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Peachtree novaPre

Stereo hybrid tube preamplifier with digital-to-analog converter (DAC) (Cherry)

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  • Peachtree novaPre

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Item #: 731NOPRECH
 

Review Summary

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$899.99
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$809.99
 
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Our take on the Peachtree novaPre

by Woody Sherman
Peachtree Audio

Genuine triple threat

It's pretty easy for the Peachtree novaPre to make your "gotta have it" list if you've been an audiophile for any period of time. With Peachtree's meticulous attention to build quality and clean design lines, their products always turn heads. But the novaPre has the uncommon distinction of being three popular products in one — and they're three products made for the digital age in which we live.

The Peachtree novaPre

The Peachtree novaPre is designed for today's music sources

It's a world-class DAC

The novaPre is a high-end digital to analog converter (DAC). The USB input is asynchronous, so your computer audio files will be decoupled from the timing errors that often accompany them, and reclocked on their way to the heart of the digital-to analog conversion process, the novaPre's built-in ESS Sabre DAC.

The ESS Sabre 9023 DAC is recognized as being among the world's best, and the novaPre's circuitry has been consciously designed around the needs and strengths of this chip. Your digital files will be faithfully converted to a pristine analog signal that holds true to the artist's original sonic intention. And there won't be any reason to worry about contamination from outside electrical anomalies. All digital inputs (1 USB, 1 optical, 2 coax) that have a path to ground are galvanically isolated, so there's no means for electrical noise from power supplies or processors to affect the signal path downstream.

It's a hybrid tube buffer

The novaPre is prepared for today's compressed streaming music sources, with an on-board tube buffer that helps to smooth the harsh waveforms that can be present on lower-quality compression. It can be switched on or off from the remote control, depending on your personal preference.

A headphone amp, too

Lastly, the novaPre functions as an audiophile-quality headphone amp, for times when you want to feed your favorite set of headphones. And, as above, the tube buffer can be switched in or out to accommodate your source material, even when your listening is private.

The novaPre pairs beautifully with Peachtree's elegant power amplifier, the Peachtree 220.

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Highlights:

  • 24-bit/192kHz USB input accepts 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, and 192kHz sampling rates
  • asynchronous USB Input allows the clock inside the novaPre to control the timing of the bitstream before passing the signal to the on-board ESS Sabre ES9023 DAC
  • switchable stereo triode 6N1P 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 lets you engage or disengage tube stage
  • S/N: 96db
  • jitter measured at the master clock: < 3 picoseconds
  • power supply: 8,700 microfarads of filtering
  • stereo separation: 94dB
  • 4 digital inputs: 1 USB (Type B), 2 coaxial, 1 optical
  • 1 analog aux RCA stereo input
  • 2 full-bandwidth RCA pre outputs
  • detachable power cord
  • weight: 15.89 lbs.
  • 14-13/16"W x 4-15/16"H x 14-1/4"D
  • warranty: 2 years parts and labor, 6 months for tubes
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

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

Features and Specs
General
Frequency Bandwidth
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N/A
THD
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0%
Signal to Noise Ratio
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96
Number of Inputs
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5
HDMI Inputs
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None
HDMI Standby Pass-through
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No
HDMI Monitor Output
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No
USB Connections
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1
Ethernet Connections
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None
Phono Inputs
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None
Preamp Outputs
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2
Satellite Radio Ready
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No
HD Radio
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No
Memory Presets
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None
iPod Controls
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---
Internet Ready
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No
Networking
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No
Network Streaming Services
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None
AirPlay Compatible
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None
DLNA Certified
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No
Dolby Digital
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No
DTS
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No
Multiple Zones
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No
Dimensions
Width (inches)
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14-13/16
Height (inches)
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4-15/16
Depth (inches)
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14-1/4
Weight (pounds)
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15.89
Parts Warranty
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2 Years (tube 6 months)
Labor Warranty
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2 Years
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Preamplifier/DAC
  • 5' AC power cord
  • Remote control
  • 2 "AA" batteries
  • 6' Optical cable
  • CD-R disc
  • Instruction Booklet
  • USB Driver software instructions
  • "Optical Cable" note
  • "Important!" note

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.

