Parasound amps appreciation thread

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by pdxway, May 31, 2019.

  1. okc_craft

    okc_craft Just Another Budgetphile

    Location:
    Okc
    I’m just following the manufacture’s best practice recommendation.
    That’s pretty much what I remember from the 2125 manual.
     
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  2. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    I set my A23 and A21 to max settings only. My AV Preamp is the one that does the gain adjustments.

    My Paradigm speakers, which use metal dome, can get really bright. My playback chain is sensitive to noises coming from power line. After I used a Furman Elite 15pfi and using power cables with shielding, the Paradigms harsh high I often noticed before are mostly gone.
     
  3. jcn3

    jcn3 Forum Resident

    Location:
    NH
    i'm jumping in to also say so sorry that you're experiencing brightness. one thing that i tend to hear over and over is that parasound equipment isn't bright (my a21 isn't), so i think i'd look elsewhere.

    i have monitor audio speakers myself (gold gx100s). if something is bright (assuming break-in isn't the issue), they're the most likely the source. the two things i would look are (1) speaker location and (2) room acoustics.

    for room acoustics, try and eliminate the sources of first reflections -- put absorption at reflection points on the floor, sidewalls, and ceiling. also look at adding bass traps in the corners behind the speakers -- bass get trapped in those corners and compromises bass response.

    in terms of placement -- i'd move the speakers forward and backward several inches at a time to see if you can get more smooth bass response. i'd also consider reducing the amount of toe in -- i found my gx100s were a bit much when pointed directly at me and sounded much better when on axis point was significantly behind my head.

    look forward to hearing what you figure out.
     
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  4. BLAKE1

    BLAKE1 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    IOWA
    Interesting that gain chatter is in the original manual and not in the plus version model.
     
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  5. NoDad

    NoDad Forum Resident

    Location:
    Santa Rosa CA
    I'm no engineer, but if I understand gain correctly, it's used to match the preamp output to the power amp. If the amps are matched, like I assume the Parasound pre- and power amps are, then the gain can be set to max for best sound. If the preamp were to output higher voltage than the power amp can handle, then you can turn down the gain. You would do this to avoid the power amp from clipping or distorting.

    If this is incorrect, please let me know.
     
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  6. BLAKE1

    BLAKE1 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    IOWA
    I've been experimenting with things this morning instead of working like I should be :). The brightness seems to be toned down a little with the gain between 50 and 75%. When I have gain maxed out the preamp volume is really low like 30-40. A side effect of that is the bass is lacking. Once I turned the amp gain down I'm getting the bass that I hoped to hear with the knob on the P6 between 60 and 70. Perhaps the added bass offsetting some of the brightness I'm hearing. I still have to figure out the right setting once I go back to HT bypass as my levels are pretty low on the fronts on the AVR when backing the gain down, but maybe getting somewhere.
     
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  7. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    Good to hear you are getting better results.

    If your AVR can do auto room setup, try running auto room setup on your AVR again after you have your preamp and amp gains set at a level you like. It would likely be able to set the preout gains for mains to match the rest of the speaker's and sub.
     
    mreeter likes this.
  8. BLAKE1

    BLAKE1 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    IOWA
    An update on my new A21+/P6. The good news is that the brightness went away or my ears got used to it. The bad news...There is something up with the right channel. A few times there has been no sound. Other times it's like the volume drops out and comes back. I've been able to isolate this to the A21+. I'm working with Safe and Sound to try to get it resolved.
     
  9. Dr. J.

    Dr. J. Audiophile wannabe

    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    I got my new to me A23 today to pair up with my P5 and T3 tuner. I've been able to put it through its paces and can give it a thumbs up at this point: neutral perhaps to a fault but with a sweet top end--very easy to listen to. I was worried about the unit sounding thin or sterile but find the bass to be there when the source material calls for it. As people have noted, it's very articulate and quick. But when the source material is on the thin side, I think I'll have to resort to the tone controls. That's fine, but with the NAD 2200PE I never had to boost the bass. However, the greater transparency and openness make it a keeper for me.

    Question. I have it hooked it up with unbalanced cables since that was the easiest to do without pulling everything out of my stereo cabinet; will I hear a difference using balanced cables? I talked to Phil at Parasound, and he didn't think it mattered.
     
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  10. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    Glad to read you're enjoying the new amp! Maybe listen for several weeks and if it isn't a super PITA, get some balanced cables to try? Of course it'll be really hard to tell (no double blind discussions allowed here, I don't think!). IF it's possible to swap back and forth a few times, maybe it's a good experiment ... but if someone at Parasound thinks it doesn't matter ... hmm, why was it designed with it anyway? I'd be interested in what Richard Schram had to say (or John Curl). I'd say John would recommend using balanced !!!
     
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  11. mreeter

    mreeter Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midwest, USA
    Congrats on your new A23, it's a fine piece. I'm with Phil on the Balanced vs. Unbalanced, unless you have a long run for the I/C's, the Unbalanced work just fine.
     
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  12. BLAKE1

    BLAKE1 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    IOWA
    I just went through the same experiment with my new A21. I couldn’t tell a difference but I went balanced because I could. There is also a cool factor for of those cables clicking in.
     
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  13. BLAKE1

    BLAKE1 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    IOWA
    Just got a replacement A21+ today. I had some right channel issues with the original and something just sounded off. Whether it is placebo or what day #1 with the replacement has been magical. The folks at Safe and Sound have been awesome. No hassles what so ever. Now I need to find some other piece of equipment to stew over. Perhaps the streamer. I hate this hobby (and so do my wife and wallet)....
     
