I'm interested in your findings, as I was in a similar situation (AtmaSphere MA1 amps driving Sound Lab speakers--very toasty in warm weather). I am a week into trying out a pair of Benchmark Class H amps, but looked at the Peachtree and other newer Class D amps.
Peachtree GaN 1 Beta
Before I start my post here is my current system for reference:
Auarlic Aries G1 --> Denafrips Terminator or SW1X DAC --> Audio GD HE1 XLR preamp or Sachs preamp --> various tube amps --> Cube Nenuphar Mini's w/ a pair of REL S510 subs. Cables and power conditioning commensurate with the rest of the system.
As warmer months approach I have been looking for a cool running amp to replace my Line Magnetic LM-518 and other tube amps for a few months as they run pretty hot.
I've been interested in the GaN FET amps and just purchased a used LSA Voyager 350 Gan FET amp which I should receive in a few days. I've tried class D amps before and while they checked a lot of boxes I just didn't feel drawn in. However, I like to explore so I figured I'd try the GanFET and since the amp has zero feedback and my speakers seem to prefer amps with little or no feedback I figured it be worth checking out.
Today, Peachtree Audio sent out an email inviting users to a beta of their new Gan 1 amp. Here are some excerpts from their email:
What is the GaN 1?
In basic terms it is a 200 Watts-Per-Channel (WPC) Power Amplifier designed to be the sole interface between your digital audio device with a variable output, like a Bluesound NODE, and your speakers. The GaN 1 is a simple, pure and cost-effective audio solution: connect the GaN 1 to a streamer and a pair of speakers and you have an amazing Hi-Fi system. That's it...no DAC, no preamp and no input switching. The signal path from the music to your speakers is remarkably short and free of artifacts. Want to hear the intricate details in your music that have always been there, but you couldn't quite make them all out before? Then the GaN 1 is for you!
I figured they are similar designs using similar modules but the PT GaN1 is 200 wpc so something might be slightly different. The other difference is the GaN1 is designed to be driven direct from the streamer with no DAC. I love my DACs but curious to hear what a DAC-less design will sound like. That being said, I should have the Voyager amp before the PT. If the Voyager doesn’t sound good with my setup I’ll probably cancel the PT. We’ll see…
Yes, the Peachtree GaN 400 amp and the LSA GaN Voyager amp are essentially the same.....same manufacturers modules and power supplies (unless a pic of the inside of the Peachtree shows different). These amps are NOT zero feedback. Right on the Peachtree site it says "low global negative feeback". The reviewer who thought it was zero feedback is WRONG.
This new Peachtree GaN 1 amp uses modules from the same company.....but these are indeed zero feedback as there are no analog stages to take feedback to. For this reason, they wiill not measure as good as the ones with feedback (ASR will not like these one bit). However, they are full "digital amps" like the Technics.....that is, they change the digital PCM signal directly in software to PWM (class D type of structure).......so you elimiinate your DAC and preamp and cables in between. The company that makes the modules (Elegant Audio Solutions) claims these "digital direct" amps sound better than the analog versions. The parts and execution of the output stages are the same in both modules (I have the brochures here).
So yes, you will hear quite a difference between the analog ones and the direct digital ones.....I hope the direct digital sounds better.....I am all for less is better......but we shall see.....er...hear.
The reason why the GaN 1 will list for $2K is that it uses a single stereo board and smaller power supply than the GaN400. The GaN 400 uses two stereo boards bridged and a larger power supply.....hence the $3K price.
Not sure of the return policy, but they do ask that you don't try and resell it for 12 months.
Good info, thanks. Have you heard either of these amps? Based on this info I may continue with the Peachtree even if I'm not thrilled with the Voyager. It will be interesting trying these amps with my speakers as they tend to prefer 0 feedback, low damped amps and don't need more than a couple watts to kick ass. I also have a pair of Salk Wow1 monitors in my office, and those seem like a great match for these amps. I'll probably try the GaN FET amps there too but I listen at really low volumes there so likely overkill.
The only input is digital with a maximum depth of 24 bits. There is no internal volume control. So the only way to control the volume is in the digital domain, within the 24-bit range.
On my current system (NAD M12 and M22 V1), I am generally setting my preamp somewhere between −48 and −30 dB for ‘active’ listening (depending on how loud the source has been mastered), and this even though my speakers (PMC fact·12) are quite ‘hungry.’
If I did that in the digital domain within 24 bits, I would effectively end up with a 16- to 19-bit signal. I can imagine situations (listening more quietly and/or with more effective speakers) where one would end up with even less (i.e., less than CD quality in terms of bit depth).
