Thinking about entering the world of separates. Advice needed!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by CoreyH, Aug 8, 2002.

  1. CoreyH

    CoreyH Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey All,
    I'm starting to get a touch of that oh-so-feared upgraditis. It's been about 6 months since I've made any major purchases, and I'm thinking it's about that time.

    Reading all this talk in the "Power Amps 101" thread has really gotten me interested in good clean raw power. And I'm thinking that separates may be the way to go.

    Right now I am running a simple 5.1 channel setup, using all 8 ohm speakers (Infinity Interludes all around, ranging from 88-91 dB sensitivity), and processing and powering through a Yamaha reciever (RX-V800). I also have an SVS powered by a Samson 2 channel amp.

    My thought right now is to use my current receiver as a pre/pro, an then ad a separate 5 channel amp. Would this make an audible difference to my sound quality, and do you guys think this is a good idea? Or is there some other better way to start into separates?

    The amp I'm considering is the Parasound HCA-855a ($350). Has anyone had any experience with this amp, and do you think that it would be a improvement over my current setup?

    I would really appreciate any feedback you guys can give, as I am still a relative newbie in the HT world. And if I have left out any important details you'll need to give me advice, please let me know.

    Thanks in advance,

    ------------------
    C
     
  2. Mike Poindexter

    Mike Poindexter Stunt Coordinator

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    I run a system with full seperates. I run monoblock amps on everything (except one stereo amp I need to replace) and I even bi-amp all 5 channels. I also run Infinity speakers, although a different model, but as inefficient as yours. Your Interludes are much easier to drive than the older Infinity speakers, but will still benefit from a high current amp like the Parasound. I use the Parasound AVC-2500u for my pre-pro, which replaced a Yamaha DSP.

    The Parasound equipment is VERY nice, although I haven't run their amps. I currently run Adcom and it would be a lot of money to switch over that many amps to a different brand. Still, I have no doubt in my mind that the amp in question would be an improvement over the receiver.

    Mike
     
  3. JoelM

    JoelM Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a Denon2802 and recently bought a Para855 and run my 4 surrounds off of it. Originally I had it up front running my frontstage and it sounded WAY better then the Denon. I also have a Para2003 that took its place for the frontstage. I was very wary buying separates...now I will always buy them. Hope this helps.
     
  4. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    Hi Corey. Go HERE for an idea. It was just covered very recently.
    Good Luck
     
  5. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Corey,
    Get the 855A...you will love the difference it makes in the sound quality. Anytime a quality 5 channel amp can be had for that kind of price it is a steal. The Parasound will likely warm up the Yammy processing (I say likely because I haven't heard the RX-V800) so be aware of this ahead of time.
    I use H/K with the 855A and am very happy. The LOTR DVD simply comes to life so cleanly I've got a line of neighbors wanting to watch it at my place.[​IMG]
     
  6. Philip_T

    Philip_T Supporting Actor

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    Corey,
    I myself just picked up a Parasound 885 and use it with my Denon 2802. For the price, you cant beat it. I haven't heard your particular reciever, but I can say the 885 was a fairly substantial improvement to my Denons onboard amps. I just passively bi-amped 4 of the 5 channels into my fronts leaving one for the center, and the rears to be driven by the Denon and it sounds even better. It warmed up my Klipsch speakers, improved the front soundstage and it just seemed to define the music/movies much more than my Denon could. (And I didn't consider my Denon to be a slouch by any means.) I think intregrating this amp would be a pretty good way to introduce yourself to the world of separates, especially at that price [​IMG] . Problem is, once you get started.........
    BTW, Paul, I too just watched LOTR and I think Im gonna have to go re-tighten all of my cabinets in the house. Great sounding DVD!! Usually, I listen to movies at -15db from ref, but I to turn LOTR down to -30db and my house was still shaking.
    Good luck with your decision Corey, let us know what you decide.
    Regards,
    Phil
     
  7. CoreyH

    CoreyH Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the help.

    Assuming I let the receiver handle the surrounds, do you all think it would be better to get a 5 channel amp like the 855, and bi-amp the two mains, or to buy a good 3-channel amp, and just run a channel to each of the front 3 channels.

    If the 3 channel amp is a better idea, any specific ones you could recommend?

    Thanks
     
  8. Philip_T

    Philip_T Supporting Actor

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    Corey,

    Parasound 2003 (200w x 3) would be a decent 3 channel amp. They are kinda hard to locate though and will run you more jack. That will probabaly be my next amp when I get the bug again.

