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Parasound..what to expect?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Joe Barefoot, Jul 4, 2002.

  1. Joe Barefoot

    Joe Barefoot Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a DA5ES with Klipsch RS all around, and an SVS PCi sub. I've gotten the separates bug and am looking at a Parasound HCA-2205A. My system seems a little shrill in the highs. Will this amp tone this down, or is it the Klipsh speakers/DA5ES combo? I'm looking for what could be called a warmer or richer sound. Opinions, good or bad, welcome.
     
  2. Frank Carter

    Frank Carter Screenwriter

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    I use a Parasound HCA-855a w/Yamaha HTR-5280(same as RX-V800)as a preamp. My speakers are the Klipsch RF-3II, RC-3II, RS-3II, and SVS CS Ultra. No receiver has brought my Klipsch to life like the Parsound does. With the Yamaha and Onkyo receiver's I've tried they did sound a little bright but when mated with the Parasound it's like magic.

    I think the 2205 might be a little overkill. Klipsch speakers are extremely sensitive and need only a few watts to go loud. My 85x5 Parasound drives my Klipsch to insane volumes. If you feel the need for more power, you could get two of the HCA-855a's for under $1000 shipped on ebay(and unbeatable deal!). You could bi-amp the front's, center, power two surround and a pair of center surrounds. Try one and I think you'll agree you have more than enough power for the Klipsch, you could also use the Sony to power a pair of center surrounds.

    If you decide to go with a Parasound, let us know how it sounds mated with the Sony. I was planning on getting the same receiver and I'd love to know what you think, especially since our setups are so similar. BTW, which Klipsch are you using? Keep us posted.
     
  3. Joe Barefoot

    Joe Barefoot Stunt Coordinator

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    Thnaks for the input Frank...you've peaked my interest. I also have RF3 II fronts, RC3 II center, RS3 II surrounds, and RS3 II rear surrounds. My sub is an SVS 20-39 PCi. I currently have my fronts and center biwired. The biamping sounds interesting, I'll have to do some more reading. Do you just split the pre-out and run the signal into two different amp inputs, then out from the amp to the two different sets of posts...so each post receives input from a seperate amp? I'll read, but is that the way to go if you can? Sounds like I'll have to spend another bundle on cables if I do that. I need to make up my mind as I will be in the States on Saturday, only for a week. Thanks again.
     
  4. Angelo_Petralba

    Angelo_Petralba Second Unit

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    Joe-

    I mated my DA5ES with a Parasound 855 and IT REALLY HAS TONED the speakers down! It's just amazing how good it sounds now. I used to get annoyed with the bright sound I used to have and now it's just PERFECT! Nice and WARM and TIGHT in the MIdrage area. The parasound really controls the speakers very well!

    Good Luck

    Angelo

    FYI. I use Wharfedale Modus 1.6 floorstanders for my speakers!
     
  5. MikeHalder

    MikeHalder Stunt Coordinator

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    Joe,
    I can honestly say that the Parasound 2205AT has really opened up my HT. I am also using a Sony flagship (STR-DA777ES) as a pre/pro and have had great results with the 2205/Klipsch KLF's/SVS combo. First I got a Parasound 1205, and was very happy with the results. One month later I upgraded to a 2205 and never looked back! You can play music/movies at reference +++++ and still get extremely crisp clean reproduction! I am one happy camper [​IMG] .
    Mike
     
  6. Joe Barefoot

    Joe Barefoot Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks guys...but now I'm really confused. Will the larger amp make much difference in sound quality? Was the 220 much superior to the 120? I can drive myself out of the room now with the DA5ES's amps, so I don't think volume is a concern. I'm looking more to improve the sound quality, particularly the "shrillness" of highs at higher volumes.
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    your issues with the 'shrillness' has nothing to do with the amp you'll put on the Klipsch's. This is strictly an issue with your speakers and quite probably your room acoustics. it takes literally nothing in the way of power to drive Klipsch. unless you're prepared to change your speakers, you'll have to address the issue in a different manner, starting for example by working on the placement of your speakers and controlling the reflections, especially the higher frequencies. your disatisfaction has NOTHING to do with switching to a different amp (oh ok...tubes might do something). Forget about cables making a difference. Using your tone controls may provide some benefit. A sensible, to me, approach would be for you to perhaps indicate how they're placed, what efforts you've made in the way of orienting them etc.
     
