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post #1 of 28 Old 04-05-2020, 08:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Parasound + KEF LS50

What do you guys think about this setup for primarily 2 Channel listening with some Multi Channel Audio sprinkled in when I convince the wife to let me add more speakers?

I've heard the KEF LS50W's and thought they sounded incredible, too good to be an active integrated setup just connected to a computer via USB.

What I believe I've decided on:
KEF LS50
Parasound Halo P7 Preamp
Parasound Halo A23 Amp

The choices:
Speakers
KEF LS50 $649
vs
Martin Logan Motion 15i $310
vs
Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary $450
vs
Focal 905 $900

Amp/Pre
Parasound Halo P7 Preamp $950
Parasound Halo A23+ Amp $950
vs
Emotiva PT-100 $300
Emotiva A-300 $400
vs
Outlaw Audio RR2060 - $1000

Is the Parasound stuff going to sound twice as good as the Emotiva? I mean it's twice the price. I've heard the monoblocks and A21's and they completely blew me away. I realize the A23 is a slightly worse version of the A21.

Stuff I have:
Technics SL1200 with Nagaoka MP 110
Custom built mini pc with PCM output

I also have a vintage Sansui G6000 that needs an overhaul that I could use after I refurbish it.

I'm going to use a PSW505 that I have laying around to fill out the bottom end, until I find a 10" sub that the wife approves of and integrates well into the system.


What do you recommend, would you change anything?

How is the Emotiva stuff with these speakers. I could get the A300 and PT-100 for like half of what I spent on the Parasound, but every time I've heard Parasound stuff I've been blown away and I found some nice deals that brought it into the realm of affordability for me.
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post #2 of 28 Old 04-05-2020, 10:29 PM
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My vote is Focal 905. I never heard this particular speakers, but I have two pairs of JM Lab Focal and two pairs of Kef ( got rid of one pair) and a Reference Series center channel. JM Lab Focal are much better. I never impressed by the Kef.....as an owner of two pairs and a center channel.


I don't have the schematic of Parasound A23, I did study the A21, it's a very good amp from design point of view.


That said. I think your choice of amps are too expensive for the speakers you choose, Speakers are the most important piece of the system, I would put twice the money on the speakers as the amp driving it, meaning if you budget $2000 for the two pieces, I would put $1300 to a pair of speakers and $700 on the amp.


I would buy used also. Hell, I just spent $6310 buying a pair of used Focal Alto Utopia($17,000 MSRP new at the time)!!! I bought a Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp used for around $700( over $1800MSRP at the time), I only paid 1/3 the original MSRP for both of them. I would look at things that are between 10 to 20 years old as they depreciate enough. Technology has not improved much in the last 20 years, people just like to buy new stuffs like fashion and dump the perfectly good old ones out.


One example is this JM Lab, I can't find the MSRP of early 2000s, I read one said $2500, I have no idea. If you can offer $600 and get it, it might be a good deal. I have to put a disclaimer, I did not do research, more an example for you than telling you to buy it. But this is the idea of a 20 years old speaker that you can get for cheap.



https://www.ebay.com/itm/FOCAL-JM-LA...Condition=3000


JMHO

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.

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post #3 of 28 Old 04-06-2020, 12:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by alan0354 View Post
My vote is Focal 905. I never heard this particular speakers, but I have two pairs of JM Lab Focal and two pairs of Kef ( got rid of one pair) and a Reference Series center channel. JM Lab Focal are much better. I never impressed by the Kef.....as an owner of two pairs and a center channel.


I don't have the schematic of Parasound A23, I did study the A21, it's a very good amp from design point of view.


That said. I think your choice of amps are too expensive for the speakers you choose, Speakers are the most important piece of the system, I would put twice the money on the speakers as the amp driving it, meaning if you budget $2000 for the two pieces, I would put $1300 to a pair of speakers and $700 on the amp.


I would buy used also. Hell, I just spent $6310 buying a pair of used Focal Alto Utopia($17,000 MSRP new at the time)!!! I bought a Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp used for around $700( over $1800MSRP at the time), I only paid 1/3 the original MSRP for both of them. I would look at things that are between 10 to 20 years old as they depreciate enough. Technology has not improved much in the last 20 years, people just like to buy new stuffs like fashion and dump the perfectly good old ones out.


