Agonizing over 2 channel or 5 chanel amp

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Pamela, Mar 14, 2003.

  1. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    Last weekend I bought a Parasound Halo A 23 amp (2 channel). I really love the sound paired with my Studio 40s. Main goal was to add finesse to 2 channel music. The Parasound accomplished that.

    But...I'm kind of itching for a 5 channel amp. I don't have the dough to keep buying new amps as I get the itch to upgrade. This amp will have to stay with me for a long time. In the future I might want to go with a pre/pro. I also want to use my SACD player in multi-channel, so I'm worried the 2 channel won't deliver satisfying results.

    The Parasound Halo A 21 (5 channel) is $2000, quite a bit more than the 2 channel ($850), though the salesman said he knock some off for me. I can swing the money, but feel really guilty about tossing $2000 into an amp. I have other things that need monetary attention, if you know what I mean. [​IMG]

    I have always come hear looking for advice, with the intention of making my own informed decision. But I'm stuck. So please tell me what to do.[​IMG]

    Well, if anyone here has faced a similar dilemma, I would love to hear how you solved it. Thanks!
     
  2. Robert_Dufresne

    Robert_Dufresne Stunt Coordinator

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    Pamela

    There are a lot of 3 channel amps out there made
    just for people who have the same problem you have.

    Robert
     
  3. Mark All

    Mark All Second Unit

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    Hi Pamela,
    What are you using as a pre/pro now? Are you using your system for home-theater as well as for music? Some people, me included, have decided to go with a separate amplifier and use a receiver as a pre-pro (Denon 3803 in my case although I also used a Sony DA4ES). I debated whether to use a Rotel 2-channel amp or a Rotel 5-channel amp and use the receiver for the remainder of the 7 channels in a DTS-ES set-up. I chose the 5-channel amp so the same power would be going to front, center, and rear speakers. My main consideration was to get the same power going to the channels used by DVD-Audio. Home theater demands aren't quite the same on amplifier power. I use two channels from my receiver for the back surrounds. The four speakers in the corners on my system are full range. If you don't have all full range speakers there, I'd recommend getting the best two-channel amp you can and using the amps from a receiver for the remainder. I tend to listen to SACD in two-channel mode and DVD-Audio in multi-channel mode.

    The way I think about amps is that one really gets long-term value from them in a way that is just not the same with receivers. A really good amp should be around in a system for at least ten years. Receivers and home-theater pre-pros seem to be lucky to last three years before they are surpassed in features.
     
  4. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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  5. ChadLB

    ChadLB Screenwriter

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    Some options would be a used parasound 3 channel amp.
    You could sell the 2 channel and go with the 1205a parasound new around 1199 or used around the 800 mark.
    Another option would be a 5 channel outlaw amp.
    I agree with what others have to say "a amp will last 10+ years while a receiver changes year after year"
    I am in the same situation 3 channel or 5 channel. I can use a 3 channel and use the receiver for the rears or go with a 5 channel to get the most out of my speakers. Decisions....then my problem is used/new ...85 * 5 or 200 * 5....I NEED HELP TOO [​IMG]
     
  6. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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  7. ChadLB

    ChadLB Screenwriter

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    HT is like a drug once you get into it...more power [​IMG]
     
  8. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Pamela,

    The A23 has IDENTICAL specs to the 1000A

    http://www.parasound.com/halonew/A23details.asp

    http://www.parasound.com/products/am...000aspecs.html

    I firmly believe in all sonic respects, the A23 is a rebadged 1000A, which goes for $350 used. You don't need to spend $2000. There are plenty of used 5 channel amps under $1k here on HTF; like an ATI1505 for $850. Or like Chad mentioned, you can get the Parasound 1205a for ~ $800 used or the 2205a for ~ $1200 used (on audiogon or ebay). Los Angeles is a big place; if you're patient you might even be able to find a local deal. Don't forget the 1206 135x6 too.

    btw, I've owned several amp brands and currently use three parasounds: two 2200II 250x2 amps and one 806 80x6 amp, all purchased used for $1900 TOTAL (retail $4800). I'm pretty much a parasound freak and know most of the specs and current used prices for most of the parasound line :b
     
  9. ChrisHeflen

    ChrisHeflen Supporting Actor

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    I think you should do the 3 channel amp thing too. But then you could do this;
    Rotel makes an 40X8 channel amp check it out here:

    http://rotel.com/products/specs/rmb1048.htm

    Notice it's bridgable making it more versatile too.
    I have heard the sonics would be a close match as well. (i could be wrong on that)
    That way your Halo would be running the two fronts giving you your sweet sound for stereo and then kick in the other for home theater. You also might consider Outlaw Audio's new mono block amps. They are $299.99 each and can crank out 200 watts. I think you get a multi order discount too.
    I don't know how well they would match sound wise. I think they are a little more forward.
    I would at least try to keep the Halo, you never know if Parasound will get bored and make a three channel. [​IMG]
     
  10. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Parasound discountinued their previous 3 channel amps (1203a and 2003a) and removed them from their line a few years ago. That's too bad as alot people want identical amps across the front 3!

    The Outlaw/NHT monoblock is Class G above 80 watts. Most Class G designs are made for driving subwoofers....such as NHT's discountinued SA2 and SA3 subwoofer amps, both class G designs.

    Pamela,
    What is the rest of your system?
     
