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Parasound amps appreciation thread

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

  1. malagacoolers

    malagacoolers Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Highly considering a Parasound A21+, it’s in competition with a few other amplifiers, one of them being the Benchmark AHB2. For any purchasers of the A21+ that were also looking at the AHB2, what inevitably made you decide on the A21+ ?
     
    wgb113 and EHUDson like this.
  2. DPC

    DPC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    At your service (also a model of my audio room)...
    Aurum Cantus really do have among the nicest finishes I've ever seen on speakers.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Catcher10, 33na3rd, EHUDson and 4 others like this.
  3. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eagle, ID, USA
    ACK !!! As Bill the Cat says ... ! NICE system and setup. I can’t imagine I’ll ever be able to upgrade but we’ll see ! I do have the stair climber cart, I think a previous version. I used it to get my speakers up the stairs. When I got the A 21 my daughter and SIL hauled it upstairs for me!
     
    33na3rd, Monty12 and DPC like this.
  4. DPC

    DPC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    Necessity breeds invention...and new tools. That stair dolly will be very useful in the years to come (I know I'm not getting any younger...). And no Class D amps for me...:)
     
    Rick58 likes this.
  5. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Perfect Sound Through Crystal Clear Digital

    Oh my goodness, those speakers are stunning, WOW!!! I also noticed you did not overkill the subs. So many people purchase these HUGE subs with huge drivers, you stayed with subs that will truly enhance your loudspeakers, it's all just such a beautiful system, thanks so much for posting. I have never seen those loudspeakers before, and you are right, the finish is magnificent indeed, beautiful! The build and finish remind me of the Aerial model 7T, however your finish seems to be even more advanced than Michael Kelly's creation. I can only imagine how your high frequencies sound, just WOW!!

    7T | Aerial Acoustics
     
    Monty12, DPC and Rick58 like this.
  6. DPC

    DPC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    ..and thanks for comp on the system. I've built all my racks/stands/vinyl shelves myself and really enjoy both the audio and woodworking hobbies.
     
  7. DPC

    DPC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    thanks bob.
    yes - I purposely kept the subs smallish knowing I'd sacrifice the lowest of frequencies, but they work with my speakers very very well, and look very nice with them (gloss black).
    Aurum Cantus are a Chinese brand...not sure who imports them to the States right now; I've had these for almost 15-yrs (in fact, I needed a more appropriate amp for them at the time... thus the A21). They "specialize" in ribbons, and mine just sound great with the A21/A21+. All their cabinets are special.
     
    bever70 and Rick58 like this.
  8. EHUDson

    EHUDson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL, USA
    3 Years ago, I bi-amped a pair of Parasound A23 amps with my Benchmark Dac 2 HGC Preamp going to my Revel F206 speakers. This was a nice setup, but I found the bottom was a little loose without as much clarity and upper midrange as I would have liked. 2 Years ago I switch to the Benchmark AHB2, because I thought that would be better suited to go with my Dac 2. Well, It definitely has clarity. The AHB2 is one of the most detailed amps I've heard. With my speakers it can sound pretty sterile. It is very balanced and neutral, but it lacks some warmth which can make any edgy recording sound brutal to listen to. Well recorded music sounds great, though. The problem is the AHB2 paired with my Revel speakers didn't have the "Mojo" that made me want tap my toes or get up and move to the music. I changed out interconnects thinking that would help. (Morrow MA4 to Cardas Iridium interconnects) It did to some degree, but not the way that mattered.

    5 Weeks ago I bought a used Parasound A21 from Music Direct and listened to that for 2 weeks. I knew it had the Mojo I was looking for after it settled in by the end of the second week. The biggest difference between the AHB2 and the A21 was that the music was enjoyable again. I found with the A21 there was a liveliness to the low end, the Sterile high frequencies the AHB2 pushed were now mellowed out a little. The only couple drawbacks I heard was a little less detail, and the soundstage of the A21 wasn't as focused or as wide as the AHB2.

    3 Weeks ago After I sold my AHB2 and a couple other cables I had, I now had more money than I paid for the used A21. So...... I returned the A21, and purchased a new A21+ from Music Direct. I noticed immediately the sound had greater focus and a wider soundstage. It started off dynamically congested to be expected. It too had the mojo I had been looking for with a wonderful balanced sound. But, now I am on a cyclical burn-in period with the A21+. IMO, anyone who doesn't believe in burn-in is either lucky with buying gear that doesn't exhibit the effects or is not playing the same test music regularly to listen for the differences. I have heard gear start off bright and become neutral. Some start off muffled and become neutral too. The A21+ started a cyclical pattern of burning in to me. I play music about 11hrs a day and record the total time in my "Reminders" app on my phone. It starts off Neutral and congested. 4 Days later it sounds edgy and bright. 4 Days later it sounds smooth, Dynamic and neutral. I feel this is where this amp sounds AMAZING! It continues this pattern every ~4 days. Every time the edgy cycle is lessened. I am currently at 248 hrs and I think I'm in the best sounding edgy period thus far. I can't wait until it completely balances out.
     
    wgb113, Monty12, Catcher10 and 5 others like this.
  9. malagacoolers

    malagacoolers Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Wow! Thank you for your detailed review. I would love to continue to hear updates about the A21+ from you.
     
    Rick58, Monty12 and EHUDson like this.
  10. jcn3

    jcn3 Forum Resident

    Location:
    NH
    glad you're diggin' the a21+ -- i've got a jc-5 and agree that parasound halo amps make it fun to listen to music! i went to the jc-5 from an a-21 (also an excellent amp) -- i would imagine the a21+ sounds much like the jc-5.
     
  11. Audiofan1

    Audiofan1 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    States
    Same! I went from an A21 to the Jc5 and since it's been in my system since Oct 2020 let's just say it's a very,very special amp!
     
