So I was one of the very fortunate early upgraders to the new NOS1a. We have all read some of the great initial impressions of the NOS1a, however, many of them have been with dramatic changes to the poster's other equipment (Iíd love to hear itís performance in those systems) What I will unequivocally point out is that with the level of performance Peter has achieved with the NOS1a we all will be evaluating any other weaknesses in our systems.
Since I havenít posted my equipment list in my signature, I thought I would put it here to give everyone an idea of what I am listening to. The PC is very similar to Peterís spec unit but in a full size case and with linear power on all voltage rails for the PC (not that this matters anymore with the NOS1a , the NOS1a balanced outputs drive bridged Ncore 400ís, so two NC400 modules bridged on left channel and two on right channel connected to custom passive crossovers for the dipole midrange and tweeters of the Audio Artistry Beethoven Grands.(Normally these would be driven through the Beethovenís electronic x-over, but that was affecting the resolution of the NOS1.) I have a separate set of balanced outputs off a XLR Y-cable feeding the electronic x-over which feeds two more NC400ís per channel driving the mid-bass and subwoofer drivers. (for reference, there are a total of 8 ScanSpeak 10Ē drivers in the main panels and 16 Peerless XLR long throw 12Ē drivers in separate folded baffles, these are all open baffles. The total surface area is almost three times that of the Orelo MKIIís 6-15Ē drivers, so very low excursion and distortion for a lot of output)
Also, now knowing Peterís analysis of the Ncore amps, it is very possible that I will audition new mid/tweeter amps to be able to fully realize the potential of the NOS1aís resolution
Ok, so back to the real reason for this post, the sound quality. Hard to put in words, from the moment I started playing it my mouth was just wide open in astonishment! Well truthfully, I had some phase issues from stupid wiring mistakes; (I forgot that the high output of Butterworth x-overs must have the phase inverted. Oh yeah and double check the wires of your XLR cable assembly before soldering them, duh.) I hope Peter forgives me for initially implying that perhaps in final assembly one of the channels of the NOS1a was wired out of phase
So once I corrected my wiring, what I heard was the most natural but detailed sound that I have ever heard. The music just flowed as one complete unit, I wasnít just drawn to one aspect, and everything was in perfect balance but with so much more information! I found myself literally overjoyed with emotion at what I was experiencing. And I have never heard such a precise soundstage, both from left to right and front to back. All the performers were firmly grounded in the actual positions in which they were recorded! Everything was in proper scale. I told Peter in an email that I could see one performer turning to the other during their interaction on stage; well I thought I could see it, but I literally could hear the change in where the performerís voice was directed!
I could go on and on and I assure you this is not hyperbole. I obviously donít post a lot , so Iím maybe not the best at pointing out specific things, but that is the wonderful thing about the NOS1a, everything is now presented as a whole so no more nitpicking this or that. It is all just so right!
For any of us that have been on this journey with the NOS1 and all the iterations of XXHighend, we have all listened to our music library like it was completely new. Re-exploring albums that we were familiar with and hearing them as if they were completely new re-masters. Well I assure you, if you get the NOS1a upgrade you will be doing that all over again, and donít be surprised if youíre listening to genres of music that normally arenít your cup of tea because theyí re viewed through a completely different lens!
Oh, and one other thing, it was Mani now years ago that posted his observations on another forum, saying how much he preferred the NOS1 to his Pacific Microsonics 2. He said to beg, borrow or steal to get your hands on a NOS1. So I did and never looked back. I would say that applies tenfold to the NOS1a! You know it sucks paying $600 in shipping to get something sent and returned from the States to the Netherlands, but I really would not hesitate to pay twice the upgrade cost after hearing the NOS1a!
Not to fuel any fires, but if I were way down the upgrade list, I would pay someone higher up a healthy premium to exchange spots just to get it sooner