Originally Posted by zimm25
Just thought I'd throw my two cents into the ring after doing a lot of listening the past two months since purchasing the iNova. The equipment I paired it with were:
Monitor Audio RS6 (and 5.1 package minus sub)
Velodyne SPLR 1200
Jolida JD100 (modded)
I also had the ability to throw a rotel 1080 amp and 1072 CD player into the mix for periods of time (taken from shore house during winter months) as well as a Raysonic CDP from work.
I listen to classical 30%, jazz 10% rock 10%, and TV or movies 50%. I'm a professional musician and listen to music both for professional reference as well as enjoyment. I'm no audiophile as the sonic qualities I'm looking for are not completely neutral, but rather representative of what I think the performers, producers and engineers are trying to express and simply what I enjoy. I chose the iNova in part due to my growing digital collection as well as the convenience and ability to integrate the system into my home theater system. I give you all of that so that you have some sense of my impressions.
From this point forward, it's very, very simple. The iNova has been a stunningly successful investment into my current system. It makes everything sound better and with the added power, I can let my Denon run all it's juice into 5.1 speakers (including a second set in another room) making them sound that much better.
Compared to the Jolida, I've listened to 100+ tracks against each other through an iPod (mp3), computer (lossless files), and the CDP. The Jolida CDP runs better than mp3s (128) on an iPod, but is not nearly as spacious or enveloping as the sound of lossless files through the iNova. It's not really close. I tested the system with the CDP as a stand-alone using the only the amp of the iNova and then again with the CDP as a transport. The Jolida still sounds really, really good to me and maybe even a bit warmer than the iNova, but certainly less detailed overall and a sound I liked a bunch better.
The amp run next to the Rotel was a harder thing to differentiate since I'm not a reviewer with easy switching between amps. I didn't think there was a significant, discernable difference although my notes say that the iNova had slightly smoother treble and detail. As for power, I'm running efficient enough speakers not to be close to running out of power with the iNova, so the both the iNova and Rotel can overplay my space. All things being equal, I'd take the iNova as an amp over the Rotel - a well-reviewd, $1000, 200w component that I really like using at a second home. On the other hand, I have tried the iNova driving $6k Legacy Audio's Focus 20-20 speakers in a 1200 sqft room with 20 ft ceilings and found it to be adequate but not as satisfying as the Conrad Johnson 250 (a $5-7k amp). To be honest, I was surprised that I was willing to listen to music for long on that system, but I found it to be very enjoyable even after hearing that bigger system daily for the past few years.
So that's about it. I'm a music fan, not a fan of equipment or big names, and it took me a while to buy into the computer audio world. After a lot of research and listening at two of my favorite hi-fi resellers, I chose the iNova and couldn't be happier. If you're used to $5k+ equipment, this isn't going to deliver on all fronts, but for anything less, this is an all-around win from the amp to the pre-amp to the DAC. Individual components could probably win on any single front, but just barely. After the $2k price point, you're going to be choosing tiny increases anyway (unless you have a big space to play). If you're really tight on funds, try to audition it. If you're doing all your research online, than add me to the list of people very, very impressed by David and the team at Peachtree Audio! The iNova is amazing and will last many years in my system. Sincerely. . . one happy listener.