One example is this JM Lab, I can't find the MSRP of early 2000s, I read one said $2500, I have no idea. If you can offer $600 and get it, it might be a good deal. I have to put a disclaimer, I did not do research, more an example for you than telling you to buy it. But this is the idea of a 20 years old speaker that you can get for cheap.



https://www.ebay.com/itm/FOCAL-JM-LA...Condition=3000


JMHO
Where do you find great deals on used equipment. I don't really have a ton of time to dig through Craigslist every day, and I live in an area with a ton of hipsters that love vintage audio, so stuff doesn't stay around too long. The market here on vintage is pretty weird. It's easier and cheaper sometimes to import vintage Japanese stuff from Japan often than getting it locally, like my Technics SL1200MK2. I'm totally down to get some quality used gear, heck I'd love to find a late 70's early 80's Nakimichi Amp for example, but I've not seen one in the 5 years I've been keeping an eye out for it, so maybe I just am not looking in the right places. I check HifiShark semi often looking for odds and ends, but I don't think I've ever been successful in finding that deal.


I owned a set of Magnepan .7's that I basically got for a steal. I recently parted with those because my place is just too small for big floor standers. The wife has vetoed every single placement idea I've had. The compromise we came to is a good set of bookshelfs and a sub. I don't keep speakers more than 5 years generally unless they're magical like the Magnepans were, but those amps could be with me 10-20 years. That's why I want separates instead of a receiver or integrated. It's also why I was considering the Emotiva gear. $700 bucks puts it right in line with the speaker price. The amp is only 400 bucks about 65% of the cost of the speakers so it's a bit more balanced. Personally I'd love to grab the BMR Philharmonitors, but at 2k plus and a non existant used market that's unlikely to happen. So it leaves me with bookshelfs. The D7's are great but not mind blowing, The D9's are a step up but again, I just don't see them as being my 10 year love affair the Magnepans would have been. Were they perfect, no, but they were enjoyable to listen to, especially at that price point. I also have enjoyed a set of vitange Klipschorns that I got to use from a friend for a few years while he traveled the world. I guess I'm saying I'm a little spoiled and no that there is no replacement for displacement, but I'd love something that can give me that feeling of just loving to listen to them for a while to come, in a small footprint......which is tough.

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post #4 of 28 Old 04-06-2020, 01:37 AM
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Where do you find great deals on used equipment. I don't really have a ton of time to dig through Craigslist every day, and I live in an area with a ton of hipsters that love vintage audio, so stuff doesn't stay around too long. The market here on vintage is pretty weird. It's easier and cheaper sometimes to import vintage Japanese stuff from Japan often than getting it locally, like my Technics SL1200MK2. I'm totally down to get some quality used gear, heck I'd love to find a late 70's early 80's Nakimichi Amp for example, but I've not seen one in the 5 years I've been keeping an eye out for it, so maybe I just am not looking in the right places. I check HifiShark semi often looking for odds and ends, but I don't think I've ever been successful in finding that deal.


I owned a set of Magnepan .7's that I basically got for a steal. I recently parted with those because my place is just too small for big floor standers. The wife has vetoed every single placement idea I've had. The compromise we came to is a good set of bookshelfs and a sub. I don't keep speakers more than 5 years generally unless they're magical like the Magnepans were, but those amps could be with me 10-20 years. That's why I want separates instead of a receiver or integrated. It's also why I was considering the Emotiva gear. $700 bucks puts it right in line with the speaker price. The amp is only 400 bucks about 65% of the cost of the speakers so it's a bit more balanced. Personally I'd love to grab the BMR Philharmonitors, but at 2k plus and a non existant used market that's unlikely to happen. So it leaves me with bookshelfs. The D7's are great but not mind blowing, The D9's are a step up but again, I just don't see them as being my 10 year love affair the Magnepans would have been. Were they perfect, no, but they were enjoyable to listen to, especially at that price point. I also have enjoyed a set of vitange Klipschorns that I got to use from a friend for a few years while he traveled the world. I guess I'm saying I'm a little spoiled and no that there is no replacement for displacement, but I'd love something that can give me that feeling of just loving to listen to them for a while to come, in a small footprint......which is tough.
Yeh, Magnepan needs a lot of space to sound good.


I just bought my pair of Alto Utopia from Audiogon:
https://www.audiogon.com/listings/li...-be-full-range


I also look on ebay. Another brand I really like is Sonus Faber
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...Condition=3000


You can send message to them and make offer. Like the pair of Alto Utopia was listed for $6800( not sure the exact asking price, around there) in Audiogon, I offered $5000, and we went back and forth, we ended up $5500. Then shipping and all. You have to make sure you look at the shipping cost. MORE IMPORTANT, BUY ONLY FROM US, I made the mistake of buying from Canada, it costed me another $351 to hire a broker to deal with all the custom and all. The total cost ended up to be $6351!!! But I am happy. I just got it 2 days ago.


