Please help: Parasound Halo or Peachtree Nova 300?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Xulio, May 17, 2017.

  1. Xulio

    Xulio Member Thread Starter

    Hello everyone,
    I've finally decided to post here after wandering around the Internet in search of the light.
    I'm looking for an integrated to drive my Neeper Perfection One. I did my homework and my mind was pretty much set on the Halo until I read/see this: just love its look. I'm now totally confused and don't know which one to get. I want an integrated to keep for many years to come. I listen to music everyday (hard bop, reggae, acoustic mainly) via Roon and a Planar 3 Tt.
    I don't have the possibility to listen to the Nova unfortunately and can't compare its sound to the Halo.
    Does anyone here had the chance to compare the 2 or just know better? Thanks for any info.
  2. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Chicago metro, USA
    Heard the Halo many times (Stereophile Class A rating) and it is a powerful,detailed smooth performer in a class A-B topology. I can recommend it if solid state is a must for you. Never heard this Peachtree but people do love them.
    The thing about the Halo is that it runs quite a bit in the class A realm which is about as good as it gets for a solid state amp.
  3. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    I really enjoy the Halo integrated. I plan to experiment with an all tube amp, but if it doesn't go well, the Halo is it for me.

    I compared it to a handful of others in the same price range. It was the keeper due to its versatile blend of talents. Once in a while it can sound slow on certain recordings, but that also depends on the speakers. The word that always comes to mind is "body." It just has more than the others I tried. Class D amps, regardless of implementation, have always sounded leaner to my ears, but I haven't heard the Novas.
    Manimal likes this.
  4. A.Sloan

    A.Sloan New Member

    vancouver, wa
    I own the Parasound Hint. I looked at the Peachtree article and it seems that all the bases are covered between the two. Both run ESS Sabre 9018 DACs. Both have HT bypass. I did see that the Peachtree only does mm and not mc like the Hint does so I am not sure what cart your running on your Planar 3. The Hint actually has a 100 Ohm and a 47 kOhms mc setting. If you ever want to run a sub the Hint wins out there too. In fact I had horrible rumble problems with my P2 and 10x5 cart. I finally talked to a Parasound dealer who had me turn the high pass crossover and set it to 20 Hz and it solved all the rumble drama. I am also running speakers that are 4db less sensitive than yours and the Hint has no trouble getting them to pressurize the room mid 100db pressures. I do agree that the Peachtree looks more contemporary and modern though. Hope this helped. Good luck.
  5. Xulio

    Xulio Member Thread Starter

    It's really helpful indeed. There is a consensus so far for the Hint.
    The P3 is MM but I get the point on the versatility of the Hint. No doubt it's a killer Integrated. I just wish it was more attractive design wise.
    A.Sloan likes this.
  6. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Forum Resident

    I'm a very big Peachtree fan boy. I like their units, but not so much, their power amp section. They can be a great buy, for something like an older iNova, which I use for the Saber DAC, the Preamp and the ability to switch sources. I use tube and SS external amplifier's.

    You can buy iNova's on eBay for about $600 and Nova's for about $400. They are a great value for use as described above or for an, office, den or bedroom system.

    When it comes to a true, value audiophile integrated amp, the A21 is hard to beat. John Curl's designs are not that radically different from those of Nelson Pass. I tend to place his Hint, between Nelson's First Watt offerings and the big Pass Labs stuff.

    You never have to make any excuses for buying a Hint, audio wise. It will give you quality service, for many years to come.

    If your interior decorator was to make the choice for you, it would be the Peachtree. ;)
    Manimal and Helom like this.
  7. TheIncredibleHoke

    TheIncredibleHoke Forum Resident

    Brooklyn, NY
    I never thought of suing the Peachtree just for the DAC (which I think is really solid) and preamp. I have the Nova 65se and love it, but have been wanting to add a tube amp to my system. Is this easy to do?
  8. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Forum Resident


    Just run a pair of RCA cables from the preamp output's on the right rear of the Peachtree into the RCA input's of your tube power amp, or integrated amp.
  9. TheIncredibleHoke

    TheIncredibleHoke Forum Resident

    Brooklyn, NY
    Game changer! Thank you so much. Tube power amp fun will begin soon!
    timind and SandAndGlass like this.
  10. Ron Scubadiver

    Ron Scubadiver Forum Resident

    Houston TX
    Tough choice, same price but the Nova has almost twice the power output via Class D. Both get great reviews. The Halo is probably the safer choice. I wonder what else is available in the OP's area in that price range.
  11. Mike from NYC

    Mike from NYC Forum Resident

    Surprise, AZ
    Why no balance control on the Nova? or for that matter on a lot of supposedly high end equipment? When I went to an audiologist my hearing was fine for my age but I did have an imbalance of about 4dB which he said even young people have.

    I read the Nova and Para reviews and both are great but I'd go with the Halo.
  12. Catcher10

    Catcher10 I like records, and Prog...duh

    I'd love a Halo......what I don't need is the DAC or the Phonopre. Remove those, drop the price and it would be a killer all analog integrated amp
    Helom and Spitfire like this.
  13. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Forum Resident

    As I said, I really do like Peachtree. And they have always been on the forefront of digital technology. They have never sat on their behinds, but have kept on improving their designs.

