My first post on the forum and with Rodney and Stuart a proud owner of the first shipments to SA. I gave feedback on our local forum which I copy+paste and just updated a section to indicate not local forum reference.
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As one of the early birders and not a lot of time before I had to leave the country again... however could compare it with some of the amps I have lying around and a few speakers in the room. On the Sunday I woke at 03:30 to start listening. However, my personal impressions noted. Link to the product http://www.nuprimeaudio.com/index.php/pages/pages-overview/integrated-amps/ida-8
Achim (13Hof) brought an early bird option for 10 willing to 'jump in the cold water'. No idea how the product sounds and will to gamble.
Some background first on what I owned before and although not a side by side comparison. My top of the line combination that I owned was B&W 802N being fed by 31.5 Mark Levinson Transport. This fed into a ML 30.6 DAC and then finally into a ML 336 power amp. Transparent speaker cables and Madrigal Gel balanced cables straight through the chain.
I did some homework before the option was placed on the table and I had some reservation as I realised that NuPrime is basically split from the NuForce brand which will focus on the higher end market. I tried the NuForce Reference 9 V3 Special Edition once... and I did NOT LIKE IT!! I read a review on the NuForce and the reviewer said he sold his Mark Levinson 33H's (which I was drooling for) and replaced it with the NuForce. Even the wife came and told me the NuForce had no soul. So when the option came, and I wanted to be one of the early birds, I pulled the trigger.
The shipment arrived in SA quicker than expected and I went to collect mine from Joel. A very standard brown box with a plastic carry handle protecting the actual commercial presentation. First impressions was the weight. The small form factor weighs much more that you think. Hopefully this means lots of quality components and a good PSU inline. It is noted as class A/D so hopefully some copper for control. I will still open it sometime down the line. The unit is very small and I opted for a black unit which is really a good looking device. It is less and a 30cm ruler wide and looks lost on top of my Emotiva XPA-2. It was time to connect and see what is on the menu.
The speaker output terminals are fairly close to each other but they look the part. Solid metal, no plastic. My source I used is a Logitech Squeezebox and connected this using 3 methods. Analog, Optical and Coax. This allowed me to swop between a single source with external DAC (Logitech) and the internal DAC on both optical and coax. Before I switch on, I did make sure that is was for local voltage. Box was sealed and was set at 240V... all good!
The first set of speakers that I tried was a set of B&W CDM1NT. (8 ohm nominal) This is the older generation and I still think they are underrated and some people seem to dislike 'yellow cones'
. Squeezebox was at 100% volume (no bits are stripped on the volume control) and I played at low volume on the NuPrime a while without listening to warm up to normal operating temperature. After a few hours I sat down and played one of my reference tracks. Religions - Carmen Cuesta http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0015ELN06/ref=dm_ws_tlw_trk11
. I know the bottom end and the voice coming in is riveting. I up the volume to 80 and pressed play. I did not expect the control of the NuPrime gave to me in spades and buckets. Just before that I was playing through the Emotiva XPA-2 https://emotiva.com/products/amplifiers/xpa-2
which is a 300W/channel into 8 ohms. Don't get me wrong... Emotiva is great but this little box of tricks that has a DAC and a preamp in... just took me by surprise and had me wanting for more of my reference list. Between the Sheets (Fourplay) track called Chant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYZ5qriC7M8
has well controlled drums and percussion sounded more controlled and the noise floor is non-existent. Now I know what some reviewers say about 'playing against a black veil'. Charles (Placebo on the forum - South Africa) came for a collection and I had to sit him down with a nice black coffee and asked him for his feedback. The B&W CDM1NT's were standing (dwarfed by) next to the Polk Audio RTiA9 and as soon as the first track were played, Charles could not believe the base and control from the bookshelves. He asked me if it was the small ones (Yellow Cones) and not the large floorstanders. My son 15 years old and critical of my selection is more in the DJ scene and doing well. Opened for Locnville and DJ Phonic (have to thrown that in as a proud dad) comments were verbatim... 'I am not normally impressed. But I am now'.
When a pair of Sonus Faber Cremona Auditors became available, and I had the NuPrime IDA-8, I thought... man this could be a combination. I went to collect the SF's, replaced the B&W's and then, without sounding like a poet, I was in audio nirvana. The SF's are nominal 4 ohms; so it requires a bit more performance from an amplifier and that small little box did not fail to impress. I am going as far to say if I had to choose between the current setup and my previous top of the line... I am converted to the new technology and not sorry at all to have jumped shipped to digital amplification. The switching technology is running at 600 kHz which is
I did swop between analog and digital and the NuPrime internal DAC is really good and better than the Squeezebox DAC. Does not say much at the moment but future listening and comparisons will be done. The Coax is also clearly better than Optical Toslink. I have not tried the USB and DSD formats yet as I like to get used to the first part before delving into higher bitrate. The digital signal between 44.1kHz and 48kHz is selected automatically as the source changes and briefly shown on the LED display.
What is next? I have a subwoofer which will be connected to fill in the bottom end (I do not think any bottom end is missing but we will see) but I know lower end fills the other frequencies. So it will just improve. The nice thing is that there is a subwoofer out. 6V instead of 2V but change the gain on the volume of the subwoofer. High res source files and comparisons to other DACs.
The only negative comment I can give if I can nitpick is a slight amp switch on noise through the speakers when you power on initially. That is it!
Price. Even though not cheap, separates, such as a DAC, have cost me more
Slam and control and the bottom end
Very musical and presents the mids and tops in concert
Zero noise floor
Well maybe one... I want the IDA-16 (without getting rid of the IDA-8) and the wife will not be happy
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