NVA Reviews (THIS THREAD IS ONLY FOR STASHING REVIEWS)

All reviews of NVA here.
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CN211276
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Re: NVA Reviews (THIS THREAD IS ONLY FOR STASHING REVIEWS)

Unread post by CN211276 » Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:43 pm

Cubettes/P20/A20/SSC

I had become increasingly dissatisfied with the sound of my second system in the bedroom compared to the main system. The second system is in use more now I am retired and do not have to get up early for work.

The offer on the Cubettes was too good to ignore and before they settled in I took up the offers on the P20, A20 and SSC, LS2 already being in place. The transformation in sound seems like a veil has been lifted and going into a lot of detail would be missing the wood for the trees. It now seems like musicians are playing instruments with vocals conveying emotion. The Cubettes brought about most of the improvements, the amps and interconnector increased dynamic range and bass extension. For their size the bass performance of the Cubbettes, supported by washing machine anti vibration pads, is impressive.

The new kit has replaced a Marantz amplifier and Wharfdale Diamond speakers I have had for some time. Both received five star What HiFi reviews. With the previous system I used a Bluetooth DAC because the benefits of a DAC connected to my phone were marginal. Not so with the NVA system. The system is transparent enough to show the subtle difference between the Chord Mojo and Audioquest Dragonfly Red DACs. I find the 3v output of the Mojo too high for the P20 and lower it to achieve the best results. Because of the location the music played has been of wider appeal than what is played on the main system. It has mainly comprised 70s compilation CDs ripped to WAV via the USB Audio Player Pro app which I have found improves SQ.

I must point out that the positioning of the system fits in with the lay out of the room and is therefore not ideal. The components are on top of a cupboard, with the speakers each side of the amplifiers, slightly above optimum height and not facing the listening area. One is in front of a solid wall, the other a heavy curtain. I’m sure the semi omnidirectional design comes into its own in the circumstances. Although listening has been at low levels, it can provide plenty of volume if required. The small size of the components is a plus point for the WAF factor. The footprint is little bigger than that of a small ghetto blaster which was my second system in years gone by.

I am very pleased with the system and am sure its musicality would blow away many costing much more, especially with the speakers optimally sited.
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.

Out and about
Oppo PM3, Audioquest Dragonfly Red.

R.I.P. Doc

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Re: NVA Reviews (THIS THREAD IS ONLY FOR STASHING REVIEWS)

Unread post by Dr Bunsen Honeydew » Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:18 pm

By Email

Hi Richard,
I thought I'd send you some thoughts on the p50sa. If you post them in your reviews thread, could you attribute to Tom A, as you did before, rather than using my full name? Thanks!

I've been running p50sa everyday since Friday. Moving from my active pre to the p50sa made for a few changes. Things acquired a certain weight and solidity, making the sound through the active pre seem a bit thin and ethereal in comparison. My initial impression was one of losing some high frequency detail, but listening more I came to realise that this was more a case of lower frequencies having greater presence than of the high frequencies being absent. Overall the presentation seems more natural now - less hi-fi - and, listening to familiar tracks, I've heard details that I've not heard before; particular in very densely layered music, individual layers are coming through more distinctly now. The imaging is also a little different, not obviously better or worse, just different. The experience with the p50sa has left me even more intrigued to try NVA amplification, which I'm now very much looking forward to doing.

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Re: NVA Reviews (THIS THREAD IS ONLY FOR STASHING REVIEWS)

Unread post by CN211276 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:35 pm

LS3

This should be read as an addition to my review of the starter system earlier this month.

Being fully aware of the improvements NVA cables make from my experience with the main system, I took advantage of the trade in to upgrade from LS2. The immediate impression was an improvement in the frequency extremes, all the more important as the system is mainly played at low volume where treble and bass can appear lacking. When turned up the depth of bass the Cubettes produce for their size became very apparent. After a few days, probably taking account of run in, there was clearly more music coming through. This took the form of a greater sense of ease and a more dynamic presentation.

Although not the dramatic improvement resulting from the upgrade to TSCS from LS6 on the main system, a very worthwhile and cost effective improvement.
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.

Out and about
Oppo PM3, Audioquest Dragonfly Red.