    I found a Decco65 used on eBay for $400! I bought it because I wanted to see how they were doing with digital. Not the greatest, but, I thought that they made a good start and knowing Peachtree, I knew that they would continue to evolve their products.

    My Peachtree has two RCA outputs, one from the preamp, like yours, where you can control the volume of your "tube" power amp, with the volume control on your Peachtree. On my unit (and not on yours), I also have a line output, which is not controlled by the Peachtree's volume knob.

    I have a lot of nice and interesting gear and all of it runs into the Peachtree, before it runs into the different power amps and subs.

    Peachtree has an excellent implementation of the Saber DAC, same with their class-A preamp. And, in any system, you need the ability to switch sources.

    There are plenty of nice integrated amps on the market. Some do analog only, some only digital. The Nova and iNova's, and all of their products after that, handle both analog and digital well. That is something that if often overlooked now days. In today's world, it is important to do both.

    Looking at your equipment profile, you have some nice, revealing equipment. I have a 2M Black also. I think that the Peachtree could be a right match for your B&W's, with the right type of music.

    But... They can tend to be bright and the Peachtree, along with your 2M Black, isn't helping.

    That is not necessarily to say that there is anything wrong. but a lot of source material is just to hot and overly revealing. And, there are too many analog sources out there that suffer from this affliction. Some digital sources do, as well.

    The Peachtree stuff was designed, from the beginning to tame harsh low res digital music and it is successful in doing so.

    It was not designed to tame harsh and/or overly revealing analog music.

    A tube amplifier, connected to your Peachtree will help your B&W's sound more natural. The Black is a nice cartridge, but it can dig deeper and be more revealing than the Bronze, which I also like and have.

    Tube amps do not make that much difference with ordinary speakers, that are designed for HT,

    Although you have some nice components, your speakers may the most modest part of your system.

    Unless you are planning to upgrade your speakers, in the near future, suggest you consider a modestly priced tube power amp in the $1,000 price range, give or take.

    The problem is, most tube amps, that offer a degree of quality, will be more expensive than this, by a good amount.

    That is fine, if this is the way that you are planning on going. You should invest in something that is an upgrade from your current Peachtree.

    Question. Did you have a specific tube amp in mind or some that you are considering?
    Manimal and TheIncredibleHoke like this.
  14. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Chicago metro, USA
    it looks much better in person, the side and face panels are brushed aluminum with a high quality look to them. also the controls are back lit with a tasteful purplish "halo" . i am impressed by the build quality and appearance.
    also the hint can drive pretty much any speaker on the market with its 270 watts / channel into 4-ohm rating. last time i heard it at the dealer it was driving a set of harbeth 40.2s. the hint was sold the same day they put it on display.
    Manimal, gd0 and SandAndGlass like this.
  15. TheIncredibleHoke

    TheIncredibleHoke Forum Resident

    Brooklyn, NY
    Man, thank you for this excellent, well thought out reply. And your diagnosis is spot on for the Peachtree, Black, and my speakers. Some albums can sound a bit hot. I do listen to very high quality jazz reissues about 75% of the time and they normally sound really fantastic. Especially the 45rpm Music Matters and AP reissues. But other types of music can be a bit hot. Even on the best recordings, trumpets can be a little too bright for my liking.

    That's primarily the reason I've been thinking about a tube amp. My system used to be a Rega RP1 with a Blue and a middling NAD phono stage. I've since upgraded everything but the speakers, which I rather like. They are smallish for my office and the wife likes the looks of them. And honestly, they sound great. But, I think they can sound better with a warmer amp.

    So far I've been looking at Rogue Audio, Prima Luna, and Decware. I don't want to cheap out with tube gear, b/c I don't think cutting corners with tubes really gets you that sound.
    Manimal and SandAndGlass like this.
  16. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Forum Resident

    Right you are!

    I own all three amps that you mention here. I just bought a Prima Luna, Prologue Five, this week, used on eBay. It is due to arrive next week.

    I think it might be the best of your three choices. It runs KT88's, which, in a new amplifier design, sound far batter than older designs, with the same tubes, due to better components.

    It is the right amount of power, at 35-WPC, for your book shelf speakers.


    It is small, not taking much room. It has auto-bias and you can roll different tubes, if you wish, but I would stay with the KT88's.

    I have three Rogue amps, so it does go without saying, that I like their amps a lot. But they are focused more on a different user, than you. My largest, the M-150's were upgraded from my prior set of M-120's (they are both monoblocks). I choose the M-150 upgrade over the M-180's, because, they were $600-less, I didn't need the extra power and I prefer the KT88 tubes over the more powerful and linear KT120's.

    The Rogue amps are fine, but they will be overkill for your application. Rogue amps are all about power. When I light up the monoblocks, I'm burning two quads of KT88's. Currently, Rogue sells these for $390 for the set of eight tubes. These are just the lowly Electro Harmonic tubes, not some expensive vintage tubes or high end audiophile tubes, which cost this much and more for a pair. With most modern, larger power tubes, figure anywhere between 2,000 and 3,000 hours. do the math!