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  14. BLAKE1

    BLAKE1 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    IOWA

    One thing I did observe was with the 6db gain on the balanced it allowed the Home Theater setup to set the levels pretty close to 0. I think the range is -12 to +12 but there is something about 0 that makes me sleep better at night. I’m just weird like that.

    I also got a new sub with balanced inputs and that has a longer run which has the potential for added noise (whether that actually happens is debatable), but this allowed everything to stay close to level.

    There are several reasonable cables to be had if you want to tinker. Find something with a good return policy and test things out for yourself. I’ve been obsessed with this cabling thing and I’m finding it is best just to prove/disprove to yourself what works for you.
     
    Rick58 likes this.
  15. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    anyone have a procedure for setting the gain on an a21+ amplifier?
    the manual does not mention anything about it. thanks.
     
  16. BLAKE1

    BLAKE1 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    IOWA
    I messed around with setting this to about everything you could and ended up maxing it out. When it's maxed out you can guarantee you aren't off on setting your levels from left to right. I pair my A21+ with the P6 and noticed the volume on the P6 is pretty low when maxed out which bothered me at first, but I got things figured out. The P6 has a sub output and noticed that it didn't really like gain being maxed out (too little bass from sub). I've managed to get that all worked out.

    After all kinds of trial and error and found maxing out was the best (and easiest) route for me. I've seen some folks so 50% and others say 80%.
     
  17. mreeter

    mreeter Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midwest, USA
    I think the Gain setting kinda depends on your Speakers sensitivity and the output of the Preamp.

    My Speakers are fairly efficent, 90 db @ 6 ohm. I like to run my Preamp (ModWright LS 100, 12 dB gain) at around 10-11:00. I feel this lets the Tube output shine somewhat. I've set the gain on the Amp at about 80-85% to achieve the desired SPL.

    Although setting the Amp Gain below Max, might be prohibiting the full Class A output, I truly don't know.
     
  18. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    @avanti1960 The manual of my A23 states that the gain controls are only out of the way when maxed out, and thus it is advised to leave them that way unless you have some reason not to do so.
     
  19. IRG

    IRG Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ithaca, NY
    I don't know if it's this thread, or somewhere else, but I thought I read that normally, the gain should be all the way up. For best sound. Decrease only in certain cases, maybe a small room with efficient speakers I think.

    Bever beat me to it.
     
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  20. okc_craft

    okc_craft Just Another Budgetphile

    Location:
    Okc
    I also remember several of us Parasound amp owners discussing our manuals stating that gain should be set to max if possible, but I do believe that exchange didn’t include any A21 owners.
     
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  21. BdoUK

    BdoUK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    I actually had the same question about gain and the A21+ before I purchased it a few months ago. Having heard about Parasound's great service I reached out via email and was lucky enough to get a response from their President and CEO Richard Schram. Below is what he said regarding gain:

    Thank you for your message and for you purchase of an A 21+. You asked a good question.

    I recommend setting the A 21+ gain knobs fully clockwise when conditions permit.

    You would only reduce the gain knobs on the A 21+ if your preamp gain is really high. A preamp with high gain and a potentiometer/knob volume control benefits from reducing the amp gain. This will prevent “hair trigger” volume control and assure uniform L and R volume at low listening levels.


    Like Blake1 my A21+ also had some issues, but with the left channel. I was getting a buzz through the channel that would start fairly low in volume and increase as the amp warmed up. I was outside the 30 day return window to my dealer but they worked with Parasound to setup a repair. Turns out the main filter capacitor connections were loose and they secured them. Since I've had the amp back it's been solid and thankfully no more left channel buzzing!
     
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  22. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Not inspiring much reliability confidence int he a21+ !

    I just ordered an a21+ and would like to ask some opinions. Reviews are all over thee place but usually positive.
    Are the highs really rolled off and lacking sparkle?
    Is midrange transparency excellent?
    Finally how about refinement?
     
  23. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    thanks for the info- there should be something in the manual about gain adjustment- after all it is a "control" on the amplifier.
    JL audio has a nice process to set the gain on their mobile audio amps- you play a 1khz test tone at 3/4 volume and measure the output voltage- no speakers connected. adjust the gain to reach a listed voltage depending on your amp. works like a charm.

    Amplifier Level Setting Guide
     
  24. Catcher10

    Catcher10 I like records, and Prog...duh

    When I had amp/preamp setup this is what I would do, it's very easy with a digital volt meter just read the speaker outs on the amp or the speaker cable connectors. Also if for some reason you have a channel imbalance you can adjust for that, just make sure that test tone is of good quality.
     
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  25. BdoUK

    BdoUK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    I was a little shocked to have an issue with my A21+ given Parasound's reputation. For the most part it's an incremental improvement over the A21 which has been in production since the early 2000s, so really didn't expect to run into any build issues even with it being a relatively new model. I was convinced that the buzz in my left channel had to be caused by something else in my system, but after days of troubleshooting I found it had to be isolated to the Parasound.

    As far as sound signature goes I like what I hear from the A21+. My prior two channel amp was a Rotel RB-1090 and I really liked it as well, but the Parasound definitely has more body in the bass region. Since getting the Parasound I haven't really had a chance to crank it for an extended period due to having a new baby and Covid keeping us all in the house, but from what I've heard it is an improvement on the Rotel I previously owned.
     

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