just auditioned a Parasound 1000A.......not too impressed

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Salvador, Feb 18, 2003.

  1. Salvador

    Salvador Second Unit

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    Dave, one of our fellow HTF's over here was kind enough to bring his Parasound 1000A over to my house for auditioning. My setup consists of the following:

    Denon 3802
    Paradigm Studio 20's
    SVS 20-39cs+ / Samson 1000
    HTPC / M-Audio Revolution via coax

    We started off listening to the 20's alone without the sub. We then proceeded to connect the amp using the preouts of my 3802.

    The first improvement we noticed was that there was more bass. Not sloppy bass at all but nice tight bass that was pretty good coming out of the 20's. Clarity and midrange wise there was a bit of an improvement. The voices coming out of Tegan and Sara's "Living RooM" sounded somewhat more realistic, more there. All the improvements combined though were very subtle and IMO, wouldn't justify me shelling out more cash for an amp of the 1000A's caliber. I mean, i noticed more of an improvement with my upgrade from an Audigy to the Revolution (cost me $170 CAD).


    I was all hot about getting the Odyssey Stratos but now i'm having some serious second thoughts. With both of the amps i've auditioned with my system (Sunfire, thanks miles and Parasound, thanks Dave) the improvements weren't enough to justify the cost. Could it be that i'm already maxing out the 20's with my 3802? I highly doubt that's the case though.

    I'm also a person who's all for on huge steps and i frown upon lateral moves. My roadmap before the audition was amp->speaker upgrade->preamp->....

    Now i don't know which component i should upgrade next. Should I take the plunge on a $1200 USD amp and hope it will prove its worth once the speaker upgrade comes? Or should I belt out the cash for new speakers and do some more auditioning with amps using the new speakers to see whether it would justify the cost in that setup.

    It's not that i have money burning a hole in my pocket. I just want to have a decent outline on which upgrade path i should take.

    The only thing that would really convince me in shelling out some dough for an amp is if someone is *kind* enough to let me demo an amp like an odyssey stratos or some other amp of the same caliber.

    I'm fairly happy with my setup now since i upgraded my soundcard. But happy enough to quell any major upgrades......hmmm pretty close i guess.

    btw, thanks again dave for bringing your amp!
     
  2. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    Hi Salvador,

    It's good to experiment before you upgrade as you've found out. You have a nice system now and my first recommendation would be to upgrade your amplifier, especially if you want better music quality.

    I guess you're still being limited by the DAC and preamplifier circuitry in the 3802... I'm not sure how much that degrades the signal. It would be harder to compare the amplifiers most directly with your setup... could you have someone bring a standalone CD player too? (The analog output of your sound card might work too, but it could be of lower quality than the 3802.)

    My experience going from a low-cost amplifier to a good one was sort of similar to yours, except I would not describe the differences as subtle. I would agree that if you just switched from one amp to another the difference would be underwhelming compared to new speakers... but it's still something I can appreciate. In short, I've listened to the $200 amplifier I had, a low power Class A design, and a big honking solid state amp. Each has a pretty distinct sound: the little amp has a really pleasant sort of sound, the big one is pretty "neutral" and dynamic, and both sound way clearer and "bigger" than the cheap one. Switching back to the cheap amp for awhile put it in perspective; at first the differences weren't so great but they must have grown on me because I really didn't like the sound when I put the old one back in. (I know everyone says that, but it's true. [​IMG])

    Any hi-fi dealers around? Maybe you could try to compare amplifiers there. Or visit a friend's house. I don't know - there are just so many options... so many places for the sound to get degraded. (So many places to improve the sound also, I guess.) I do have a feeling the difference in amplifiers would be more apparent if you used a standalone CD player or DAC (for music). To improve movie sound quality I have no idea what to do short of buying a better preamp/processor.

    Sorry, I don't really know what you should do. But it can't hurt to play around with things a bit more before ugprading.
     
  3. CurtisC

    CurtisC Second Unit

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    I have the 3802 and parasound 1205a and klipsch rf7's and I can tell ya,IMO it Rocks!
     
  4. RobertW

    RobertW Supporting Actor

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    my parasound hca 1500 made a tremendous difference with my denon 3300 and studio 20's.
     
  5. Mike_Ch

    Mike_Ch Stunt Coordinator

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    If you want better stereo sound, I'd highly recommend you try out a good quality cd player (doesn't have to be too expensive) and better yet, a dedicated 2 channel preamp. In my experience, even a budget 2 channel pre will best the receiver's preouts in terms of sound quality. Personally, adding a good-quality Rotel power amp to a system did not make as much difference as using an inexpensive Rotel integrated stereo amp's preouts instead of a Denon 2802 preouts. Of course, to get a preamp, you also need a power amp [​IMG] .

