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post #1 of 144 Old 04-07-2014, 10:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi All,

 

I have been reading through these forums for a while now, soaking up as much information as I can handle. I am just starting out on my home audio journey, but I have decided and purchased almost everything with the exception of amplifiers. I have narrowed the choices down to two options but am hoping to get some advice from you fine people as to which would be the best way to go.

 

Because I live in New Zealand the pricing and availability of amplifiers is quite different to the US and has limited my options somewhat and also makes the benefit of one amp over another a little different when cost is taken into consideration, hence the dilemma I now face…

 

Option 1 at $8,000 USD (Retail price in NZ is $13,200 USD so this is a significant discount!)

1x Parasound A51 (Surround and Centre)

1x Parasound A21 (Front Left/Right)

 

Option 2 at $7,000 USD (Retail price + Tax and Shipping)

3x Emotiva XPA-1 (Front Left/Right/Centre)

1x Emotiva XPA-5 (Surrounds with 1 channel spare)

 

Possible Option 3 at $10,600 USD (If I were to entertain the idea that passive bi-amp would be a good thing)

3x Emotiva XPA-1 (Front Left/Right/Centre – Mid/Bass)

3x Emotiva XPA-1L (Front Left/Right/Centre - Highs)

1x Emotiva XPA-5 (Surrounds with 1 channel spare)

 

The Parasounds Halo amps seem to have a great reputation and a lot of people rave about them. A big following of Emotiva amps and I really like the idea of mono blocks (mainly just because they are cool), although warranty support is harder over here and the 30 day trial doesn’t apply...

 

Often the advice given on other posts has been to save the money, go with Emotiva because the Parasounds at 2-3x the price are not 2-3x better. But with the price being pretty close after importing the Emotiva, tax etc. compared with a discounted (new) Parasound option, the decision becomes a little harder for me. Or maybe it’s easier? Maybe it’s just “Which option is better with cost being relatively equal”…

 

My equipment I have purchased to date (unused so far);

Anthem MRX 300 as a pre/pro (they don’t have the MRX310 in NZ yet)

Fronts: Paradigm Studio 100 V5

Centre: Paradigm Studio CC690 V5

Surrounds: Paradigm Studio 20 V5

Rears: Paradigm Studio 20 V5

Subs: 2x Paradigm Studio 12 with PBK

 

I will be using it for 80% Home Theatre, and 20% listening to music both from a Home Theatre PC running XBMC over HDMI. It’ll all be set up in my lounge which is 5m x 5m with one side open to the rest of the house. I plan to put in some room treatments, but haven’t done so yet.

 

Would love to hear your advice! Thanks in advance.

 

P.S. I have posted this over in the Emotiva community, but I did want to see what people thought here.  Not sure how bias towards the Emotiva options the responses there might be...

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post #2 of 144 Old 04-07-2014, 10:53 PM
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Hi fellow Kiwi.

Nice speakers. My vote is for an XPA-2 + XPA-5 combo. Your Paradigms can't really handle significantly more power than this option and given your room size you definitely won't need any more.

Passive bi-amping is a complete waste of time.

If your room is open to other spaces you will run out of subwoofer output before you have an issue with your top end (not that your subs are to be scoffed at).

My 2c,
Phil
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post #3 of 144 Old 04-07-2014, 11:35 PM
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I am happy with my parasound purchase used a few months ago. Bought a 2205a for 700 bucks. 5 x 220 watts and sounds great. Was hardly used in a older couples house. Even with shipping to nz that's a lot cheaper then your options. I can guarantee you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between this amp and higher priced with those paradigm speakers.
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post #4 of 144 Old 04-08-2014, 01:42 AM
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post #5 of 144 Old 04-08-2014, 02:48 AM
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I usually support biamping but since you have hundreds of watts on tap, and it's pretty costly, I'd use a 1 channel per speakers. Too much spending tens of thousands on amps.
Quote:
Passive bi-amping is a complete waste of time.