Features
Controls
Connections

Features

Overview: The Peachtree Nova.Pre is a tube hybrid preamplifier, 24-bit/192kHz DAC, and headphone amp; all in one. The Nova.Pre has been engineered to enhance the digital audio sources of today - such as your computer, Apple TV, Sonos system, Squeezebox player, music server, and internet radio. It also offers analog connection for your analog audio sources.

Hybrid Tube Preamp: The preamp's Tube Buffer uses a stereo triode 6N1P to smooth the harsh digital edge found in poor recordings and compressed audio. It can be switched on or off from the remote control to match your preference at any given time. It is especially good for Pandora, MOG, Spotify, and most cloud-based listening.

ESS Sabre 24-Bit/192kHz DAC: The ESS Sabre (9023) 24-bit/192kHz Digital-to-Analog Converter is widely recognized as one of the world's best DAC when dealing with digital components like computers and media servers. Jitter is all but eliminated  (<3.0ps) leaving an unaltered audio signal for beautiful Peachtree Audio sonic signature sound. The ESS Sabre (9023) DAC can handle MP3, 16-bit/44.1kHz, 16-bit/48kHz, 24-bit/88kHz, 24-bit/96kHz, 24-bit/176kHz, and 24-bit/192kHz audio resolutions.

Headphone Amp: The Headphone Amp switches the speakers off when your headphones are inserted. So even when a quiet environment is required, you can still listen to high resolution music. Your headphones can also run through the tube stage so you can enjoy that smooth tube sound in solitude.

Galvanic Isolation: All digital inputs with grounds are galvanically isolated which prevents electrical noise from entering the DAC board on all grounded digital inputs. Any contamination due to the switching power supply, multiple ground points, and high speed processing is isolated from the DAC so nothing but pure 1's and 0's reach the DAC circuit.

Colors: The Peachtree Nova.Pre is available in a rosewood, high gloss black, or cherry finish.

Controls

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

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.

Input Selector: There are 5 input selector push-buttons (USB, Coax 1, Coax2, Opt, Aux) on the front-panel of the Peachtree Audio Nova.Pre. 

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

Connections

24-Bit/192kHz Asynchronous USB Input: The Peachtree Audio Nova.Pre is equipped with a USB (type-B) port to connect to your computer. This 24-bit/192kHz Asynchronous USB Input provides the best possible resolution, which furthers the efforts of the ESS Sabre DAC. Asynchronous communication allows a high precision clock inside the Nova.Pre to control the timing of the bitstream from the computer to the DAC. This further keeps jitter at bay by not relying on the less precise audio clock in the computer.

Note: To maximize performance from our asynchronous USB technology, the Nova.Pre requires installation of a USB driver on your computer. Download the correct driver for your computer's operating system here

Optical Digital Input: The Peachtree Nova.Pre is equipped with a single optical (toslink) digital input for connecting an external digital audio source, such as a CD or DVD player. The optical digital input is 24-bit/96kHz capable.

Coax Digital Inputs: The Peachtree Nova.Pre is equipped with two coaxial (RCA) digital inputs for connecting external digital audio sources, such as a CD and DVD player. Both coaxial digital inputs are 24-bit/192kHz capable.

Analog Audio Input: The Nova.Pre is fitted with  a set of unbalanced stereo RCA inputs to connect to an analog source.

Pre Outputs: The two pair of unbalanced RCA preamp-out connections allow you to connect an external amp to the Peachtree Audio Nova.Pre, and can also be used to connect a powered subwoofer.

  • Variable RCA Stereo Output: 7V RMS/11.2V Peak
  • Pre Output Impedance: 50-ohm (Pre Out 1), 15-ohm (Pre Out 2)

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

12V Trigger: The 12-volt trigger (3.5mm) automatically turns on your connected power amplifier from the Nova.Pre.

Detachable Power Cord: The Peachtree Audio Nova.Pre comes with a 5' detachable  AC power cord.

