Peachtree Nova300 Integrated--I disagree with Stereophile

First off, let me say that I like Stereophile. I like their reviews, testing and recommendations. I have five products they recommended: (1) PSB Imagine T2 loudspeakers, Class B review; (2) NAD M51 DAC, Class A+ review; and (3) Primaluna Dialogue Premium HP Integrated, Class A review; (4) Creek Evolution 100A Integrated, Class B review; and (5) KEF LS50 loudspeakers, Class A or A+ review.

This week Stereophile reviewed the new Peachtree nova300 integrated amplifier. While I think Art Dudley generally liked the product, his review was laden with references to a grainy treble characteristic. And, while I think another takeaway is he liked some of the bombast and definition of certain instruments (mainly orchestral) he was not in love with the amp.

Dudley’s review generated numerous, immediate comments from readers who indicated that he tested the unit with vintage horn speakers. One of the founders of Peachtree wrote the manufacture’s follow-up response; he noted the same thing. David Solomon I believe is his name.

I wanted to drop a quick note to everyone saying that I disagree--at least with my equipment, in my room, and with my music. Here’s what I can tell you.

  • Out of the box the nova300 ("nova") sounded just great. I thought the sound changed a bit for the better after an hour to 100 minutes of heavy use out of the box.
  • I am experiencing none of the treble grain repeatedly cited in the article.
  • I am running it exclusively with Bluesound/Tidal, using the Peachtree Sabre DAC (internal), and PSB Imagine T2s.
  • The Peachtree has total control over the four drivers in my PSB Imagine T2s.
  • Imaging is superb.
  • I feel no stress or fatigue until I listen at ear splitting volumes. And I mean LOUD. I haven’t done a dB test but I can tell you were talking very loud.
  • The 300-400w of power feeding my loudspeakers is effortless, clean and keeps little motif nuances (guitar licks, bass lines, etc) so present even when the arrangement gets busier.
  • The nova is swapped in for the Primaluna integrated (referenced above). I have it outfitted with great NOS preamp tubes (Mullards and Ciftes) and Gold Lion KT88s in the power section. Also, I’m using the nova’s DAC, which is swapping out the NAD M51--no slouch, Stereophile Class A+ DAC.
It’s just too early for me to post a comprehensive review. But one thing is for sure, this machine is a killer deal and I am pleasantly surprised that I’m not missing my tubes. I bought a certified (essentially refurbished nova, from Peachtree for around $2k). This is one hell of a product.

I’m no pro reviewer, and I recognize we all have certain tastes and budgets. I bought my first copy of Stereophile in 1984 at 10 years old. My audio journey began in our family den in 1977 listening to my dad’s Wharfedale speakers, which he had my uncle buy him overseas during the Vietnam war. My tastes in music and equipment span the gamut...I cover a broad spectrum. If it moves me, I listen.

I’ll stop no, as I have nothing more to say but the nova is an amazing product and its value is first rate.

And finally, I think there’s genuine validity to the comments of folks and Solomon who ask, why would Stereophile/Dudley review the nova300 with only Altec Flemenco speakers from decades ago? Peachtree is an American company making its products in the US and Canada. The owners met with Dudley to explain their new philosophy, sourcing, production, etc. I think any product deserves to be paired with more than one model of connected equipment. Art, if you’re listening....

In any event, much of the Stereophile review just doesn’t matter to me. I have bigger fish to fry: The nova300 was supposed to be my summer amp...Is it challenging the Primaluna for first string year round? And no, I’m not kidding.

FYI... I haven't connected my Manley Chinook phono preamp and Technics 1200 GAE....Yet.
WOW I gotta get one of those peaches.
It's still early to post a review, but I've got about 72+ hours on it now.  

I don't hear any grain in the treble as Stereophile did.  But, while bass is plentiful it's not as delineated as that from my Primaluna.  And, highs seem a bit smoothed out--maybe that was intentional to make the amp sound more tubey. 

It's a great amp and a great deal. 
This amp gets mixed reviews in the forums. My guess is that some equipment exposes limitations more than others. 
The treble grain can easily be seen/attributed within the measurements, as the THD distortion rises very quickly from 2khz upwards at all load levels. Lower impedance the worse it is.

"Maybe" if your speaker is above 8ohms, (16 or 32ohms) above the 2khz then the distortion will be better, they are rare.
Even worse some esl ML’s are 1 to 2 ohms and why they don’t suit Class-D because of the 2ohm figure in that graph.
(black trace)

Cheers George
Other than the Stereophile review the only negative thing I have read about this amp was a poster who did not care for it with his ML's and another poster who preferred a Parasound Halo.

Just to add to my last post, even the very good "for Class-D", the Belcanto 600m monoblocks, still have a steep rising THD distortion, which gets worse as the impedance of the speaker gets lower, note how they didn’t give the black 2ohm trace? I wonder why? Advertising??

Here is a linear solid state graph of the THD distortion.

Cheers George