AXPONA 2016: Here comes a super Nova!


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.