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Upgrading from a Peachtree Nova 80w (first generation)


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I've been using a Peachtree Nova integrated amp that I bought when it was introduced in 2009. It's got 80w.

 

I've been considering an upgrade. Looking at the Peachtree offerings, they now offer a 125w integrated and a 220w.

 

Will either of these be noticeably better in sound? Or just louder?

 

If I went for a separate amp/DAC setup -- are there better options in the $1600 range?

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I've been using a Peachtree Nova integrated amp that I bought when it was introduced in 2009. It's got 80w.

 

I've been considering an upgrade. Looking at the Peachtree offerings, they now offer a 125w integrated and a 220w.

 

Will either of these be noticeably better in sound? Or just louder?

 

If I went for a separate amp/DAC setup -- are there better options in the $1600 range?

The 125 has a better DAC (24/192 vs 24/96) than the 80 and might sound a bit better. The difference in max SPL between 80W and 125W driving the same speakers is about 1 db (negligible) - you won't notice any difference in perceived loudness, dynamic range or any other volume-related parameter. The extra 45 W might let you move to less efficient speakers, but the power difference is negligible and I don't think it's worth the change.

 

The 220 is a different animal with enough additional power and improvement in design to make a noticeable difference for the better.

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I've been using a Peachtree Nova integrated amp that I bought when it was introduced in 2009. It's got 80w.

 

I've been considering an upgrade. Looking at the Peachtree offerings, they now offer a 125w integrated and a 220w.

 

Will either of these be noticeably better in sound? Or just louder?

 

If I went for a separate amp/DAC setup -- are there better options in the $1600 range?

 

 

The Nova is rated at 80W into 6 ohm, so more like 55 W into 8 Ohms. I added an external set of two 120W amps, which was a notable improvement, especially at lower volume.

 

So, yet, it is worth doing. Unless you are using coax, the DAC is a bit sub-standard at this point too. Unfortunately (for me), the kid decided to attend college where tuition costs as much as an audiophile USB cable, so I probably won't be upgrading any time soon.

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If you really want to upgrade, the 220 will almost certainly sound better. IME, more power sounds better, even with efficient speakers.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Depending on the costs involved, you might find looking at upgrading the DAC (with a separate unit fed into the analogue inputs) might be a more cost effective upgrade.

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Be sure to try the newer Peachtrees out first. I have an iDecco, which while not powerful enough for my current purposes, has a mosfet-based Class AB amp which is quite nicely done. I briefly had a nova220se and found that I did not at all like the sound of its Class D amp even though the DAC section was very notably better. There are other all-in-one amps these days, like the Rotel RA1570, the Yamaha AS801, or if you're feeling flush, the Hegel h160.

Mac Mini (+Tidal +Roon) -> WiFi -> Lyngdorf TDAI1120 ->JM Reynaud Lucia (Tellurium Q Black v2)

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Thanks. I considered a Rotel years ago before I went with the Peachtree. Rotel didn't have the integrated DAC at that time. I prefer the look of the Rotel to the Peachtree.

 

The Rotel is 120W per channel, compared with 220 for the Peachtree SE. Is that a noticeable difference? I'm not familiar with the difference between Class AB and Class D amps.

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Thanks. I considered a Rotel years ago before I went with the Peachtree. Rotel didn't have the integrated DAC at that time. I prefer the look of the Rotel to the Peachtree.

 

The Rotel is 120W per channel, compared with 220 for the Peachtree SE. Is that a noticeable difference? I'm not familiar with the difference between Class AB and Class D amps.

 

Supposedly the Rotel actually measures closer to 150W, so that closes the gap a bit. Anyway, I suppose it depends how efficient your speakers are. But I didn't find that the Nova220 sounded much more powerful than my 125W Job.

