1. No ad-hominem
2. No spamming or shilling
It just plays lovely music - unburdened by excess.
I have struggled to find new words to describe it - but none seem adequate. And then of course the siren call starts. This is only the starter set - what more can be had by going up the ladder???
Well, we'll get to that one day....
But Richard - I must say - Thanks. You really have done something good here.
The Starter Set was of course a logical place to start. (And calling it that was a wonderful piece of home garden marketing on a par with the wonderful suggestion to Sony that they should use "From those wonderful people who gave us Pearl Harbour" - it would work today - but this was for their introduction to America many many years ago - and they said no.
Perhaps I should explain, that I am no beginner myself. I have loved music all my life, and caught the hifi virus over 30 years ago. I have always thought that the amplifier is the heart of the system. Yes, the speakers have to be right for your ears and your room (they have the decisive say), and when you find the right ones - don't ever give up on them, because then you will wander round lost in the hifi jungle (as I have done). But amplifiers have come and gone - last time I counted there have been over 30 - stretching over the whole financial spectrum - though never as inexpensive as the P20/A20+wires set.
Let's start with the wires. I liked them immediately. Simple no nonsense wires. They (both the interconnect and the speaker cable) did not look nor feel cheap and they sounded just fine - something to have and forget about. Perfect in other words. I actually thought the interconnect (NVA sound cord) was quite sexy and would have bought one more, if Black Friday hadn't turned up.
The P20 is a fine little box. The knobs have a nice feel to them and it just looks right in my set-up. I like the look of the black acrylic - quite distinguished (and yes I do also listen through my eyes). Passive pre-amplifiers are often accused of killing the dynamics (and I have had two before, which did exactly that) - but there is none of that here with the P20. Loud and clear - just passing the message along. And that message is then taken up by another quite small box- the A20. Again a wonderful visual design and minimalistic, which I like. I am convinced that someone has done a lot of thinking about design here - and the Apple crowd don't do it any better. My speakers don't go under 6 ohms, so the A20's 25 watts are easily sufficient - and I no longer listen at head-banging levels. The amplifier doesn't really get very warm - just nice to the touch - and I let it run 24/7.
Sound- you ask?
I want to write - A Clear and Present Danger - but the last word is wrong. But Clear & Present are right. My own terminology for this is "Monitor-Sound" - but I am far from sure that I am using the term correctly. What I mean is: If i was at a concert I would much rather be in the control room than the concert hall - as I want to hear a reduction in sound level and complexity - this reduces the cognitive load on my old brain and increases the enjoyment of my music.
I like clarity. I hate distortion. And this small NVA package lives up to these two demands. In spades.
And the price? That is just ridiculous. But of course there is a meaning to this madness. Who can stay with the starter set, when even better things are to be had?
There's the rub.