I'm sure Paul won't mind if I state that there are a number of NVA items here for review at present, including a P50SA. The full review(s) will come in the next couple of weeks, but if you want a sneak preview of the P50SA...

As I type this, for an experiment the P50SA is currently a couple of metres away, with my non-oversampling valve DAC, a conventional (and costly) DAC and two different phono stages on the inputs, and my single-ended 845 valve amplifier attached to one of the outputs. That would be a big ask for a passive, as the 845 has been deliberately configured to run with a specific, active valve preamp, so the input stage is not ideal for various reasons.

It's an unfair 'test' really and I did it just for a 'why not', but against my expectations it's sounding excellent. It seems completely unfussy and it's very, very 'clean', with a vanishingly low noise floor. I know the Seiden switches well. They're among the best available in terms of contact quality, insulation, sealing and lack of crosstalk. Audio Note resistors are also taking over where the now unobtainable Shinko tantalums left off. Together those components are as good as you'll get within the bounds of common sense and reasonable budget, and better than a great many well-regarded makes would bother to fit.

The slight surprise here is how damned quiet it is in other ways. Plumbed in as it is, it's (most unfairly, and not as recommended) surrounded by transformers, valve circuits, assorted power supplies and more than a few mains cables. Considering the construction, I would have anticipated some noise problems, no matter how small, but the noise floor of the 845 (which I have worked very, very hard to get as low as possible) is all that's audible. I'd have also expected a more two-dimensional and tonally 'flatter' presentation, but that's not happening either.

The last plus point is that I normally get the hump with switched attenuators, as in my setup they have an annoying habit of being either too quiet or too loud when you want the volume down for late-night listening. This one seems to have a much more sensible adjustment range and I presume a lot of care has been taken over resistor selection to get sensible volume steps at the quiet end of the range.

Negatives? Fingerprints and dust, mostly. Gloss acrylic is the company's 'look' and I'm rather a fan of the minimalist, clean approach. However, you'll need a duster close at hand if you're as OCD as I am about grubby prints and dust. Depending on the setup, 23 positions may be a touch tight, but a quick try out will show if the settings work as well for you as they seem to here. The price seems a fair bit at first glance, but it's not. A quick look at a few component suppliers and you'll get a bit of a shock. By the time you take into account casework and all the odds and ends, it's decent value. Especially in mind of the sheer time and pain involved in all the soldering.

If your system has enough gain for a passive (non-transformer) preamp, and most do, I'd put the P50SA a (very) long way up the list of options.

Rabski (WAM forum 'real reviews') 30/10/2020