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Peachtree Audio iNova

Stereo integrated amplifier with built-in digital-to-analog converter and "Pure Digital" iPod dock (Cherry)

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Item #: 731INOVACH
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Peachtree Audio iNova

by Jim Richardson
Peachtree Audio

Everything you always wanted in a stereo receiver, except the radio

An integrated amplifier is essentially a receiver without a built-in AM/FM tuner. You get power to drive your speakers, audio controls, and inputs for music source components. Connect an iPod, a computer, a network music player, or any other device that can play Internet radio, and you may find you have no need for an AM/FM radio.

Discover how much better your digital music sources can sound

Does your music come from a computer, iPod®, or networked media player? Are you thrilled with the sound of it? Then maybe it's time to invest in an audio system that brings out the best in today's digital audio sources.

The difference maker: a new DAC that's optimized for digital audio

Peachtree Audio's iNova contains a state-of-the-art digital-to-analog converter that's optimized for computers and other digital audio sources. The ESS ES9016 Sabre32 Ultra DAC not only reveals the subtlest sonic details, but also does a remarkable job of reducing jitter (timing errors that can give digital music a hard, unnatural sound).

Want to play high-resolution 24-bit/96kHz files through the USB input? No problem. You won't have to load any external drivers. The iNova's coaxial digital input can even handle those way-better-than-CD 24-bit/192kHz files that are available from some audiophile labels.

Made-for-iPod dock is built in

A built-in Pure Digital dock takes the digital audio signal from your iPod and feeds it directly into the ESS DAC (bypassing the iPod's inferior DAC and noisy audio output circuitry). The iNova's tube-buffered preamp and high-current amplifier deliver remarkably clean, dynamic output to your speakers.

They're serious about killing noise

The noise police at Peachtree worked overtime on the iNova design. Their multi-layer DAC board includes a linear power supply and 11 regulated sub-power supplies. Each digital input is transformer-coupled to eliminate noise associated with ground problems and switching power supplies. And the USB connection is galvanically isolated to get rid of the noise that comes from your computer's switching power supply. The result of all this is an astounding 122 dB signal-to-noise ratio. It's amazing how much better your music sounds when your gear gets all the noise out of the way.

System-building options

In addition to six digital audio inputs (including the iPod dock), the iNova has two analog inputs for old-school sources such as CD players or phono preamps. An onboard headphone amp lets you kick back and enjoy some high-quality private listening. You get a stereo preamp output, too, in case you want to add an external amp or a powered subwoofer. And a "home theater bypass" mode lets you enjoy outrageously good stereo sound and great surround sound from the same system.

How home theater bypass works

Connect your receiver's front left and right preamp outputs to the iNova's second analog input. Connect your main left and right speakers to the iNova's speaker outputs. Engage the home theater bypass switch on the iNova's back panel. Your iNova now powers your main left and right speakers for surround sound sources (such as your Blu-ray player) that are connected to your receiver. You use the same L+R speakers for the stereo music sources plugged into the iNova. Your surround sound benefits from the clean power of the iNova on the crucial front left and right channels, while your stereo sources avoid the relatively noisy forest of circuitry in your receiver.

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Highlights:

