Is the market's roller-coaster ride freaking you out? Need a little diversion? Indulge yourself with a dose of high-end audio bliss from Peachtree Audio.
Check out the Decco--a stereo vacuum tube amplifier with a built-in digital-to-analog converter with USB, Toslink, and coaxial digital connectivity. And since some music lovers are still listening to analog sources they gave the Decco a pair of old school stereo inputs to accommodate a cassette deck and maybe an AM/FM radio.
I listened to the Decco with a pair of compact Era Design 4 Satellite speakers. Hook up chores via USB were dead simple, and I had iTunes up and running in just a few minutes.
I love the look of the Decco's curvy cabinet and satin-finished aluminum front panel, decked out as it is with a row of five input buttons and a silky feeling volume control. Trust me, you won't ever need to consult the owners manual to play the Decco; you select a source, say, USB, and adjust the volume to your liking, that's it. Oh, and sitting behind the little "window" next to the volume control you can't miss the vacuum tube. Its golden glow is a welcoming beacon to audiophiles, a visual conformation that the Decco means business.
The tube handles preamplification duties while the built-in solid-state power amplifier pumps out 50 watts per channel. The rounded casework is distinctive and Peachtree's build standards are comparable to high-end components selling for more than double the Decco's MSRP of $799; the speakers run $599 a pair.
The Decco/Era system produced a remarkably spacious, yet nicely focused soundstage behind my iMac. That's what first caught my ear, but then while listening to folk singer Teddy Thompson's meditation on fame, "Shine So Bright," the sound was disarmingly natural. Thompson's soaring vocals and sumptuous string arrangements erased any thoughts of evaluating the sound as mere computer audio. No, this is high-end audio, albeit shrunk down to fit on my desktop.
You can read my full review on the Home Entertainment magazine site.