One problem of buying used you cannot audition it. You just have to buy on faith. I know JM Lab Focal as I have a good pair ( Spectral 913.1) for 22 years. So I took the chance of the Alto Utopia. Also that's why I have no reservation suggesting to you. I listened to Sonus Faber and was very impressed with it. I own two pairs of Kef, one I got rid of is a pair of Uni-Q floor standing with dual 6" woofers, it was the higher end model of the Uni-Q line that time($1100). I also have a big bookshelf Kef and their top Reference series center channel. From owning these, I can tell you stay away from Kef. To me, they are mid fi quality only. I believe in buying the lower model of the most high end brand you can afford, not a higher model of some mid-fi brand. But that's just me. I don't like Klipsch because I don't like horn tweeter, they sound very artificial to me. There are a lot of high end brands, I just don't know them, all I can keep saying is Focal and Sonus Faber that I actually have experience.

For Sonus Faber, I was impressed with the pair of smaller speakers called either Concerto or Concertino. They are really good and you can get them in really good price as it's like 20 years old.


I won't get into some of the really old stuffs, I limit speakers to about 20 years old and amps from the late 80s.


You live too far to come to check out my old stuffs. My Nakamichi PA-7 is sitting in the shed outside, it's the newer improved version of the famous Threshold S300 designed by Nelson Pass. The going price is about $800 to $900 last I checked on ebay. I am willing to sell it like $400, BUT I don't ship, I am not into selling, only if people actually come and pick it up. Or else, it will just sit there.....and it's ok with me. I design my own amps and I have amps coming out of my ears!!! My amps kicked the butt of the PA-7, so it's in the shed. I also have a pair of Kef bookshelf I paid over $500, hell I am willing to sell it for say $200 or lower. It's been sitting there for 20 years!!! Again, I never advertise as I don't ship, period.


Anyhow, That's all I can advice you, go on Audiogon and ebay plenty of speakers and amps, drive a hard bargain. Hell, if you don't like it, you can always sell it again, keep the packing and boxes so you can ship them out. I just don't want to get into selling, but that's just me.

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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post #5 of 28 Old 04-06-2020, 01:46 AM
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I had been eyeing this pair of Focal for a long time, it's like 22 years old, it's quite far away. Because it's only for pickup, it's been on ebay like forever. I decided to get even higher model so I pass over this. But still it's the top of the line model of Focal at the time, it's the Utopia line, it's a little bigger than bookshelf, but not much. If I were to buy this, I'll offer $1600. You and your wife can take a vacation in Vegas when the whole pandemic is over!!!



https://www.ebay.com/itm/Focal-Jm-La...YAAOSwA29Y57O5

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.

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post #6 of 28 Old 04-06-2020, 05:09 AM
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I picked up a great condition Parasound HCA-1500a amplifier from USAudioMart for $450 shipped a few years back. It's a very impressive unit and offers a ton of value. I see a bunch of them on Ebay/Audiogon/USAudioMart. Something like that, with a preamp, for around $800-1000 all-in would be a much better value. Then go and spend more money on speakers, like the Ascend Sierra-2 or something.
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post #7 of 28 Old 04-06-2020, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by alan0354 View Post
I had been eyeing this pair of Focal for a long time, it's like 22 years old, it's quite far away. Because it's only for pickup, it's been on ebay like forever. I decided to get even higher model so I pass over this. But still it's the top of the line model of Focal at the time, it's the Utopia line, it's a little bigger than bookshelf, but not much. If I were to buy this, I'll offer $1600. You and your wife can take a vacation in Vegas when the whole pandemic is over!!!



https://www.ebay.com/itm/Focal-Jm-La...YAAOSwA29Y57O5
This is a great recommendation! Thanks for the link. There is a chance she'll say yes to these. If she does I think I'll give them a try.
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post #8 of 28 Old 04-06-2020, 02:33 PM
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This is a great recommendation! Thanks for the link. There is a chance she'll say yes to these. If she does I think I'll give them a try.

Bid low!!! This has the pre Be tweeter, but I own the Spectral 913.1 with the same tweeter, I can attest that it is good. Their new Be tweeters are just more popular now, that gives you the bargaining power. This pair has been on ebay for at least 8months since I was looking, particular you have to pick it up. I actually bought and cancelled a pair of Diva Utopia, it's a local pick up only, I think the asking price was over $4500, new MSRP is over $10K, I actually bought it for $3400!!! I cancelled it because I want a better pair. That's a good price.