Wouldn't that offset whatever benefits this amplifier has? Or do I misunderstand the way volume is handled in that system?
In any case I'll be interested in reading what you have to say about this amp when you receive it! (I'm not in the US so can't take part in the beta testing.)
@newbluesuit Volume will be controlled by the streamer. You will not lose any resolution (signal) going through the GaN1. In theory, this will be the most direct way to amplify a digital source.
You won't lose anything inside the amplifier, but you will lose some (possibly a lot of) bit depth in the streamer when you control the volume in the digital domain.
My NAD M12 controls the volume in the digital domain as well, but it does so at a much higher bit depth, and then the signal is converted to analog to feed the M22 V1.
It would certainly be great if a digital signal with a very high bit depth could be fed into the GaN 1, but since the input is limited to 24 bits I'm very skeptical. You lose 1 bit of depth every time you lower the volume by 6 dB.
While I really like this concept, of skipping what might be the superfluous conversion stage from PCM to analog (and to many, perhaps a most critical conversion stage) before ultimately being converted to PWM, @newbluesuit brings up an excellent point. Perhaps, if this device started with a higher bit depth such as the ubiquitous 32-bit rates now available this might work out better.
Furthermore, I would like to see this amp spec’d into 4- and 2-Ohm outputs.
@unsound S/PDIF does not support anything above 24 bits, unfortunately. You'd need something like USB to accept a higher bit depth, but that would probably require more processing inside the amplifier to recover the raw PCM signal. And you would need the source (where the volume is actually controlled) to be able to output a 32-bit (or more) signal as well.
It seems to me that this concept would work better in an integrated unit, so that the manufacturer could use whatever connection is most appropriate between the digital preamp and the class-d amp (separates with some kind of proprietary connector between the two would also work). Peachtree's self-imposed decision to make a standalone power amp costing less than $2000 would not have allowed this, but I hope we'll see something like this from them or another reputable company soon.
For now my plan is still to replace my NAD M22 V1 with an M23 when that becomes available (haven't seen it anywhere in Switzerland yet…). I'll have to ‘live with’ an analog connection between the preamp and the amp for a bit longer!
Isn't this type of +200w amps a bad match for your Cube speakers?
If the speakers only need a few watts then the amp must lower the output a lot and it sounds like it is a digital volume control. Maybe the PWM signal inside the amp is a bit easier to do volume control on but it sounds like a possible problem. It should basically only turn the signal on every now and then for low volumes.
Actually it is a PCM to PWM converter.......it takes a PCM signal and converts it to PWM with code and then runs the converted signal through a class D output power stage using GaN fets. Yes, you could call it a power DAC (since it is converting digtal to analog) or most call it a digital amp.......Ralph Karsten of Atmasphere calls it a class D amp with digital input. However, there is no normal "DAC chip" of any kind...... So, use any name you like.....but "digital amp" is most widely used by the manufacturers (Technics, Lyndorf, etc.) who makes them.....Peachtree just calls it an "amp’"...he he. When it becomes official (taking their time)....maybe we will see more description.
What feeds your minidsp flex? What DAC, cable to preamp and preamp were you using with the M6S prx? And what was your source before? usb from something?
BTW, if you remove the toslink output connectors from the Minidsp flex or at least remove the voltage from them so they don’t turn on then the sound will be cleaner. LEDs (toslinks are an LED) add noise which messes up the sound. Been doing this for years with great success. An upgraded power supply for the Minidsp flex would help too.
Also, since you are using so little power you can get a 2200 watt Giandel Inverter and a 100 amp hour battery and be completely off the grid......will blow your mind. Check out the thread on Misc. forum about inverters........super transparent sound all the time.....way better than dedicated lines and line conditioners.
Received the GaN 1 & Node on 8/31. I am absolutely satisfied with this new setup. It's everything I could have hoped for being the minimalist that I am. The GaN 1 sounds fantastic through a pair of Tekton Electrons.
The GaN 1 replaces the Peachtree Nova150 that I've been listening to the last three years. It is truly a "just add speakers" arrangement, like the Bluesound Powernode, but with 200wpc, vice 80wpc.
Good job, Peachtree!
Just received mine today, so I just started listening to it… using a Lii Open Baffle little betsy and the vocals are amazing and acoustic instruments sound really detailed like I can hear singers breath and the sounds I didn’t know were there in songs.
With that said adding a sub so I can have that lower end, not a GaN 1 thing as much as an open baffle speaker and my taste in music.
This is my bedroom system and honestly I prefer the sound from my Marantz 40n but if I didn’t already have that system this system would work fine as a main system.