    Monty12, Rick58 and jcn3 like this.
  12. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    Can't you just move that shelf with your marantz an inch upwards ? Drill some holes and stuf you know...
     
    Rick58 likes this.
  13. malagacoolers

    malagacoolers Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    As much as I enjoy the quality of a nice audiophile record from the likes of Analogue Productions, MoFi, etc. I'm equally if not more into collecting rare world funk and soul music from labels like Mr. Bongo, Numero Group, Now Again, Analog Africa, etc. These tunes, although unbelievable, are not always recorded the best. I wouldn't want an amp that makes lo-fi or poorly recorded music basically unlistenable.
     
    EHUDson and Eigenvector like this.
  14. Bill Mac

    Bill Mac Forum Resident

    Location:
    So. ME USA
    What type of amp makes poorly recorded music sound better and listenable?
     
  15. StriderTB

    StriderTB Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    It's easier to just remove the whole shelf. It's my girlfriend's furniture, I just keep my stuff on it. ;)
     
    EHUDson, Rick58 and bever70 like this.
  16. malagacoolers

    malagacoolers Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Didn't mention anything about an amp that makes poorly recorded music sound better and listenable. However, the user who I was responding to did mention that the AHB2 is so neutral that it can make a less than stellar recording sound harsh.
     
  17. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    I heard the AHB2 at the AXPONA audio show and it sounded incredible but the music was selected to play to its strengths, it was some delicate ethereal music.
    I was all ready to pull the trigger but learned that my dealer had just stopped selling Benchmark items. I had also heard the original a21 many times and liked it a lot but it was a little too warm and forgiving and seemed to hide detail.
    After previous 100 watt per channel amplifiers ran out of steam at volume in my room I tried a 200 WPC amp and loved the power and authority it had - more dynamics and deeper bass even at low volumes. Unfortunately it was not very refined sounding.
    Then the a21+ was released and it was more transparent and detailed than the a21 while still being somewhat smooth and forgiving.
    I ordered one and it has been playing constantly since last summer and sounds excellent. In hindsight I am glad that I did not get the AHB2 because 100 WPC is not enough for the dynamics and controlled bass I enjoy and I do not find two Benchmarks to be a good value proposition.
    Very happy with the sound of my system- also preamps really matter too.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2021
    wgb113, Monty12, EHUDson and 3 others like this.
  18. BdoUK

    BdoUK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    My second Parasound amp (A52+) will be delivered today. I've had the A21+ for almost a year and it's been great so far. The A52+ will replace my Rotel RMB-1075 and drive my center, side surround and back surround speakers. I'm really curious how it does with my new Revel C426Be center channel, should be a great match!
     
  19. malagacoolers

    malagacoolers Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Thank you! This helps me out a lot.
     
  20. terzinator

    terzinator boots lost in transit

    Location:
    Minnesota
    For those with a HINT6 or P6 (0r similar) that have internal phono stages (who play records), what are you using for a phono stage?

    I had a $500 Van Alstine phono preamp with my HINT6, and I think it sounded really good. But I moved that down to the basement system, and now I'm using the HINT6's internal phono preamp.

    I'm horrible at comparing something after the fact (especially if there's been a bit of time between listens), but i feel like the Van Alstine sounded better. Ahdunno. Might just be confirmation bias about internal phono stages.

    So, for those with turntables, are you using the built-in? External? Comparisons? Bang-for-buck choice? Better than internal, but not silly stupid expensive?

    (I could start a separate thread, but there are already a billion phono-stage threads. And I'm really more curious about those of you with Parasound stuff what you've chosen to use, and if you feel the internal phono pre is up to snuff.)
     
  21. Bill Mac

    Bill Mac Forum Resident

    Location:
    So. ME USA
    True, you did not... my mistake. I'm honestly curious as to what type of amp would make poorly recorded music sound better. Would the same type of amp then have an adverse or positive effect on well recorded music?
     
  22. EHUDson

    EHUDson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL, USA
    I agree with how wattage helps drive the right speakers. The Benchmark AHB2 has 100watts per channel in comparison to either A21 or the A21+ 250 or 300W. The AHB2 would make a great pairing with smoother sounding speakers. Maybe non-metal dome tweeters with higher Sensitivity . In the Stereophile review of the A21+ Kalman Rubinson thought the low end on a pair of AHB2s was a little more taut and nimble. That's with using them in bridged mono with 380W. I feel like the clarity and soundstage match that of the AHB2. I prefer the A21+ tone (balance), highs and low end control over the AHB2.
     
    Rick58 and Monty12 like this.
  23. Catcher10

    Catcher10 I like records, and Prog...duh

    The internal HINT phono pre is very good, but depends on what cart you are using. With my Nagaoka MP200 great sounding for sure, my AT OC9ML/II is also very good since it really likes about 100 ohms loading......With my Lyra Delos it's not good enough, it's ok but the sound is not detailed enough for the loading the Delos needs to see, I would not be getting what the Delos can do.

    I use Musical Surroundings Nova II preamp, battery powered so it's off the grid. The Nova II gives me oodles of adjustability that the Delos requires so the sound now is dynamic and full of resolution, well beyond what the Delos should do. So again, I think it depends on the cart you are running.
     
  24. terzinator

    terzinator boots lost in transit

    Location:
    Minnesota
    Super mainstream MM: Shure V15 type IV. (Thorens TD-124 with an SME3009)
     
    Rick58 and Catcher10 like this.
  25. malagacoolers

    malagacoolers Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    The speakers I have my eye on have a Custom RAAL Ribbon Tweeter 70-20xr with AM Core Transformer - what would be the better fit between the Parasound A21+ and the Benchmark AHB2?

    Link to speaker specs

     

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