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Parasound Halo - which power amp ?

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by rags, Nov 10, 2003.

  1. rags

    rags
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    Hello all,

    Well I have sold my Rotel power amp (1095) and am upgrading to a Parasound Halo series amp and processor. My processor decision has been made and I am going for the C2 as I am not willing to pay an extra £1500 for the colour screen on the C1 !

    However, I cant make my mind up on which mulitchannel amp to go for from the range. The options are -

    1. A52 (£1,700) - 225w x 5 - 4 ohms
    2. A51 (£3,500) - 400w x 5 - 4 ohms

    I am going to use the amp to drive M&K 850 series speakers - I have had a listen to the A51 running B&W Nautilus speakers and the sound was simply awesome. However am I going OTT by using it with my 850's ?

    My inclination is to go for the A52 and save some money for a good DVD player, but I have never heard it. I am also concerned that it's power output is lower than the Rotel 1095 that I have just sold and it may not drive the speakers well enough - they are power hungry but are rated at 200w max (not that the rating means much though)

    Any thoughts / opinions would be welcome. Specs are on the link below.

    http://www.parasound.com/halonew/amplifiers.asp

    Thanks
     
  2. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Buy a second hand Bryston 9B-ST. :)
     
  3. rags

    rags
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    I tried a 9BSST with a SP1.7 and didnt like the sound too much with movies. I found it to be a bit bland especially on the rear fill. That's probably down to the processor but I am not sure how the 9BSST will perform with the Halo C2 controller.

    Also the 9BSST is rated in terms of output the same / similar to the Halo A52 so it will leave me with a similar question.
     
  4. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Bland?! :eek:

    :nono:

    Try "accurate".


    ;)

    Takes all sorts, I guess.


    Oh, you didn't accidentally have the dynamic range control switched on, did you? That's rather easy to do with the SP1.7, and it's confusingly labeled. The "normal" setting still uses DRC, while the "max" setting doesn't....
     
  5. rags

    rags
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    Nic - re the DRC TBH dont really know but I guess / hope the sales assistant got it right.

    I just wasnt overwhelmed with the sound as I was with the Halo combo. With the Bryston it all just seemed to be coming form the front. I guess it's down to personal preference otherwise we would all be buying the same gear wouldnt we (subject to budget of course) ?

    However I didnt compare them directly and they were running different speakers. Also in terms of retail price the Brystons add another £2k+ to the equation and even if I liked them I need to have a backstop somewhere :(
     
  6. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    :)

    But if you're seriously thinking about spending £3500 on a 5-channel amp, do a side-by-side comparison with a Bryston 9B-SST first. And remember that you can get a second hand 9B-ST for only about £2000 these days.

    Check out the Arcam P7 as well.
     
  7. alexs2

    alexs2
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    As Nic suggests,do try some other AV amps as well,and also worth considering are the Arcam P7,and the Krell KAV series amps,some of which are available at good prices secondhand,as well as the Parasound Halo amps you've mentioned,which are excellent amps in any case.
     
  8. rags

    rags
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    I'll give the 9BSST another go as the dealer I am purchasing from sells both Bryston and Parasound. It's dearer than the A51 and it offers a lot less power output but that is not the be all and end all. I am looking to buy new as for me personally it works out better.

    Re the SP1.7 just to provide some further clarification and to give you guys some more words to slate me on - I found that for 2 channel music it was excellent and was better than the Halo. However with films it couldnt hold a candle to the Halo. The difference was fairly large although I will admit that I did not do a back to back comparison. Maybe to describe it as bland was excessive but it was certainly lacklustre. Even the dealer agreed and I dont think he was biased either way. Stereo listening is not as important as home cinema for me.

    Alex - I have never listened to a Krell multichannel amp and tbh never seen one for sale second hand. How much are they new - can only be very expensive I assume - and how much do they go for second hand.
    I have dem'd the Arcam combo but for me it's slightly wasted as although I have considered the idea of seven speakers I have firmly decided against it. I did like it though.
     
  9. alexs2

    alexs2
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    The Krell multichannel amps sound not surprisingly like their bigger brothers,with a very good,well controlled sound field and loads of reserve.
    Obviously they don't have the ultimate power of the Class A amps,but really very good for the price.
    I've seen KAV250's on ebay from time to time,and the going price seems to be around the £2k mark.
     
