effect—toward the end of the third verse and into the middle eight. The iMac/iPhone contrast described above was consistently repeated with other selections, including "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," from The Beatles (AIFF from CD, Apple CDP 7 46443 2). That one was musically enjoyable—excellent momentum, good rhythmic snap—from both sources, although when streamed from my iPhone the soundfield was smaller, and Ringo's hi-hat took on a slightly hashy quality. But from neither input did I hear the bass impact and depth I wished for from Ringo's bass drum and Paul's bass guitar.

Before returning my review sample, I took advantage of the opportunity to compare the nova300 with the sample of the Peachtree iDecco I'd reviewed for the December 2010 issue, and subsequently bought for my daughter's use. Returning to CDs as my source, I tried the recording of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique by Seiji Ozawa and the Saito Kinen Orchestra, from the boxed set Seiji Ozawa: Anniversary (11 CDs, Decca 478 2358). I've been reading Haruki Murakami's recent book, Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa, in which the conductor reminisces about this and his other recordings of this work, and it has compelled me to revisit those of his recordings I own (footnote 4). From the double basses' first, soft plucked notes in the first movement, it was apparent that the old iDecco had better bass extension and weight than the nova300—a promise fulfilled by the bass drum and timpani that open and punctuate the fourth movement. Additionally, there was less treble grain in the sounds of violins and brass through the iDecco, especially in the loudest climaxes, which are in good supply in this piece.

I also reauditioned some selections from The Last Waltz through both the iDecco and the nova300. Without question, through the iDecco Rick Danko's electric bass in "It Makes No Difference" had more richness and weight—without penalty of timing distortions or diminution of detail—and slightly less treble grain.

By the end of my time with Peachtree Audio's nova300, I was impressed with its superb overall musicality but remained somewhat ambivalent about its sound, at least one aspect of which—grainy trebles—is associated in the minds of some with class-D amplification in general. But there's no doubting the excellence of its moving-magnet phono stage, and its ability to make musical hay of the files on my phone was also a plus. When the nova300's WiFi board and (potentially) MQA capabilities are made available, a Follow-Up will be very much called for.

Footnote 3: Although the two discs of this edition are nominally multilayer hybrid SACD/CDs, my Sony SACD player recognizes and plays only the "Red Book" CD layers of both discs. Weird.

Footnote 4: Albeit with reservations: Ozawa expresses disdain for people with "superb music reproduction equipment, and tons of records," a category that apparently includes Murakami himself. No comment.

Peachtree Audio
2045 120th Avenue NE
Bellevue, WA 98005
(704) 391-9337

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

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."

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).

Gratefuleric's picture

I have followed audioholic for years and have been a workingman's version of an audiophile for 45yrs, worked as a sound engineer in the 90's and have kept up with industry trends and innovations as well. I don't have access to systems costing $100k so I have no reference beyond $10k but will say that paired with Tekton DI monitors this amplifier sings like a bird with the power of a grizzly bear. Using vintage horm speakers for a review is like putting bias-ply tires on a Corvette and complaining that it is not smooth and doesn't corner well. Really need to re-review this amp or you are doing a real disservice to both Peachtree and the listening public who up until now could not access this kind of quality for this price and who also likely uses speakers manufactured in this century.
Can't say enough about this remarkable integrated amp.