"Parasound A21 amp - overkill for Klipsch RP-280FA for 2 channel?"

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by TheVinylAddict, Nov 14, 2017.

  1. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter


    I currently own a Parasound 2125v1, which has 125W driven by torodial transformers, currently driving my Klipsch RP-280FA mains with a Denon x7200wa as the preamp. I do 60/40 music / HT - although lately about 80 /20 music, so I can go in spurts of lots of music if I score a bunch of new albums. I mostly listen to vinyl, currently with a SL-1200, but have a Yamaha GT-2000 on the way.

    I considered initially a Parasound 2250v2 (250W) as an "upgrade", but the 2125 and 2250 share the same DNA, with the 2250 delivering more power... but as far as sound profile I have gathered they would be very similar.

    Then, I kicked around the A23 vs A21 - and although both in the Halo line, it is apparent they share SOME of the same DNA, but the A21 seems to be a step up, for instance, the A23 delivers around 2W Class A power, where the A21 is pushing 11W class A power. I spend a good deal of time at low to medium volume, so the A21 would have an advantage there.

    Also kicked around the idea of adding a P5 or P7 (P7 is better), but not something I need to do up front, and was told the 7200WA is plenty enough pre to drive A21. Having balanced ins / outs between the A21 and P5/7 is nice though, but could always upgrade that later.

    Bottom line - I am of the impression that a 2125 ---> A23 would not be that big of an upgrade - some, but not enough to justify a new amp. But, the biggest factor - with Klipsch RP-280FA as my current main, and although they are a good speaker with high 90's sensitivity, and 150W continuous rated - are they "not enough" speaker in anyone's opinion to justify the A21.

    Forget about the $$$, I am more asking about how much SQ I would be leaving on the table with the proposed Denon 7200, A21, Klipsch RP-280FA combo.

    Thanks in advance... I realize there is a subjective aspect here, but there is also the technical / power delivery and consumption angle here also.
  2. Bubbamike

    Bubbamike Forum Resident

    What exactly is the problem you are trying to solve with a new amp? If you want more power go with the A21. You can never have too much power.
    Manimal likes this.
  3. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I thought the thread laid it out fairly well, there is not a "problem".

    Sound quality, better sound at low to mid levels... the reasons many of us upgrade. There is no problem, everything works fine.

    Plus, are you speaking from experience?

    Power is only one aspect of an upgrade, and for me secondary.
  4. Bill Mac

    Bill Mac Forum Resident

    So. ME USA
    I'd go with the Parasound P5 and keep the 2125v1 which has plenty of power for your speakers. I've used preamps with HT Bypass in all the AVRs I've owned in recent years. I've found that a quality analog preamp will better an AVR for music.
  5. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I have considered that route, and I DO like the HT bypass.... plus P5 has bass mgt and I have two subs....

    Power is only one aspect - the John Curl design, Class A to 11 amps, better design will improve my SQ with the A21.... which is also an objective.

    I didn't say it, but I am luke warm on the SQ with the 2125.... and if I bought just a P5, that changes nothing on that. But that is why I ask... have you any experience with the A21, or even A23 and can offer a comparison with your own ears? THat would help as I have not, and cannot, demo due to availability.

    Thanks for the inputs, good thought.
  6. Bill Mac

    Bill Mac Forum Resident

    So. ME USA
    My pleasure :). I had the A52 in my system a few years ago and thought it was a great amp. But I sold it and went back to a Boston Acoustics A7200 amp. I found that the A7200 was quieter than the A52 with just a much power. The A7200 is a clone of the Sherwood A-965. The fact that you listen to quite a bit of vinyl I feel the P5 would be a better SQ improvement over an amp upgrade. The more direct signal path of the P5 over the Denon would be beneficial IMO. In all honesty after numerous amp changes over the years I found that if the amp has sufficient power the SQ differences are minimal.

    I just setup a small bedroom system for vinyl playback. I broke out my Parasound 2100 and A7200 with a Yamaha P-300 TT and Salk Song Surround Is. I was using a Denon 4311 but decided the 2100 would sound better and it does IMO.

    Product Lines > Halo > A 52 Five Channel Power Amplifier
    Sherwood Newcastle A-965 Amplifiers reviews - Audioreview.com
    A7200 | Boston Acoustics CA
  7. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks. I keyed on this statement for a reason - both the P5 and / or the Denon would be "analog in --> analog out" (Pre Out) to the amp. I am not sure why you stated the P5 is more a "direct" signal path?

    The Denon x7200WA is a high quality, flagship, $3000 amp. Maybe you are thinking that any inputs, whether analog or digital, will go through a DAC first on the Denon, which I would understand ---- my understanding is that some cheaper AVRs send any signal through the DAC first. But my understanding on the Denon 7200 is it is "analog in, direct analog out" for the pre-out. Moreover, it has a Pure Direct mode if one was concerned that the Denon, and all its extra circuitry for HT, was adding any noise to the line / signal path... I probably don't need to explain the Pure Direct.