R.I.P. Doc

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Re: NVA Reviews (THIS THREAD IS ONLY FOR STASHING REVIEWS)

Unread post by Classicrock » Fri Apr 26, 2019 10:25 am

Cube 2 - replacing Cubettes.

Basically a straight swap so really all I had to say about Cubettes with knobs on. The bigger box makes for a more relaxed and expansive sound. The semi omni presentation takes a little adjustment if you have been used to conventional speakers. Like all NVA it is hard to attribute a sound to these. Just lets the music speak for itself. I would say the bass takes a while to flesh out and doesn't quite equal floorstanders or at least my Missions. Decided to leave a sub in for the time being but still experimenting. Recommended for bass freaks. Mid range is gloriously open and top smooth while remaining detailed. No nasties from the tweeters as in many modern designs.
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Re: NVA Reviews (THIS THREAD IS ONLY FOR STASHING REVIEWS)

Unread post by Dr Bunsen Honeydew » Sun May 05, 2019 9:03 pm

Living with Cubettes
Post by Ordinaryman » Sun May 05, 2019 2:41 pm

Having got my pair of traded in Cubettes some 3/4 weeks ago I thought it was about time I posted a review. First thing I should say is I have posted my initial thoughts on the" understanding Cubettes" thread so I'll try not to repeat too much. I'd like to say the service ,packaging we're excellent and the finish of the little boxes superb. Well the important bit, right from the start they proved to be amazing little speaker's resolution, control and tonality superb, a real big surprise! My biggest problem was ignoring what id learned up until then about placement. Unfortunately I don't have a solid wall I can place them near to due to odd shaped room ,built in cupboard and recess in the room. The last week or so has been spent experimenting with trying to place them as best as the room permits (should have read more here beforehand ) anyway I believe I have now got them placed as best I can and have to say they are a bit of an eye opener, even when not ideally placed. They make my Arcams sound slow with limited treble and my Dynaudios far to clinical, on the right recording, CD or vinyl they can be so good! Even when (I'm sure) not used under the best of circumstances. I would recommend them highly to anyone thinking of buying them, can't think there would be anything better out there for this kind of money, or even twice (my Dynaudios cost over £600) just do your homework first wall, placement etc and I'm sure you will be rewarded with some of the best "music" you have heard.
To sum it all up despite there being limitations in my room they will stay, who knows one day I might be able to use them in a better room! Well done NVA !!!
The last thing I'll say is they seem to like a bit of current? (running my little Rega map at higher volume settings) and are not forgiving of poor recordings but when they are good, you'll know :dance: ì

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Re: NVA Reviews (THIS THREAD IS ONLY FOR STASHING REVIEWS)

Unread post by savvypaul » Sat Sep 28, 2019 2:09 pm

Hemmo1969

Feedback for new stepped attenuators in P50

"Absolutely stunned by this new Pre !! I’m not sure what you guys have done (well yes I do because you’ve said ) but it works. Will look to see if funds allow sooner rather than later and will be in touch. This change will happen before the LS7 I’ve decided as there such an improvement that sounds amazing with my LS6."

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Re: NVA Reviews (THIS THREAD IS ONLY FOR STASHING REVIEWS)

Unread post by savvypaul » Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:10 pm

By Hemmo1969

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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Re: NVA Reviews (THIS THREAD IS ONLY FOR STASHING REVIEWS)

Unread post by savvypaul » Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:30 am

From Alfi

I have only listened to the upgraded P50 SA for one evening but it had me up until midnight, it is a revelation ( a full review will follow in due course) but yesterday evenings session alone has me reaching for the credit card to order the upgrade for my personal P50 SA. I must admit I was sceptical at first that a switch, resistor and wiring upgrade would make such a profound improvement in the experience of listening to music along with of course, the tactile improvement makes it an absolute pleasure to turn up the volume for one is not met with a cacophony via the loudspeakers and a clunking in the case.

Though I highly respected Richard, the blue series (VA Lab? ) switch he used for the SA attenuator was/is lacking in so many ways.

I hope I can hold on to the Loaner unit until my modified one is returned? Is that possible Paul?