  • 80 watts x 2 channels into 6 ohms at 0.1% THD
  • built-in Pure Digital iPod dock bypasses iPod's DAC (and its analog audio output circuitry) for better sound
  • hybrid vacuum tube/solid-state design
  • vacuum tube preamp stage (uses a single dual-triode input tube)
  • high-current class A/B solid state power amp
  • built-in ESS ES9016 Sabre32 Ultra DAC digital-to-analog converter
  • DAC filter slope switch
  • decodes MP3, AAC, WMA, FLAC, AIFF, WAV, PCM, and Apple Lossless
  • high-capacity toroidal power transformer
  • digital audio inputs: 1 USB, 2 optical, and 2 coaxial
  • 2 pair RCA analog audio inputs
  • 2 pair RCA audio preamp outputs for connecting a powered subwoofer or outboard power amplifier
  • component video output
  • home theater bypass switch for use with a surround receiver
  • headphone output (full-size 1/4" jack)
  • heavy-duty binding-post speaker connectors
  • detachable power cord
  • remote control
  • 14-13/16"W x 5-1/16"H x 13-15/16"D
  • weight: 26 lbs.
  • warranty: 1 year on amp, 6 months on tube
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Features and Specs
General
Watts RMS per Channel (8-ohms) ---
Watts RMS per Channel (6-ohms) 80
Watts RMS per Channel (4-ohms) ---
Frequency Bandwidth N/A
THD 0.1%
Minimum Impedance 4 ohms
Signal to Noise Ratio 122
Number of Inputs 7
Phono Inputs No
Preamp Outputs 2 Stereo
Width (inches) 14-13/16
Height (inches) 5-1/16
Depth (inches) 13-15/16
Weight (pounds) 26
Parts Warranty 1 Year/6 Months Tube
Labor Warranty 1 Year/6 Months Tube
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • 2-Channel integrated amplifier with built-in iPod dock
  • 6' AC power cord
  • IR remote control
  • 2 "AA" batteries
  • 4 iPod dock adapter inserts
  • Instruction Booklet

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.

Integrated Amplifier
USB/iPod Connectivity
Audio Connections
Remote Control

Integrated Amplifier

Overview: The Peachtree Audio iNova is an 80-watt x 2-channel integrated amplifier with built-in iPod dock and both digital & analog inputs/outputs so you can connect both your digital and analog audio components. The built-in iPod dock lets you connect your Apple iPod for audio/video playback. The Nova has a USB input for your computer, in addition to 2 coax and 2 optical inputs for other digital sources like Squeezebox, Sonos, Roku Soundbridge, and Apple TV. It also has 2 analog inputs for a CD player, tape deck, or phono preamp. If you want to add a subwoofer or outboard amplifier, the Nova features a "Class A" variable preamp-output and a fixed line output.

Two-Channel Amplifier With Tube Preamp Section: The pre-amp section employs a 6N1P tube with a Class A output stage. This maintains a high level of detail while taming harsh compressed digital music. It is coupled with an A/B amplifier in the final stage to achieve a very analog sounding product.  The iNova is designed to drive one pair of speakers with a rated output impedance of between 4 and 8 ohms.

High-Quality D/A Converter: The Peachtree Audio iNova features an onboard ESS 9016 Sabre³² Ultra DAC (Digital-to-Analog converter). It is a 24-bit/192kHz upsampling D/A converter, which transforms just about any digital source to the performance of a high-end CD player. The ESS 9016 DAC's patented jitter reduction circuit re-clocks the digital signal to almost 0 jitter before passing it through a high-resolution 24-bit/192kHz upsampling processor, which is also capable of 122dB s/n ratio. The iNova also features a user selectable DAC filter slope which allows for a sharp slope that measures better or a soft slope that is preferred by many audiophiles.

Regulate Power Supplies: The Peachtree Audio iNova employs 11 regulated power supplies for the DAC and transformer-couples each digital input stage so noise associated with ground problems and switching power supplies is eliminated. The iNova features a multi-voltage, switchable, toroidal power transformer. For international use, the iNova allows you to switch its voltage.

Tube Window: The iNova features a tube window which allows you to view the glow of the unit's tube.

USB/iPod Connectivity

USB Connection: The iNova has a USB input to connect your computer. The unit's USB type-B connection will take digital audio content from your computer and send it to the internal DAC of the iNova via I2S configuration. Using the iNova, you can take a pure digital audio signal from iTunes, Windows Media, Front Row, or any other music management system on your computer before it goes through a sound card. Just hook up a 2.0 USB cable between your computer and the iNova's USB type-B port; no sound card is required. The iNova can decode MP3, MP44, WMA, FLAC, AIFF, WAV, and Apple lossless codecs. The USB port is galvanized-isolated from the computer connection to prevent noise from reaching the DAC. This is very important because significant noise generated by the computer's switching power supply travels down the USB ground and manifests itself as a major source of jitter. The iNova eliminates this noise before the DAC sees it. The LED next to the USB connection will remain lit when the signal from your computer is lock.