  10. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    My suspicion remains that there was a problem with the setup: to my ears the SP1.7 is a substantial step up from the likes of the Arcam AV8 and Tag AV32Rbp192, and on a par with the Meridian 568.2 and dual-SHARC Tag. I've not heard the Halo processor, but I would be surprised if it was substantially superior to all of the other processors in the same price bracket. However, it may just be a matter of personal preference. It always surprises me just how different two people's opinions of the same equipment can be! :)


    One thing I will say for Bryston is that their warranty policy is second to none. All Bryston products are guaranteed for a full 20 years from when they leave the factory. This makes buying second hand Bryston equipment a lot less nerve-wracking than is the case for most other manufacturers.


    One very nice feature of the P7 is that it is designed to make it really easy to bi-amp. Each channel has not only an input but also a pass-through line-level output as well. So you don't need to invest in a splitter to bi-amp things, just another cable. So, assuming your speakers are bi-ampable, the two "spare" channels are unlikely to go to waste. And if you like it at least as much as any 5 channel amp that costs the same price, is the presence of two extra channels necessarily a problem?
     
  11. rags

    rags
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    I dont think my M&K 850's are biampable. - that part of the problem. Also the deals I am getting on Bryston and Parasound make their combo's cheaper than what the Arcam lists at. If the Arcam sounded better I would go for it and although it is very very good I just preferred the Parasound.

    Anyway I am going to try both the Bryston and the Parasound processors again (I had a chat with the dealer last night) with their respective amps, running the same set of speakers, in the same demo room and back to back before I make a decision.

    Does anyone know whether Bryston offer a worldwide warranty with their products ?
     
  12. lowrider

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    Yes, it is worldwide, and regardless of buyer, they just care about date of manufacture... :smashin:
     
  13. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    If you want to get a piece of Bryston equipment repaired under guarantee in the UK then you have to talk to PMC who are Bryston's UK distributor. The last time I checked with Bryston about "international" warranty policies the position was that if you had bought a piece of equipment from an american dealer then PMC wouldn't be prepared to repair it under warranty, so it would have to be shipped back to America for repair. However, if someone else bought a piece of equipment in america, then brought it over here, and you then bought it off him 2nd hand in this country, PMC wouldn't have a problem with repairing it for you under warranty.


    You can get a Bryston 9B-SST for less than £2500?! Where?!
     
  14. lovegroova

    lovegroova
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    A quick search on Ebay shows a chap from Australia selling a Krell Theater Amplifier Standard http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2571472855&category=23787

    May be worth a look although beware the distance.

    I must admit I am at a bit of a loss as to why you sold the Rotel only to be considering replacing it with the A52 Parasound, I'd be surprised if it were much, if any, of an upgrade...the A51 on the other hand...
     
  15. rags

    rags
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    Lovegroova - yes thinking more about the A51 now.

    Nic - that an imported price inc VAT and Customs. What a stupid rule by PMC though - I suppose you can easily get round it.

    Lowrider - yes thats what I would have thought if this a worldwide warranty but see Nic's post.

    With Parasound it's a US only warranty so if anything goes wrong you have to ship it back there. Dont think it's a huge issue though.
     
  16. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    You do need to be a little bit careful about using power amplifiers in this country that were designed for a different mains voltage and frequency. There are plenty of devices that can supply 115V, but not all of them can deliver enough current to satisfy a hungry power amplifier's peak requirements.

    Do you mind my asking where you're buying from? Or don't you want to get the dealer into trouble by advertising it? :)

    (Don't forget to factor in the cost of insured shipping, btw. And be aware that many U.S. businesses will only accept credit cards issued by U.S. banks. It's a bit of a minefield.)
     
  17. rags

    rags
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    The Parasound is multivoltage anyway and the Bryston will be converted at the factory before it is shipped. Eitherway not a problem.
     
  18. Steve.EX

    Steve.EX
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    Krell's are not unrealistically priced if you are prepared to wait. In the last 2 weeks alone there has been an 8 year old KSA100 (2x100w) for 495.00 - which i missed by an hour or so (non e-bay)
    On E-bay a few days back a ???500 (5x100w) went for 1360.00 and there is an admittedly old KSA50 about for 595.00 at present (non e-bay)

    Regards

    Steven
     
  19. rags

    rags
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    Nic,

    Just saw your post in the classiifeds - your selling your Bryston SP1.7 and buying a TAG Dual Sharc machine :eek: :confused:

    Are you not getting on with your SP1.7 as much as you thought you would. Just joking but whats going on ?
     
  20. lowrider

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    Nic,

    Dont forget to test Krell Showcase´s analag pass... :rolleyes:
     
  21. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    I'm getting rather disenchanted with the whole system, to tell you the truth. I don't actually think the SP1.7 is really to blame. It's partly miserable room acoustics, partly not spending quite long enough on auditioning speakers to realise how much I was going to have to spend on them to do the Bryston electronics justice.

