NEW P50sa Upgrade - Review

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Hemmo1969
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NEW P50sa Upgrade - Review

Unread post by Hemmo1969 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:21 pm

Having been thinking of an upgrade (of some sorts) to my system for a few months, when I saw Pauls post on the P50(sa) upgrade I was very interested to see what it brought.

NVA has great pedigree with the ‘Home Loan’ scheme, one I’ve used and bought upon before. I can happily confirm the process is now an even slicker and easier a process than ever.

Box arrived quick sharp, packaged to perfection might I say. Returns postal label enclosed (what a great idea) and the promised white gloves for ease of NVA box handling.

Didn’t have time till the Thursday night to sit down and listen, had tea and me and the wife decide to have a night comparing the two pre-amps and before you ask she asked me if I was going to moon walk as I donned the said white gloves 

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So, first thing to try with a new pre that purports to be ‘silent between steps” ………… well no surprise it is, silent AND silky smooth, still have a hint of moving between incremental steps but nothing like the thunk click of the older one. Very nice I’m impressed, but it is the sound of the beast that I’m interested in so here we go.

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Listening... first Vinyl.

Having seen Richard Hawley 4 or 5 time over the last few years I reach for the latest re issue of ‘Coles Corner’

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Turns out it is a very good pressing for a re-press, very quiet, little surface noise and dynamic. Listening to the first two tracks of side one then swapping over to the new Pre-Amp (Yes not a quick swap as we know, turn off both amps and my sub, allow the charge to dissipate then unplug all and re plug etc etc) straight away though the difference was noticed…… strings on ‘Coles Corner’ (Track 1) are wide and whimsical, appearing bigger and higher than what I’ve been used to. “Going down town where’s there’s music” Hawley’s voice is a little further forward than that of the old Pre but more impressive than that the rest of the music surrounds the vocals but doesn’t crowd them out or get in the way.
Moving on and listen to track 2 “Just like the Rain” a real toe tapper ….. Guitars a plenty and then Hawley comes in, voice low (dirty & gritty) and full of weight……. I’m a happy man. I ask Ange (the wife) what she thinks… “his voice is much richer” she replies……. “a lot richer” I’m in agreement. Of course she’s right :o his voice comes across much bigger, the bigger spread of instruments also appears to allow his voice to shine and have more of a central presence and I feel like we are again on the front row of the very small back room at ‘The Greystones’ pub in Sheffield (Hawley’s local).

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Ok the next LP is an old hi-fi Show darling, loved but hated by some but I like it so don’t judge.

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Bollocks to it, I’m going full HIFI show demo mode ‘Keith Don’t Go’ ……

Turns out on this track vocals really don’t alter as much as on the previous LP, but this track is all about the energy. The strings are exceptional, trying to follow them only makes you dizzy, its a full frontal assault (you know how 'KDG' comes across) but even more to the point he sounds more LIVE!! than ever. On quicker moments of this track with the volume up a tad more than normal some of the strings are so real it feels like he’s putting more effort into the song than I’ve heard before, what this does lead to is a great toe tapping hand slapping thigh jig along to the tune 

Harrogate Royal Hall – May 2018

The great man...... second row seats, what a night.
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Digital – Streamed (from ripped CDs or Qobuz)

A favourite to play whenever a change has happened in my system is FINK – Wheels Turn Beneath My Feet (Ninja Tune label).

A Live recorded album pulled together from FINKs ‘Perfect Darkness Tour from his travels in 2011-2012 across Europe. The recording and production (very little) of this CD is sublime, nuances of being able to hear and make out different venues across the 13 tracks its that good. Only takes a track or two to confirm again its head and shoulders a better presentation than my old P50sa. I’m getting a separation of musical instruments I’ve honestly not thought possible with my set up.

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Live at 'The Gorilla' Manchester
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The next few albums played all give me the same smile on my face, not only am I happy but content in sitting here most of the weekend and listening to a lot of music. I get up Sunday morning and put another couple on, only I did ask myself how long it’s been since I had enjoyed ‘a good blast’ with the stereo and you know what it’s been too long.

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One final thing I will say on this upgrade, it’s not subtle……. it’s a huge leap forward.

Thanks Paul/Tom

My system;
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Fretless
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Re: NEW P50sa Upgrade - Review

Unread post by Fretless » Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:12 pm

Wow! :o

Great write-up Hemmo and much food for thought. :grin: :guiness; :clap:
Main: NVA: P50sa - SSP - A40 - LS6 - Cube2 - BMU
Pi: Allo DigiOne Signature/Volumio/Tomanek LPSU/Jitterbug
DAC: Metrum Acoustics Musette CD Transport: Cambridge CXC
Headphones: AudioQuest NightHawk Carbon Amp: Schiit Magni-3
DAC: Musical Fidelity M1DAC Digital i/c: Profigold Oxypure OCC
System 2: Allo DigiOne/Weiliang LPSU + Sansui AU217 + NVA Cube3
Cambridge DacMagic Plus/SBooster LPSU + MIT MI-330 Terminator

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Hemmo1969
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Re: NEW P50sa Upgrade - Review

Unread post by Hemmo1969 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:40 pm

Thank you Sir.