I did not do a true A/B, although I should sometime…
I only do streaming so HEOS with TIDAL in the living room on the Marantz 40n and I use it with Zu Dirty Weekends and a KEF KC62 Sub, sounds warmer, fuller and has more depth to me and the top end is less harsh.
I use the Blusound Node and TIDAL with the GaN 1 and the open baffles and I feel like I need a sub… but it sounds more detailed, not that the Marantz isn’t detailed, the GaN 1 is just super crisp sounding. I did try both speakers with the Marantz before I got the sub and liked the Zu’s look in my living room, as well as the sound and they are less sensitive to place but it has been a while since comparing the two.
I just received my beta tester Friday and gave it a good 12 hours of use over the weekend.
My equipment includes Spatial M3 Triode Master speakers (16 ohm open baffle) and comparison amp is the Linear Tube Audio Ultralinear Integrated (20w per channel) run from a Bluesound Node 2i via the MHDT Orchid tube DAC.
I was intrigued by the simplicity of the GAN1 setup and was curious what a GAN amp might bring to the party so I put my money down back in May with a promise of June delivery haha. So nearly October is what finally happened.
I got everything set up and plugged in and started up. My speakers are 95db sensitive and I could hear the slightest introduction of a high frequency noise when the GAN1 came on. Not intrusive, but there.
I started running it through some tests to see how it handled different genres. Classical is one I find to be a pretty good test since it has to reproduce a huge amount of recorded sound, make it come across as unified as well as illustrate individual instruments without sounding constrained. The GAN1 did seriously well. The "full tilt" of an orchestra was there when called upon with some serious gusto. The soundstage is also noticeably deeper and more expansive than the LTA which is somewhat expected given the quietness of the GAN vs tubes, even transformerless tubes. The texture on the LTA is better, but requires higher volumes to be achieved on the same content. The GAN projected some really cool and realistic tones for piano and upright bass which sounded like they were in the room, not just on a recording, by bringing more space and bass definition. The whole spectrum, though, was nicely done. No harsh highs, no apparent lack anywhere. In fact, the highs were beautifully done for my ears, which typically are sensitive to harshness and fatigue. I never got any from the GAN after a long weekend of listening.
Then I switched to my wife's favorite, EDM. In order to play house party levels on the LTA, I really have to crank it. Not so on the GAN. 25% volume on Spotify connect played the whole house convincingly with everything carrying through. I initially had a sub going, but turned it off to compare and at that 25% volume, it was not needed. The two 15" woofers of the Spatials were thumping beautifully. Even after a particularly spirited three hours of dynamic material, I couldn't detect so much as a degree of temperature change coming off the amp.
High points: Spatial expansiveness and sound field depth, bass definition, realism, quietness of the amp, ability to hit party levels without distortion or strain.
Low points: Digital volume control via the Bluesound could use more gradation. The difference between 0 and 1 is the same as the difference between 0 and 25 on the LTA out of 100 steps. Pairing with Bluetooth rather than Spotify connect helped dial in lower volumes though. Perhaps a Cambridge CXN would do better here, but my speakers' sensitivity is likely to blame.
@rickallen81 Great detailed review thanks! There are a few folks on A'gon that hate on Peachtree, but I have really enjoyed my Gan400 powering KEF LS50 Meta's. Very similar to what you describe is what I get from the gan amp. Of course I can't get the low's your Spatials get, that's what my 2 SVS subs are for.
@tapp Yeah, I've seen some non-love for them. I've had one of their integrated amps (Decco65 if I recall) in years past and paired with my speakers of that era (Zu Omen) and my complaint with the Peachtree of yore was that bass and lower midrange were sorely missing but very smooth treble and dimensionality. By the performance so far, it seems like they have addressed those two things.
Do they have a character or sound signature? Not really. I think that's their goal with this amp, though, neutrality. If that's the goal, this amp is a success. Does it cost a lot to get to that goal? In this case, no, so it's a really good value at that. For a LOT of people, this amp is enough. As of now, if I could temper my expectations (a tall order for any self-described audiophile) I could absolutely be happy with this amp. Maybe not with the Bluesound as the front, but the technology of the amp design is really really good and provides a lot of listening satisfaction. Do you *need* anything else? We're always chasing it and will probably continue because that's the nature of this hobby 😁
PeachTree GaN1 received yesterday. I takes in digital and sends it in digital to the speakers like the TacT Millennium did. First I used JRiver on a laptop to attenuate the volume digitally and sample to 192kHz, then pass signal to the Singxer SU-6 DDC to remove jitter, then on to the GaN1. The sound is incredibly transparent, squeaky clean and with no blurring at all, no matter what volume. However, it didn’t sound quite right and I didn’t enjoy the music.
