Grand Pre hits the runway

From the first time you turn on the Peachtree Audio Grand Pre X-1 you'll become aware of a sense of pure potential. The feeling that this preamp could actually be ready for anything you might throw at it. You know that feeling when your jet is next in line on the runway, and you can feel the massive engine turbines ramping up? Yes, like that. It's throttle time. Are you ready for takeoff?

Hand-tweaked for the digital universe

This X-1 iteration of the Grand Pre features a specially designed XMOS receiving chip, which makes high-resolution audio easier for your computer to handle by simplifying or eliminating the drivers your computer requires. This preamp is loaded with sophisticated connection options — from the asynchronous I2S 24-bit/192kHz USB input, which minimizes jitter in the computer's digital signal before it ever enters the Grand Pre X-1's built-in DAC, to the 5 digital inputs (1 BNC, 2 coaxial, 2 optical). There's healthy analog support as well, with specialized balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA inputs and preamp outputs available. You're booking down the runway now.

Your signal, treated with respect

Your sources won't achieve their maximum potential, though, without innovative signal processing and clean, well-isolated power pathways. The Grand Pre X-1 features an industry-leading ESS Sabre32 ES9018 Reference DAC, so you know your computer audio files will sound exactly as their creators intended them. A dual-tube buffer stage, designed by audio legend Bascom King, employs two equally legendary 12AU7 vacuum tubes to help restore some warmth and luster to compressed digital sources. They also set your high-res sources free to soar. The tube buffer is switchable, so you can listen with or without it in the circuit and see which sounds better to you. And the on-board high-performance headphone amplifier will help you enjoy every detail and nuance of the music when you need to keep your listening private. Picture yourself immersed in the flow of the music and feel the ground slip away.

Peacthree Audio Grand Pre X-1

Not just another pretty face

Ready for business

Now that you're airborne, take a good hard look at the pictures here and tell us what you see. Be honest. It's nice looking, isn't it? Minimalist, clean, with every control you need readily identified and easily available. It's not just a pretty face — that front plate is 1/2-inch thick aluminum. The control buttons are titanium. The people at Peachtree Audio aren't messing around. The Grand Pre X-1 is built to deal it out.

You know what else uses 1/2-inch thick aluminum and titanium? Some jet airplane parts. Coincidence? You may now turn on your electronic devices.

Product Highlights:

  • 24-bit/192kHz USB input accepts 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, and 192kHz sampling rates
  • XMOS receiving chip makes high-resolution audio easier for your computer by simplifying or eliminating drivers required, decreasing RAM usage and increasing overall headroom
  • asynchronous I2S communication lowers incoming jitter and sends the signal to the on-board ESS Sabre32 ES9018 DAC
  • Sabre DAC reduces jitter even further by re-clocking the incoming signal before processing
  • switchable Bascom King hybrid tube buffer design smoothes harsh digital edges from compressed sources
  • galvanic isolation eliminates noise generated by switching power supplies in source components, greatly improving the sound quality
  • built-in high-performance headphone amplifier
  • S/N at the variable analog output: 104db
  • jitter measured at the master clock: < 1.0 picosecond
  • power supply: 69,000 microfarads of filtering
  • stereo separation: 96dB
  • user-selectable DAC filter slopes
  • 5 digital inputs: 1 BNC, 2 coaxial, 2 optical
  • Aux/HT Bypass Switch: HT bypass mode allows the user to integrate the Grand Pre into a home theater setup by making Aux 1 a "throughput" for the surround processor
  • full-bandwidth RCA pre out
  • defeatable 80Hz high-pass pre out
  • user can select between unbalanced RCA input or balanced XLR input on Aux 2
  • remote control
  • detachable power cord
  • weight: 24 lbs.
  • 17-1/2"W x 4-13/16"H x 17-13/16"D
  • warranty: 2 years parts and labor, 6 months for tubes
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research

What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Preamplifier/DAC
  • 5' AC power cord
  • Remote control
  • 2 'AAA' batteries
  • XMOS Driver for Windows CD-ROM
  • Instruction Booklet
  • "Important!!" note

Product Research

Features
Controls
Connections

Features

Overview: The Peachtree Audio Grand Pre X1 is a blend of a high-quality, high-resolution DAC with a true state-of-the art hybrid tube preamp. The Peachtree Audio Grand Pre X1 features cutting edge digital-to-analog conversion with digital connectivity designed for the modern day music listener. Both analog and digital sources will sound exceptional, and the addition of balanced inputs and outputs allow it to connect with the best sources and amplifiers. The Grand Pre X1 will take your computer audio, streaming audio devices, and even your CD player to a reference level, high-resolution sound.

Aluminum Construction: The Grand Pre X1's aluminum faceplate is over 0.5" thick, has titanium buttons, and weighs a healthy 24 lbs.

Digital-to-Analog Converter: At the heart of the Grand Pre X1 is the top of the line ESS Sabre32 9018 digital-to-analog converter, specialized for computers or other sources that deliver high levels of timing errors. The ESS Sabre³² DACʼs patented jitter-reduction circuit re-clocks the digital signal to less than one picosecond before passing it through its high-resolution processor.

Pre-Amp: The Grand Pre X1's preamp is designed to maintain the quality of the digital-to-analog conversion through a short signal path avoiding noise and signal loss. A dual mono gain control is used, measuring .025db channel to channel, creating pinpoint imaging for a virtual 3D soundstage. Its wide dynamics and black backgrounds are created by discrete Class A output stages with up to 18V output.

VCA Gain Control: The Grand Pre X1 utilizes VCA gain control (replacing the commonly used potentiometer) for minimal noise and cross talk.

