A hectic schedule might have precluded Team Zu from attending the New York Audio Show in person but the spirit of Sean Casey and co. looms large in the Peachtree Audio room. They’ve exhibited together on four separate occasions these past eighteen months – and it shows.
There’s no mistaking the Soul Superfly (US$4500) standing resplendent in a delicious gloss magenta finish. That’s the same driver found in the Druid MK5. They’re nothing new (thankfully!) but stand as a reminder of Zu’s talent with dynamics to be peerless. Sean Casey knows how to bottle that ‘live band’ sound.
Straight outta the Casey show book, records are strewn across the room and propped up against the rear wall; with Peachtree Audio’s own 220SE integrated amplifier lending cool minimalism to the scene, a smattering of vinyl sees this room deftly dodging an IKEA aesthetic as well as extending the MacBook + Amarra 3.0 front-end beyond that of the computer audiophile. Let’s face facts: Peachtree Audio sell some of the most attractive gear in the budget space but with DAC and amplifier packed neatly into one box there’s isn’t much to gawk at. A VPI Nomad (reviewed here) works spinning duties with its in-built phono stage feeding directly in the 220SE’s sole analogue input.
Anyone labouring under the misapprehension that Class D amplification will somehow get found out by Zu Audio’s super-revealing, crossover-free design are in for a rude shock. Again we are reminded that it’s down the implementation of ICEPower modules here that kicks goals: twin ASX-2 in bridged mode is, according to Jonathan Derda, pivotal to more lively micro-dynamics and textural reveal. The modules’ vertical mounting necessitated the 220SE’s taller case, which sees it break from the Peachtree norm by a full inch. No bad thing.
On the specification sheet we note 220 wpc into 8 Ohms and 350 wpc into 4 Ohms. That’s Magnepan territory right there.
The 220SE sports the same DAC, tube buffer and pre-amplifier stages as its baby 125SE and 65SE brothers and is the only model in the Peachtree range to feature a balanced power amplification stage; it will become the top-of-the-range model once the final batch of Grand Integrated have been snapped up.
(Note: the Decco65 has mutated into the Nova65SE with the Decco name sitting it out on the subs bench for the time being.)