I have noticed a slight improvement on the Hi-Fi passive biamping but I'm only using 60W amps. Not 300W.

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post #6 of 144 Old 04-08-2014, 03:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Avgass View Post

Hi fellow Kiwi.

Nice speakers. My vote is for an XPA-2 + XPA-5 combo. Your Paradigms can't really handle significantly more power than this option and given your room size you definitely won't need any more.

Passive bi-amping is a complete waste of time.

If your room is open to other spaces you will run out of subwoofer output before you have an issue with your top end (not that your subs are to be scoffed at).

My 2c,
Phil


Hi Phil,

 

Thanks for your suggestion.  I was considering that also, but am cautious at how the "lesser" amps in the XPA series would compare with the Halo Parasounds.  Have you had experience with the Emotiva amps?  Given that any warranty issues would be tougher to deal with from here I do wonder how they would stack up in terms of both performance and reliability, particularly how silent they are or aren't.  And because we're 240V, not sure how that effects the Emotivas which predominantly are in 120V house holds...

 

Cheers,

James

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post #7 of 144 Old 04-08-2014, 03:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fatbottom View Post

I usually support biamping but since you have hundreds of watts on tap, and it's pretty costly, I'd use a 1 channel per speakers. Too much spending tens of thousands on amps.
I have noticed a slight improvement on the Hi-Fi passive biamping but I'm only using 60W amps. Not 300W.

 

Yeah, might be a bit much to go for the biamp option.  Could you recommend the Emotiva over the Parasound in terms of performance, and reliability, or vice versa?  I guess both options are single channel to each speaker, but Emotiva the mono block option vs the Parasound reputation in multi-channel form...

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post #8 of 144 Old 04-08-2014, 03:51 AM
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I would go the A21/A51 combo. You will not be disappointed.

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Ayre K-5xeMP, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650.
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post #9 of 144 Old 04-08-2014, 03:55 AM
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I would go with the Parasound combo in a heartbeat. Especially if there are authorized dealers and repair facilities in NZ for Parasound. If you have issues with Emotiva amps outside of the US you are in for some serious cost to ship the amp(s) back to Emotiva. The build quality is much better with Parasound but one pays a premium for that. You could also consider the A51 with the A23 to save a few bucks. The A51 could be for the LCR and surrounds and the A23 for the rear surrounds. I see no need for 250 wpc for the surrounds but some might.

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post #10 of 144 Old 04-08-2014, 04:00 AM
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I agree with Bill even though I have three Emotiva amps and am very satisfied.
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post #11 of 144 Old 04-08-2014, 04:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chalugadp View Post

I am happy with my parasound purchase used a few months ago. Bought a 2205a for 700 bucks. 5 x 220 watts and sounds great. Was hardly used in a older couples house. Even with shipping to nz that's a lot cheaper then your options. I can guarantee you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between this amp and higher priced with those paradigm speakers.

Only problem is that shipping is about $1,200 USD and then tax and duty at the border is another 20% on top of total price (including freight).  Although that still works out cheaper, you end up paying more for the shipping and tax then buying the second hand amp.  I did try that a couple of times though using AudioMart and Audiogon, but most people don't want the hassle of shipping internationally so it starts to get a little complicated.  If I could find someone willing, I'd even be tempted to get some JC-1s which second hand work out pretty good compared to anything else in NZ.

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post #12 of 144 Old 04-08-2014, 04:05 AM
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post #13 of 144 Old 04-08-2014, 04:09 AM
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No offense to Emotiva amp owners. I feel Emotiva amps are excellent but buying out of the US is a risk. The XPA-2/XPA-5 combo costs a fraction of the cost of the A21/A51 combo in the US.

