This is the point on the list when your expecting a review of the NVA Phono 2. Dissapointingly due to a million other things going on I've done nothing more than verify it powers on. So that ones going to have to be revisted
Its also about time I put fingers to keyboard and reported on the NVA AP10P. And that I can do.
I bought this as part of my bedroom Headphone rig, so first a bit of background. I still run Squeezebox server for streaming and had Logitech Squeezebox radios. I'm still amazed how big the sound on these is from such a small utility box, and if I were listening over the speakers I probably wouldn't have changed it. However in the interest of not waking up on the sofa at 3 in the morning I decided to move my late night listening to the bed.
That meant headphones so as not to disturb the wife.
I started with my portable Bose QC15 hooked up to the squeezebox radio and quickly decided it was all a bit flat. Knowing the BOSE aren't the most musical headphones (i bought them mainly for their abilities on a plane) I purchased a decent pair of Denon closed back headphones, this helped. However the limitations of the radio used this way soon became evident.
Replacing the front end was an easy choice as I simply dropped a Raspberry PI 3 and official touchscreen into the equation, using a Hifiberry DAC+ and Picoreplayer Squeezebox front end. Powering it all was one of Docs reccomeded chinese linear PSUs.
However an amp was needed. Hence my first chance to try some NVA amplification.
The AP10H would be the obvious place to start but with the paltry difference in price between the H and the P it seemed a no brainer. Doc confirmed that the only differences are the speaker outputs on the P so one was duly ordered.
Day 1 I hooked this up using some Cambridge Audio cables I had lying around and off we go.
I found putting together words about the AP10P actually rather hard as its not what it does but what it doesn't do. The bass increased and became far taughter but I think that's more down to how poor the SB Radio headphone out is than how good the NVA is.
The best way I can see to describe it is open, coherent, unforced. I guess this is why everyone says NVA amps are musical. And I guess thats true, you sort of stop listening to the amp and listen to the music.
I kind of forgot about what its sounded like for quite a while, and then one day I realised it was starting to sound a little flat. A few weeks and couldn't quite decide why but it defiantly felt less enjoyable. It then occurred to me that I'd stolen the interconnects to use in a back to back comparison on my office rig to equalise the variables. Temporarily replacing them with a pair of those freebies that you get with most things.
Since that left me needing additional interconnects I figured why not order some NVA. A set of Super Sound Cords were duly ordered. I've only had them in the system for a day or so but the flatness seems to have gone.
Conclusion the AP10P is more sensitive to interconnects than I had expected.
Well the volume Pot occasionally does not increase both channels equally. I'm not sure if thats an issue or they all do that, but turning the knob down and then up again usually fixes it.
Worth mentioning is kit spacing. I've been chasing intermittent wireless drop outs on the PI for months, sometimes its so bad the music is unlistenable. I'd initially put this down to crappy wifi implementation on the PI3 however in a moment of inspiration remembered why Doc doesn't like racks, I had been sitting the PI on top of the AP10P. Could the non metal casework of the Amp be allowing the amp to interfere with the PI?
Temporary solution stick a box of tissues between them to add an inch or two of seperation to test it. Boom perfect wifi ever since.
New message from: philip2935 (1,308Red Star)
Thought I'd send you a photo of the NVA BMU unit purchased from you. It has rejuvenated my old Quad 909 and Artera Play and fitted into my Quad racking system perfectly. A significant improvement in sound quality for a modest outlay. All my old CD's have come out and am hearing things not heard before. Thanks for the fast delivery. I look forward to many years of use.
Hi all, I’m about 5 weeks into ownership of a P20 & A20 pre power combo.
Initial switch on was the first time in many many years/purchases that I actually felt a difference- yes felt as I smiled straight away- my ears were being treated to space within the sound stage, the music was clear, engaging and the level of detail in the subtitles was amazing.
I usually listen to vinyl sources, where most of my purchases have been- 3 turntables & counting, but have now found digital sources so much more pleasurable to listen too instead of just being background filler.- so much I’ve rescued my Meridian 203 CD player from the loft and set up Home WiFi for music only to serve an Apple box from pc/iPod then via an older Beresford TC-7510 to the P20. I’ve never given digital sources much attention so NVA has opened up a new medium to enjoy Thanks
I have added another A20 to biamp and better cable/interconnects, currently awaiting a P50 to arrive to ease biamping and then I will demo some cubes or a BMU.
It’s the first time that if anyone asked me to recommend a ‘hifi for them’ i can confidently say NVA- it’s where the music is