Rotel RB-1090 vs. Parasound HCA-3500

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by DanielGM, Sep 28, 2003.

  1. DanielGM

    DanielGM Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok so I have been looking at the specs for both of these amplifiers and having some problems choosing. It seems they are nearly identical, with the only significant difference I could find is that the Parasound uses two power cords in true dual mono style. Otherwise almost all of the specs are nearly identical. I realize they don't make the Parasound anymore, but I wouldn't be considering new in the first place. The retirement of the Parasound makes it difficult for me to hear these before I buy, certainly side by side on the same set of speakers in the same room, which would be the only way I can imagine distinguishing between them with any reasonable accuracy.

    I'm certain their are many owners who like their respective amp, so I really need either a factual basis (a certain specification) or someone who has listened to them both. At this point i'm apt to either pick the one I can get a better deal on, or just pick the silver Rotel because it's prettier [​IMG] . Is there another monster 2-channel amp I should consider in the $1100-1200 used price range? (Oh by the way, it's not because I need that much power, it's because I can.)

    Thanks for everyone's help
     
  2. Levesque

    Levesque Supporting Actor

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    I think you should try to find a used Bryston 4SST or something like that. It will outperformed both the Rotel and the Parasound, and will probably still be on the warranty for another 15 years or more!

    The Rotel and Parasound amps are known to roll-off those higher frequencies, to make them compatible with a wide range of different speakers. But Bryston gives you the recording exactly like it was intended to be heard. If you prefer listening to what the amp makers wants you to hear, then listening to what the recorders wanted you to hear... It's your choice... [​IMG] Just kidding!

    The Rotel and Parasound amps are both awesome deals and values. But if you could spot a Bryston in this price range then jump on it!
     
  3. DanielGM

    DanielGM Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the heads up there, I have heard good things about Bryston but never heard one in person. I haven't heard either of the other amplifiers, but I have heard other Rotel and Parasound amplifiers. Of the ones I have heard there was never really another set of amplifiers that were so strikingly similar in specs. I usually preferred the more expensive of the two, whether it was rotel or parasound.

    Any other opinions? Anyone else agree about Bryston?
     
  4. KyleT

    KyleT Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the RB-1090 and am very happy with it so far. Unfortunately I've never heard the Parasound 3500 or the Bryston so I can't make any comparison for you. But I can tell you that the RB-1090 is an absolute beast. Very very clean sound yet has so much brute power to back it up that you'll never even dream of pushing its limits unless you plan on doing commercial audio.
     
  5. DanielGM

    DanielGM Stunt Coordinator

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    Bryston looks to be out of my price range (The 4BSST at least)

    Thanks for the response Kyle.

    One of the things I am specifically looking for in my music is impact with drum hits. I own some fairly powerful amps and nothing comes close to what real drums sound like. Can anyone comment on the sound of drums with this class of amp as compared to smaller less expensive amps?
     
  6. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Daniel,

    I haven't posted in a while...but I have gone through my research on big 2 dual-mono channel amps: Parasound 3500, Rotel 1090, Aragon 8008BB, Bryston 4BST. Tough to go wrong will any of these. I did own the Parasound 3500 for a month (only one of the four I had in my system), before deciding to stay with my two Parasound 2200II 250x2 dual-mono amps (cost ~ $700 each) and selling the 3500 for $1200. The two 2200II amps let me drive my front 3 speakers with three monoblocks; the 4th channel drives my sub.

    Two of my friends both owned 5-7 Bryston ST channels (under the Lexicon NT badge). One guy had the 225 (aka 4BST). They loved the sound quality. However, they are more into HT and sold their Lexicon/Brystons and now have used Parasounds (ie, 2003 220x3, 806 80x6, etc.....less expensive per channel...makes a difference when you have 7 speakers and passive subs).
     
  7. DanielGM

    DanielGM Stunt Coordinator

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    Ricky,
    I'm glad to hear from someone who has listened to these before.

    What did you think of the parasound 3500 vs. the 2200 monoblocks? Did you choose the monoblocks for the sound or so that you could have an identical front soundstage? Besides the 4 you have mentioned I also have been looking at the Citation 5.1 or 7.1 under the Harman Kardon umbrella. Have you (or anyone else) heard these? They are supposedly designed with bridging in mind to go 300 and 450 watts x2 respectively. I am somewhat turned off to bridging because I experienced a distracting higher noise floor with the amps I have used bridged before, but I think that may have a lot to do with the quality and age of those amps. Also the flexibility is an issue, a lot of amps can't handle being bridged into a 4 ohm load, what about the 2200's?

    Thanks again for the responses
     
  8. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Hhmmm....actually, I had two Citation 7.1 and two 5.1 amps (for 3 years) before moving to the two Parasound 2200IIs last year [​IMG] Yes, I chose the 2200IIs for their monoblock design and higher bias in Class A (could be pychoacoustic). The Citation amps are awesome, run very cool, incredible values for the current used prices, and sound very, very good in bridged mode. The only Parasounds I would move to from the Citations are the 2200II and 3500. I think the 3500 might be a little cleaner, but the 2200IIs might be a tad sweeter and of course, cost $500 per amp, or $1000 since I would need to get a 2nd 3500 for my center and sub if I want identical amp channels across the front. A Parasound 806 drives my four rears.

    My main speakers are NHT 3.3s with a low 86dB sensitivity and decent full-range output to 25hz.....they do well with 200+ watts.

    It might help if you list/provide links your speakers and describe the rest of your system.
     
  9. DanielGM

    DanielGM Stunt Coordinator

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    Ricky,
    I may choose the 7.1 over the 3500, what would you say to that? (assuming prices are approximately $1000 for the 7.1 and $1200 for the 3500)

    Right now I own some fairly efficient speakers which I would be using for 2 channel, Polk RT55I oversized bookshelf, Infinity IL60 4-way powered tower, and Wharfedale Modus 1.6 tower. This purchase is kind of in anticipation for a set of Carver Amazing Platinum's - 60" ribbon, 4 12" woofers, low sensitivity, 700 watts power handling.

    I was pretty set on the 3500 for a time and I picked up a matching preamp in anticipation - Parasound P/LD-1500 Line Drive. It has balanced outputs, something I wouldnt be able to take advantage of with the 7.1, but Im not sure how much difference that will make over the 1 meter cable runs I plan to go with. Thoughts?
     
  10. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    For 2 channel, I would take the 3500 over the 7.1. XLR are cool to have (and make a more secure connection) if you can get some cheap (ie, used on audiogon). I would go with a 3500 or 2200II.
     
  11. DanielGM

    DanielGM Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah even before you posted that I was leaning toward the 3500. I have heard someone say they have had a 3500 and a 2200II and they like their 2200 better? Anyone know what's up with this?
     
  12. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    That might have been me [​IMG] Some Parasound employees will tell you that the 2200II is a very special amp, and several of them still use it in their personal systems. I'm giving a choice, most people will choose the 3500. Throw in the ~ 500 price difference, it might be different). YMMV, especially if you think you need more than 250 watts.

    The Parasound CDC-1500 CD changer is also very nice. Would work great one of the many good megabuck dacs going for under 600 on audiogon.
     

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