• 300 watts per channel
• Dual-mono ESS 9068 DACs
• Full MQA decoding on ALL inputs
• OLED front panel display
What is Carina?
Carina is Peachtree Audio's new flagship integrated
amplifier. It combines several of the sound quality enhancements introduced in
the nova500 with the power and price point of the nova300. It is Peachtree
Audio's first product with the critically acclaimed Hypex N-Core amplifier
technology built-in. Carina also brings several new features to a Peachtree
amplifier for the first time.
Why we made Carina
Very simply, to establish a new benchmark for integrated
amplifiers at its price. Our ongoing testing of available technologies
identified a combination of DAC, preamplifier and power amplifier technologies
that worked extremely well together to create an exceptional listening
experience at a reasonable price. Carina is an easy-to-use, highly transparent
integrated amplifier that drives a wide range of speakers (and headphones!)
with ease, and accepts up to 6 digital inputs including Bluetooth.
ESS 9068 DAC chips, dual mono (one for the left channel, one for the right
HD audio input up to 768k PCM and 512k DSD
digital filter settings including oversampling on/off
MQA decoding on ALL inputs
balanced analog circuitry from the DACs to the power and headphone
hybrid volume control (combination analog resistor ladder/digital
selectable all-digital volume control option
5.0 input with HD audio decoding
watts-per-channel Hypex NCore power amplifier driving the speaker outputs
headphone amplifier with a 4.4mm T/R/R/S output (1/4" unbalanced
output also provided)
Peachtree Audio industrial design crafted out of aluminum, wrapped in real
wood, and finished in gloss ebony mocha or piano black
OLED front panel display with an intuitive dual knob user interface
input for power on/off control from another device
remote control with integrated commands for Bluesound devices (NODE,
How does Carina sound?
It is our best sounding integrated amplifier to date,
period. Even better than the highly regarded nova500, the Grand Integrated and
the classic nova and decco amplifiers that have come before. To celebrate this
achievement we have broken with tradition and given it a unique name: Carina.
Carina is a name in the Italian language that roughly translates to
“pretty" and is derived from the Latin word Carus that means
“beloved." We are confident that Carina looks and performs better than
anything else in its price range - and many products that cost significantly
more - and that Carina will earn a place in your heart and
How does Carina compare to the nova300?
Simply stated, Carina is better sounding. It has a superior DAC, preamplifier,
power amplifier and headphone amplifier. Each of these functions has been
upgraded to take advantage of recent technology advancements and integrated in
a design with several small but significant enhancements to achieve remarkable
Features in Carina that are not available in the nova300
Dual DAC chip design
HD audio input up to 768k PCM and 512 DSD
Full MQA decoding on ALL inputs
Fully balanced circuitry from the DACs to the power and
Fully balanced headphone output
High-performance, hybrid volume control (combination
analog resistor ladder/digital attenuation)
Bluetooth 5.0 input with HD audio decoding
OLED front panel display with large characters
Numeric volume control range
Trigger input (nova300 has a trigger output)
How does Carina compare to the nova500?
Again, Carina is the better amplifier but the difference here is narrower. The
nova500 sounds terrific but Carina edges it out slightly in terms of absolute
sonic clarity and transparency in our listening tests.
How does Carina compare to the preDAC+GaN 400?
The GaN Stack is our benchmark for sound, but Carina gets closer to that
benchmark than any of our integrated amplifiers. The GaN400 power amplifier is
one of the best power amplifiers ever made (regardless of type) and the GaN
Stack stands as our best sounding amplifier solution. But if price is a
critical factor, Carina is the answer.
Dual DAC and Balanced Analog Design
Carina utilizes two ESS Technology 9068 DAC chips in
dual-mono mode with one chip dedicated to the left channel and the other to the
right channel. ESS is a leader in audiophile DAC design and manufacturing and
their 9068 is the successor to the 9038 which, in turn, is the successor to the
venerable 9018. The 9068 achieves excellent THD+N (120dB) and DNR (128dBA) and
is also the world's first audio DAC with a built-in MQA hardware renderer. The
9068 DAC chip performs exceptionally well on its own, but when two are used in
dual-mono mode, the measured performance and sonic transparency is elevated to
an even higher level. Peachtree Audio was the first premium audio brand to
implement ESS DACs in its products beginning with the original nova in 2009 and
has continued to use their DACs ever since.
