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Review and Measurements of Peachtree Nova Pre

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Peachtree Nova DAC and Preamplifier. It belongs to my son who bought it years back prior to upgrading to the Oppo HA-1. Peachtree site still show it as current but I don't think it is available in distribution now. It cost US $999 when it first came out I think.

If you are not familiar with Peachtree, they burst into the scene back in 2007 and due to clever online participation and marketing, became a huge success. I remember threads with thousands of posts on them and people would eat every word about newer versions of them and such.

The Nova Pre is one of the largest and heaviest DACs I have tested:

Peachtree Nova Pre DAC and Headphone Amp Audio Review.jpg

Some of the weight comes from the very thick, glossy finished case though. I had to take that apart to figure out why the line outs were not working. My son had never tested those ports and only used it with headphones so it is possible it was always broken. There are a set of relays before the connectors that are permanently off and hence not letting the signal through. Didn't spend the time to see what is going on so the testing here will be on the headphone out port only. For the bit of testing that I did do, the signal out prior to the relay was at the same amplitude as the headphone so likely the same thing.

The claim to fame of the Nova was that tube which you could turn on and off in real-time using the ugly supplied remote. The tube filament is always on so it can be put in circuit immediately or taken out. Of course it also means that it will age quickly. My son only used it for a few weeks so likely it is as good (or bad) as it used to be when new.

Audio DAC Measurements
As usual, we start with our dashboard measurements with the output set to 2 volts:

Peachtree Nova Pre DAC and Headphone Amp Audio Measurements.png


This is "OK" performance I guess back in the day but clearly not competitive today:

Peachtree Nova Pre DAC and Headphone Amp SINAD Audio Measurements.png


Channel mismatch exists even in the dashboard so that is not good either.

Dynamic range is good at max volume but not so good at 50 millivolt output (for IEMs):

Peachtree Nova Pre DAC and Headphone Amp Dynamic Range Audio Measurements.png


The latter lands it in bad territory:
Peachtree Nova Pre DAC and Headphone Amp 50 mv Audio Measurements.png


For those of you who have been looking for the 50 millivolt rating of the JDS Labs atom, it is now in the graph and is at the top of the class.

Frequency response changes just a hair with and without the tube on:
Peachtree Nova Pre DAC and Headphone Amp Power at 33 Ohm frequency Response Audio Measurements.png


Power versus distortion and noise at 300 ohm only shows a slight impact with the tube on:

Peachtree Nova Pre DAC and Headphone Amp Power at 300 Ohm Audio Measurements.png


I don't think that is audible and indeed my son said he could not detect the tube doing anything.

Performance with or without the tube were identical with 33 ohm load and poor at that:

Peachtree Nova Pre DAC and Headphone Amp Power at 33 Ohm Audio Measurements.png


Amazing how much praise there was for this series of DAC back in the day. And how much better we can do now.

Conclusions
Measurements show the Peachtree Nova to be underperforming the many alternatives we have today. Its tube is a marketing and visual gimmick with no value whatsoever. Quality control does not seem good given the failed pre-outs. Even if you can find this used at low price, I recommend looking elsewhere.


------------
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#3
Peachtree...
Quality control does not seem good given the failed pre-outs.
Yep, trust me, QC is not a concern for this company.

I bought the famous Nova 300 last year (2100$ - 3000€ imported :facepalm:). Regardless of the OK subjective performance, the unit started to show serious issues after few weeks. All the SPDIF part were defective and Optical/coax inputs were unusable after a month. USB wasn't stable either with lot of driver crashs. The unit was sent to repair and the DAC board completely replaced. Then, I started to read on forums people complaining about theirs Novas 300 completely died. I ended up by selling this.
 
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Jimster480

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#4
Peachtree...

Yep, trust me, QC is not a concern for this company.

I bought the famous Nova 300 last year (2100$ - 3000€ imported :facepalm:). Regardless of the OK subjective performance, the unit started to show serious issues after few weeks. All the SPDIF part were defective and Optical/coax inputs were unusable after a month. USB wasn't stable either with lot of driver crashs. The unit was sent to repair and the DAC board completely replaced. Then, I started to read on forums people complaining about theirs Novas 300 completely died. I ended up by selling this.
That is quite a hefty price for such poor quality control!
 
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#5
That is quite a hefty price for such poor quality control!
That's the standard of audiophile industry: low quality accompanied with hefty prices.

I'm sure most the forum members here can tell similar histories.

I have AMR DAC on me office costing more than the Nova 300 working great as a paperweight.
 

garbulky

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#7
I've heard the Peachtree dac amp, not sure if it was the nova mmay have been the decco. (Subjective impressions, no dbt) I wasn't impressed. I never understood the hype for it. The reviews for them were like this was the next best thing, and I thought it was completely forgettable.
 

Sal1950

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#8
That's a shame. I always thought the Peachtree products in that beautiful wood case was very attractive. Guess that turns out to be their #1 selling point when the rest of the facts are revealed.. :confused:
Another example of low QC in expensive audio components. SAD
 
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#9
Things that are new and pretty. Sigh. In 2007, I built a pair of Linkwitz Orions. I used a flat-pack of pre-cut, baltic-birch plywood plus, of course, the drivers and so on. I rallied by giving them 4 coats of tung-oil-based finish, but that was it. Pretty? Well, I like women with big schnozzes, so what do I know? But yes, pretty to me because functional. When I see speakers marketed with super-exotic woods and fancy curves and lacquered horns and stuff, I do the math and say Count me out. Same with kit. Remember "wood side panels" on old gear?
 

anmpr1

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#11
Loved em, Complete walnut cases even more so. ;)
That's why God gave us trees, to make attractive gear. :p
I remember my erstwhile Pioneer SA-9500 integrated amp. Came with the optional wood sleeve. Walnut, I believe. Very attractive, as far as these things go. McIntosh used to sell an optional wooden case. Not sure if they still offer those. Accuphase always had nice rosewood cases for some of their gear.
 
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