Originally Posted by Terrya
I've managed to enjoy my Nova since I first bought it in 2009, but I always considered the amp like a bonus. As a pre-amp, switching device, headphone amp, DAC, it's pretty damn nice for the price. The amp is nice and musical, although not super robust. (@80w into0 6 ohms) I finally added a Parasound Halo to the mix when my wife offered it as a Christmas gift. That, and finally streaming lossless files through usb through a V-Link to the coax input on the Nova has dramatically improved the sound of my system. I never thought server music would sound this good in my home. It's sounding pretty incredible, really, and the Nova is still right in the middle of it all.
That's awesome - sounds like a great setup.
I thought about adding a more powerful amp and using the Nova strictly as a pre, but I had the Carver lying around doing basically nothing and, more importantly for me, it has tone controls.
I can't count the number of times I've started listening to an album from "back in the day" and it just sounded too bright, to thin, too thick, too muddy, etc. With the Nova, there's nothing I can do about it, but with the Carver, I can tweak the sound and make it listenable.
I don't know why manufacturers stopped including tone controls - well, I do actually, but that "purity of the signal" is bull$%&* if you ask me. Recordings go through so many switches, opamps, relays, pots, caps, etc. in the studio that one or two more won't make any difference.
My biggest issue now is that the Carver is so big that it doesn't fit in my cabinet properly. I've got my Nova up for sale now (head-fi and Audiogon) and when it's sold, I may just sell the Carver too and buy a more modern integrated like a Cambridge Audio or NAD.
I suppose that's the fun of this hobby. The never-ending quest for something better...