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Upgrade from Sony ES to Halo C-2, WOW!


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51 replies to this topic

#1 of 52 Mike Keith

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Posted April 23 2004 - 05:16 AM

Well I finally have the Halo C2 set up and running properly.

I have spent the past 2 years getting my previous Sony ES (TA-E9000ES/2 TAN-9000ES) system fine tuned to sound it’s best, and just a few weeks ago I felt I had finally had achieved this goal. I was thoroughly convinced that there would be little if no difference in just switching out Processors, especially in the short run, as it took so long to get the Sony tweaked (software updates. Power cord ect..) for optimum performance, so I was reserved to spend a lot of time making the Halo integrate to the best of it’s ability.


What I wasn’t prepared for is the immediate change in dynamics, separation and clarity. Without even setting up the levels and distance, I noticed these attributes, and there were not at all subtle. I now have the settings done right thanks to the excellent Auto-Level and Auto-Distance calibration modes, everything is jelling perfectly. Man was I blown away last night while watching Master and Commander. The cannon fire had such impact and repercussion that it was downright hard to breath during these battle scenes, the shockwave from the blast compressed my chest cavity to an uncomfortable feeling. This thing makes action movies scary, and I can play my system at above reference levels without bottoming out my drivers, the Sony would not play nearly as loud and the drivers would clip right at ref levels, I truly didn’t know what I was missing. . I haven’t even hooked up my tactile transducers yet and the presentation already has more impact then it did with 4 Aura Bass Shakers in my couch fed by a 400 watt amp.

Music sounds much better as well, and had me going through all of my old favorites that I had given up on because of recording quality. Even with sub par recording quality I have found many of my discs sound so much better then I ever remember them sounding thanks to “DPLII” and “Natural Mode” these are great for music and adds ambiance for much better off-axis listening

The only drawback I have found is the lack of movie and music DSP modes (I like to experiment) but with such good sound I doubt I will miss that much, in truth I only used “live House” and “VM Rear” on the Sony with an occasional “6.1 matrix”.

What surprises me even more is how far DSP engines and Power Supplies have evolved, the Halo is a only about half the weight of the Sony, and the PS (switching) is tiny in comparison to the Sony. It used to be a tell tell sign of a HQ component to be heavy and hot, but this lightweight and relatively cool running Halo just stomps the crap out of my old Sony brute. Now im so happy with this new upgrade I can’t help but think of replacing my Sony ES amps with the Halo A-52’s, the only problem is I will have some very expensive paperweights laying around as the going used price for these units (Sony ES 9K) are shamefully low and hardly worth the trouble of selling.

BTW I read a professional review about the “Level Auto-Cal” where the author explains that the distance and level settings were very close to his manual settings except for the subwoofer distance which was way off. After reading the manual is has became clear that the author didn’t know what he was talking about, he should have just tried leaving these auto settings alone, it sounds better, even though it said my subs were 17 feet away and they are actually 7 feet away from the mic position. The manual explains that the auto cal does not go by physical distance but Acoustic distance, which accounts for the better delay settings that you cannot achieve with a tape measure. Anyway, the cannon balls bouncing through the ships hull were so believable I was jaw-dropped and riveted as I have never been before in an action scene. I would have never believed such an improvement in sound by just cleaning up the input signal, and better logic steering.

Bravo Parasound, great product, and thanks to Brent Huskins of Media Design in Fort Worth I was able to try in home without any obligation and got a great price on a b-stock unit with all the latest software, thanks Brent!

#2 of 52 Drew_W

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Posted April 23 2004 - 03:39 PM

Just curious as to what other equipment you're running...
I gave up on tracking my collection and actually started watching what I have.

#3 of 52 Mike Keith

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Posted April 24 2004 - 04:33 AM

All DIY and all active on the speaker end.
2 MTM mains with remote woofers (3-way)
Center and surrounds are 2-way
2-Maelstrom 18" Sonotubes

Electronics:
Sony Vega 27" TV
CDP-M555ES CD Mega Changer
DVP-NC650V DVD changer
Mackie 1400i (sub amp)
Adcom GFA-555 (woofer amp)
2 Sony TA-N9000ES 5-ch amps (front, rear, center amp)
Audio Control amp3 for tactile transducers
Behringer Feedback Destroyer (subs)
Marchand XM-93KK active 3-ch crossover
Marchand XM-44-4 active 4-way 2 ch crossover
KenwoodKD-650 Turn-Table with AQ404 cartridge