Pure Digital iPod Dock: The Peachtree Audio iNova features a integrated pure digital iPod dock which bypasses your iPod's built-in DAC for better sound quality. The iNova's pure digital iPod dock delivers nothing but "1's" and "0's" from your docked iPod directly to its high resolution digital-to-analog converter for superior sound quality of your iPod's stored music. The iNova's integrated iPod dock supports audio playback, video output, remote control, and charging of select iPod models.

  • Audio/Video Playback: The iNova supports music, podcast, and audiobook playback from your docked iPod. It also features a component video output for iPod video playback on your connected television.
  • Menu Navigation: The iNova lets you navigate your iPod's menu, using the included IR remote control. The iPod nano (6th generation) only supports basic playback functions such as Play/Pause and Skip (Previous/Next).
  • iPod Display: The iNova does not feature a display. You will continue to view song/artist information on your iPod's LCD screen.
  • Charging: A docked iPod will be charged whenever the iNova is powered on.

Note: The iNova includes four iPod dock adapter inserts - nano (3rd gen), iPod video, iPod classic (80/120/160GB), and iPod touch.  If your iPod does not already come with an iPod/iPhone adapter insert, it is highly recommend you purchase one from the Apple Store for a proper fit.

iPod Compatibility Chart: The iNova is "Made for iPod compatible" and supports the following iPod model functions (February 2011).

iPod/iPhone Model Generation Tested Version Media Type  Control Type Display Type Charge
Audio Video Out Remote iPod/iPhone Song/Artist Text Track Info
dock-connector 3rd N/A N N N N N N N
clickwheel
color
4th N/A N N N N N N N
mini 1st N/A N N N N N N N
2nd N/A N N N N N N N
video 5th N/A N N N N N N N
classic 80GB 1.1.2 Y Component Y Y iPod/iPhone iPod/iPhone Y
120GB 2.0.1 Y Component Y Y iPod/iPhone iPod/iPhone Y
160GB 2.0.4 Y Component Y Y iPod/iPhone iPod/iPhone Y
iPod nano 1st N/A N N N N N N N
2nd 1.1.3 Y N Y Y iPod/iPhone iPod/iPhone Y
3rd 1.1.3 Y Component Y Y iPod/iPhone iPod/iPhone Y
4th 1.0.4 Y Component Y Y iPod/iPhone iPod/iPhone Y
5th 1.0.2 Y Component Y Y iPod/iPhone iPod/iPhone Y
6th 1.0pc Y N Y Y iPod/iPhone iPod/iPhone Y
iPod touch 1st 2.2.1 Y Component Y Y iPod/iPhone iPod/iPhone Y
2nd 4.2.1 Y Component Y Y iPod/iPhone iPod/iPhone Y
3rd 4.2.1 Y Component Y Y iPod/iPhone iPod/iPhone Y
4th 4.2.1 Y Component Y Y iPod/iPhone iPod/iPhone Y
iPhone 2G N/A N N N N N N N
3G N/A N N N N N N N
3GS N/A N N N N N N N
4 N/A N N N N N N N

Note: Apple iPod/iPhone software updates may change functionality results. If you download a newer software version, you may need to reset the device and your iPod/iPhone to regain functionality. If this doesn't work, you may need to revert to the older software version or wait until an newer software update is available.

Component Video Output: The Peachtree Audio iNova includes a component video output. The iNova's component video output lets you watch your docked iPod's movies, TV show's, and other recorded video on your connected HDTV.

Audio Connections

Dual Analog Inputs: The Auxiliary 1 and Auxiliary 2 inputs each contain a pair of analog line-level RCA stereo inputs for connection to your CD player, Tape player, MD player, or portable digital music player.

