I played a 96kHz/24-bit rip of Charles Mingus’ Mingus Ah Um [Sony] from the Alesis Masterlink via coax to an S/PDIF input, and was reminded how astonishing it is to think that this recording is now over fifty years old. The clarity and bite of Booker Ervin and Shafi Hadi’s tenor saxes on “Boogie Stop Shuffle” came across with palpable presence, where you could hear the reed sound as part of yet distinctly separated from the overall sound of each instrument. During the unison sections the dual left and right channel assault had a wonderful live quality. This recording was a good case where for me the added detail of the solid state setting won the day over the tube.
Consider this amplifier/DAC if: you want an all-in-one solution that can sit at the center of a modern audio system, yet is able to draw the best performance possible from any type of digital source. The iNova’s DAC alone is worth the entry price, and when you add in the punchy amplifier and refined headphone amp, the entire package becomes a true bargain.
Look further if: you want to drive huge power sucking speakers in a large room, or if you feel a need to dazzle your audiophile buddies with a vast array of gear.
Ratings (relative to comparably priced integrated amps)
• Treble: 9
• Midrange: 9
• Bass: 10
• Soundstaging: 9
• Dynamics: 9
• Value: 10
Ratings (relative to comparably priced DACs)
• Design & Features: 10
• Tonal Balance: 9
• Timbral Purity: 10
• Detail & Resolution: 9
• Imaging/Soundstaging: 9
• Dynamics: 9
• Value: 10
The Peachtree Audio iNova is a beautiful one stop shopping approach to building a modern high-end system. All you need is a source like an iPod or computer, and speakers or a pair of headphones and you’ll be good to go. For me the DAC is the real star of the show, proving itself to be especially adept at drawing the best possible sound from all types of source components. The amp is an impressive performer too, and I bet you could embarrass some snobby audiophiles if you played it to them blindfolded. It really punches well above its weight class, sounding like a much heftier machine than it actually is. Finally, the iNova has a sense of style that should help get it past the door in even the most style conscious homes.
Peachtree Audio iNova integrated amplifier/DAC
Power: 80Wpc @ 6 ohms
Inputs: six digital (one USB, two coax, two optical, one iPod), two stereo analog
DAC: 192kHz/24-bit (S/PDIF); 96kHz/24-bit (USB)
DAC signal-to-noise: 122dB
Outputs: two pre-amp outputs (one variable level, one fixed level), one headphone output (1/4-inch jack)
Dimensions (H x W x D): 5” x 14.75” x 14”
Weight: 26 lbs.
Warranty: One year, parts and labor