Amp advice needed - 5 Harman Kardon PA-2000's or 2 Parasound HCA855A's?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Aaron Smithski, Jul 24, 2002.

  1. Aaron Smithski

    Aaron Smithski Stunt Coordinator

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    As you can see, I too have been visiting uBid! I was able to get 5 PA-2000's for $171 shipped. The plan was to run all 5 of them in my theater with a Denon 3802. The 3 front speakers are a/d/s MV20/u's (which are bi-ampable) and I was going to use one PA-2000 per front speaker. This would send 100 watts to the 2-8" woofers and 100 watts to an MTM array of 2-1.5" dome mids and a 1" dome tweeter. The 2 rear pairs are a/d/s bipole/dipole speakers, with each pair getting their own PA-2000 @ 100 watts per channel.

    The dilemma arises when I was informed by a friend who has a couple of extra Parasound HCA-855A's (also from uBid, the all-time great source of amplifier discounts!) that he would let me have 2 of his 855A's for his cost of $320 each shipped!

    All of the a/d/s speakers are rated 4 ohms. I tried to measure the impedance of the MV20/u's with the jumper bars removed and measured 5.2 static ohms for the 8" woofers together but cannot get a reading for some reason on the high-frequency drivers. The surrounds measured 7.1 ohms when hooked up to the ohm meter. I know that the ohm loads change with music but I guess I am confused as to how this affects the static rating.

    I remember that a few of you have experience with both amplifiers and I wanted to know how the outputs of these two compared in real life. The 5 HK's are rated @ 100 watts x 10 channels into 8 ohms and the 2 Parasounds would be 85 watts x 10 into 8 ohms or 125 watts x 10 into 4 ohms. Can the HK drive 2 channels bridged at 4 ohms? I understand that most HK stuff is underrated power wise but would really like to know if it would/could put out more than the 100 watt per channel 8 ohm rating when driving two 4 ohm channels.

    The 2 Parasounds require more input power when you look at manufacturer ratings compared to 5 of the HK's. The 2 855A's need 1500 watts and the HK's need a total of 1300 watts. It would seem logical that the Parasounds would output more since they draw more in but I think that there may be something to be said for having 5 separate amp chassis to spread out the distribution of power.

    It would be easier to only have to mount and connect 2 amps instead of 5 but the 5 HK's sure would look neat!

    Any help you guys can lend me is appreciated!

    Aaron
     
  2. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Aaron,
    You certainly have been busy.[​IMG]
    Now, before getting to your question...a point of reference.
    I run the H/K 510 with a single 855A...bi-amping the fronts with 4 channels and the center gets the fifth. The 510 power I reserve for the rears. IMO the sound is very complimentary...that is to say warm and very clean with healthy reserves of power.
    I know the thought of all that wattage just humming along from those 5 2000's must have a great allure and I'm sure would look quite impressive. And yes, the 2 channel 4 Ohm output of the H/K's would likely exceed the 855A's numbers at similar Ohms. One consequence, however, would be a good deal more heat to contend with.
    But...if what you desire is clean and powerful sound, you can accomplish this with less in terms of amps IMO as the 855A is also very conservatively rated. Like H/K, Denon is also considered to be warm therefore the Parasound amping would blend very well should you ever need the 3802 amps for anything.
    Will your friend let you demo an open 855A if he has any with your Denon setup? This might be the only thing that could pry you away from the extremely seductive 'amp for every speaker' idea you started out with.
    Good Luck
    Paul
     
  3. Aaron Smithski

    Aaron Smithski Stunt Coordinator

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    Paul, thank you for your insight.
    This might be the only thing that could pry you away from the extremely seductive 'amp for every speaker' idea you started out with.
    I see that you can appreciate the 5 PA-2000 route.[​IMG]
    I'm may reach a point of diminishing returns effect with the 5 HK's but wow, would it look cool or what!
    My friend does not want to open the Parasounds unless I buy them so I do not have the luxury of a comparison. I had actually not even considered using the Denon's internal amps for the surround channels but that is a wonderful idea. Sensibility tells me that a setup like yours with the single Parasound bi-amping the mains, the fifth channel driving the center, and the receiver's internal amps on the surrounds would satisfy me but since when is home theater about sensibility? [​IMG]
    The a/d/s do like power. You know, if I keep the HK's I could then justify getting an HK AVR-320 as my theater room pre/pro and using the 3802 in my family room system to replace my old Yamaha Pro-Logic receiver. My wife will most certainly appreciate the practicality of this situation. [​IMG]
    Aaron
     
  4. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Aaron,
    Methinks you have a plan...and an understanding wife. [​IMG]
    After all, the H/K's are the 'birds already in hand' so to speak. As these were the original power plan you might as well stick with it. You can tell your wife that everyone does the same thing...just that lots of them hide the amps in the 'A/V closet'. This fruit will no doubt eventually ripen into a full blown Smithski Theater Room which will give the 2000's an environment worthy of their prowess.[​IMG]
    Not to mention how cleverly the new 320 finds a home. [​IMG]
    Be careful my friend...innocent hobby becomes obsession...obsession becomes...?
    Beware the Dark Side.
    Paul
     
  5. Aaron Smithski

    Aaron Smithski Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah Paul, my wife is the best! She just wants me to be happy and is not too concerned about the home theater build-up as she believes it will be a great family bonding thing. I will shut my cake hole now as there are probably a few guys on here who would like to punch me about right now![​IMG]
    Obsession, eh?
    Here was the original plan for a 5.1 setup:
    *3 BIC DV62CLR's (they are quite good for an inexpensive speaker) for fronts
    *2 BIC DV52SI's (with Ed Frias' crossover modification) for surrounds
    *New inexpensive(~$300) Yamaha DD receiver to power fronts/surrounds
    *Existing Yamaha 170 x 2 power amp to run existing 12" passive subwoofer
    *Existing 32" Proscan TV
    *New inexpensive(~$150) single DVD player
    Total of $750 believe it or not!
    NOW...
    *3 a/d/s MV20/u monitors
    *4 a/d/s MV15/s bipole/dipole surrounds
    *Denon 3802(maybe change to the HK AVR-320)
    *5 Harman Kardon PA-2000's amps for the fronts/surrounds
    *QSC PLX2402 2400 watt amp to run 4 15" Tempests (or possibly 8!) in an infinite baffle
    *All 6 amps built-in to custom pull out wall rack
    *55" Panasonic widescreen - stopped just short of front projection due to room considerations
    *Pioneer Elite 5-disc progressive-scan DVD player
    *6 bonafide real theater seats on riser behind sofa
    Total of $.... - edited to protect wife's approving viewpoint of theater![​IMG]
    I do appreciate your warning but I think you are too late as I have already purchased EVERYTHING! I do believe the Dark Side is coursing through my veins as we speak! [​IMG]
     
  6. BrianDD

    BrianDD Agent

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    I have both of these amps so I'll tell you what I found. For one, I can't tell that either of them is any more powerful than the other. They both can take my Klipsch speakers to ear-bleed levels. I will say that the HK is a little warmer than the Parasound. They make the Klipsch a little smoother on the high end with music. I am using the HK to run my two fronts while the Parasound feeds everything else. Five of those HK's would look pretty cool sitting in the equiptment rack though. If you've got plenty of space then go for it.
     

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