Really enjoying it :)

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CN211276
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Re: NEW P50sa Upgrade - Review

Unread post by CN211276 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 11:06 pm

Seems that it makes quite a difference. Will be upgrading my P90SA. :)
I set a course just east of Lyra
And northwest of Pegasus
Flew into the light of Deneb
Sailed across the Milky Way

Sonore microRendu/MCRU PS, AQ J-bug, Wirewold Ultraviolet, Chord Mscaler-Qutest/MCRU PS, Geitnote Apogee, NVA BMU, P90SA, A80sMk2, Phono 1, SSP Mk 2, TSCS, TIS mk2, Cube 1s, Atacama stands, Rega Planar 3, Denon DL-110, Grado SR 325e, headphones.

Second system
Chord Mojo (also HP amp), NVA P20, A20, Cubettes, SSC, LS3.

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Rettib2001
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Re: NEW P50sa Upgrade - Review

Unread post by Rettib2001 » Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:10 am

Very interesting review.

I wonder which of the 1) new stepped attenuator or 2) upgraded internal wiring is contributing the most to the improved sound quality.

Do we know/are we allowed to know if the new attenuator is simply of better quality or are there different values (resistors) in play when compared to the the previous generation?

Either way it's a tempting upgrade.

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savvypaul
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Re: NEW P50sa Upgrade - Review

Unread post by savvypaul » Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:10 am

Rettib2001 wrote:
Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:10 am
Very interesting review.

I wonder which of the 1) new stepped attenuator or 2) upgraded internal wiring is contributing the most to the improved sound quality.

Do we know/are we allowed to know if the new attenuator is simply of better quality or are there different values (resistors) in play when compared to the the previous generation?

Either way it's a tempting upgrade.
I'm happy to talk about the details of the upgrade, not least because it is stonking value!

Tomasz & I listened to many different combinations of switches and resistors, with and without the wiring upgrade. The new (Seiden) switch is smooth and quiet. The step resistors are the same as before, but we change the loading resistor on each channel to ones made by Audio Note. The resistor values are all as before. The silver cable is twice the gauge and about 12 times the price of the previous cable, but it is worth it. In my opinion, the load resistor and the wiring are the biggest hit for SQ, the switch is mostly about making the control 'just a hell of a lot nicer' to use.

There are around £150 worth of parts to the upgrade, so with the free wiring offer (for orders placed by 13th October) you're not going to get a better opportunity. Tomasz & I wanted to come up with something to reward those who are sticking with NVA through these early months of the new company, as well as making the new P50SA MKII what we reckon to be the best value passive pre that you can buy from a 'proper' company. If the new model were sold through distributors and dealers it would be £1400, and it would still sell in good numbers because it would still outperform more expensive preamps. At £550 it's one of the biggest bargains you can find. That price will have to increase by 20% when the new company reaches the VAT threshold (likely in around 4-6 months time, possibly sooner).

Hope this helps.

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selby
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Re: NEW P50sa Upgrade - Review

Unread post by selby » Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:13 am

Nice, write up. Have to agree FINK – Wheels Turn Beneath My Feet is one of my fav albums as well.
My Kit – I moved to home theatre setup sorry...Denon SR7011, Anthony Gallo A'Diva SE Fronts, SpeakerCraft Profile AIM LCR3 One Rears, BK Electronics XLS200-DF MK2 Sub, Epson Projection.

But I would love a cheeky little AP10, AP20 sort of amp for a bedroom setup...

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Oracle Storage / Mezzanine Floors

Rettib2001
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Re: NEW P50sa Upgrade - Review

Unread post by Rettib2001 » Tue Oct 01, 2019 1:08 pm

Savvypaul,

Thanks for such a transparent and informative answer!

This is going to be my next audio upgrade for sure.

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savvypaul
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Re: NEW P50sa Upgrade - Review

Unread post by savvypaul » Tue Oct 01, 2019 1:52 pm

If anyone new to NVA is looking in, we have two B-Grade P50 preamps left, for £158.40 each when ordered via here, which we can then upgrade before dispatch. Making a total of £383.40 - a big saving on the brand new unit, but the same spec.

Comment or PM, below.

wackyraces
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Re: NEW P50sa Upgrade - Review

Unread post by wackyraces » Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:06 pm

Hmmm, only had my NVA P50sa for a few Months - so I've just missed the Mk2 boat! Anyway - how much for the upgrade please in my case?
System: AURALiC Mini - SPS DAC 3 - NVA P50sa / Croft 7 - Role Audio Enterprise

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