Next I used the iFi Zen Stream (running from linear PSU) direct to the GaN1 and the Stream-iFi app to control the volume. The sound is stunning. It is so transparent, dynamic and enjoyable that it beats my much more expensive system. My class AB amps have a higher power rating, but you would never know it from the way the GaN1 sounds. The control is that good. I wonder what the damping factor is.
The GaN1 is revolutionary because it replaces a top DAC ($5k), DDC ($1k), preamp ($3k) and power amps ($4k) for a price which is similar to what I paid for just the interconnects alone the prior system ($2k). When you add up the numbers, this $2k unit is outperforming $15k of top rated gear. The simplicity of the GaN1 is key here. I am in awe.
This is revolutionary. His DAC is the Holo May KTE.....the preamp is the Holo Serene and the amps are mono block Kinki B7s....this is serious stuff.......every thing is in the top league in its price.......Please read the reviews on his OLD stuff. Incredible reviews.......If you substituted an MSB select DAC in his old system would it be as good as the GaN1?.......How about a $100K amp? Of course, you could mod the GaN1 amp and use Inverter power to take it to another whole level. The revolution has come......No more heavy and expensive boxes....amen...
I'll finally be able to listen/eval the GaN1. Swapped out the GaN400 and will be using the Rose 150 as the digital front end.
It is dead silent (GaN400 has a slight turn on/off pop), no speaker hiss at all.
Probably not the long term pairing with the Rose, but could be a great combo for a Node/iFi/Minidsp Flex front end.
OK, please do a serious evaluation and let us know......thanks.
BTW....how does the Rose do digital out volume control? At 32Bits? or ? What digital cable are you using?
I would love to see a comparison of the IFI Zen Stream (using better linear power supply) with the much more expensive Rose 150.
This amp will only sound as good as the digital signal being put into it. How would this amp sound with the world's best streamer and cable?
From what i have read the Lumin U1 and the IFI Zen Stream both seriously beat the Bluesound.
You can replace the output connectors with WBT Nexgens, replace the output wire, change the AC inlet to a Furutech and get rid of the external fuse (probably already has a fuse on the power supply board....which you can upgrade to serious audiophile fuse). Then you could do power supply beefing, bypassing and trying different caps on the filter output (very important). You could also Cryo the output inductors, etc.
Of course, you can use better footers and mass load/damp the chassis.
If you add the ifi spdif ipurifier 2 to the node it will sound as good as the Zen.
There's a 32v switch mode power supply with an 8A fuse. Nichicon caps on both the power supply and amplifier board. Elegant Audio solutions 200s Rev A board. Wires seem to be a decent guage with ferrite cores on the speaker wires going to the binding posts. Binding posts seem to be of high quality, not magnetic.
Have you tested this? Do you have a Zen and Node and the IFI I Purifier and you tested it with both units? Or is this a guess?.....since the Zen has a built in purifier. The Purifier would work best at the load....not the source. The I Purifier sounds even better when modded and a super hardwired power supply is used (yes, I have done this). However, sometimes it sounds best without the I purifier......Everything has to be listened to.
Thank you for the information on the insides. I am sure upgrading the wires and binding posts would make a noticeable improvememt in sound along with all the other things I noted.
Skip at Elegant Audio Solutions told me that his digital amps were better than the Technics..........but those are words. What is the reality? I hope someone A/Bs the Peachtree with any of the Technics....using the same source.
The amp board in there is a four channel board that is used as a bridged two channel amp. Each of the four single ended amps puts out 50 watts.....and two of them combined gives 200 watts. Imagine using one of these amps for each channel and wiring two of the channels for 50 watts and the other two for 200 watts. You could then use a minidsp or whatever as digital xover and triamp speaker drivers directly without any analog xover. You would have 50 watts on the tweeter and midrange and 200 watts for the woofer.....OMG......this would kill 100K systems for sure. I am sure some manufacturers of speakers are already looking into this.....the whole shebang would be inside each speaker......OMG again. The revolution has begun.....no more DACS, preamps, analog interconnects and big heavy amplifiers.......this thing is 10lbs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The power amp board and switching power supply probably weigh something like 2 lbs total.
Everything makes a difference. Every single thing inside the Node and Zen effect the sound.
LEDs add distortion. A toslink output is an LED.....the indicators for frequency are LEDs. I removed the toslink connector and the indicator LEDs. I hardwired a custom power supply cable directly into the I Purifier that comes from a hardwired custom power supply. I damped the I purifier with EAR SD40AL and also damped/mounted the I Purifier directly to the load (damping material running down the body of the I Purifier and onto the chassis of the DAC).