Full Review On My Parasound HCA-1205A *Long*

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Greg Haynes, Jun 25, 2002.

  1. Greg Haynes

    Greg Haynes Supporting Actor

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    Well, I finally got a chance to write a review for my newly acquired Parasound 1205A. Been house hunting this past weekend and it's been taking up alot of my time. Finally getting out of a townhouse and looking to get into a new single family home. I can't wait [​IMG]
    **First Impressions**
    I received my 1205A on Thursday from Mr. UPS man and we both commented the same thing. Boy is this amp HEAVY. Especially very front heavy. I have to comment that Parasound does a very good job on packaging their amps. The amp came double boxed and was very secured in the box. Perfect condition [​IMG]
    Taking it out of the box I got that new equipment smell back in my house which for some reason I love to smell. I examined the amp for the first time. This might sound kind of funny but I got all excited looking at the THX Ultra stamp. This is my first piece of equipment that is THX Ultra certified. Anyway, after looking at the amp I definitely can see why everybody complains about the length. The amp measures in at 19" and it sticks a good 4" out from the back of my rack. Hook up was extremely easy. I used Outlaw's PCA audio interconnects. BTW, these cables are sweet. They easily exceeded my expectations on them. Very good build quality. I especially like the locking RCA connections. Kudos to Outlaw [​IMG]
    I set all gains to max as stated in the manual if you want THX certified sound levels. I then broke out VE and started calibrating sound levels. I knew I would have to change some settings but I didn't realize I was know running +4 decibel's hot on all channels. So I guess if anybody that recently bought an amp and hasn't re-calibrated please check your settings because I'm sure you'll need to lower your levels. Well after lowering the levels, I then turned down the lights. Got comfortable in my sweet spot and began a 4 hour audio journey. For the first 2 hours I listened to nothing but 2ch.
    My equipment for testing:
    Denon 3802
    Toshiba 5109
    Sony Mega Changer (Used as a transport)
    Paradigm 60's
    Paradigm CC
    Polk 35i's (Sides)
    Polk RC85i's Inwalls (Rear)
    SVS 20-39CS w/ Samson S1000
    First CD I tried was James Taylor's Hourglass album. The song was Gaia. I listened to this song several times and the first thing I immediately noticed was the quietness. The sound became so clean that it was perfectly quiet in between voices and instruments. When Taylor began to sing the imaging was drop dead amazing. His voice was so clear and so center stage. With every song the imaging was amazing. I know if anyone came in they would bet that my center speaker was turned on. I now can now hear instruments coming from in front of my Paradigm 60's and from BEHIND. The sound is truly amazing. My sound stage went from 9' wide to 18' wide. Music was coming in from all directions. And again this was only in 2ch. Midbass tightened up dramatically. Lower bass improved but not as dramatic as the imaging and midbass performed. I had my sub set to off. *NOTE* I will explain about the bass for HT later.
    I then listened to Alice in Chains UNPLUGGED. WOW! The guitars were amazing. I never realized the separation there was on this CD. I could easily visualize where everybody was sitting. I switched and started listening to Sade Greatest Hits, The Sopranos Soundtrack, Dave Matthews, Eric Clapton Unplugged, Depeche Mode, Natalie Merchant & many others. All of them shocked me.
    Well after 2hrs and a bathroom break later I then switched gears and started to test it's ability with HT. First DVD of course would be SW[​IMG]hantom Menace. THX intro nearly blew me away, literally. The bass was so much more powerful than I have every experienced before. I had to keep replaying it. I couldn't understand how there could be so much more bass especially after I commented that I didn't noticed that much low end on music. And the thing is that it wasn't boomy bass but bass that you could feel but not hear. It was so low. I have a single 20-39CS it has never performed this well, so I guess my Paradigm's were reaching new lows. I have all my speakers set to small and crossed at 80hz. So I am wondering if anybody else has experienced this? The pod race scene was jaw-dropping. The sound was so DYNAMIC. The sound was coming from everywhere. The thing that stikes me is the level of detail that I'm hearing now. From the biggest of explosion to the insects chirping you can hear everything. I think Ron-P put it best that it's like taking a sheet off all your speakers. The sound is so clear. Voices are now more life-like.
    I then tried Black Hawk Down, and it too was sounded like a different movie. The movie became more alive. It bought more into the movie. The bass again was so deep. Truly incredible [​IMG]
    I then tried a series of movies, SPR, JPI&II, DTS Demo Disks 3-5, T2. All amazing.
    The only thing that I would like to bring up is that this amp gets extremely HOT!!!! I have plenty of ventilation for the amp with about 6" of clearance at the top and after playing the movies I literally could not hold my hand on top of the amp for more than 3 seconds without pulling away. I might need to look into a fan.
    FINAL CONCLUSION
    This amp has made the biggest difference. I didn't want to get overly excited after hearing from some people that the difference might only be subtle. Well if this was subtle to some people I can't imagine what a big difference would be for them [​IMG] It has improved everything, and for the money I HIGHLY RECOMMEND buying this amp. It was worth every penny!!!!
    BUY THIS AMP WITHOUT HESITATION (4 STARS [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] ) UPDATE: I giving this amp one more [​IMG] based on Keith's post below :b
    I look forward to hearing from other Parasound owners.
     
