3-Channel amps - Acurus or Parasound - Need Advice

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Robert George, Mar 18, 2002.

  1. Robert George

    Robert George Screenwriter

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    ***The header should read "3-Channel Amps"***

    I've decided to add a 3-channel amp to my system to replace the 2-channel Sumo I picked up recently to supplement my Pioneer Elite receiver for driving the front speakers. I upgraded my center channel speaker to the B&W Nautilus HTM1 to go with my N804 mains and I decided I wanted amplification of equal quality across the front three channels.

    Within my budget and taste, I have narrowed the search down to either a used Parasound HCA-2003 and a new (discontinued) Acurus A200X3. Both amps are rated for 200wpc into 8 ohms and both should have more than enough current capacity to drive the B&Ws.

    There is a $300 price difference in favor of the Parasound, but I do not consider that a factor as I feel a new product from a dealer offsets the price advantage of a used piece from an individual that I don't know personally.

    I would ask anyone with experience with these two amps to offer any advice they could. Frankly, I am leaning toward the Acurus based on research up to this point, but now I would hope for practical advice based on personal experience (I don't have the luxury of being able to audition either of these pieces myself).

    Thanks for any help.

    BTW, anyone looking for an outstanding stereo amp either for a dedicated music system or to supplement a good AV receiver, I would be willing to sell the Sumo Andromeda for exactly what I paid for it (used) less than a month ago.
     
  2. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    I would go with the parasound.
     
  3. Dalton

    Dalton Screenwriter

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    Obi,

    While I have not heard the Acurus, I can vouch for Parasound. I have the Parasound 855A 5 ch. amp and it really took a load off my Onkyo 797 receiver. Not to mention the fact that it sounds fantastic. I have heard however that the Acurus is a little brighter and that might match up better with your B&W's. BTW, if you could point me in the direction where I might come across one of those Parasound 2003's I would really appreciate it. I have been thinking of getting a pair to match up with the outlaw 950 when my unit ships. Good luck with your decision.

    Dalton
     
  4. Steve Morgan

    Steve Morgan Second Unit

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    OBi, if I'm not mistaken the 2003a is 220 watts per channel.I have the 2003a and the 2205a and it is almost to impossible to hear or detect a difference.If any I would say the 2205 controls the bass just a skosh better.I run Von Schweikert speakers with anaylisis plus cables, the 2003a controls the VSA's very well.I tried the Citation 7.1 and a Carver plus RX-V1 and DSP-a1 recievers the Parasound just did everything better IMO.I ran them with the VSA set-up and a Paradigm Reference setup (Studio 100's/CC/ADP's/Active 20's) and with both setups it did a fantastic job.I vote for the Parasound!

    Steve M.
     
  5. Robert George

    Robert George Screenwriter

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    Thanks guys. I realize everyone has their own personal preferences, otherwise you would have chosen something other than what you are recommending. I was hoping for someone that has personal experience with both amps to offer some comments. I have found three people so far that have heard both and all three recommended the Acurus. I got comments like, the Acurus is a bit cleaner, smoother, more "musical". Those attributes would go nicely with the slightly "forward" character of the B&Ws. There is also the issue of a warranty. I would get full factory warranty with the Acurus.
    Dalton, go to www.audiogon.com and type "Parasound" in the search box on the main page. BTW, the Parasounds were not listed as "HCA-2003A", only "HCA-2003". They may or may not be "A" models.
     
  6. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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  7. Craig Ball

    Craig Ball Second Unit

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    We'll I'm going to put my vote towards Acurus, as I own two A200x3 amps running my system. I wouldn't call these amps bright, I'm using mine to run Klipsch speakers and everybody says klipsch are bright. If that helps you at all. There Is only one thing that you might not like about Acurus, mine make a low wine from the speakers about 30 seconds after the amps are shut down, this is from the large capaciters discharging. It has no ill affects just wanted to let you know. I wouldn't change mine!!

    CraigACURUS IS NOT BRIGHT!!!
     
  8. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    Hi Obi!

    Personally, I'd opt for the Parasound, because I once owned the 2200II and the 2003 was made to sonically match that amp. If it sounds like the 2200II, then it sounds nice indeed.

    Also, the differences, as far as I remember, between the 2003 and the 2003a, is the addition of a 12v trigger and a bumping of the spec'd output from 200wpc to 220wpc into 8 ohms. Since all other specs remained the same, I don't know if they did something to the amp to bump the output or just decided to post the actual rated specs instead of the conservative ones?
     
  9. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    I'd go for the Parasound too. Of Course I'm not a huge fan of the Forward B&W's so this would tame that a bit IMHO. The Acurus may brighten them up even more so that might bring on undesirable effects to you if you don't prefer that type of sound. I've heard both amps.

    The Parasound is a heavier amp as well so that might make a difference as well(it may not).
     
  10. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    I also vote for the Parasound.

    The Acurus,is considered "bright" sounding by many,but that could be just revealing to you,which can be a good thing or bad,depends on your taste.
     
  11. Kevin Deacon

    Kevin Deacon Second Unit

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    I vote for the Parasound.
    I just purchased the Parasound 2003A and the 2200II used. These are very nice sounding pieces. Another difference between the 2003 and the 2003A is the face plate. The face plate on the 2003A looks much like that of the 2205A. The plate on the 2003 doesn't have the clear window. Go to www.parasound.com to see the difference.
    Is the running temperature of the amp an issue Robert? I don't know about the Acurus, but the 2003A runs very cool as compared to my 2200II. I think you will find that the build quality of the Parasound is superior to the Acurus. The Parasound is described as having a warm sound as compared to the Acurus, of course this is subjective (care to do a double blind test?).
     
