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AXPONA 2016: Here comes a super Nova!

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axponaPeachtree Audio 2.0.  A full relaunch of the brand. David Solomon back on the sales team. New products in the pipeline. I had to get the full scoop in Chicago.

David is one of my favorite people in the audio business, so I was not going to miss his demos — and I was curious to hear the new Novas.  A number of my friends are looking at the $1,500 range and the Nova is a bit of Swiss army knife as integrated amp with built-in DAC and home theater bypass.  I was hoping this might be a solid recommendation for my fellow record collectors looking at the price point.

So what’s new?  A great many things.

  • Now made in Canada
  • Latest Sabre chipset, the 9018K2M on the Nova 150 and Nova 300
  • 32/384 PCM and “double DSD” decoding
  • Latest generation ICEPower amplification

David had two speakers set up.  Along one wall, the acclaimed ELAC B6 $279 per pair monitors designed by Andrew Jones…and on the other wall Martin Logan Summit X speakers at $15,000 a pair. David was streaming Tidal into the DAC inputs. So two worlds of sound. The ELAC for the ultimate budget system and then a big step up in cost and speaker but the Nova still holding its own.

The B6s really sung. I tell you, the things you can do for under $2,000 are really impressive these days. Soon, you will be able to get the $500 per pair coincident driver ELAC UB5s, which will be even better. But what really impressed me was how musical the digital files sounded. Lots of resolution for a reasonable component. Need a phono stage? No problem, moving magnet pre on board.

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The Martin Logan Summit’s were even more impressive, with lots of depth and clarity. Vocals were crystal clear. Resolution out the hoo-hah and musical. I was really surprised how good this pairing was. The price difference makes this a typical Solomon special, with lop-sided system in terms of electronics cost; the Nova 300 driving them is only $2,199 in price. While the finished amps will be even better, these prototypes are already producing stunning sound.

I was also impressed with the appearance of the product: an absolutely stunning gloss ebony mocha wrapped around a gun-metal gray faceplate of elegantly simple functionality.  My photos aren’t bad but they don’t do the finish complete justice.  Other color choices include a natural Santos rosewood and piano black.

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About Lee Scoggins (57 Articles)

A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Lee got interested in audio listening to his Dad’s system in the late 70s and he started making cassettes from LPs. By the early 80s he got swept up in the CD wave that was launching which led to a love of discs from Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs. Later while working on Wall Street in the 90s, Lee started working on blues, jazz and classical sessions for Chesky Records and learned record engineering by apprenticeship. Lee was involved in the first high resolution recordings which eventually became the DVD-Audio format. Lee now does recordings of small orchestras and string quartets in the Atlanta area.

Lee is a serious music collector and his current system consists of Audio Research Reference electronics and Magnepan speakers.