  2. Angelo_Petralba

    Angelo_Petralba Second Unit

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    Excellent Review Greg![​IMG] I had the same experience as you and I find myself going home (5 mins away [​IMG]) for Lunch just to listen to some music!
    1 question..how did you hook up the 12V trigger?
    Thanks
    Angelo
     
  3. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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  4. Jimmy Kilgour

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    Great review,Greg.I've had a 1205A since mid-April (mated with a Parasound AVC-2500U pre/pro)and I couldn't agree more- it's fantastic amp.
     
  5. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

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  6. Michael Mathius

    Michael Mathius Supporting Actor

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    Very nice review Greg. Boy does it run hot.
     
  7. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    Good observation Greg. On your old thread, I commented on the exact same thing. While the instruments/voices are playing louder, it is actually so much quieter as far as undesired "noise."

    I'm in audio bliss. There's NOTHING subtle about the improvement. It is Major!!!

    And the best thing...where can you get this nice a piece of equipment (built like a tank) and this much significant sonic improvement for the price you could get these things for from Ubid. I feel so lucky and fortunate that people on this forum pointed out that Ubid was the place to go for Parasound.

    Our experiences were quite similar, except one departure. Rather than being so enraptured by the THX Ultra stamp on the front. I was enamored with the way PARASOUND is etched into the top of the unit.

    Good luck on the new house.
     
  8. BobRoulier

    BobRoulier Second Unit

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    I have the parasound 2205 with studio 100s, I find myself not wanting to go to bed at night[​IMG] wonder what the halo line is gonna be like[​IMG]
    Bob
     
  9. Greg Haynes

    Greg Haynes Supporting Actor

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    Thank you everyone for your nice words.
     
  10. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Greg, congratulations! Sounds like a great amp. Only four stars? Where did the fifth one go? [​IMG]
     
  11. Greg Haynes

    Greg Haynes Supporting Actor

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  12. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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  13. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Greg, much better. [​IMG]
     
  14. Greg Haynes

    Greg Haynes Supporting Actor

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    Does anybody run a intake or exhaust fan for the 1205A?
     
  15. Kevin Deacon

    Kevin Deacon Second Unit

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    Most Parasound amps are built to run hot. I have the HCA-2200II and it gets hot so that I can't touch it, but I have never seen the red warning lights on front light up.

    Conversely, I also have the HCA-22003A and it only gets warm, even after a heavy movie scene at reference level. Kind of strange that some models get hot and others don't even though their specs are very close.
     
  16. Vlad D

    Vlad D Screenwriter

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    Great post Greg. As good as my 855 sounds I can only imagine what the 1205 sounds like.
    I have to say that the 855 runs hot too.
    And yes, the Parasound logo is very cool. [​IMG]
     
  17. Chas_T

    Chas_T Supporting Actor

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    I posed a question to the Parasound tech support about the 855A getting very hot.

    This is the answer I received from their tech support.

     
  18. Juan_R

    Juan_R Supporting Actor

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    Can you guys tell me, if you can, where you got your amp from and for how much. I will be ordering a 5ES and from all the reviews I think I want to mate it with the Parasound.
     
  19. Vlad D

    Vlad D Screenwriter

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    Ubid.
    Right now all they have is a 2205A. Current bid is $1119.
    Check back often, as I'm sure they'll other models soon.
    If you're interested here is a link to the 2205A.
    Good luck.
     
  20. Greg Haynes

    Greg Haynes Supporting Actor

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