  12. Steven Simon

    Steven Simon Producer

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    OBI,

    I would also opt for Parasound. I have had this brand in my setup via monoblocks for some time now, and recently added an HCA1500 for my Studio 100's at 205 WPC. On a value/performance standpoint, they can't be beat....
     
  13. Dalton

    Dalton Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the link Obi[​IMG]
     
  14. Frank_S

    Frank_S Supporting Actor

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    Obi, have you considered Acurus's big brother, Aragon?
    You could get the 8008 x 3(200 wts. 8ohms/400 wts. 4 ohms)for $1,500 on Audiogon if there are any left. I noticed mention of weight somewhere in this thread, the 8008 x 3 weighs in at 72 lbs(approx), I have one to go with my 8008BB. They power Nautilus 804's very nicely. IMO, the older Aragon which doubles power output at 4ohms is a great buy. [​IMG]
     
  15. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

     
  16. John Tompkins

    John Tompkins Supporting Actor

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    Obi,
    I see you have B&W speakers. I'm wondering why your not considering the rotel rb-993 ? its 200 watts @ 8ohms and has great specs. Also the word is that rotel matches up with the B&Ws real well. Secondly I have the 5 channel parasound version 2205 and highly reccomend the parasound as it is smooth, revealing and dynamic all at the same time[​IMG]
     
  17. Robert George

    Robert George Screenwriter

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    Wow, the consensus is definitely the Parasound. I had to make a decision early this morning as the dealer offering the Acurus was down to the last piece and this is a close-out. I'm almost ashamed to say I opted for the Acurus :b.
    This dealer is very reputable, so it is possible I may be able to return the amp if I really don't like it. However, the deciding factor is one of the people that recommended the Acurus also owns an Aragon 8008. He considers the sound of the Acurus very similar to the Aragon. I've heard his Aragon. If the Acurus sounds anything like that, I'll be ecstatic. Also, my brother used and swore by Parasound for quite a long time, but he also recommended the Acurus and his speakers (Legacy) are at least as revealing as my B&Ws.
    I have not heard the Acurus described as "bright" by anyone that has more than passing experience with it. Revealing, yes. Detailed, yes. Clean, yes. Smooth top end, yes. Harsh, no. Fatiguing, no. If all of this is accurate, it sounds like a helluva nice amp to me. I just hope it sounds like a helluva nice amp to me [​IMG].
    As for the issue of weight and power handling, I have not seen any complaint about the Acurus' ability to drive even moderately difficult loads at relatively high levels, even from those that do not care for the sound of the amp. Just the opposite, in fact. Everything I have found indicates the A200X3 is a remarkably powerful amp considering its size.
    Again, I appreciate everyone's comments and advice.
     
  18. Robert George

    Robert George Screenwriter

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    Frank and JohnM:
    I would love to have an Aragon, but that just isn't in the budget at this time. That was a major factor in steering me to the Acurus. I like the sound of the Aragons, but I'm afraid with all the recent upgrades (49TX and a B&W HTM1 just a few days ago), I just can't swing that much cash for an amp, even at the fire sale price. The $999 I found the Acrurus for was the very top of the budget for an amp right now. I'm thinking the Acurus may go on Audiogon in 6 months or a year and I'll be looking for a killer deal on a used Aragon 8008 3-channel.
    John T:
    I did consider a Rotel. I couldn't find the exact amp I was looking for at the price range I'm at right now. I have put Rotel on the "future look" list, however. A local dealer with whom I have a good relationship told me he is considering picking up the Rotel line in the next few months. That will make in-home audition possible, as well as a 35-40% discount [​IMG].
    Nothing is forever, particularly in audio and video. In my case, I'm lucky to get a year out of most gear. I expect the Acurus will get replaced in good time. I'll be satisfied if I'm satisfied for a year [​IMG].
    Craig:
    I don't think I'll be bothered by this "whine" at shutdown (I had already read about this behavior). I don't plan to turn it off [​IMG].
     
  19. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Robert- Be satisfied! [​IMG]
    I also have 2 Acurus A200x3 amps (in a 6.1 system), and I could never ever want for more. [​IMG]
    *And*, I "exhibitioned" an Aragon 3 channel amp. Big, bad, and beautiful piece of equipment. 19" wide, which is quite different than the "std" 17. But... To be honest, I couldn't hear any difference in performance, soundstage, clarity (blah, blah, blah), in 30 days of comparing 2 channel stereo and DD/DTS audio.
    (The "Acurus" name may have been put on the backburner by Klipsch, but it's still great eqp.)
    Oh: important sidenote. Audio Magazine tested the predecessor, the 200x3 in 1995 or so. 315 W into 8ohms, and 515 W into 4 ohms. A "200" x 3 indeed! [​IMG]
     
  20. Robert George

    Robert George Screenwriter

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    Thanks, Kevin. I had heard the power rating on the Acurus was conservative. It sounds like I'lll have all the power reserves I'll need for even the most demanding material.

    I'm looking forward to getting this amp hooked into the system. I'll run it hard over the weeekend then a guy I know who uses the Aragon wants to come over for a demo session Monday. He's curious how the Acurus will stack up to his Aragon. As am I.
     

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