Bill

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post #14 of 144 Old 04-08-2014, 04:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Mac View Post

I would go with the Parasound combo in a heartbeat. Especially if there are authorized dealers and repair facilities in NZ for Parasound. If you have issues with Emotiva amps outside of the US you are in for some serious cost to ship the amp(s) back to Emotiva. The build quality is much better with Parasound but one pays a premium for that. You could also consider the A51 with the A23 to save a few bucks. The A51 could be for the LCR and surrounds and the A23 for the rear surrounds. I see no need for 250 wpc for the surrounds but some might.

Bill


Thanks for the advice Bill.  Yeah, it is an authorized dealer in NZ although the discount is being offered by the importer who has really come to the party to make a sale.  The only condition is that it is for the purchase of both A51 an A21, so likely I won't get the same pricing if I were to scale back to the A23 unfortunately.  I agree with you though, the A21 and A51 probably isn't the best fit as it's overkill for the surrounds, both the rear and sides, and I'd actually like a little more on the fronts/centre if I could get it so I was never left "wanting".

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Mac View Post

No offense to Emotiva amp owners. I feel Emotiva amps are excellent but buying out of the US is a risk. The XPA-2/XPA-5 combo costs a fraction of the cost of the A21/A51 combo in the US.

Bill


That's it right there.  In the US I think I'd go for the Emotiva option as it is so much more cost effective.  But over here the price compared to Parasound gets a lot closer, although you do get mono-block vs multi-channel...

 

General consensus seems to be Parasound so far...

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Quote:
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I agree with Bill even though I have three Emotiva amps and am very satisfied.


Hi Theresa,

 

Thanks for your advice, especially considering you are using Emotiva already.  Did you ever have the opportunity to hear Emotiva vs Parasound to compare them, interested to see if one sounded better than the other especially for the Gen 2 mono-blocks?  And are your Emotiva amps pretty silent i.e. no transformer hum?  Because we run 240V here in NZ I do have the concern that a slight hum in the US running 120V may translate into a bigger problem here...

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Does anybody think I would need more power for my front speakers if I went with the Parasond option?  Parasound is 250W per channel vs 600W for the Emotiva mono block option.  I know the continuous output isn't probably going to be more than just a handful of Watts, but I understand tha peak power can far exceed that.  I just don't want to be left "wanting" for more...

 

Thanks for all your advice so far.  Absolutely brilliant!!!

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post #18 of 144 Old 04-08-2014, 04:22 AM
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There's ATI also

http://www.ati-amp.net.nz/

Krell Evolution 900e x 7

Bose Jewel speakers.

 

Jealous of my speakers?

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post #19 of 144 Old 04-08-2014, 04:27 AM
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200W is plenty. Maybe if you had real monsters like Focal JM Lab Grand Utopias

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post #20 of 144 Old 04-08-2014, 04:32 AM
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Quote:
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Thanks for the advice Bill.  Yeah, it is an authorized dealer in NZ although the discount is being offered by the importer who has really come to the party to make a sale.  The only condition is that it is for the purchase of both A51 an A21, so likely I won't get the same pricing if I were to scale back to the A23 unfortunately.  I agree with you though, the A21 and A51 probably isn't the best fit as it's overkill for the surrounds, both the rear and sides, and I'd actually like a little more on the fronts/centre if I could get it so I was never left "wanting".

My pleasure smile.gif. If you are getting a nice discount on the A21/A51 combo then that's the way to go. You could ask about the A51/A23 combo just to see if the discount will be as good. When all is said and done you'll have a real nice system smile.gif.

Bill

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post #21 of 144 Old 04-08-2014, 04:34 AM - Thread Starter
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There's ATI also

http://www.ati-amp.net.nz/


I was a bit worried that someone might introduce another option into the mix!  Too many decisions :-) But I've taken your advice and sent a request for some pricing from the distributor for the AT3000 series for fronts and AT2000 for surrounds (hope that was the right combo).  Be interesting to see how the price for them compare with the Parasound and Emotiva option...