    (My general gloom on the AV front is also to do with the truly miserable rate at which my hearing loss is accelerating. I had a hearing test the other day and I was really startled by just how much worse it's got just in the past couple of years. It may well be the case that it's only the next year or two that I'll retain enough hearing ability for there to be any point in owning a sound system at all. :( )

    Anyhow, I've sadly already reached the absolute upper limit on significant capital expenditure, now. Buying speakers that are substantially better than B&W Nautilus 803s, or investing in enough Auralex treatment to make a significant difference to the room response, would require the outlay of thousands rather than hundreds of pounds more, which I simply don't have.

    So I'm considering the heavy duty EQ route instead. As an experiment I've ordered a Behringer UltraCurve 8024: it'll be interesting to see what difference that makes. If the difference turns out to be significantly positive then I will certainly seriously consider switching to a processor that supports TMREQ (which, I can only hope, is more effective than sticking Behringer equipment in the analogue signal path).

    Of course it was fairly typical of the way my life goes that after dithering about which processor to buy for the better part of a year, I finally opted for a brand new SP1.7, only to have ex demo dual-SHARC Tag AV32Rs selling for £2300 just two weeks after it arrived, and then jump back up to full price again by the time I'd realised I might have been better off buying one them. :mad:
     
  22. rags

    rags
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    What Dacs does the SP1.7 use ? Are the 192 like the dual sharc or 96 ?

    Also apart from the Tag's do any other current processors use the 192 ?
     
  23. lowrider

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    Krell Showcase also has 192 + EQ, not quite as versatile as TMREQ, only thirds of octave, otherwise the same + 4 presets, it has an all analog class A bypass...

    Also, it sounds much better at low volumes, and more lively...

    Nic,

    I would trade the 803 by 805 signature, much easier to play well in a non perfect room... :rolleyes:
     
  24. buns

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    sp1.7 has 192kHz capable but only enabled to 96 for reasons of sonic quality.

    What about the meridian G Nic? That is what im going to look to shift to when money returns.....

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  25. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    I've listened to 805 sigs - liked the treble, didn't like the midrange.

    As for Meridian G series - well, if my money returned, then all sorts of possibilities would open up. :(
     
  26. buns

    buns
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    It's a pain isnt it? I just look at it that this is half the fun...... the only time you truly appreciate what you have is when it is gone, so having to upgrade and downgrade is perhaps giving a broader view and allowing more thorough appreciation...... of course this is my point of view since I am forced to purchase in order to demo, you perhaps dont see it the same way. In any case, I'll cross that your money returns! :)

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  27. lowrider

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    You cannot pick your first system, and get it perfect, no matter how much reading and auditioning, you have to do the learning curve, it takes a few upgrades until one understands how it works, the compromises to be made, etc... :rolleyes:

    I also thought the system I bought two and a half years ago would last, like you I spent a lot of time reading and auditioning, (maybe a little less than you ;) ), but apart from TV, rack and speaker stands, (and subwoofer, just bought a second of the same), I already changed everything at least twice... :suicide:
     
  28. rags

    rags
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    Nic are you selling your 803's - seriously thinking of getting them as they sounded brilliant through the Parasound A51 amp and controller.
     
  29. chrisgeary

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    Nic, can you describe what you mean by 'miserable room acoustics'? Have you got some horrendous nodes in your room?

    I, too, have been down the EQ route, but have since sold my equaliser in favour of using an 'anti-sub'. Located at the other end of the room, I use a SPL meter and watch as it's out-of-phase LFE signal slowly brings my room's main node down to acceptable levels. Without going into detail, the end result was the main node's amplitude was much nearer the rest of the spectrum, and the resonance associated with it nearly completely gone. Plus the opposite nodes' amplitudes, the ones that get cancelled out, increased resulting in a more balanced, tightly controlled bass response in my room.

    I learned that EQ can never solve resonance and the reverberation effect that goes with it, plus you cannot boost a frequency that the room wants to be cancel out.

    I hope this is relevant to your problems, because for years I was a hardcore believer in EQ, but now I have been converted! I'm not saying its perfect, but I think the effect of the anti-sub is more controllable, more effective and cleaner than EQ'ing. Well, it works for me anyway :D

    For reference, my room is about 15m long by 7 wide. Main node is at 33hz. Main speakers are Dynaudio Audience 122s, main sub is a REL Strata III, anti-sub is a REL Quake II. The main sub is set to 22hz crossover and works in conjunction with the mains (rather than as a discrete LFE channel).

    Chris
     
  30. rags

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    OK just been qouted a great price on the 803's - unbelievable that you can ge them for nearly half the price here given that they are made in the UK :mad: - how much do these weigh as shipping cost from the states may be prohibitive :eek:
     

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