  8. Joe Barefoot

    Joe Barefoot Stunt Coordinator

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    Chu...maybe I am using the wrong word. I keep reading about the improvement in sound (words like warm, full, tight) with the Parasound amps as compared to the intrinsic receiver amps. I think I'm sold. Unfortunately, I don't have the option to go listen to the difference at my local dealer...as we don't have a local dealer. BTW, my room probably sucks acoustically with tile floors and several large openings. I have tried to position my speakers to the best of my ability with my ears and a laser pointer. I can't really say that I'm dissatisfied, I actually really like my sound now. I just have this bug to make things better.
    I am still debating 2 options:
    1) as Frank suggested...2 855 with passive biamp to fronts and center and straight amp to surrounds and rear surrounds, vs
    2) a 1205 running everything with my old ES amp running the rear surrounds
    Option 1 just seems so much cooler! [​IMG] I'm all ears!
     
  9. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Well I tell you Joe, allow me to give you my perspective on your situation. As I read your posts a few things come to mind. Perhaps they're misinterpretations on my part, perhaps not.
    Now you've been reading a lot about Parasound...probably reviews on the web, getting some feedback from owners who are quite happy with their purchase and want to share their experiences. Personally I'm glad they are pleased with what they own. Ain't nothing worse out there than a pissed off consumer, because that's a vocal crowd for sure! Anyways, you're hearing, from Parasound owners, words that they use to describe their units...warm, detailed, wondrous reserve of power...the list goes on. Now as you're considering 'upgrading' from the DA to the Parasound, there's another group of people that are moving from say Parasound to Bryston (just an example). Strangely enough you'll find similar words to explain their purchase. Now there's a group of former group of Bryston owners who have moved to something else...who knows...maybe something from Madgrigal, maybe something more esoteric and limited in production. Same words are being used. History is repeating itself and one would think that there are enormous differences in sound quality between say your DA and some other brand. Fact of the matter is, is that if you had your eyes closed and listened, the differences would not be as significant as you'd think.
    So what is it that does make a major difference? In my opinion, it would be speakers, room. Even when one talks about biamping (and here we have active vs passive) it still comes down to the speakers. If there is ABSOLUTELY nothing you can do with the room, then to me it would seem that since you've got the bug (not a bad thing necessarily [​IMG]) then the most sensible thing would be to investigate biamping. Another option, and its not for everyone, is to possibly consider a tube amp. Now the Klipsch are a damned efficient speaker and a tube amp will have a profound impact on the sound. it might not be to your likeing, but indeed it is profound.
    I don't know much about your room, what it is that you've done with the speakers as they are now. Don't know if you've got an SPL and have worked the balancing act. Now tile is a very reflective surface and if you've no carpeting or rugs, you might consider some sort of rug(s) smallish in nature that could be placed to take care of some of the first reflections. Same thinking along the lines of wall hangings to deal with first reflections. In cases where that doesn't work, because of windows, there are other approaches that can be taken.
    I don't know if you're aware of it, but there is a forum at Klipsch as I recall, where if you post what you've got, perhaps describe your room in some detail, you'll get a lot of feedback from many Klipsch owners and you can factor that in to assist you in making an informed decision. Just my $0.02 Joe. Parasound is a nice company and I hear many more good things than bad about them. No offence, I can't feel too sorry about your situation cuz you're in the Cayman's and I'm not!
     
  10. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Joe,
    The 'shrill' highs, etc. may be due to any number of factors. Klipsch speakers are often described in the manner
    you suggested...also the tile floor I'm sure does not help.
    Several regular posters have described the highs from the DA5ES as being somewhat 'tinny' as well.
    I certainly agree that the dual 855 route is an excellent option. While many may have a differing view, I have found that there is nothing like the detail, dynamics, etc. gained from sending two separate channels of power to the woofers and tweeters of your mains and center. Unless of course you're equipped to ACTIVELY Bi-amp. I'm currently using the H/K 510 with my 855 and couldn't be happier. The ease with which this combo delivers great sound...even at very high levels, is well worth all the sorting through the rats nest of wiring behind my AV stand it took to set up.[​IMG]
     
  11. Reece

    Reece Stunt Coordinator

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    Joe..
    Here's my $.02

    I have been in the market for speakers lately and one of my auditions was with Klipsch. They were powered by the Halo (125wpc x 2) and IMOH they were very bright. I felt that they would probably become even more "shrill" if powered by something stronger.

    I currently own 2 2205at and 2 hca1000 and want to bi-amp my next speakers. It's true that these amps can really bring out the sound of your equipment but they can also help to reveal the weakest link at reference levels. In most cases it will be the speakers. One of the great advantages of a strong amp is it's ability to unveil all the detail of the source material even at a modest sound level. I can play a movie at a low volume without experiencing any acoustic degradation as well as bring the house down when ever I choose. Bi-amping helps do this to an even greater degree and I can't wait to experience this.
    As you already know Parasound is a well respected brand and no matter which model you choose, you will be thrilled at the improvement it will give your HT. Consider auditioning several speakers at home (if you don't like them , return them) with your choice of amp and see if this helps in your decision process.
    Good Luck!
     
