Koby Koranteng of Hi-Fi Logic, Zu Audio’s East Coast Diplomat, didn’t quite bolt as soon as I pulled out the camera, but he did maintain a suspicious distance and as soon as I asked a much-subdued Jon Derda of Peachtree Audio to step up for a photo, I think Koby might have ducked out of the room. Sneaky, that.
The speakers were the Soul Supreme ($4,500/pair), featuring the iconic Zu wide band nano tech doped driver and massive Radian “super” tweeter. These loudspeaker are pretty much designed to work with low-outupt amplifiers, which is why Derda brought his new nova220SE integrated amplifier ($1,999), for its extremely healthy 220 watt output. Over kill? Maybe. But you know what you get when you add massive power into a loudspeaker with a 100dB+ sensitivity? Oh yeah. Rock concert! Which we probably could have pulled off, if Derda hadn’t spent the evening being mercilessly driven by those party-animals over at Audioengine USA. Sorry — that’s the story that Jon was telling, Mr Wide-Eyed Innocent that he is.
Instead, we were treated to some damn fine music played through the high-res DAC input on the nova220SE and I will admit readily — I think this integrated, with its 24bit/192kHz USB2 input — is the best work they’ve done so far. Two grand isn’t cheap, but this kind of sound is near impossible to find for less.
I forgot to ask about the little box sitting next to the integrated, but knowing Peachtree like I do, I suspect that Derda was being sneaky. That little $99 Peachtree BT1 is an aptX Bluetooth receiver — which means your Samsung phones will be a very adequate source for streaming music directly into your system.
A VPI Nomad ($995), which I’ve learned may see its limited run end soon, was topping the rack. A couple-dozen LPs lined the front wall, ready for deployment. I’ve not seen a Nomad used this way, but it does remind me that even though it has a built-in headphone output, you can and probably should use the phono preamp output that’s built-in so you can share your tunes when it’s not late at night.
Zu Audio signal cables were used throughout. Waveform Fidelity power cords finished out the wiring set. An Apple MacBook Pro running Amarra playback software fed the Peachtree.