Well I hate to say WOW!, but WOW!
Just quickly hooked this unit up to begin the burn in and it is immediately impressive.
First it is MUCH HEAVIER than expected. This is ONE SOLID unit.
Fit, finish and build is excellent. Even the binding posts stand out.
Now, this is NOT going in a real HIGH END system so I was not expecting miracles.
I had had the NuFORCE HAP-100 and the ST-100 powering it to this point and knew what it sounded like and its supposed limitations. This is with some rather inexpensive EPISODE 700 $600 pr Stand Mount Speakers I use for Office/Bedroom/Small HT Systems.
Set up was just seconds and the immediate LEAP in sound quality was "in your face" there.
Depth, Soundstage, Tone, Richness, and imaging were all RIGHT NOW better by a huge degree. Even without what one might consider High End Speakers, I was hearing High End Sound.
These improvements were entirely using the BlueTooth dongle so, after burn-in I'll run a CDP directly into the DAC and see where we are.
As a follow up on my IDA-8
evaluation (I think everyone knows I am also a NuPRIME Dealer
so just to disclose)
Well, after a lot of burn-in and Bluetooth use, I finally got a chance to connect a Denon Transport to the Coax Digital input to do some CD listening (16/44)
In assessing a set up one needs to realize that NO set up should make EVERYTHING sound good, since that would be "sugaring" the sound, which is a distortion. That is, a great component will allow you to hear differences in recordings and files rather than all sounding the same, since these differences exist in the recordings.
A good component will also allow you to hear differences in your various components, set up, and room.
The point being, that I found these elements quite clear in the IDA-8
After listening casually for the burn-in, and enjoying things like tonality, and spatiality, I got the chance to pop a CD on the transport, and hear some CD resolution cuts.
Well, as expected the IDA-8
was quite the performer. I very quickly discovered that I needed to adjust the speakers a bit to cure a couple small issues, that were NOW quite clear, but not as evident earlier.
I listened to a "mix-CD" that a friend had sent me to celebrate his 64th birthday. You know old reflective tunes like "When I'm 64" by the Beatles, and "Old Man" by Neil Young. Not stuff I listen to daily, but good enough show me that I needed to move speakers a bit and get my listening position just right.
Reminded me that early Beatles Stereo had the singers out of one speaker and most of the music out of the other.
Then I got into some more modern recordings and Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Jerry Garcia, Cat Stevens, and other artists had a strong center image.
The sound was pretty good and in some cases REALLY good, and that made me see (hear) how the recordings themselves, on a good system, will determine the quality of sound you hear.
Then I wanted to hear some of my Reference Recordings. These are recordings, I have heard hundreds of times on hundreds of systems, so I know what they sound like, and or SHOULD sound like. Cuts like "Keith Don't Go" by Nils Lofgren, and the Bass Solo Cut that is the Preamble to Amazing Grace, on the Live Bela Fleck CD played by Victor Wooten, as well as others.
These have harmonics, tonality, liveliness (as in LIVE RECORDING), soundstaging, imaging and many other qualities that tell you if your gear is giving you "all" the music.
I was pleasantly surprised at just how much of the Reference Tracks I was able to hear on such a modest system (under $1600 retail) The Speakers were clearly the "weak point" so, you who have really good Monitors, are likely in for some really High Performance Listening Sessions.
Of particular note, was the ability of the IDA-8
to resolve and separate instruments, and their subtle detail. Many, even high end amps congeal the sound into a mess of sonic soup, especially when pushed, and even with these modest speakers, the separation, deliniation, detail, and imaging was really UP THERE.
Also of note, was the BASS quality and quantity. On the Victor Wooten cut, there are many runs, dynamic passages, and harmonic overtones, that some systems just gloss over. I was happy to hear the foundation and detail of all those qualities.
Early on in this amps Heritage these qualities were quite evident, and they are not only still there, but better than ever in this latest model.
Happy to say, this is a Home Run for NuPRIME