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Re: NVA Reviews (THIS THREAD IS ONLY FOR STASHING REVIEWS)

Unread post by savvypaul » Sat Oct 19, 2019 4:19 pm

From Nihil Sleighride

My P50SA arrived back earlier in the week but only had a chance to check it out yesterday. To say I'm chuffed is an understatement. Upon opening the box it was like unpacking a brand new item which was a really nice touch, as are the gloves.

Streaming from my NAS, first up was Kyuss - Blues for the red sun, then Danzig - III How the gods kill, before switching to vinyl and cranking Poison Idea - Feel the Darkness.

None of these are audiophile recordings blessed with huge amounts of recording budget thrown at them and listening yesterday was the best I've ever heard them. More clarity and presence in vocals and separation of the players in the band.

In use, the new SA is really nice when setting the volume, over the years I'd got use to the old one but have to admit it is nice not to have the crackles.

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Re: NVA Reviews (THIS THREAD IS ONLY FOR STASHING REVIEWS)

Unread post by Alfi » Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:16 pm

As P50 (& P90) owners/HFS members are already aware these control units offer excellent sonic performance with unobtrusive clean aesthetics.

So as promised, here is a bit more of a review of the P50 upgrade now under full swing with Tomasz and Paul. I did mention in an earlier brief post that I was sceptical. Why should a change of switch for the volume attenuator make such a change to sound quality?

Well much to my amazement it has, along of course with the two AN resistors and input signal wiring upgrade. I had discussed with the good Doc when he was still with us of my dismay at the perceived quality in using the volume control on the SA version of the P50. Mine was particularly crackly and as a result really embarrassing when demoing my LP12 upgrades to customers via my NVA system. Sound quality was excellent and definitely an improvement over the pot version, but not by as much as perhaps it could have been as we shall find out later.

Doc advised me to use contact cleaner and this did help for a short period but to have to lift the lid and continue to use this cleaner was not my idea of fun for any extended period. I looked elsewhere for a solution and finally settled on a Chinese (I know) EIZZ 10 k attenuator, don’t bother – it’s quiet and smooth in operation, but sonically not a patch on the original NVA blue jobby and certainly not the new Seiden version Paul and Tomasz have chosen.

So given the offer made on HFS by Paul on the welcome rebirth of NVA I decided perhaps give this a go given that 1. Seiden switches are very well made, plus a loan unit was available and of course 2. it would be worth giving them some support my being a fairly long term customer /supporter of the Doc and NVA.

Following Hemmo’s excellent illustrated report is not going to be easy -I suffer with ADD and review writing is not my strong point, nevertheless here goes…

Personally NVA majors on control, clarity, timing and mostly involvement in music. Many audio enthusiasts will say an upgrade brings the venue to the listening room. Not with NVA to my mind - and thank God, (I have been to numerous live events where the acoustics have been appalling). No, NVA brings the musicians to your listening room for a private show, granted you do not have the atmosphere of a live event but what a sonic performance is feasted upon you. My system has no shortage of bass, so on some CD and Vinyl recordings bass could be said to be slightly overblown. This is what struck me first with the SA upgrades; bass was much better controlled and really tight as if controlled with an iron grip. At the other end of the frequency spectrum there is better extension and sweetness. Strings from acoustic instruments are portrayed with no hint of harshness or grating. Performers and their instruments are separated across the stage, as one would hear when attending a small live gig, an intimate folk rock concert, or a even a major concert hall. Oh the involvement, it is just wonderful.

Summing up, the loan has been an excellent experience and one that led me to part with the dosh. My P50 SA is due back tomorrow, so one more evening enjoying the loaner unit awaits.

Doc had a Statement passive pre called the Control Statement, perhaps he should have called it the Command Statement for this SA upgrade P50 is the control Statement – awesome work!

Paul, I shall pop the loner unit back in the mail tomorrow (Friday) so you should receive it on Monday. Many thanks for the extended loan much appreciated!

Alfi.
Heavily modified suspended sub-chassis turntable, Sole VIII sub-chassis, "In Sole" advanced polymer suspension, Ai bearing, PU7, DV20X2, Norton Airpower clone. Technics SL110A, AT 1005, Soundsmith Denon DL103. NVA BMU, NVA Phono 2 MC (2 power supplies), NVA P50 SA, NVA A40 Mk1 power amps, custom birch ply Allison 6/NVA Cube 1 clones, NVA TIS mk2 , SSC, LS6.

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