Galvanic Isolation: Galvanic Isolation blocks electrical noise from all of the digital inputs on the Grand Pre X1. Computers and digital streamers are prime sources of electrical noise. Electrical noise, even noise that you can't hear directly, masks fine details and distorts the tone of music. Galvanic isolation eliminates this noise.

Tube Buffer: The Grand Pre X1 employs a Bascom King hybrid tube design using two musically legendary 12AU7s. The tube buffer will smooth the harsh digital edge found in poor recordings and compressed audio. A tube bypass button, found on the remote control, allows for solid state or hybrid tube listening modes. This is also possible when using the built-in high-performance headphone amplifier.

Tube Window: The Grand Pre X1 features two tube windows which allow you to view the glow of the unit's tube (mainly for show).

Controls

Power Switch: The main power switch is located on the rear-panel of the Grand Pre X1. Once the main power switch has been turned on, you can power on/off the preamp/DAC from the front power button or remote control.

Remote Control: The Peachtree Audio Grand Pre X1 includes an IR remote control for wireless operation of the preamplifier/DAC.

Volume Control: The front-panel volume control is motorized from the remote control and has a button indicator to allow the user to see levels from a distance.

Digital Filter Slope: User selectable DAC filter slopes allow for a sharp slope which measures better and a soft slope that is preferred by many audiophiles.

AUX/HT Bypass Switch: This switch selects between Home Theater Bypass mode or Standard AUX Line Input mode. In HT Bypass mode, it allows you to integrate the Grad Pre in to a home theater system by making AUX 1 a "throughput" for the surround processor. This allows you to use amplifier connected to the Grand Pre X1 for stereo use and for the front left and right speaker in your home theater.

Note: Do not switch to HT Bypass mod while the Grand Pre X1 is actively playing music or a soundtrack through the Aux input.

High-Pass Switch Selector: When this switch is activated, the unit's High Pass Pre-Out outputs at 80Hz and above with a 12dB/octave slope. This high pass filter mode is advised when using a small satellite speaker with a subwoofer.

Phase: When activated by the remote, both channels of the preamp output will be 180-degrees out of phase. This is used to correct sources that stream signal out of phase to the Grand Pre X1.

Connections

Asynchronous USB Port: The Peachtree Audio Grand Pre X1 is equipped with a USB (type-B) port to connect to your computer. It is 24-bit/192kHz capable, accepting 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, and 192khz sampling rates, and uses the latest in asynchronous I2S communication. Asynchronous allows the Grand Pre X1's internal high-precision clock to control the flow of data coming from the computer. This method lowers incoming jitter so the Sabre DAC has less timing errors to reclock. The galvanic isolated input eliminates noise generated by your computer's switching power supply and greatly improving the sound quality.

Note: The Grand Pre X1 uses an XMOS receiving chip. This makes high resolution audio easier for your computer to handle because it requires no drivers for Mac OS and a very simple driver setup for Windows (using included XMOS Driver for Windows CD-ROM); plus it uses less RAM, so your computer has more headroom and sounds better.

Digital Inputs: The Peachtree Grand Pre X1 is equipped with Optical, Coaxial, and BNC digital inputs.

  • Optical & Coaxial: The Peachtree Grand Pre X1 is equipped with two optical (24-bit/96kHz) and two coaxial (24-bit/192kHz) digital inputs for connecting external digital audio sources such as a CD or DVD player.
  • BNC Digital Input: The Grand Pre X1 also features a BNC digital input (75-ohm) which is found on high-end computer soundcards and some pro audio products. This input will accept up to 24-bit/192kHz audio.

Analog Inputs: The Peachtree Grand Pre X1 is fitted with both unbalanced RCA and balanced XLR analog inputs.

  • Unbalanced RCA Inputs: The Grand Pre X1 is fitted with two pair of unbalanced stereo RCA inputs to connect to analog sources.
  • Balanced XLR Input: Balanced XLR inputs are used to connect high-end CD players and other high-end analog sources.

Pre Outs: The Peachtree Grand Pre X1 offers balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA preamp-outputs.

  • Balanced XLR Pre-Out: Variable balanced XLR outputs (18V rms/25V peak, 50-ohms) are used to connect to high-end amplifiers with balanced inputs.
  • Pre-Out: The unbalanced RCA preamp-out connections (8V rms/11.2V peak, 448-ohms) will allow you to use an external amp with the Gran Pre, and also provide connections for a subwoofer.
  • High Pass Pre-Out: This unbalanced RCA preamp output will operate in full frequency band when the High Pass switch isn't activated. When the switch is activate, it outputs at 80Hz and above with a 12dB/octave slope. This high pass filter mode is advised when using a small satellite speaker with a subwoofer.

Line Output: This fixed RCA output (2V rms, 448-ohms) will allow you to feed the Grand Pre's sources into another preamp input.

Headphone Output: The Grand Pre X1 utilizes a front-panel, 1/4" headphone input which mutes the speakers when headphones are plugged in.

12-Volt Triggers: The 12-volt input & output triggers enable automatic turn on and off from or to another source with the same feature (2-12V) .

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Peachtree Audio Grand Pre X-1 Reviews

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The One To Own

Written By dhd, Howell County, MO on Friday, July 25, 2014

Incredibly versatile, beautiful, substantial, with serious sonic presence plus 12AU7s to soften the digital sound and an excellent remote. For those using multiple inputs, from phono to tuner to USB to coax and optical digital, who want audiophile sound, this unit can't be beat anywhere near the price. Too bad it's no longer made!

Pros: Build quality, multiple inputs, tube buffer, remote control

Cons: Wish it had a third Aux input in place of one of the OPTs, in order to keep tape source permanently connected.

Get everything you’ll need to enjoy your new Peachtree Audio Grand Pre X-1

Connect your computer audio-based devices to your new preamplifier.
Transfer the digital audio signal from your source to your new integrated amplifier.
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