McIntosh vs Parasound Halo vs ATI - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 06-15-2013, 07:19 AM - Thread Starter
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ATI (Amplifier Technology Inc) produces amplifiers as an OEM and for themselves. ATI's prices are less than half of two higher end manufacturers (McIntosh and Parasound). Can someone help me to understand if the underying technology, sound quality, build quality and customer service of these three companies are noticeably different. I am interested in their 5-7 channel amps ranging from 200-300 watts per channel for HT and music.
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post #2 of 15 Old 06-15-2013, 07:38 AM
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While I have no personal experience with ATI I would recommend them from what I have gleaned from reading reviews and these forums. Parasound and of course McIntosh are also a great choice. I think a A31 for the front three and a AT2004 would make a great 7.x. Of course you could go AT3003 and AT2004. Or even A21/AT3002 and Outlaw 7500. I prefer two amps vs a 7 channel. L and R are most important followed by center then surrounds and finally the rest. Unless you do multichannel music and have five identical speakers that would be an exception.
Edit: I believe the A21 is slightly better than the A31/A51 derivatives, but all very good.

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, DBP 2010, Samsung BD-C7900, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650. Sitting still CCM616, Kef...
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post #3 of 15 Old 06-15-2013, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jima4a View Post

While I have no personal experience with ATI I would recommend them from what I have gleaned from reading reviews and these forums. Parasound and of course McIntosh are also a great choice. I think a A31 for the front three and a AT2004 would make a great 7.x. Of course you could go AT3003 and AT2004. Or even A21/AT3002 and Outlaw 7500. I prefer two amps vs a 7 channel. L and R are most important followed by center then surrounds and finally the rest. Unless you do multichannel music and have five identical speakers that would be an exception.
Edit: I believe the A21 is slightly better than the A31/A51 derivatives, but all very good.

Appreciate the feedback. I have been thinking of options for an electronics upgrade. One option is to go the pre pro route. For example, Marantz AV8801 and then external amps. The other options is to go with a receiver, eg. Marantz SR7008 and then do an amp for only the LCR.

I have a 5.1 system and then two other zones. The second option would probably give me reasonable amp power for zone 2 and 3 and the surround speakers in 5.1 and my cost will be considerably lower than if I go the pre pro route.

The receiver route seems to make sense from a cost and amplifier perspective. The AV 8801 has a number of bells and whistles but I am not sure I could really take advantage of them in a 5.1 set up.

Any thoughts
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post #4 of 15 Old 06-15-2013, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deeda View Post

ATI (Amplifier Technology Inc) produces amplifiers as an OEM and for themselves. ATI's prices are less than half of two higher end manufacturers (McIntosh and Parasound). Can someone help me to understand if the underying technology, sound quality, build quality and customer service of these three companies are noticeably different. I am interested in their 5-7 channel amps ranging from 200-300 watts per channel for HT and music.

I have experience with ATI customer service, and while I suspect most buyers won't have any experience with them at all, I can say my experience was top-notch in every respect.

You won't hear a difference between any of those three brands. IMO, the McIntosh is the one to get if you're in love with their meters and mystique. Otherwise, ATI is the one to beat. Parasound doesn't offer anything to distinguish themselves at the price, IMO. At half the price, they'd be worth considering,

(FWIW, I had the same choice, more or less. Eventually my head smacked down my heart, and I picked up an ATI AT2007 instead of a Mac 207. I could not be happier with the performance the amp)

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post #5 of 15 Old 06-15-2013, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deeda View Post

Appreciate the feedback. I have been thinking of options for an electronics upgrade. One option is to go the pre pro route. For example, Marantz AV8801 and then external amps. The other options is to go with a receiver, eg. Marantz SR7008 and then do an amp for only the LCR.

I have a 5.1 system and then two other zones. The second option would probably give me reasonable amp power for zone 2 and 3 and the surround speakers in 5.1 and my cost will be considerably lower than if I go the pre pro route.

The receiver route seems to make sense from a cost and amplifier perspective. The AV 8801 has a number of bells and whistles but I am not sure I could really take advantage of them in a 5.1 set up.

Amy thougths
What speakers do you have? The 8801 is the SQ champ for the price so if your speakers can take advantage I would go for the 8801. I bought a DHC 80.3 giving up waiting on the Marantz release but now believe I should have waited. An SP3 would be best but $9500 list....

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, DBP 2010, Samsung BD-C7900, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650. Sitting still CCM616, Kef...
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post #6 of 15 Old 06-15-2013, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jima4a View Post

What speakers do you have? The 8801 is the SQ champ for the price so if your speakers can take advantage I would go for the 8801. I bought a DHC 80.3 giving up waiting on the Marantz release but now believe I should have waited. An SP3 would be best but $9500 list....

I currently have B&W 818 in-ceiling speakers for LCR in 5.1 system. I want to upgrade to bookshelf speakers. We have traded messages on another thread and I am looking at B&W 805D and KEF 201/2. I like the 805D and need to demo the KEF 201/2. People have responded very favorably on this forum to the KEF, but I have not had a chance to demo.