    So I am having trouble with the notion that the P5 is more a "direct" signal path - to me it is equivalent, or basically the same as the Denon. I have read a few threads on other forums too where folks have presented the same notion, and not sure it was ever settled, but the premise was the P5 does not take "analog in / analog out" any better or worse than a high quality AVR like the Denon - in fact, the AVR they were talking about was a Marantz flagship, but close enough.

    But I am learning something new every day.... interested in your thoughts on this.
  8. Higlander

    Higlander Well-Known Member

    Florida, Central
    If you are looking for change for the sake of change (as it sounds) dollars would be much better spent on better speakers.
    Highly doubtful your 125 watt amp is the weak chain in your system.
  9. Bill Mac

    Bill Mac Forum Resident

    So. ME USA
    I'm far from an electrical engineer but an analog preamp like the Parasound P5 will have a much more direct signal path than an AVR like the Denon x7200. The x7200 is an excellent AVR without doubt but really how direct is the Pure Direct mode? That I don't know but the P5 definitely has a more direct signal path. If you find internal pictures of both the P5 and the x7200 you'll see that. How is the analog output stage of the x7200 compared to the P5? I'd be inclined to believe that the analog output stage of the P5 is better designed as it's only purpose is two channel audio.

    I'm not trying to be argumentative but I've owned close to a dozen preamps with HT Bypass. Not once did the AVR that they were connected to sound better when playing music. The only way to settle this in your mind is to try a preamp like the P5 in your system. You started this thread to ask opinions and that's what you'll get. Some of those opinions might not be what you're looking for but in the end it's your choice to make.

    I have to agree with Higlander in that speaker upgrades are where you'll really find significant SQ improvements. Much more so than amp, preamp or AVR upgrades in my experience.
    Higlander and Manimal like this.
  10. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    That' the beauty of this hobby. Your premise rests on your faith that the P5 **has to have** a more direct signal path than the Denon. That is an opinion... I welcome that, respect that. This is not being argumentative, it is only people exchanging their experience, expertise and opinion - we ALL want the right answer, we all learn something new every day. Many times in the audio world, subjectivity rules the day - we know that a lot of sound quality is perceived by your ears... that part is opinion, and someone want to say their $15 PC speakers sound better than $3K Infinity, then at the end of the day that is what they hear, and you bow to it. We all know he is nuts, but if he believes it, your opinion may not change his mind.

    Sometimes our opinion rests on our own belief, or assumption that the "P5 HAS to be better than some crappy AVR". I respect that too, but I am an engineer, and there is actually an answer at the bottom of all of it. I too have owned a lot of gear, I used to do separates in the 70's and 80's... and could list pages and pages of speakers, amps, TT's etc. (right now I own five TT's, with a GT-2000 on the way. I probably have 6-7 amps around the house - three in use. I have 3 HT's / listening stations - one in my main HT (for me), one in our family room for the wife and kids, and one in my woodshop, where I also spend a lot of time. So if I am just supposed to take your word because you have used a lot of gear - so have I - I am just trying to prove out this fact. Please don't be offended, it is all about the facts, not who has had more gear than the other guy.

    To drive the point home further - Today, I was talking to a Parasound rep (at Parasound) and had the same discussion as this - he sells P5. He said that the Denon is a high end AVR, and that the P5 has no advantage over the Denon 7200 when it comes to analog in and analog out. He is an electrical engineer, and does this for a living. I would be happy to PM his name to you, and you can call and talk to him yourself. You can even reference the conversation I had with him.... Same with P7 - no advantage he said. Again - he sells these. Do I blindly believe him? Well, only as much as trusting his word as an expert in the industry.

    Then, the other day I was speaking to a tech rep at a prominent audio shop, and he said the P5 was a BOTL Parasound amp, although good, is nowhere the quality of the Denon on analog signal. He said "if you look inside the P5, it is a lot of empty space, it is just not the quality of higher end gear." I said then what about the P7? He said equal footing to the Denon in that case, but one is not better as far as signal.

    Then I have your opinion... see the beauty of this hobby? Who am I supposed to believe?

    Again, not out to do anything but get to the right answer. The fact you have owned a lot of gear is important, but like me we all learn something new every day. You have the assumption the Denon just can't be on equal footing, I feel you have a little doubt regarding the quality of AVR's - I can echo that, I have owned AVR's since the 4806, and they are cheapened. But as far as this, I still have not settled that the P5 must be a more "direct signal path" than the Denon. If you want to argue that on the merits of the architecture, actual circuits - fine. But I am not going to just buy your answer because you have been doing this for years and owned a lot of gear - so have I.