 
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Peachtree novaPre Reviews

Average Customer Review:

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5 out of 5

Absolute best bang for the buck

Written By Jonathan, Buffalo,mo on Monday, February 17, 2014
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I love this product. The peachtree nova pre coupled with the 220 is more power then I need at a price I can afford. Shop around people, but at the end of the day your coming back to peachtree! This unit delivers clear crisp tone at any volume with little to no distortion. I was skeptical at first at a product that was thousands less than its competition but very pleased with it. And Crutchfield has been very helpful as well with knowledgable staff that were easy to deal with and a pleasure to do business with. Thanks guys!
Pros:
Clear as a bell at any volume, crisp tone, ample hard hitting bass
Cons:
Hard to hook to digital devices that don't support the drivers.
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

An Amazing Preamp For Us Digital Folk

Written By Dave Z, Rockland County, NY on Wednesday, September 04, 2013
 
If you're largely digital like me, there doesn't seem to be many good quality preamps with enough digital inputs out there. The novaPre allows me to connect my Mac mini audio server, Marantz CD5004, and Marantz NA7004 network media player, and still leave room for future expansion with USB and analog RCA connections.

The preamp works very nicely with my Marantz MM7025, which powers a pair of MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL speakers. Dead quiet when cranked up.

Two sets of outputs (for the amp and subwoofer) are welcome, but I don't know the difference between "class A" and "op amp" and have no clue if I'm utilizing them correctly. There is no LFE output option.

Build quality is excellent and it has a stylish look. It does stand out from all the all-black components on a black stereo rack -- not sure if that's good or not. Also, speaking of looks, the window showing the vacuum tube looks cool, but I honestly hear no difference when the tube is bypassed. Perhaps my ears aren't good enough.
Pros:
Sounds great, accommodates all my equipment, good sounding DAC.
Cons:
Value of tube is questionable.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Fascinating

Written By Chatte, Birmingham AL on Sunday, March 17, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
A novice to sophisticated audio devices but not to good music, this device brings my varied collection of diverse genres to life in a way I have not experienced for 33 years. Paired with the Peachtree 220 and Definitive Technology Studio Monitor 65s and ProSub1000s, this is truly a beautiful experience.
Pros:
Exceptional performance
Cons:
I miss the tone controls. I miss the balance control. I have a cassette deck and a phono turntable and I miss a set of extra line in inputs. But this is trivial when compared to the overall performance and the price.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Output voltage, input sensitivity and all that jazz

Written By CMOT, Pittsburgh PA on Saturday, January 19, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
First of all, given my listening modes, a preamp + DAC made sense. I compared several. However, it turns out that a rarely discussed issue - output voltage of the preamp and input sensitivity of the amp - make all the difference in how things will sound together. Although many standard preamps have reasonably high output voltages, most preamps + DACs do not - seems that they typically take a good DAC plus good headphone amp and figure out how to get a few volts out of the RCA outputs as well. The Peachtree is different. It provides a very significant gain boost in the preamp stage (I think something like 7V output through the RCAs). Whatever it is, it was the only preamp + DAC that didn't sound thin with little in the way of dynamics. That is, it can drive my amp quite nicely while the others couldn't - my amp has a low sensitivity (meaning it expects a high voltage - at least nominally 2.5 V). So it sounds great with the Peachtree (interestingly I have seen a few for sale, the reason for the sale being that they provided too much gain for their amp - probably an amp with a more typical high sensitivity of around 1 V). I like the basic simplicity of the thing as well and it definitely improved the sound from my CD player relative to the lower-quality DAC the CD player uses. My only "issue" is that I have been listening carefully and I have pretty good ears I think, yet I can't hear *any* difference with the tube in or out. The second set of op-amp driven RCA is also confusing
Pros:
Good sound, lots of gain, simple, clear controls
Cons:
Tube needed or for show? Two sets of outputs, one Class A, one op-amp driven. Why? More should be said. Silver face only.
5 out of 5 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Excellent

Written By Tom, Catlettsburg, KY on Saturday, October 13, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Excellent. Paired with a Marantz MM7025 2 channel amp and a pair of B&W 683s. Dead quiet to control chaos depending on the track. Using computer USB, Digital coaxial from CD player and Optical from an Apple Airport Express to stream. All sources have excellent sound quality. Would be the same combo again.
5 out of 5 people found this helpful
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1 question already asked

Hi. How do I hook up my ipad to this preamp? Thanks! Tony [ Tony  Jul 20, 2014 ]
1 answer
  • Since your iPad or iPhone or any other divice that does not support drivers, don't support drivers, you have to use the headphone jack and go directly to the aux ports. I hear that there is a blue tooth option but I'm not familiar with it [ Jonathan   Jul 22, 2014 ]

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For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the Peachtree novaPre, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_731NOPRECH/Peachtree-novaPre-Cherry.html ).