My DIY Speakers
http://www.geocities....s.html?1078331

#4 of 52 Jason Brent

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Posted May 09 2004 - 05:16 PM

Mike,

Lovely speakersPosted Image

#5 of 52 Lewis Besze

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Posted May 09 2004 - 07:45 PM

Quote:
Man was I blown away last night while watching Master and Commander. The cannon fire had such impact and repercussion that it was downright hard to breath during these battle scenes, the shockwave from the blast compressed my chest cavity to an uncomfortable feeling.
I was under the impression that the C-2 was a Pre/pro not a subwoofer!?I you didn't experience the same amount of bass with the Sony,then you might have missed something in the past 2 years tweeking it,or was just simply something wrong with it?

#6 of 52 Mike Keith

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Posted May 10 2004 - 09:44 AM

Quote:
I was under the impression that the C-2 was a Pre/pro not a subwoofer!?I you didn't experience the same amount of bass with the Sony,then you might have missed something in the past 2 years tweeking it,or was just simply something wrong with it?


That was my point, the C2 was a direct drop in replacement, without tweaking anything other then the C2's Auto Level and Auto Distance, there was that much difference between the Halo and the Sony. The difference in bass could probably be attributed to the fact the signal is so much cleaner then with the Sony that I can turn up the volume enough to get those chest compression effects, my Sony would distort the signal so much that the drivers would bottom out before I reached reference levels. BTW I left no stone unturned as far as tweaking and nothing was wrong with the Sony.

#7 of 52 Lewis Besze

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Posted May 10 2004 - 03:57 PM

Distort at line levels? I found that hard to believe. Most consumer type amps would need a couple of volts [input] for it to reach it's full otput power,now if a preamp can't supply that without substantial distorsion,then it's a crap or not functioning properly. I've heard no such thing about that pre/pro prior to your post.

#8 of 52 Mike Keith

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Posted May 11 2004 - 02:31 AM

Quote:
Distort at line levels? I found that hard to believe. Most consumer type amps would need a couple of volts [input] for it to reach it's full otput power,now if a preamp can't supply that without substantial distorsion,then it's a crap or not functioning properly. I've heard no such thing about that pre/pro prior to your post.


A preamp is still an amp, and with all the AD to DA conversion there is many opportunities for the signal to get jitter or distorted. Anyway, I'm not sure exactly why I'm able to turn the volume up louder without the distortion I had experienced with the Sony, it just seemed logical that the signal was somehow cleaner now, it certainly sounds cleaner.

You seem almost offended buy my experiences with these two components, is there something you need to get off your chest?

#9 of 52 Mike SJ

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Posted May 11 2004 - 02:48 AM

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#10 of 52 JackS

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Posted May 11 2004 - 04:10 AM

Mike- Your Parasound really is better. It's a uptodate modern pre-pro and I'd love to own one myself. As for huge sound improvements over the Sony I'd have to agree with others that there was something really wrong with the 9000 or that set-up was incomplete. Still, you have a very nice piece of equipment that should serve you many years just as the 9000 has (and still is) serving others. Keep in mind that in six years this post will be repeated by others who are now trading in their '04's for the new '010.

#11 of 52 Mike Keith

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Posted May 11 2004 - 04:30 AM

I simply have to disagree about there being anything wrong with the Sony, I sent the unit in twice for a full checkout and factory service bulletins to be installed, I had the latest firmware revision 2.01 and all the latest updates. I spent the better part of three years tweaking and comparing my results with others on a dedicated Sony TA-E9000ES forum, and besides some of the other regulars on this forum I would confidently say I knew more about the proper operation and fidelity of this model better then anyone else. I fanatically picked apart every combination and setup issue my system allowed and got a clean bill of health of the unit from Sony themselves. So enough about the doubt of my competence or ability to determine a bad unit, I’m quite well versed in the operation, repair and testing of electronic equipment. I build and calibrate equipment far more complicated and meticulous then any consumer electronics gear for a living.