    Cheers,
    Mike
     
  6. Dave Simpson

    Dave Simpson Second Unit

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    Salvador,

    Here's a thought that hadn't previously struck me: is it possible that I experienced a greater improvement in sound than did you following the addition of the 1000A because I was moving from a receiver (Yamaha 795a, [email protected]) with a somewhat less robust amp section than that of your 3802? It stands to reason that the improvement provided by an outboard amp may be perceived as more signifigant by one who has become accustomed to the performance of the amps of a weaker receiver. Make any sense?
    Thanks again for the SVS demo today sir. Best of luck, and cheers!

    DS.
     
  7. Kurt Kelson

    Kurt Kelson Extra

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    I added a Rotel 1075 to my Denon AVR-3300 and, like yourself, was a little underwhelmed with the result. While there WAS an improvement, it wasn't the jaw-dropping experience I had been hoping for. The music was tighter, and cleaner, but it wasn't a large leap forward IMHO.

    I then replaced my Denon 3300 with an Anthem AVM-20 (still with the Rotel amp) and WOW!!! Now that's a difference I can hear! [​IMG] You're amplifier can only amplify the signal that you give it. If the signal is only so-so, then the result will only be so-so. In my case, it was my processor that was holding me back. Now my next weakest link is my CD player, which is next on my list. It never ends....

    Good luck in your auditions
     
  8. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    speakers far and away. maybe you'll still be leaning towards studios...maybe not. but why pick an amp or receiver until you know what the speaker may require in terms of power? kind of like going shopping for a vehicle, knowing that you're going to buy a trailer and then realising you needed 1000 pounds more towing capacity...oops.
     
  9. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    I agree with chu on this one.

    But I can say my experience with my 3802 as a pre-amp has been pretty disappointing. The DACs for music sounded pretty poor to me and even using the analog section only with source direct still sounded muffled and not very open. So I slapped my 10 year old adcom pre-amp in the mix for music and problem solved!

    But its nice to know you tried before you bought!
     
  10. BruceD

    BruceD Screenwriter

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    I'm with Chu and John.

    Speakers, Speakers, Speakers!!! You just won't find anything that makes a bigger difference. Everything else (except the speaker/room interface) makes a much smaller degree of change.

    I'd try to find speakers you really like and then select the amp power needed to drive them in your room (both are based on room size), and then finally hone in on the source devices.
     
  11. TommyL

    TommyL Supporting Actor

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    Dave s...how'd ya like the SVS??[​IMG]
     
  12. Matt_Doug

    Matt_Doug Stunt Coordinator

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    I was totally blown over when I added a parasound amp to my 3802. the amp really opened up my paradigm studios. but the biggest change occured when I set the speakers to large. A slightly warm but very clean sound became neutral and dynamic. The difference was dramatic to say the least.
     
  13. Salvador

    Salvador Second Unit

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  14. Dave Simpson

    Dave Simpson Second Unit

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  15. Mike_Ch

    Mike_Ch Stunt Coordinator

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    Salvador,

     
  16. AndyHangartner

    AndyHangartner Stunt Coordinator

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    Salvador,
    My experience with outboard amps was the same as yours.Very little difference from a 4802 with a Citation 7.1, Aragon 8008x5 or Adcom 7500. Of course people here thought I was nuts, but I'd bet not one could have passed a dbt. I switched to a Sony 4es that absolutely blew away the 4802(IMO). The channel steering and system dynamics was absolutely amazing in comparison. I also tried different speakers. Def Tech BP2004tl to the Stratus Silver I. Although the sonic characteristics were different, the problem remained, a lifeless presentation with a"dead" midrange. On movies the Denon made it seem as though a towel was over the center speaker. Naturally a seperate preamp and cd player with an outboard amp will blow away the process through a receiver. Try a different receiver or pre/pro first and get a feel for it. The difference will amaze you.
    andy
     
  17. Salvador

    Salvador Second Unit

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  18. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    Salvodor,

    Another complaint for my 3802 for music was its DACs for CDs. Dull, lifeless. So to get music back to where I was used to I had to remove the 3802 from the entire 2-channel chain - using a CD player (555es), stereo pre-amp (adcom) and amplifier (aragon). The 3802 was really a weak link in my music system.

    Maybe if you explain your goals we could help a little more? Its always difficult to get a good stereo integrated with home theater.

    -edit- I made the mistake of trying to take a receiver and make it work for music. In the end it just didn't work well at all.
     
  19. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    Salvador,

    Here's my recommendation. Buy this.
    http://home.triad.rr.com/scottnixon/dac.htm

    Scott Nixon sells a really nice simple DAC (you'll probably want the one with the tubed output stage, which is $350). They are non-oversampling designs similar to the expensive Audio Note DACs. I'll be building one myself pretty soon. Then with the addition of a good amp you will have a very clean signal path for music - the decent digital output of your computer goes through a good DAC, and a good amp too. It would let you avoid any processing or degradation of the music that is present in even the best preamp/processors.
     
  20. Salvador

    Salvador Second Unit

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