New from Peachtree Audio comes a new integrated amplifier called Carina that the American manufacturer claims bests the sound quality of every Peachtree integrated* that has gone before it: all Novas, all Deccos and the Grand Integrated.
We start with Carina’s dual mono design that makes use of two ESS 9068 DAC chips. The 9068 is the 9038’s successor and features onboard MQA rendering to put full MQA compatibility on all of Carina’s digital inputs: USB, coaxial, TOSLINK and, new for this model, I2S (HDMI). The DAC has three user-selectable filter settings (as well as a NOS mode) and the internal Bluetooth radio is only switched on when the Bluetooth input is selected (otherwise it remains switched off).
Noting the absence of any phono or line-level analogue input, the back panel’s twin RCA sockets are pre-amplifier outputs to which we could alternatively connect a subwoofer. That brings us to Carina’s volume control which is a hybrid design combining a resistor ladder and digital attenuation. This in turn feeds the internal dedicated headphone amplifier – which puts a 4.4mm balanced socket (750mW into 30 Ohms) next to the more traditional 6.4mm single-ended output (220mW into 30 Ohms) – and the Hypex NCore-based loudspeaker amplifier for 300wpc into 8 Ohms or 580wpc into 4 Ohms.
The Carina comes wrapped in Peachtree’s trademark curved wooden sleeve – your choice of Gloss Ebony Mocha or Piano Black – but the front panel’s large OLED display and second control knob are a break from the past. (A pity that the supplied pictures aren’t photographs but computer renders).
The Peachtree Carina begins shipping on 14th November for an introductory price of US$1999, which wipes $500 from the RRP.
Further information: Peachtree Audio
Footnote #1: According to Peachtree’s web copy, only the US$3500 PreDAC + GaN400 combo edges out the Carina on sound quality.