  12. Frank Carter

    Frank Carter Screenwriter

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  13. Joe Barefoot

    Joe Barefoot Stunt Coordinator

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    Well I'm in the States and ended up finding two HCA 1205's a few hours away. They should be here Fed Ex today or tomorrow. I plan to passively bi-amp the fronts and center and run the four surrounds straight when I get home. I'll report back when I get a chance to listen to that set-up. Anyone had any experience with the 12v trigger on the Parasounds and a DA5ES? Do I need any special hook ups or is the DA5ES even capable of a trigger?
     
  14. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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    Joe, doesn't the DA5es have a built in equalizer? If so, have you experimented with that at all? Biamping Klipsch does seem to be overkill but maybe you will get postive results. And the amps will always be good for whatever setup you may go to down the road.
     
  15. Joe Barefoot

    Joe Barefoot Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes Charles, the receiver does have a built in equalizer. I haven't played around with it yet though. I have heard it is very basic, but I would be interested to hear specifics from anyone who has used it. Does one need a test tone disk and a SPL meter (I've got the meter)? Could someone outline the procedure to go through and recommend a good disk? Again, it sounds as though I'm very unhappy with my current set-up....I'm not. It's actually the best sounding system I've had. I'm just a hopeless tweaker :b .
     
  16. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    No special hookups for the trigger. Just need the switched outlet.
     
  17. Joe Barefoot

    Joe Barefoot Stunt Coordinator

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    I am unable to look at my receiver until I travel home. I know I can use the switched outlet, but I want to double check on the 12 volt trigger. The Parasound amps have a place to put 16 gage speaker wire for the trigger. It's the end on the DA5ES that I'm concerned about. If it's a mini-plug or such, I would like to purchase the connector that I need while I'm in the States. If there is a screw terminal for speaker wire like on the amps, then I'm home free. I also need to trigger two amps. I think I will post this as a separate topic. Thanks a bunch!
     
  18. Joe Barefoot

    Joe Barefoot Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I ended up buying two 1205a's and a bunch of Silver Serpent inter-connects. After getting home and hooking them up I noticed the front panel lights don't work on one of the amps...otherwise it works fine. The Rat Shack AC to 12v adapter triggers the amps just fine. Just as a reminder my system is a DA5ES, Klipsch RF3 II's front, RC3 II center, and four RS3 II surrounds. My sub is a SVS 20-39 PCi.

    I Bi-amped my fronts and center and single amped the four surrounds. As compared to the intrinsic amps in the DA5ES, with bi-wired fronts and center, I noticed several things:

    1) warmer sound...the "shrillness" is just gone now! The high frequency is now tamed, which is what I was hoping for.
    2) dialog is more intelligible on DD and DTS sources.
    3) mid-range is more pronounced. Before it seemed that I was hearing mostly high treble and bass, with the mids somewhere in the background.
    4) imaging is fantastic. I have had to get up to be sure that my center channel was not on several times when listening to 2 channel (+sub)
    stereo.
    5) surrounds have "woken up"

    All in all I am very happy with my purchase. I don't know if is from the amp make, using seperates, the bi-amping, or all of that, but definitely a major improvement on an already good system. Any comments are welcome.
     
  19. Greg Haynes

    Greg Haynes Supporting Actor

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    Joe,
    I noticed the same thing with imaging when I hooked up my 1205A 2 weeks ago. I swore that my center channel was on. I also recently started to use the 12v triggers on the amp, especially since the amp can get pretty hot. I'm sure with 2 of them that your cabinet must be smoking [​IMG]
    Have you figured out yet why the lights on 1 of your amps is not working?
     
  20. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Good for you, Joe. Sounds like a great system. There is simply nothing like giving good power to a quality setup.
    I agree with the notion that the Klipsch need warmth to mellow them out. The 1205's and all other Parasounds do that quite well. Also IMO, the expanded mid-range is one of the greatest benefits of external amping. The DA5ES is a wonderful receiver but unless on is prepared to spend a ton of $ on a receiver, you're simply not going to get the kind of performance you've now achieved...and all at a lower price tag. [​IMG]
    I noticed an immediate improvement in my system imaging and soundstage after bi-amping my fronts. Also there is a much reduced off-axis penalty when sitting out of the sweet spot.
     

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