  11. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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  12. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Pamela,

    Nice setup! I used to have the Onkyo 989, the 898 is very solid and can easily drive mini-monitors. Since you can only accomodate one amp, I would recommend you return the Halo (can you?) and get one of the following amps:
    - Parasound 2003a 220x3 ($800-900 used)
    - Parasound 1203a 140x3 ($600 used)
    - Citation 7.1 solid 150x4 (retail 2800, $995 bstock with warranty at very reputable http://www.jeffssoundvalues.com/Default.htm between LA and SD). I used to have three citation amps before moving to my Parasound 2200II...btw, I would not have traded the Citations for any other Parasound model. You can read the Citation 7.1 reviews on audioreview.com The Citation 7.1's open fourth amp channel can be used later to drive a sub or rear center.
    - a used 5 channel amp from this forum, like an ATI1505.
     
  13. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    Ricky-
    Thanks. I will look into that this weekend. But the Halo is soooooo purty! (just kidding). I just wish I didn't care so much. I spent 10 years perfectly happy with inexpensive Kenwood separates and a pair of Bose 201s. I wish I could go back to those days.
     
  14. John A. Casler

    John A. Casler Second Unit

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    Hi Pam,

    I'm in Los Angeles too. (Century City) You are very welcome to come by and listen to my CineNova 3 channel.

    Even if just for fun. (It is driving RM40s)

    And as nice as the Halo is,( I think you said "purdy") it could serve as a surround amp with the CineNova up front. (300wpc x 3)

    I have a few others around the area who bring by speakers or amps to play with (LA Audio Mafia)

    Again, open invitation.

    John
     
  15. Amir

    Amir Agent

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    if you first priority is 2 ch music them read the articles in the following link (read the second journal) http://www.audioperfectionist.com/pa...ejournals.html

    it should answer most of your question. There is too much hype regarding equal power, quality for surround sound speakers, or even center channel. I know, I used to think that way. Now I have a tubes for front channels and the back and HT is taken care of by the Denon 2800 receiver. Good reading.
    Regards

    Amir

    PS. let your ear be the only judge.
     
  16. MarkO

    MarkO Second Unit

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    Amir ,,good read. I do question the non use of a center channel. As much as I would like to get rid of the center in my system, It just sounds wrong without it. The increased stereo effect is very distracting to whats goin on on screen.
     
  17. MikeTz

    MikeTz Stunt Coordinator

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    Pam

    The Anthem PVA-5 (5 channels, 100W/ch all channels driven) is affordable and performs well in audio or home theater applications. Their site (www.anthemav.com) has reviews from most of the respected audio mags. You can get one new for just under $1000. Anthem has a reputation for building rugged amps at affordable prices. Rotel has a similar reputation.

    Good luck,

    MT
     
  18. Michael Langdon

    Michael Langdon Stunt Coordinator

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    Pam,

    I have a similar dilemma. I want to purchase 7 channels of amplification for my processor (Aragon Stage One). I am not sure whether to purchase one 7 channel amp or one 2 channel and one 5 channel amp. I would like Parasound for the 2-5 combination. I was thinking of the HCA-1500A (205 x 2) and the HCA-1205A (140 x 5) amplifiers (total price retail ~ $2,200). ATI has new amplifiers on their website which they are in the process of updating. They have a 1800, 2000 and 3000 series which translates into 180, 200 and 300 watts per channel respectively. I am interested in the the 1807 (180 x 7) at $1,995. The ATI 2007 and 3007 are much more expensive at $2,995 and $3,995. Amps in these series can be purchased in 2 channel configurations for less and channel modules can be added later for $200 to $400 per module depending on the series. Adcom also has two new 7 channel amps. The Adcom 7807 is 300 watts per channel and the 7607 is 125 watts per channel. I only know the retail price of the Adcom 7607 which is $1,500. I plan on keeping the amp(s) for a while, so I want to make the right choice/decision.

    Mike
     
  19. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    Wow, thanks everyone!

    Amir, thanks for the link. I read both of the journal. Lots of good info there.

    John, thanks for the invite. i just might take you up on that. I've read some good things about the CineNovas. Never heard one, though.

    Right now, I'm still undecided, but leaning toward keeping the Halo. I've really grown fond of this unit over the weekend. I listened to tons of music, redbook and 2 channel SACD. It has made such a huge difference over the Onkyo (and this coming from an audio skeptic). It really cranks, too (neighbors were away!).

    I threw on Moulin Rouge and Saving Private Ryan. Sounded fantastic. No problems with levels.

    I've thought about returning it and getting a Anthem MCA 50. But I'd have to find someone to help me carry it!

    I have three more weeks to drive myself nuts.
     
  20. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Pamela,

    As mentioned, the A23 is very similiar to the 1000A. The 1500A 205x2 is the bigger brother of both. The 75lb Citation 7.1 monster is basically TWO 1500As in one chassis! I had both in my system at the same time and kept the Citations (happily for 2+ years...about 5 Ricky Lifetimes..lol!).

    The Citation 7.1 is a very gorgeous amp with DC trigger in and out; tantalizing blue lights when on [​IMG] Runs cool too. Here are some pics and audioreviews (notice the direct comparisons to krell, bryston, aragon):

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...category=14973

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...category=14973

    Since Jeff Sound Values is in driving distance for you, getting effectively two 1500s for $995 (retail 2800) is a much better value than one smaller A23/1000A for ~ $800 (retail 850). Your front3 speakers will sound that much better with the Citation! And these Bstock amps have warranty, meaning if you need service, they will be serviced side by side Proceed Amps by Madrigal! Same techs.

    Michael,

    Did you have the Soundstage previous to the Stage One? I should get my Stage One this week! What are your speakers? See my comments above. I love both Parasound and Citation. I would prefer the Parasound 2200II and hca3500, both massive true dual-monoblock designs with heavy Class A biasing over the Citation 7.1s; but not the other parasound models. Another alternative to the 1500A/1205A combo is two Citation 7.1s for 2k; you can't go wrong with any of the amps you mentioned as long as you get a good price! The open 8th channel can drive a passive sub, or just save it for 8.1!
     

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