    Cheers to you, and thanks for the great answers and healthy discussion.
  11. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thank you for the reply. I am inclined to respond to your first sentence - that I am looking for "change for the sake of change (as it sounds)" -- actually, I am looking for "change for the sake of improved sound quality"

    If change just to change was the case, I would not do anything - I don't spend money for no reason - if I cannot justify it I won't do. That is why we all spend more money on higher end gear - for that elusive improvement in sound quality, no?

    Your second sentence needs more elaboration and examples though - it implies that wattage is the only thing that matters for higher quality sound... is that what you are saying? What about architecture, circuit quality, torodial transformers - all those things in addition to wattage that make all these amps worth more?

    Please elaborate, offer a better speaker. Have you heard the RP-280's, and why you think the speaker is the weak link? What should I upgrade to? Your answer leaves me with more questions than advice I can take any action on.

    Thanks again!
  12. Bill Mac

    Bill Mac Forum Resident

    So. ME USA
    I think Higlander's post is really self explanatory. All he's saying is that in his opinion a speaker upgrade is money better spent than money on an amp upgrade. Which I happen to totally agree with. No where in his short post does he say anything negative about your speakers. The second part of his post is he doubts your current amp is an issue as it has more than enough power for your very efficient speakers. Then you're saying what he posted needs more "elaboration". Really? As posted earlier it really is a very straight forward post.

    No offense but as a few of us have posted our experiences in this thread you seem to want to debate them. If you're so sure that a new amp is the way to go, preamps with HT Bypass won't sound any better and speaker upgrades aren't worth it why post the thread asking for advice? It seems you have the answers already :).
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
    Higlander likes this.
  13. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks Bill. I thanked you for your responses on your recommendations, but when I objectively challenged one point you made which I am trying to understand, the discussion became subjective (even defensive), and you implied that your assumption had to be correct. I offered to send you a PM with the Parasound rep I talked to, you mentioned looking at comparisons of the architectures that would clearly show me the differences - please do... I would love to know what the fact is here!

    As far as a "few of us" - you did provide your experiences thank you again. The other replies did not post experiences - they were one or two sentences that offered no elaboration, detail or justification for the assertions made. I could have left them alone, but so many threads are full of one sentence retorts that really do not help the OP without some sort of elaboration, that I like to challenge them to see if there is really anything I can use behind the statements --- if the posters want to help, they should be prepared to speak for themselves and justify their opinion with details or experience. (you answered for Highlander). So I respect you did provide your experiences, appreciated, but you were the only one.

    Cheers, just in constant search of the facts.
  14. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    At this point, I would like to close the thread... I will seek inputs elsewhere. I won't be checking back in for recommendations... I think the thread is too far off topic now.
  15. Bubbamike

    Bubbamike Forum Resident

    You're not going to get a huge difference in sound by changing from one Parasound amp to another. Some would say that you won't get much change in the sound going from one amp to another unless you go to tubes. In any case it seems to me you just want to argue more than any thing else. You would be better off just saving some money and spending the rest on music. or speakers. Bye.
    Bill Mac and Standingstones like this.
  16. Higlander

    Higlander Well-Known Member

    Florida, Central
    Yes my post was meant to be quite simple. More bang for the buck on speakers.
    Your speakers are nice, but speakers simply offer the most potential to improve sound.

    No did not mean all amps sound the same or 125 watts is all that matters, simply meant your particular amp you own, is not the weak link, and while you many find some incrimental improvement with a "better" or different amp, the speakers are where you can find the real improvements!

    Either way no disrespect meant at all in any way, Good luck finding what makes you happy!
    Bill Mac likes this.
  17. Matt Richardson

    Matt Richardson Forum Resident

    I have a Parasound P5 that I use with my computer speakers (B&W CM6). Although solidly built with nice features, the sound quality of the P5 is nothing to write home about (in my opinion). The Parasound A21 amp, however, sounds wonderful (I use one in my surround set up).
    TheVinylAddict likes this.
  18. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks, it's refreshing to hear from someone with actual experience with the gear in the request.

    Did you ever have a chance to compare the A21 with anything else, or did you start there?
  19. Matt Richardson

    Matt Richardson Forum Resident

    I d
    I do have an A23 also with my computer system, but the somewhat pedestrian sound from the p5 overrides any sonic benefits I might otherwise hear from the A23. However with the A23 being a John Curl design and based much on the architecture of the A21, I suspect it would also glow regally like the A21 if there was a higher end preamp controlling it.

    For an A21 comparison, I also have a Mac 6500 integrated. The sound from both Mac and A21 units are very fine -different to be sure, but both very satisfying in their own way.
  20. Dougr33

    Dougr33 Forum Resident

    Twin Cities, MN
    Had the A23 a few years ago. A VERY nice sounding amp.

Share This Page