Home Theater Bypass: The 2nd analog input doubles as a "Home Theater Bypass" so you can have the best of Home Theater and 2-channel in the same system. Simply take the left and right "pre-out" from your receiver or processor and connect to the "Home Theater" bypass on the iNova. A selector switch on the back panel converts from Aux to HT bypass. In this application your receiver transparently uses the L&R amplifier section of the iNova, leaving the HT receiver amplifier to push only the center and rear speakers. This leaves the receiver responsible only for pushing the center and rear speakers, making the receiver much more efficient and less taxed. Also when you listen to a 2 channel source plugged directly into the iNova, there is a straight line from the source to the iNova to the speaker (no processing, nor running the signal through a forest of circuitry).

Digital Audio Inputs: The iNova is equipped with two optical and two coaxial digital inputs for connecting external digital audio sources such as a CD or DVD player.

Speaker Terminals: The unit's binding-post speaker terminals are clearly marked red-positive and black-negative for proper polarity connections. The amplifier's speaker terminals will accommodate bare wire, pin-connectors, and banana plugs (single/dual).

Pre-Out: The stereo RCA preamp-outputs allow you to use an external amplifier with the iNova; they also provide connections for a powered subwoofer.

Headphone Output: The iNova has a "Class A, tube" headphone section. The Peachtree Audio iNova utilizes a front-panel, 1/4" headphone input which mutes the speakers when headphones are plugged in.

Remote Control

Remote Control: The iNova comes supplied with an IR remote control which is easy to use. The remote control offers the same functions as the iNova's front-panel controls, plus adds a mute button. The remote is powered by two "AAA" batteries (supplied). The remote control IR sensor is located in the center of the iNova's front-panel.

Remote In/Out: The Peachtree Audio iNova features a rear-panel Remote Input/Output (3.5mm) for connecting an external remote infrared sensor.

 
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Peachtree Audio iNova Reviews

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5 out of 5

It's a real peach!

Written By Ashland jim, Ashland Ky. on Thursday, January 26, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I did quite a bit of research by reading reviews and using the great Crutchfield staff in making my decision to purchase the Peachtree INova. This purchase began as a table top player for my Ipod. While this ended up a bit more expensive than I originally thought about, I couldn't be more pleased! The Crutchfield experience was really top notch in every respect from the technical advice I got during the selection process to the shipping and after purchase follow up. The Peachtree has has exceeded my expectations as a small music system for my workroom. I have small Wharfdale bookshelf speakers and Senheiser 650 headphones that work well with it. It makes Ipod music sound better than I ever imagined it could.
1 out of 2 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

It Rocks!

Written By tony, Palmdale, CA on Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
well! The INova gives a lot! I've had no problems at all. Just make sure to download the latest software from iTunes for your IPod device. Also, the unit gets hot so make sure you have good ventilation. So, run the AC on a hot day. It will cut out on you but easily starts up again with a click on the controller. It's like telling you it's hot! The D5 speakers are awesome and the music rivals a high quality music system. I like that I can connect my PC to it. I run a IPod160 GB unit to the dock. I store my 1,500 songs, movies collection to use on my other devices like HDTV... I Still have to manipulate the IPod before using the hand held remote but it's no problem. You will like your purchase.
2 out of 4 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

peachtree I-nova with D5 speaker

Written By mike, asheville, nc on Monday, March 07, 2011
 
I sold my old audiophile rig with CD, power plant, cables , amplifier and speaker and bought an INOVA with D5 speakers. Have just gotten through the breakthrough period and this setup rocks. I run my macbook pro with toslink to toslink mini hookup into the inova and the sound is incredible. CD's that I had forgotten and which seemed dull now have new life and sound wonderful. The level of detail on the system is incredible. The D5's have superb imaging and great bass for a small speaker. At first the bass sounded a little muddled and I was thinking I would need to add a subwoofer but as the unit has broken in (about 100 hours) the bass has become very good and I don't think a subwoofer is necessary. I have also used the ipod dock and it works great. Be aware that his only works with ipod classic, shuffle and ipod touch. I had a 5th generation ipod and could not get it to work. The headphone amplifier is great. There is also a very good review of this set-up on the computer audiophile site. Check it out.
5 out of 8 people found this helpful
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