    I have two Decware amps. The Torii Jr. and the Mini Torii. Both are excellent amps. I can't say enough good things about them.

    The Torii Jr., is a twenty watt amp and with some options, will set you back, close to $3k new. It is EL34 based. This amp requires a quad of matched tubes. When a tube goes out, you can't just stick in a new one, like you can, with manually biased amp or an auto-biased amp, like the Prima Luna. Decware amps, are designed to run easy on their power tubes, so you may get double the life out a the same power tube, when used in a Decware amplifier.

    Decware amplifier's are top quality, all the way around, and have a lifetime warranty, to their original owner (tubes not included).

    I don't use tube amps on my normal tower speakers, they are designed for stereo and HT, as most tower speakers are today. They sound fine with most decent sand amps, and don't gain all that much, with tube amplification. Audiophile speakers, that are specifically designed for primary use in 2-channel applications do benefit from tube amplifier's.

    Highly efficient speakers seem to benefit from tube amplifier's. It seems that the lower the tube, the better and more natural the sound. My second Decware amplifier is the Mini Torii, it is not much larger than a sheet of notebook paper and it will put out 3.9-WPC total. I can use this amplifier, because the speakers that I use it with, are 103dB efficient.

    This makes the 36-watt Prima Luna a good choice out the three amps you mentioned.

    But, I do have a better suggestion. A vintage tube amp, from the early 1960's.

    Right now, I am listening to a vintage Fisher 500C receiver, which is about 30-WPC. Very nice sounding. A receiver is very complicated and is not for everyone.

    Both Fisher and Scott made tube integrated amplifier's, during the 60's. You can buy one on eBay for about $400-$600. Restoration costs, should run you less than $400. You should be able to a nice, restored integrated amp like one of these for $800-$1,000.


    These put out about 20-WPC and will be enough to run your B&W's decently. I have a Scott and I like its vintage tube sound, better than any of my other amps. It uses small power tubes, in the EL84 family, that are inexpensive, less than $100, for a set of four. And, they last many times longer than the other power tubes.

    Just some thoughts...

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  17. TheIncredibleHoke

    TheIncredibleHoke Forum Resident

    Brooklyn, NY
    After reading your post and doing a little research, the Prima Luna seems like the best option. I do not need a ton of power for the small room. My Peachtree is never turned up past 10 o'clock position on the volume knob. I also would love something smaller - not as wide as a traditional unit. The Rogue Audio are HUGE as is any vintage system I guess.

    I also do a fair amount of listening through headphones and have been looking at Woo Audio headphone amps as a point of entry. They are small and pretty reasonable for headphone listening.

    I really appreciate your detailed responses, by the way. Sorry to derail the thread though!
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  18. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Southern US
    Halo for me please. I love Parasound products AND I'm a subwoofer user so for me it would be a no brainer. Now if I just scrounge some more change:)
    Helom and SandAndGlass like this.
  19. Standingstones

    Standingstones Forum Resident

    South Central PA
    The PrimaLuna 5 is a good choice for bookshelf speakers. However I tried the PL5 amp on tower speakers and there wasn't enough power and the tube amp tended to poop out.
  20. Xulio

    Xulio Member Thread Starter

    Thanks a very much all for the useful insights. I'm again convinced that the Halo is the right choice!! The hunt is over: I've found my new int. I'll report back here.
  21. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Forum Resident

    Depends, on how loud, you want them to play. The average tower speaker is 3dB to 6dB, more sensitive than a bookshelf speaker.

    Thirty six tube watts, are enough to power most tower speakers to a comfortable room filling listening level, but not at a rock concert level.

    I sometimes run my large theater speakers with a small 3.9-watt Decware tube amp.

    Some of our members, have large super efficient Avantgarde speakers, that are rated at 106dB and they power those with 1 and 2 watt amps.


    The bass modules are powered by their own separate amplifiers.
    Manimal likes this.
  22. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Forum Resident

    I know that is not tubes, which I do have a preference for, but what about the class-A headphone amp in your Peachtree?

    I always thought mine sounded pretty good with my HiFi Man planer headphones?
  23. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Southern US
    I am looking foreword to tubes one day for sure. I have a vintage Parasound preamp that's rated at 25 watts per channel and it can definitely rock the house.. seems a tube amp at this level of wattage would be sufficient for sure. My friends tube stuff sounds "pulpy delicious" for sure. Anyway....
  24. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Forum Resident

    The PrimaLuna just arrived today! Hooked it up and the sound is incredible. Now, it is no where the power of the big Rogue monoblocks, but it has sound quality that the Rogue's can not touch. For a modern day tube sound, the PrimaLuna is outstanding.

    It is hooked up to the A7's, which are unforgiving. No bright glare, smooth and crystal clear, plus strong bass.

    To the OP, a thousand pardon's, didn't mean to derail the thread either, please allow me to return it to you. :hide:
    Manimal likes this.
  25. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Southern US
    Coming from you sir that's a seriously good recommendation. Further thoughts would be appreciated after more listening. I'm living vicariously through you:)
    SandAndGlass likes this.

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