 

Have you ever had the chance to compare the ATI amps vs Parasound or Emotiva? How did they go?

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There's ATI also
 

 

I was waiting for someone to jump in a suggest a new option! :)  I had been trying to keep it simple with just a limited set of options, but I have taken your advice and contacted the distributor to get some pricing for a 3 channel AT3000 series amp and a 4 channel AT2000 series amp (surrounds).  Hope that was the right amp choice for ATI being not particularly familiar with them.

 

How do the ATI's compare with the likes of Parasound and Emotive in terms of performance/SQ and reliability would you say?

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post #23 of 144 Old 04-08-2014, 04:54 AM
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Why not get a 7 channel? I have a 1807. Works out cheaper.

Ati are better than Emotiva. Emotiva customer support is...non existant.

Krell Evolution 900e x 7

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Why not get a 7 channel? I have a 1807. Works out cheaper.

Ati are better than Emotiva. Emotiva customer support is...non existant.


hmmmm, good point.  Was thinking about cross talk, and wasn't sure how the pricing would work out.  The distributor site doesn't have any pricing so it's hard to gauge which is the most cost effective option.  Not sure about the 1800 series being 180W.  Was thinking the 300W 3000 series would work well for the front stage, but then overkill for the surrounds so I split out those channels into the 2000 series as a separate amp.  Maybe not the best option based on what you're saying then...

 

When I hear back from the distributor I'll ask about the 7 channel option and see how it works out. 

 

Thanks for the suggestion.

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post #25 of 144 Old 04-08-2014, 05:02 AM
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I know it's not NZ prices, but Lsound have prices up ie Euros.

http://www.lsound.eu/home-theater/effektforsterkere.html

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post #26 of 144 Old 04-08-2014, 05:03 AM
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I was able to directly compare an Emotiva amp vs Parasound Halo, and the Halo had superior midrange and highs.  To my ears at higher volumes the XPA amp became harsh sounding with my Paradigm speakers using certain brighter tracks.  I played around with it to be sure and in the end decided that Emotiva made too many compromises to bring their amps to market at the low prices.  Parasound all the way.

 

If it's a concern to you, ATI amps are pretty plain looking, but I've heard good things about them.

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post #27 of 144 Old 04-08-2014, 05:06 AM - Thread Starter
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My pleasure smile.gif. If you are getting a nice discount on the A21/A51 combo then that's the way to go. You could ask about the A51/A23 combo just to see if the discount will be as good. When all is said and done you'll have a real nice system smile.gif.

Bill


Good advice, I'll be sure to do that.  Thanks.

 

I certainly hope the system works out well.  I've been running a little blind with everything so far.  Nothing has been plugged in, nothing has been heard.  Pretty tough to get any dealers here to provide a listening test for these speakers, and certainly not with the Anthem MRX.  So everything is based purely on the opinions of others on these forums so far.  Cross fingers it all works together nicely... :) 

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post #28 of 144 Old 04-08-2014, 05:09 AM
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3007 works out cheaper than 3003 + 2004.

Regardless 1807 would be plenty. go for 2/3 series if you want XLR balanced.

Also you'll need two people to lift a 3007. 58kg.

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post #29 of 144 Old 04-08-2014, 05:13 AM - Thread Starter
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I was able to directly compare an Emotiva amp vs Parasound Halo, and the Halo had superior midrange and highs.  To my ears at higher volumes the XPA amp became harsh sounding with my Paradigm speakers using certain brighter tracks.  I played around with it to be sure and in the end decided that Emotiva made too many compromises to bring their amps to market at the low prices.  Parasound all the way.

 

If it's a concern to you, ATI amps are pretty plain looking, but I've heard good things about them.


Nice to hear from someone who's had the opportunity to personally compare the two, especially with Paradigm speakers.  Just out of curiosity, was the Emotiva amp you tried the newer Gen 2 version?  I have heard they improved somewhat from the original release of the XPA line.

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