To help ensure that the high quality analog signal from the
DACs is preserved, the current to voltage converter stage features ultra low
distortion op-amps, along with a balanced, class-A, discrete output stage to
drive the volume control with a low source impedance. The volume control in
Carina is designed to preserve the integrity of the sound even further by
utilizing a high-performance resistor ladder (with .1% tolerance resistors) and
digital attenuation hybrid design. This type of sophisticated volume control
circuit is rare in a product in this price range, but provides ultra-precise
control of the output level while maintaining exceptional channel balance
throughout the volume range. With such a high quality DAC and preamplifier design
in front of them, the power and headphone amplifiers are able to perform while
providing greater transparency, less background noise and. ultimately,
remarkable sonic clarity.
New Digital Features
Carina utilizes precision femtosecond crystal oscillators
(digital clocks) to minimize phase noise and jitter. A custom designed FPGA
with clock management and an additional phase lock loop reduces jitter even
further, providing a level of control typically reserved for stand alone DACs.
The DACs in Carina are capable of supporting PCM up to 768kHz and DSD up to
512kHz via the USB-B and I2S inputs. These are the highest input sampling rates
we have ever supported in our products and are available for users that want to
experiment with sample rates. Carina also includes a digital filter setting for
fine-tuning the sound of the DACs with 3 settings; L-FAST, H-FAST and M-SLOW.
Each filter has an objective (measurable) and subjective (audible to most)
effect on the sound. We encourage people to audition all three settings to
determine the one that sounds the best to them. Most people will hear the
differences in the high-frequency reproduction where they are most readily
heard. There is also a no oversampling (NOS) setting in Carina, which sends the
original digital signal straight to the modulator without any oversampling.
This mode is useful for users to experiment with software-based oversampling
features in products such as Roon.
Carina supports full MQA decoding on ALL of its inputs. For
users of Tidal and Paradise Radio, this is a welcome addition to be able to
fully decode the signals streaming from these services. If you do not use those
services, Peachtree Audio recommends using a Bluesound NODE or similar in
conjunction with Carina and streaming high-resolution audio from services such
as Qobuz, Apple Music and amazon music HD. In our experience, the sound quality
of all of these streaming services is impressive. The libraries are huge and
the convenience is unmatched!
Carina provides an I2S digital audio input. This type of
connection is not commonplace, but some high performance digital audio source
devices offer them. This connection provides a potential upgrade path as source
device preferences continue to evolve.
Carina has a built-in Bluetooth 5.0 receiver with HD audio
decoding. It provides a convenient way to stream wirelessly from any Bluetooth
enabled device. Carina also has a setting that only turns on the internal
Bluetooth receiver when the Bluetooth input is selected. This minimizes the
amount of RF inside the unit when using any of the wired inputs.
Carina utilizes a 300 watts-per-channel stereo Hypex NCore
power amplifier that provides power to drive virtually any speaker with ease and
authority while maintaining low noise and terrific dynamics. The speaker
outputs are high-quality CMC 5-way binding posts. Carina also provides a
high-performance balanced headphone amplifier with a 4.4mm T/R/R/S output, plus
a 1/4” unbalanced output for regular headphones. The power and clarity of the
headphone amplifier is remarkable for an integrated amplifier and the balanced
output is typically only found on dedicated headphone amplifiers!
Peachtree Audio prides itself on making products that not
only sound great, but look great and are easy to use. All of our products are
meticulously crafted out of metal and wood and integrate with a wide range of
interior designs from traditional to contemporary to post-modern. Carina
introduces a high-quality OLED front panel display with large characters and a
dual-knob user interface that retains the ease of use our products have always
been known for along with the visual feedback many have requested. This display
provides more information than our previous amplifiers and can be easily viewed
from most listening positions.
wireless IR remote control with integrated commands for Bluesound devices
like the NODE, VAULT, etc.
preamp output for connecting a powered subwoofer or an external power
amplifier like the GaN 400
input (1/8”) for power on/off control from another device
5V DC output (USB-C connector) for charging
and/or powering another device