Newcastle P965 Preamp
Polk LSi9 Front/Center
Polk Rear (can't remember model)
Newcastle P965 Preamp
Polk LSi9 for 2 months, then replaced by Usher X-718 Speakers
Notes: The loss of center/rear speakers was noticeable, but what was really missing was the sub. Fortunately the move was to a small room and the LSi9's produced enough mid-bass to sound decent. Then I got the Ushers....
The Usher speakers are a phenomenal upgrade from the LSi9's. I'm not sure if this improvement should be attributed to a significant improvement in speaker quality or a move from 4 to 8 ohm speakers. To me, these speakers are much easier to listen to...at the risk of sounding over-dramatic, these speakers made my list of Top 10 Lifetime Purchases. I would still love to hook up the HSU sub in this small apartment, but don't miss it nearly as much.
Peachtree Audio Nova 125
Usher X-718 Speakers
The purchase of the Peachtree was predicated by these two goals: (1) downsizing to an integrated receiver rather than using components and (2) an overall improvement in digital audio quality via DAC. Realizing that I no longer had room for or needed a multi-channel system, I started to research other options and came across the Peachtree Integrated units. Based on positive reviews of the previous available units and specs of this "pre-release" product, I put in a preorder in August.
After a couple shipment delays by Peachtree, I was beginning to 2nd guess my order. The Newcastle/B&K combo with the Usher speakers was working out well for me...although possibly a little overkill for my small room. I decided not to cancel the Peachtree order though and give it a chance...my expectation was that I would keep it as long as there was not a significant noticeable decrease in sound quality.
Keep in mind that (1) the Peachtree is NOT broken in (it's only a few hours old) and (2) I am by no means an "audiophile" or well-regarded equipment review writer. With that, hear are my 1st impressions:
- The Newcastle P965/B&K 200.5 Combo is difficult to beat in this price range
- The Peachtree Nova 125 does not provide the same "full-range" feel at higher volumes, but for a small room provides an "equivelant" experience
- I like to think that I hear a difference with the tube engaged...especially during streamed audio playback...but I may be wrong
- I like this product and it will serve its purpose for the next year
- I will let the Nova 125 break in for a few weeks and post an update
I realize that I'm not really being fair to the Peachtree by comparing it to the Newcastle/B&K combo, but my only reference point is what I know. Regardless, it seems to be a great streamlined product that I'll be happy to use for the next year or two. It does a great job powering the Usher speakers and this will most likely turn into a great 2 channel system.