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2 channel add-on to AV system, good combination?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Daneel, Feb 26, 2005.

  1. Daneel

    Daneel
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    Primare Pre30
    Parasound A23

    I've just bought these and am waiting for them to arrive. Although I'm generally happy with my system it is lacking something for stereo music and having heard many, many times that it's my receiver holding me back, I thought I'd go down this route. As well as adding the preamp I wanted a stereo power amp with balanced inputs as several people have commented in reviews that the Pre30 sounds better that way.

    I guess the combination of Swedish preamp and american power amp looks a little strange but here is my thinking.

    I demoed the Primare A30.5 quite sometime ago with my receiver as preamp and B&W 602 s3 speakers. The Primare gave a night and day difference in sound and I was very pleased with the result.

    At the time though it was the first power amp I'd demoed and I didn't want to buy it without trying some others. By the time I realised that nothing else in the price bracket sounded as good as the Primare with music it was too late and the A30.5 had been sold (2nd hand, local guy).

    One thing that did concern me with the Primare was that in direct mode on my receiver it really didn't sound very good. My room tends to boost the bass and suck out the midrange a little. However turning on EQ (the Pioneer uses a microphone and pink noise test tones to flatten out the response) on my receiver made the primare sound great.

    Not long after that I tried a Parasound A23. I was quite impressed with the clean sound, imaging and seperation but it was too bright for me. I had a feeling it was a combination of the metal tweeter in my B&Ws and my receiver. Anyway, I declined to buy it.

    Fast forward 6 months to 2 weeks ago when I demoed the Naim NAC 202 & NAP 200. I tried the same speakers (Spendor S6e) with both the Naim and a A30.1. The 30.1 sounded dull and uninvolving compared to the Naim which actually sounded not so different to my home set-up with EQ on.

    After a few days and a lot of reading it occured to me that with my Electras the highs were cleaner which should make the brightness of the Parasound nice rather than too much. The Pre30 seems to be very well regarded and I've been told many times that it's my Pioneer holding me back for music. The way reviews described the sound, I thought that in combination with the A23 rather than it's normal partner the A30.2, it could sound excellent.

    That's the theory anyway :)

    I'm sure now that I'll be told that my CDP is the weak link, but that's another debate and I've typed quite enough already!

    I'll know soon enough if I was right or have made a complete hash of it :)
     
  2. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    Your CDP will be the weak link!!!! :rotfl: (Just had to get that one in....)
    No, all in all I think you've thought it through pretty well. An interesting combination but it should be a complimentary one. From what i've heard of the Parasound amps you'd be spot on. Not sure about the Primare as it's been a while since I heard one, if I remember rightly I thought the 30 sounded a little harsh for my tastes.
    As a 2 channel based system combined with your 926's it should be stunning.
    Naim tends to be a little 'in your face' (apologies to all you naim lovers) The parasound is a bit more refined and subtle and should balance out the Primare nicely.
     
  3. Daneel

    Daneel
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    Thanks Knightshade.

    It's good to know my logic makes some sense to someone other than me. :)

    I'm a little concerned that you found the Primare harsh but I've not seen that comment made in any reviews I've read nor have I heard it myself. That's exactly the kind of sound I'm trying to get away from.

    From the last thread on the topic of CDPs it would seem that I am very close to the point (judging by RRP) at which hearing the difference between them should be possible.

    I am interested in changing the CDP, just for the fact that my Arcam doesn't have balanced outputs and I'm using balanced pre and power amps. The OEM version of the Inca Design Katana is looking tempting.

    I could also use the Arcam (or my DVD player?) as a transport and add a DAC with XLR output. Would that be the better option? Any suggestions for reasonable money?
     
  4. Daneel

    Daneel
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    The Primare has arrived :)

    [​IMG]

    The remote is pretty spiffy too, by chance it happens to control my Arcam CDP.

    [​IMG]

    I'm not ready to go into its performance just yet. I'm using it through the 1205A to bi-amp my fronts at the moment. I should get my hands on the A23 tomorrow. All I'll say is that it is an improvement but not as dramatic as changing the power amp but then it shows its effect in a different way.
     
  5. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    Very nice.
    Nice to see a sensible remote too!
    Guess we'll have an update when you tear yourself away from it. :)

    Don't forget to eat....
     
  6. Daneel

    Daneel
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    The new Parasound is here :)

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    One thing that as struck me immediately is that the A23 is nothing like as bright as the one I demoed last time, in fact, I'm not sure I could tell it from the 1205A. I'm very tired, but still, the last time the difference hit me in the face. Maybe it's because the Primare is in the loop, the previous time the Pioneer was connected directly to the A23.
     

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