I'm currently driving Aerial 7Ts with a Peachtree 220SE. My room is 20' x 24'. I'm very satisfied with the sound. I know other amps may sound better, but at what cost. I don't want to spend 10x the cost, to receive relatively small improvements. I just added GIK room treatment and submit that was the best money I've ever spent.
For Build quality and performance ...... Not even close ..... Devialet hands down.
You will need a quality (need I say worthy) source and cables to match it in quality and resulting performance to permit it to actually perform at it's capabilities. ...system synergy matters .... Big time.
In this hobby, you get what you pay for. There is no alchemy that permits an also-ran in a very crowded market To match up against a thoroughbred
Your only question is whether you want to spend the $$.
I kind of thought the Peachtree wouldn't be a good match for speakers approaching 10K.
Dealer is also offering and suggesting a Hegel H300. Seems like a decent option between the inexpensive Peachtree and the 16K Devialet.
There are many good budget friendly alternatives that still get you what you want (eg LFD, NAIM, REGA OSIRIS, ?? Pick 'em)
When you move up, then the OPPO as your source suggests an upgrade also to marry up to the performance Of your new hi-end amp and speakers for two channel.
I had the Cambridge AZUR which is a clone of the OPPO with the same board, before I upgraded to the ARCAM Blu ray. All three are fine kit, but they were designed for video and manufactured multi-channel primarily for home theatre. None can compete with a hi-end separate high end player for two channel.
Consider a different upgraded source eventually to marry up to the performance of the new amp and worthy your speakers
Seanile, did you actually listen to the Peachtree 220SE with the 3 pairs of speakers, and determine via actual listening that it wasn't a good match? Or are you just assuming that's the case because there's a price gap between the speakers and Peachtree? If you're assuming, and haven't actually listened personally, with your own music, in a room at least closely approximating the dimensions and layout of your own, you're in position to make a potentially expensive mistake. It's a common one too, assuming that more money automatically = better sound. The Peachtree 220SE is a really nice component - it's not like you get one for free by opening a savings account at your local credit union (for those of you old enough to remember when banks would give free toasters with new accounts!).
I'll agree with your dealer with the suggestion of the Hegel H300. The Hegel will drive any of those speakers easily. You can get yourself an Oppo BDP-103D as a source and run the s/pdif coaxial digital out to one of the coaxial digital inputs of the Hegel H300 and use its internal DAC. The DAC quality in the H300 is very good. Then, you can connect your Oppo to your router via Ethernet cable (preferred) or wifi and use the Oppo as a digital media renderer. So, you can push music to the Oppo using various media software. If you're using a PC, I'd recommend not using iTunes and going with JRiver Media. There are a couple of great apps that can be used to control JRiver Media (JRemote on ios or Gizmo on Android). On the MAC side, there are a number of options definitely better than iTunes as well. This would make an excellent and very simple system for what you're doing. The Oppo works very well in this capacity. The only downside is that it doesn't support gapless playback as a digital media renderer like this.
Disclosure: I am a dealer for Hegel and Oppo. However, I'm just confirming that his local dealer presented him a good option.
Is the Peachtree 220SE the absolute best for Aerial 7Ts? Probably not, but absolutes don't exist with audio, only preferences. You say, "I kind of thought the Peachtree wouldn't be a good match for speakers approaching 10K." Did you know that Aerial used the Peachtree 220SE with the 7Ts at one of their shows! I submit the fact that Aerial used the 220SE with the 7TS at a show, speaks volumes. No, it may not be the "absolute" best, but it must be more than adequate.
No you don't always get what you pay for. I've owned a 26K set of speakers and I prefer the 10K Aerial 7Ts.
I'm glad Recred1 pointed that out, about Aerial using the Peachtree at one of their shows. I agree - they could use any of dozens of integrated amps to power their speakers at a show, and the fact that they went with a Peachtree says a lot.
The point, though, isn't to say that Peachtree specifically is the end all be all. It's that maybe one of the problems in hanging out here on the Audiogon forums is that there are a lot of wealthy people here. They're not all highly affluent, of course, but quite a few are. There are a lot of people who wouldn't even look twice at anything from Peachtree, they're way beyond that in terms of budget and climbing the audio scale. They spend more on audio than many of us will spend on a home. And if you read enough of that, it's easy to dismiss some really good equipment down here in the $2000-5000 range. I'm not saying that's happening here in this thread, but it happens.
If you hang out with Ferrari or Maserati guys all day long, it might seem like a real drag to have to do your car shopping at a Subaru or Mazda dealership, which is a shame because they make really good cars. The same happens here with audio equipment, when the truth is that for the vast majority of audio listeners a Peachtree (or an NAD, or Hegel, or Bel Canto, or Wyred4Sound, etc.) connected to a pair of Aerial speakers will be audio heaven. Not just mediocre sound, or ok sound, but really nice sound that you can live with for a long time.
I submit this hobby is so much easier than we make it! Decide on how much money you want to spend and start listening. What complicates our hobby is all of the different "OPINIONS" and it's impossible to have a home audition of every piece of gear.
If you have 16K to spend, try to listen to 3-5 amps in that price range. Despite knowing that spending thousands more often equates to subtle differences, if I had 16K to spend I would listen to Ayre, Pass, Bryston, Parasound, and Bel Canto.
I'll admit that I'm all over the place on this. Been out of this for so long everything is brand new to me. Especially the source and streaming part. What ever happened to walking over to the CD player, going through your 300 CD's and picking an album to listen to? Really like the idea on having high quality recordings on a PC/harddrive and being able to control it via an app.
Stil undecided on speakers, just listened to Salk SoundScape 8's this morning. Not sure where I stand on the 3 different speakers but will listen to the Focal 1038 and Aerial 7T at least once more before making a decision.
Haven't heard a lot of different pre/amp combos. The Devialet did sound best of the few, but no way I'm spending that kind of money. Have to remember I am essentially coming from nothing and anything I pick will be awesome.
Did hear an entry level Cambridge integrated amp, didn't like the sound at all.
As far a budget, thinking about 8K on speakers (preowned or good dealer price) and around 3K or less for the pre/amp. Maybe an integrated with DAC will be a good choice. Also not married to the Oppo but though that would be a good unit to double as a DVD player to the TV.
Thanks for listening and the suggestions!
Not ruling out the Peachtree Nova220se but maybe the Hegel h300 is a "better" choice.