 

I just don't find Class D amps to sound "natural" even if they measure fine. They sound like rubber, if that makes any sense at all. The Nova 220 had a big open sound with lots of detail, power and bass control, but it just sounded like everything was painted in rubber paint, which is to say, all sounds sounded kind of the same, and the whole sonic picture bounced just a little too much. The iDecco, doesn't have anything like the same power or resolution, but what it has sounds natural: instruments make their own space and palette, and each one decays in a way that sounds natural to it.

 

I hesitate to generalize too much as I've really only heard a half-dozen class D amps, but I haven't found one yet that I thought was satisfying. Listen to one if you can; maybe it's just me ;-)

 

Gerard

Mac Mini (+Tidal +Roon) -> WiFi -> Lyngdorf TDAI1120 ->JM Reynaud Lucia (Tellurium Q Black v2)

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And sorry, someone else will have to give you the technical differences between the different kinds of amps; I'm not a techie guy. Class D amps tend to be energy efficient and cool running and that, I believe, is part of the appeal.

Mac Mini (+Tidal +Roon) -> WiFi -> Lyngdorf TDAI1120 ->JM Reynaud Lucia (Tellurium Q Black v2)

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If you're looking at alternatives to the Peachtree but keeping all in one; I'd try out the Creek Evo 50 and Evo 100 with their DAC module. Also Expossure with DAC in their new amps.

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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What are your speakers ? I'm generally not a fan of Class D amps due to the additional noise (hum,hiss)

 

I had a Peachtree 125 integrated and liked it but didn't like the hiss .

 

1. They don't all hiss;

2. A particular amp can hiss in your setup but not in someone else's.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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1. They don't all hiss;

2. A particular amp can hiss in your setup but not in someone else's.

 

The Peachtree folks acknowledged there was too much hiss with the original 125 integrated amp and that's why they came out so quickly with the 125SE .

 

Google Peachtree Nova 125 hiss . It was a problem , particularly with high sensitivity speakers like Klipsch .

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Should I be concerned about too much power with the amp? My room is only 13' wide, so I'm usually sitting about 10' from the speakers. With my current amp, if the volume dial runs from 7 on the low end to 5 on the high, I often have it set a 8 to listen to music from my Apple TV (optical input). When I watch television (also optical input), the dial is usually from 11 to 12:30. When I use headphones, the volume dial is barely edged above zero.

 

If I upgrade to a 220w amp, is there a risk that I lose a lot of the ability to control the volume? That is, the difference between too soft and too loud is so limited, that trying to get it right will drive me nuts?

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Should I be concerned about too much power with the amp? My room is only 13' wide, so I'm usually sitting about 10' from the speakers. With my current amp, if the volume dial runs from 7 on the low end to 5 on the high, I often have it set a 8 to listen to music from my Apple TV (optical input). When I watch television (also optical input), the dial is usually from 11 to 12:30. When I use headphones, the volume dial is barely edged above zero.

 

If I upgrade to a 220w amp, is there a risk that I lose a lot of the ability to control the volume? That is, the difference between too soft and too loud is so limited, that trying to get it right will drive me nuts?

Short and sweet: no. But it sounds as though your ATV is at full output level, which has been a complaint of many users for years. As I recall, there's an AV setting somewhere in the control panel to fix this. Turn on the volume control for the optical output at Settings > Audio & Video > Control Music Volume (on or off) and adjust it downward, so your amplifier volume pot will be closer to the middle of its rotation at your preferred listening levels. There's also a volume equalization setting somewhere in there that will stabilize audio output levels of all your audio files and sources (at least in iTunes - I don't know about the rest).

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I have not heard the Totem's so I can't really make an amp recommendation based on it .

 

Great speakers. NOT your run of the mill design though. Tricky speaker to get to really sing. If I were in your shoes I'd find a second hand Naim Nait 5i and couple it with a cheapie dac (Audioquest Dragonfly or similar) and get ready to hear those speakers for the first time.

David

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If I upgrade to a 220w amp, is there a risk that I lose a lot of the ability to control the volume? That is, the difference between too soft and too loud is so limited, that trying to get it right will drive me nuts?

 

No.

 

Amplifier power ≠ amplifier gain

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