My first slice of Magnepan MMG budget amplifier coverage is now up on the ‘Moons.
First, a bit of backstory. Peachtree Audio’s iDecco was a killer unit for a grand. Style AND substance (as long as your loudspeakers offered a reasonably efficient load). The iNova was its bigger, badder brother. It too demonstrated an abundance of rich tonal flavours with copasetic transducers in tow. Even as a standalone DAC the iNova kicked some serious butt.
However, the (now discontinued) iDecco and iNova would have run aground powering Magnepan’s MMG — not enough beef in the stew. Good job then that things changed at Peachtree Audio in 2012. They ditched Class A/B amplifier output stages for the more powerful and efficient Class D.
The new Nova125 (US$1499/AU$1699) runs a custom Class A/B input stage and a B&O IcePower-based power stage. It shoves 250 big ones into the MMG’s 4 ohms. The story doesn’t end there. You also get a on-board DAC (built around ESS Sabre 9023 silicon) and a headphone amplifier, all wrapped up in one cool-looking chassis. Keen pricing for this all-in-one sees marks it out as the bang-for-buck highlight of the three integrateds being investigated in this assignment.
The baby Maggies swim in the the warm/relaxed end of the pool and this latest Nova iteration pours in effortless grace with good dynamics and big soundstaging. There’s more than enough juice for the MMG but it’s a little reticent with broader engagement factor, particularly in immediate contrast to Wadia’s more energetic sounding 151PowerDAC Mini. Some people might dig the Peachtree’s backwards-in-coming-forwards presentation. The pay-off? You can play music LOUD without it getting confused or tense. Three words to nail the Nova125’s core essence: big, smooth, masterly.
You can read the full 6Moons blow-out here.
EDIT 21st Feb 2013 – more happy snaps: