NVA Reviews (THIS THREAD IS ONLY FOR STASHING REVIEWS)

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

Unread post by savvypaul »

Rodney Woods (via Facebook)

I've recently purchased an NVA passive preamp, the SA version, absolutely brilliant, no frills, just a huge strip out of hash from the sound, thank you, no point of mincing their words when you get where they're coming from, if you want a remote, get real, more circuits, less accurate. Take the plunge, money back guarantee which I thought I'd use is actually expired, just busy listening to music through a clean environment.
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Company Name: NVA Hi-Fi
https://nvahifi.co.uk/

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

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By email:

I have just received an SSP Digital MKII cable and wanted to tell you how impressed I am with it, even after only a few hours of use. The cable arrived quickly and seems remarkable value for money; thank you. Expect an order shortly for another SSP MKII Digital to go between my streamer and my Denafrips DAC (it has made such a positive difference to the Audiolab CDT -> DAC integration).
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https://nvahifi.co.uk/

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

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From: CycleCoach

NVA Phono 2: Don’t Look Ethel!

I’m sure many of you will be familiar with the 1974 Ray Stevens hit The Streak. An instantly recognisable comedy ditty that tells the story of an adventurous streaker baring all in a variety of awkward social situations. The song is regularly punctuated by a simple-witted fellow, who shouts at his wife, “Don’t look Ethel!” But it was too late….

Well, if you’re the owner of a different phono stage, (up to, and including, the Phono 1,) then this is my opportunity to warn you. “Don’t look Ethel!” because if you do, or at least if you listen, it could indeed already be too late. Forgive me for being flippant, and perhaps I should tell you what I’m driving at here. I had a Phono 1 in my system for quite a time. It followed a Pro-Ject Phono Box II jobbie, as I re-introduced a loft-full of vinyl into my life.

“Oh my God,” I realised. “Vinyl is still brilliant!”

And it is.

My front end is a Linn LP12 with an Ekos arm, Troika cartridge and Lingo power supply. Not to everyone’s taste maybe, but I’m falling in love with the auld Orange Box all over again. It was wonderful connecting it all back up (at first with the Pro-Ject,) and spinning discs – like a time machine back to my memories of the 1980s and 90s – and straightaway there was something special going on. As I just said. Vinyl is bloody brilliant. And I was re-connecting with it, (as well as with a younger me.) It was giving me something which digital simply doesn’t. It felt honest and real. Totes more emotional. It was connecting me to the music, but not in a cerebral way: This was visceral. Human emotions! Such fun. Such fun!

I thought that what my turntable was delivering was close to perfection: How could it get any better than this? A trip oop North to NVA towers a few weeks later had me zooming back down the A1 with a Phono 1 on the passenger seat, and a jaw-dropping experience ahead of me. The Phono 1 was so superior to the Pro-Ject. I mean the difference was seismic. (Apologies if this starts to sound a bit Hi-Fi-ish) It was clearer in a way I did not foresee. I was getting more detail, smoother delivery and things like female vocals were breathy where they should be, and sharp in the right places without getting shrill. Bass lines weaved in and out without blurring other instruments, and kick drums kicked. This wasn’t HiFi: it was just more REAL without unnatural emphasis. Fantastic. And without doubt this was a lifetime buy. This was IT. (Get ready Ethel…)

I need to qualify my gushing about the Phono 1 a bit. Once I got it sorted the sound was sublime – but – It was a little bit picky about placement on my rack and was particularly discombobulated by digital noise from my streamer and it’s switch mode power supply (a Nord.) I got round this by simply switching the blummin’ streamer off and being careful about cables (shielded were better.) I also did something with tinfoil that I’m not proud of…

So here we arrive at my Road to Damascus moment – (Ray Stevens can start pickling an intro on his banjo.). I was lucky enough to get a visit from The Savvy One here at CycleCoach Mansions, nestled deep in the actual Nene Valley (where the N and V originally came from in NVA if you didn’t know – I’m sure you did.) Savvy brought with him a Phono 2 for us to compare to my “1,” in what was to be a purely academic exercise, also Savvy was quite keen to revisit an LP12, as he had owned one back in the day. I’ll quickly describe the rest of my system here: P50 SA pre, 2x A80 monoblocs and Cube 1 speakers. SSP interconnects and LS6 speaker cable (Yes, I know: it’s very NVAish!)

We settled back to spin a few of my disks and chat about music – and we both agreed it was sounding pretty good. One that came out was my copy of The Lonesome Jubilee by John Cougar (just as he moved upmarket to being a Mellencamp.) This is a great album to check out a system, without it being an audio firework display. It’s well recorded, live sounding and dynamic, with subtle extra percussion and delicate backing vocals – I thoroughly recommend it if you haven’t heard it. We both enjoyed that, and others, from the likes of DEVO, Zappa, Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith, John Lee Hooker, Melissa Etheridge and quite a few more, but I’ll concentrate on the Mellencamp for context.

After an hour or so, we switched in the Phono 2 “to see what it was like” and without wishing to sound hyperbolic (don’t look Ethel…..) it was gobsmacking. The sound-floor on the “1,” properly set up, is impressive, but here it dropped away like a black pudding thrown down a lift-shaft. Inky blackness unless you turned the volume up way beyond the sensible. Things didn’t get louder in comparison, just more dynamic. The volume was there but it was more controlled.

The first track on Lonesome Jubilee is Paper in Fire. Along with plaintive vocals, guitar and bass, it features harmonica and a driving kick-drum line that emphasises a well-staged studio acoustic. Clearly the producer had good ears. Now we were hearing a more coherent band-sound, but with more separation between the musicians. Drums were more forceful, with convincing attack, but without being emphasised. Female backing singers were more focused, and easier to hear, despite being further back in the mix. Bass had real weight behind it, but again it seemed just like “the real thing.” I suppose a HiFi reviewer might say something like “a clearer window onto the music,” but that isn’t quite right. In a way, some things were further back if the mix dictated it, so that the “room full of musicians” was more believable. My Cubes already gave me a nice “rainbow” shaped sound between and above the speakers, but now it was more 3D, with band members sounding further back behind the plane of the wall if the mix placed them there. And in the centre of it all hung John Cougar’s voice, like a comforting ball of warm nougat - almost solid enough to touch. Lovely.

So how would I compare the Phono 2 to the Phono 1? Clearly there is a family sound, as you would expect. The Phono 1 is brilliant in its own right, and, if I hadn’t heard its big sister, I would have been happy with what I had. The truth is that the “2” just gives you more. More of everything. The two-box design allows you to hide the power supply almost in the next postcode if you want to, so it doesn’t seem to have the noise issues you can encounter with a “1.” Dynamic range, punch, clarity, resolution, dynamics and all that HiFi stuff is facilitated by the wonderful implementation of the “2’s” power supply. I don’t care about any of that per se. I just know that it elicited an emotional response from me. What I heard made me feel something. It felt real enough to immerse me in the music.

Now I’d heard it. I’d peeked between my fingers and there was no going back. If Savvy had tried to leave with the Phono 2, I might have had to resort to rugby-tackling him to the ground. As it was, he was gracious enough to leave it with me. And with me it will stay. That’s it: The biggest single improvement I’ve ever made to my system. Ever. And in those terms, it might even be the biggest HiFi bargain ever.

So, to strain the metaphor one final time, Ethel wouldn’t just be taking a sneaky glance at our streaker, she’d be running down and forcibly grabbing the old boy by the scrotum!

Happy listening.
I am in the hi-fi trade
Status: Manufacturer
Company Name: NVA Hi-Fi
https://nvahifi.co.uk/

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

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SSP MKII INTERCONNECTS - from Phil, by email:

I have been a fan of these cables since my first NVA system was delivered and set up by “the Doc” back in 2015. I stupidly sold off most of it thinking the grass was greener elsewhere. I was re introduced via this purchase and I have to ask myself what I have been playing at over the past few years!

So using the SSP with my P20 pre amp or direct from my Dac to my monoblocks has brought back the ‘fizz’ to my one source system. Difficult to quantify, but continuous foot tapping has been the order of the day and far more listening to random tracks from my collection.

Fair to say it has just made things more musical to my ears - any other insightful technical comments are meaningless to me as I don’t understand the concepts of many comments made by so called experts. This cable does the business for me and that is what is important! Long may it continue!
I am in the hi-fi trade
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Company Name: NVA Hi-Fi
https://nvahifi.co.uk/

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

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Paul. B, by email

I thought for once I’d provide the feedback requested

I’m a long term user of NVA equipment having bought my first Pre-Power combination back when it was sold through dealers over 25 years ago - the dealer was quite shocked when I picked the NVA kit over the Naim gear I’d gone to buy but wanted to listen to and whatever else was about the same price - my only shock was who the hell are NVA and what have I bought with all these strange cable demands?

So roll forward and I have bought more NVA kit (sometimes secondhand) - but generally from the peak of the Mk I period so when I spotted the opportunity to buy the Forum LE monoblock amps it linked with some thoughts I was having that maybe it was time to update and buy new.

These are the first items I have had in the new design (with the external heatsinks) but being familiar with the NVA house style and the original designers ethos of moving up the range simply meaning that you clear a little more of the veil I knew what to expect. Well maybe not, so I can’t say if its just the design updates that have happened since my Mk1 A80s, or the specification of these LE versions but they have moved things on so much more - the overriding characteristic is ‘presence’ - there is a liveness to all that I listen to in terms of meaning that it does feel like there are actually musicians playing the sounds I hear - somewhat akin to when I go and listen to a simple guitar / singer perform live - so the system can be one for playing music and not listening to hifi - which works for me!
I am in the hi-fi trade
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Company Name: NVA Hi-Fi
https://nvahifi.co.uk/

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

Unread post by savvypaul »

Robert. K, by email

Hi Paul,

A short review for you to consider based on my first month’s experience with the starter system:

Perception is relative, of course. If your starting place is a 25-year-old Audio Analogue Puccini then some might argue that anything comparably priced from this century will be a step up. But even knowing things will sound different doesn’t prepare you for the window of perception that opens up with the NVA starter system. A veil really has been lifted on recordings I thought I knew inside-out. Sometimes it’s not been an entirely happy experience to realise the limits of the equipment that many extraordinary musicians have still managed to coax magic from. But for the well-recorded stuff, it’s been a revelation to hear the detail, the midband, the bass, the breadth of the soundstage. Yes, these two little boxes and bits of wire are definitely staying with me past the 30-day mark.
I am in the hi-fi trade
Status: Manufacturer
Company Name: NVA Hi-Fi
https://nvahifi.co.uk/

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