A Direct Comparison of Graham Slee NOVO and Solo
Nov 20, 2008 at 6:45 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 8

solomon

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I have been using the Graham Slee Solo for nearly two years, and have been extremely happy with its performance, especially when used to drive such phones as K601, K701, HD650, HD600, HD580 etc. I like its transparency, its sweet mid and highs, and its fast transient and dynamics.

So when I first saw and touched the brand new NOVO, I was really excited to see something new coming from Graham.
 
Nov 20, 2008 at 6:59 AM Post #2 of 8

solomon

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Looking at the back the Solo and Novo we will notice a difference. The Solo has two inputs (can be connected to two sources same time), and the Novo only has one, and the other pair of RCAs, marked Chained Input/Output, is a direct output (not amped). So don't have the misunderstanding that it can be used as a pre-amp.

The Novo is slightly smaller and lighter than the Solo, and they can share the same power supply. So it is best when using the PSU1, though this will make its price come close to Solo Intro (still a little cheaper than Intro).
 
Nov 20, 2008 at 7:19 AM Post #3 of 8

solomon

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I have opened both Solo and Novo, and for sure the discreet Novo has more parts inside, making some wonder why it should be cheaper. Of course we all know that price is not related to the complexity of circuitry, or number of parts inside.
 
Nov 20, 2008 at 7:35 AM Post #4 of 8

solomon

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I will focus on the sonic difference between Novo and Solo.

1. Generally speaking Solo has a wider soundstage than Novo. Switching from Novo to Solo is like moving from a medium-size concert hall to a larger concert hall. The spatial difference is not big, but if your primary musical genre is orchestral music, you will notice this.

2. Solo is more accurately focused than Novo. The focus of singers or musical instruments in the soundstage is really very sharp from Solo, and Novo presents music in a softer manner. Sometimes I am left with a feeling that Solo has a musical line that is more accurate and thinner, while Novo is less accurate but sounds softer, and this softer way of musical presentation makes it suit certain music better.
 
Nov 20, 2008 at 7:49 AM Post #5 of 8

solomon

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3. Bass. Solo's bass is more even and well-extended to the very low end, and Novo seems to have a little bump in the upper-bass region, putting some emphasis on the rhythmic drive of certain pop music. Simply put, I feel Novo has a little more bass than Solo, and this is most noticeable when playing pop music with a strong bass line.


My personal preference is, Novo is still a very transparent and neutral headphone amp, like every other amp Graham designed, and it is a superb amp in this price range, but it's somewhat softer-sounding than Solo, and is probably most enjoyable when playing ligher music genres. Solo wins in dynamics, absolute details, and accuracy of musical texture, but Novo sometimes can sound more attractive, depending on associated equipment and the nature of the music you are listening to.
 

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