You gotta love Peachtree Audio. These guys are relentless with this crazy, affordable, high-performing, audiophile-grade gear. I mean, the nerve!
Here at Newport, Peachtree’s David Solomon was pitching two systems — which is down from his usual, what, four? The point, I think, that David tries to make with his demos is this: you’re going to be shocked at how much you get when you buy Peachtree. And even more shocked at how much you don’t lose when you go down market in their product line. This is high-value gear, packaged intelligently, with charm, elegance and grace. It’s really hard to fault this approach — or the products that they’re putting out there that bring this value to a hungrily consuming public.
At the top of the food chain, in Peachtree’s lineup that is, is the $4,250 Grand Integrated. I first saw this box at RMAF last year, and I was really taken with the looks and the sound. The new all-metal chassis has an elegant champagne-like color that separates it quite cleanly from the rest of metal boxes you’ll find littering audiophile-land. And in case you haven’t been paying attention, the Peachtree approach — putting a high-quality DAC with a tube-buffer line stage — is the rule here. The Grand Integrated adds 400wpc of output using some brand-new Class D modules that are just stupid-good at both frequency extremes. There’s also a very fancy (and weighty) metal remote.
This is my first experience with the newly-revamped Dynaudio Confidence C-1. I’m not sure how this happened, but I don’t actually have much experience with Dynaudio speakers at all, much to my everlasting shame and chagrin. However, based on this one exposure, I can tell you that this is a gap I plan to fill ASAP. Maybe they’ll even send me a pair! Ahem.
Chatting with the folks at Sunny’s, they tell me that the $8,500 “Signature” version includes, essentially, an upgrade to the finish over the standard model, which retails at $7,700. The guts are supposed to be the same in both speakers. Not having the “standard” here on hand, I can only tell you that the Signature is quite a looker. You need matching stands? Available in black or silver, they’re an additional $450.
Okay, so the distinctive Dynaudio faceplate aside (you either love it or hate it and I’m not going to go either way other than to say that “it’s instantly recognizable”), the sound coming out of this rather streamlined setup was, in a word:
No, seriously, one word is never going to capture the beauty of the sound here. This is heady stuff and a draught most heartily endorsed, recommended, and encouraged with a pile of other adjectives that inadequately share my enthusiasm.
Tucked into the corner was System #2. Peachtree’s new $900 Decco65, another integrated just stuffed to the gills with all your necessaries, including a 24/192-capable over asynchronous USB DAC, a head-amp, a Class-A tube buffer input stage, and a 65wpc Class D amplifier as the output stage. Here, the soon-to-be-released Decco65 was paired with another Dynaudio offering, the $800/pair DM2/6. As a source, David had hooked in one of the newer $100 AppleTV hockey-puck-sized widgets.
So, let me spare you the suspense that I know is bubbling away like a cauldron of naptha — I didn’t prefer the Decco65 over the Grand Integrated. Yes, the two systems did in fact sound different. That Grand Integrated, with those C-1 Signatures, is special. But, still, this sort of exercise is extremely useful to show you exactly what $2,000 vs $12,000 will actually buy you. It’s a lot, to be sure — but it isn’t a “whole ‘nuther thing”. Both these systems sounded very good — and they were very clearly related. And I guess that’s the whole point.
Look, here’s the bottom line — Peachtree is putting together some serious audiophile-quality offerings out there at a variety of price points. I, for one, find that to be an unqualified “good thing”. With luck, I’m going to be taking delivery of a pair of their new separates, the NovaPre and the 220 amp, and abusing them (gently) a bit for your reading pleasure, so stay tuned.