#12 of 52 JackS

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Posted May 11 2004 - 04:47 AM

Mike- Well what can I say? You've owned both and I've owned neither. I have heard the 9000 which prompted me to buy the 777es about five years ago just to get the analog direct pass through that wasn't available on the 9000es. Sounds like tha Parasound should be on everyones "try out" before buying list. I will keep your opinion in mind at my next upgrade. Jack

#13 of 52 Lewis Besze

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Posted May 11 2004 - 09:15 AM

Quote:
um then noone on here or anwhere would say a pre/pro "colors" the sound. all that "coloring" is distortion
That's not what's being talked about here at least not by me.Posted Image
Quote:
A preamp is still an amp, and with all the AD to DA conversion there is many opportunities for the signal to get jitter or distorted
Jitter isn't affecting packeted data like DD and DTS[or far less it does it for PCM and I doubt that that's what you've heard anyway] which was the movie sound format used you wrote about in your initial post[Master And Commander]. Also it seems that you were referring to more then a "coloration" of the sound by the Sony but major clipping distorsion which gets even more "amplified" by the power amp.In any case enjoy the Parasound,and for more then 2x the MSRP it should be supperior even if the Sony wasn't as "ancient".Posted Image

#14 of 52 Lee-M

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Posted May 11 2004 - 09:38 AM

Why do so many HT Forum members refuse to accept that some equipment upgradeschanges can produce significant sonic differences?

When I went from using an HK520 Receiver as a pre-pro to an Anthem AVM20, the first few seconds I listened to caused my jaw to literally drop, and I said out loud, "Good God!"

When I dumped my Carver M200t amp for a McCormack DNA1 Deluxe, music cds that I had previously listened to casually suddenly became performances by the artists in my house. Some passages literally brought tears to my eyes, just from the sweet sounds I had not heard before.

When I plugged a good subwoofer into the mix, I became transported to the recording venues... that bottom octave, when reproduced accurately and flatly, holds subsonic room cues that deepen the soundstage to make you feel like you are there.

Then, when I replaced the McCormack with a Rotel 1095, music ceased to be live, and my cd's have become something to listen to while I do other things, instead of sitting down and experiencing.

Mike, you have taken a big step into audiophile territory; your Halo is a huge improvement on the Sony (at least, with your equipment)... your ears are thanking you, and I congratulate you on your sonic revelation.

#15 of 52 JackS

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Posted May 11 2004 - 09:53 AM

Mike, Lee- Have either of you compared the Parasound to Anthem, BK, Aragon etal? These would be of more interest to me than a comparison to an outdated Sony which very few or no one will be purchasing anyway. I'm still satisfied with what I have now but will eventually upgrade to all seperates. Hope you guys can give us some insight and a few things to think about in the interim. Jack

#16 of 52 Chu Gai

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Posted May 11 2004 - 05:53 PM

How did you set levels when you had the Sony in the system?

#17 of 52 Michael__M

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Posted May 12 2004 - 02:13 AM

Mike,

Absolutely beautiful work on the speakers. I can't tell if you are brilliant or insane to come up with and execute that design. I bet your wife would say the later after all the work it must have been to construct.

Thanks for the write up. It seems you just can't win around here.

Michael
A mind expanded by new experiences can never return to it's old dimensions.

#18 of 52 Brian Corr

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Posted May 12 2004 - 02:55 AM

Jack,
I went directly from a ref 50 to a C1. The differences in my system to my ears (just thought I'd get that little tid bit out of the way) were pretty apparent. The sound was simply more detailed and the noise floor was much lower. But they aren't in the same league price wise either.

Mike,
I seem to remember reading tons of comments when the sony came out that the sony amps weren't all that great. I'd really try giving the Halo amps a try or even some of the other commonly mentioned amps (anthem, aragon, ati, sherbourn, etc) I'll bet you would be pleasantly surprised at the differences on the amp side as well.

#19 of 52 Mike SJ

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Posted May 12 2004 - 03:16 AM

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#20 of 52 Mike Keith

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Posted May 12 2004 - 04:26 AM

Quote:
So what instigated this change? so nothing else but the processor changes. you are still using the same amps?


I have an all active system using 2 Sony TA-N9000ES amps and 2-2ch amps for the woofers and Subs, the fact that I'm handling all the crossovers outboard means that I need a full range signal to go to the input of the active crossover, which means setting the Front to "Large" this would kill the output to my subs. The Halo has a feature called “EBASS” which will send the full signal to the subs when the front is set to large. Plus the fact that the Halo had such good reviews, and I could get an in home trial with no obligation made this a no brainier. However, once I hooked it up and gave it a listen I could not go back. The dynamics and the purity of the signal was so much better that it was jaw droping, also the noise floor was cut in half which is another thing that bothered me about the Sony. I still have all the Sony amps there hard to beat, so I'll keep the Champaign one and sell the other black one with the TA-E9K.


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