    Regards,
    Phil
     
  9. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Hi Corey,

    Passive bi-amping is considered useless by many but I still do it with my mains and my center gets the fifth channel from the 855A. Only you can decide if it's better to get a more powerful 3 channel for the front stage with single channels for each. Do the Interludes like a lot of power? Do they already sound good with the Yammy 800?

    For me it was a question of what was suddenly available and what I could realistically use in my present location. The 855A from Ubid was a steal at $325 delivered so I never really weighed the pros and cons of a more powerful 3 channel for the front.

    For the record, my H/K 510 had power specs very similar to the Parasound with a higher HCC rating but there is no real comparison to the sound from a dedicated amp.
     
  10. CoreyH

    CoreyH Stunt Coordinator

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    Alright,

    Well I think I finally have it narrowed down to a couple of options.

    My first choice is using a Parasound HCA 1203 (140wpc x 3) to run my mains and center, and then have my old Yammy power the surrounds. (Unfortunately, I'm having trouble locating a good used HCA-1203 at a fair price.)

    Second choice is an Adcom 2535 (60wpc x 4) biamped to my mains, and a seperate monoblock for the center, with the yammy handling the rears again. (Should'nt be too hard to track down.)

    Third choice would be the Parasound HCA-885A, bi-amping the mains and leaving one channel for the center. (easy to find).

    I would love to get the Sherbourn, but it just doesn't fit into my budget (set at ~$550)
    If I could find a nice used 1203, I think I would jump on it.

    How do you guys feel about the options I've narrowed down to? Which would you pick?
     
  11. AustinKW

    AustinKW Stunt Coordinator

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    Corey,

    I'd recommend putting a few more watts (and bucks) into your outboards. Anything less than 150WPC/8ohm is going to be a tough sell if and when the time comes. Good luck with your upgrade.

    Austin
     
  12. Matt

    Matt Extra

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    Corey,
    You are in the same boat I am. I have the Interludes all the way around and I have been trying to decide on an amp. I almost had a Parasound 2003a off of Ebay for $525, but I goofed and didn't set it up so it would autobid up to my limit. Some guy outbid me in the last 20 seconds. [​IMG]
    Oh well, my fault really. I have also considered the Acurus A200x3 and the A200x5 as options. The Parasound 1205a and 2205AT are also options if I can get a good deal. My budget limit is $1,200 so I can look at some different options. One thing I may do is get a great 2 channel amp and upgrade to a 3 channel (or 5 channel if I happen to go to 7.1) later. A two channel would improve your music and help take some of the load off of the receiver.
    It seems that 3 channel amps are hard to find for a good price. At least what I consider a good price. Keep the thread updated on what happens. I'll keep an eye on it.
    Matt
     
  13. Gruson

    Gruson Second Unit

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    Check www.audiogon.com
    There are some good amps there and you can usually talk down the seller. [​IMG]
    Good luck. I am looking for a 2205 soon. What do they usually go for now?
    -JW
     
  14. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    The amp in my 5.1 setup has been on the fritz so I've been using my backup - an old Pioneer 606 brought down from the bedroom. I'm amazed at how good it sounds, and I'm used to seperates! [​IMG] What was that about upgraditis?.....
     
  15. CoreyH

    CoreyH Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I ended up purchasing an Adcom GFA-5503 off of Audiogon. It's 3 channels x 200 watts into 8 ohms or 340 watts into 4 ohms.

    I think I got a good deal on it, $575, and it's supposed to be in excellent condition. It's in the mail, and I should be receiving it either today or tomorrow.

    After a good listen over the weekend, I'll let you all know what I think.

    Just wanted to give you all an update, as I really appreciate the advice that I received.

    Thanks!
     
  16. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Congrats.[​IMG] Adcom builds some nice equipment.
     
  17. Brian Treinen

    Brian Treinen Stunt Coordinator

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    Cory,

    You won't be sorry. I was in the same boat as you a few months ago but with a Denon 3802 and Polks all around. Debated the 3 vs. 5 channel and ended up getting a great deal on a Sherwood Newcastle AM9080. What a beast! I also looked at the 855a which would have been less expensive but was lower in power rating than the receiver (however I'm SURE that it would have been 85wpc of real power and sounded better) and wanted to stay higher in power. The Newcastle has been great. Immediate improvement in the front soundstage - very noticable on two channel audio. However, great punch as well on movies. I've got it running the front three, the 4 rears/surrounds are powered by the Denon and the other two channels of the 9080 are running the patio speakers. You will not regret your purchase. Adcom has always been very high on my list!!
     
  18. Philip_T

    Philip_T Supporting Actor

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    Congrats Corey!!!
    Cant wait to hear your review.

    Regards,
    Phil
     

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