So I am at a bit of a loss here... I am looking at a 2 channel Pre/Pro and cannot decide. Unfortunately there is no way I can compare them side by side easily. Basically I am looking at either:
a) Pre: Rotel RC-1082 (just released)
Amp: Rotel RB-1080 (2x200W)
b) Pre: Parasound Halo P3 Preamp
Amp: Parasound Halo A21 (2x250W)
c) Pre: Parasound New Classic Model 2100 (not yet released)
Amp: Parasound New Classic Model 2250 (2x250W)
As the Rotel Pre is a bit more expensive than the Parasound Halo, and the Halo amp is about double the cost of the Rotel, the price difference comes out to be rather small, so it is not a consideration. The New Classic setup is a good bit cheaper, but the Pre isn't even shipping yet. I dont know how it really compares to the Halo line at all. I am familiar with Rotel and use their amps to drive my Nautilus 804 in a HT setup. I have only auditioned Parasound a little bit, but so far like what I have heard...
What are your ideas on these setups?
First, I've been a long time fan of the Rotels. They look good and sound pretty good as well.
Rotel is in the lower priced market and a great product for those looking to step up from traditional receivers. It is also my opinion they are the best of the lower priced market and I favor them over the likes of Adcom, Outlaw, Emotiva, B&K, NAD, Parasound New Classic, etc.
When comparing the Rotel against the Parasound Halos....You just stepped into another league in which the Rotels just cannot compete. The Halo A21 is THE BEST 2 channel amp under $2K on the market! A bold statement, yes. The Halo amps are dead silent at idle, they are gorgeous, the warranty is 10 years parts & 5 years labor. But most importantly they are neutral (nothing added nothing taken away), this is exactly what to look for in an amp.
The Halo P3 is a good affordable preamp and mates well with the A21. I have this combination mated with the Dynaudio Focus 220 in my showroom with great results. The A21 has a ton of muscle that will drive most any speaker with relative ease.
The New Classic series is a fine product as well. I rank it behind the Rotel only in appearence as I prefer Rotels styling over the New Classics. The New Classics are not as refined as the Halos, but still a fine sounding product.
It comes down to what you like, though. Do try and audition all if you can.
Thats about as good advice as you will find...
I have a Rotel RMB-1095, I love this amp, but would drop that in a second for a Halo A51...
Ahhh but I don't have the money to be upgrading...
I have an RX-1052 which I use for my entertainment center. My pad isn't conducive to 5.1 HT, so I'm happy with an all analog rig for now. Although, having heard and been blown away by a McIntosh MA-6900 recently, I'm working out the upgrade.
I think I have decided to go in a different direction with the Musical Fidelity A5 integrated myself. I do like the McIntosh, but it is a bit more than I can stretch.