Money is a finite resource. My plan is to put money first to speakers, but both B&W and KEF may need something more than my current Onkyo TX-SR 805 can deliver.

My priority is to upgrade (1) speakers, (2) the amp for LCR, (3) the receiver, (4) add another sub.
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post #7 of 15 Old 06-15-2013, 09:37 AM
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Good priorities! Wait on the 8801 in case something else comes out.

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, DBP 2010, Samsung BD-C7900, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650. Sitting still CCM616, Kef...
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post #8 of 15 Old 06-15-2013, 10:13 AM
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Just installed an ATI 2005. Haven't had much time to do anything other than listen to music. Had the volume cranked to 0.0db and the amps barely got hot... amazing. The amp is driving Aperion Audio speakers. Left and right speakers are Verus Grand Towers, center speaker is Verus Grand, and surrounds are Verus Forte Towers. All speakers pull 4-6 ohms, and like I said, the amp doesn't even break a sweat. Also, remember if you get the AT3000 series, then you will need a dedicated 20 amp circuit, and the appropriate outlet. I would highly recommend the ATI product as the quality is top notch, and the company is right here in US... everything is made here in good ole USA.

One more thing, the Aperion speakers sound awesome, haven't heard B&W 80x series in a long time, so cannot accurately comment, but if you are looking at budget, you should consider Aperion as they are internet direct, and I think very competitive to B&W.
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post #9 of 15 Old 06-15-2013, 11:12 AM
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The Aperions are quite good, no listening fatigue ever, but won't have the detail of the 201/2 or 805D. I auditioned the VGT and VGC at home and have a positive view of Aperion.

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, DBP 2010, Samsung BD-C7900, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650. Sitting still CCM616, Kef...
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post #10 of 15 Old 06-15-2013, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deeda View Post

I currently have B&W 818 in-ceiling speakers for LCR in 5.1 system. I want to upgrade to bookshelf speakers. We have traded messages on another thread and I am looking at B&W 805D and KEF 201/2. I like the 805D and need to demo the KEF 201/2. People have responded very favorably on this forum to the KEF, but I have not had a chance to demo.

Money is a finite resource. My plan is to put money first to speakers, but both B&W and 805 may need something more than my current Onkyo TX-SR 805 can deliver.

My priority is to upgrade (1) speakers, (2) the amp for LCR, (3) the receiver, (4) add another sub.

If cost/budget is an issue then for how the ATI performs in relation to the other brands you mentioned I think it is a good choice.

B
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post #11 of 15 Old 06-15-2013, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
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If cost/budget is an issue then for how the ATI performs in relation to the other brands you mentioned I think it is a good choice.

B

How about if cost isn't an issue?
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post #12 of 15 Old 06-15-2013, 07:25 PM
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Depends on what is important to you: looks, resale, bragging rights, etc. etc. As for sound I have not listened to the Parasound, but the Mac and ATI are very similar (comparison done on 803 Diamond speakers).

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post #13 of 15 Old 06-17-2013, 01:57 PM
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I can only comment on Parasound. The builld quality, sound quality and customer service has been fantastic. I have an A21 for my front speakers, an A31 for my center and surrounds, and an A23 for my rears. Very clean, powerful, dynamic and beautiful. Designed by John Curl if that means anything to you....it did to me. The general feeling I get is that you get a lot more bang for your buck with Parasound. I think the Parasound Halo amps sound as good as much more expensive amps that I auditioned. I've got my eye on two JC1 monoblocks, but those are $9,000..
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post #14 of 15 Old 06-17-2013, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the responses.

My observation from the feedback is that there are no clear stand outs. Mac and ATI sound similar. Mac looks cooler. Parasound is also good and has a legend (John Curl) behind the brand. I have read a thousand posts on this forum and in regards to amplifiers there is rarely concensus.

My conclusion is that Mac, ATI and Parasound all make good quality equipment. If appearance and history are important to my listening expereince and I don't mind paying for it, Mac and Parasound would be good choices. If those attributes are not relevant and my resources are constrained (or could be better utilized in better speakers or other equipment), then ATI would be an appropriate alternative and that my ears could probably never distinguish from Mac or Parasound anyway.
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post #15 of 15 Old 06-17-2013, 06:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deeda View Post

Thank you all for the responses.

My observation from the feedback is that there are no clear stand outs. Mac and ATI sound similar. Mac looks cooler. Parasound is also good and has a legend (John Curl) behind the brand. I have read a thousand posts on this forum and in regards to amplifiers there is rarely concensus.

My conclusion is that Mac, ATI and Parasound all make good quality equipment. If appearance and history are important to my listening expereince and I don't mind paying for it, Mac and Parasound would be good choices. If those attributes are not relevant and my resources are constrained (or could be better utilized in better speakers or other equipment), then ATI would be an appropriate alternative and that my ears could probably never distinguish from Mac or Parasound anyway.

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