Just be careful, do some research on the pricing, YOU ONLY HAVE 3 TRIES TO MAKE AN OFFER AND EBAY WILL BLOCK YOU FROM MAKING MORE OFFER. But you can always contact the seller and talk to the person direct. Ha ha, I did that also on another pair of Alto Utopia.

My guess ( just my guess) is start with $1600, I remember the MSRP is about $6000 at the time, but as I said, it has the older titanium tweeter, so you have more bargaining power. Again, My guess if you get this below $2000, I don't think you can go wrong.......Again, I did not do any research as my heart is always on the big floor standing ones. This is the Utopia line, the top line of Focal. You check out their new ones, the Grande Utopia goes beyond $100K new!!!! That's crazy in my book.


Ha ha, I am more excited telling you how to bargain!!! Like I told you, I just bought and received my pair of Focal Alto Utopia 3 days ago, I am happy camper. I am hot on the trod in bargaining and all. My pair is in brand new condition, I am surprised anyone can keep it that good.

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.

Last edited by alan0354; 04-06-2020 at 02:37 PM.
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post #9 of 28 Old 04-06-2020, 02:49 PM
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If you really buy this pair of Focal, you should audition a used Parasound A21. I studied the schematic, but I never heard it before, it's a very good design. My two recommendation on power amps are Adcom GFA565, they are monoblock, you have to buy two, I think I saw them asking for about $1200 for a pair used. Then the Parasound Halo A21.


I design power amps, I studied a lot ( I mean a lot) of schematics of power amps, I HAVE NEVER LISTEN TO THEM, but according to the circuit diagram on the design, these are the two I would recommend even over the Krell or Mark Levinson that cost a lot more.


Again, I only study the circuit to make the recommendation, never heard it. I take these two any time of the day over the Nakamichi PA-7, from the circuit and actually owning the PA-7, it is over rated, I lost faith on Nelson Pass even though his name belong to the top of the high end amps. People just like his Threshold/PA-7( same design, actually PA-7 is an improved design already). That's why it's in the shed. My first design 3 years ago kicked the butt of the PA-7.

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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post #10 of 28 Old 04-06-2020, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by alan0354 View Post
I had been eyeing this pair of Focal for a long time, it's like 22 years old, it's quite far away. Because it's only for pickup, it's been on ebay like forever. I decided to get even higher model so I pass over this. But still it's the top of the line model of Focal at the time, it's the Utopia line, it's a little bigger than bookshelf, but not much. If I were to buy this, I'll offer $1600. You and your wife can take a vacation in Vegas when the whole pandemic is over!!!



https://www.ebay.com/itm/Focal-Jm-La...YAAOSwA29Y57O5
Funny thing I was in Vegas the week the Pandemic alarms started ringing in the US. They called a state of emergency the second day I was there and every show I had booked was cancelled. Had I known about these when I was there, I would have driven over and picked them up......

I can fly to Vegas from here for like 150 bucks round trip, box these up and put them underneath the plane and I'd have a pretty solid next day air shipping

I'm trying to convince the wife now we're mocking out the space and how big they would be

I read a bit on these and the consensus is they're pretty amazing, especially for the size.
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post #11 of 28 Old 04-06-2020, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by alan0354 View Post
If you really buy this pair of Focal, you should audition a used Parasound A21. I studied the schematic, but I never heard it before, it's a very good design. My two recommendation on power amps are Adcom GFA565, they are monoblock, you have to buy two, I think I saw them asking for about $1200 for a pair used. Then the Parasound Halo A21.


I design power amps, I studied a lot ( I mean a lot) of schematics of power amps, I HAVE NEVER LISTEN TO THEM, but according to the circuit diagram on the design, these are the two I would recommend even over the Krell or Mark Levinson that cost a lot more.


Again, I only study the circuit to make the recommendation, never heard it. I take these two any time of the day over the Nakamichi PA-7, from the circuit and actually owning the PA-7, it is over rated, I lost faith on Nelson Pass even though his name belong to the top of the high end amps. People just like his Threshold/PA-7( same design, actually PA-7 is an improved design already). That's why it's in the shed. My first design 3 years ago kicked the butt of the PA-7.
That's impressive. I can't find an A21 for an affordable price, people that have them seem to want to keep them. I'm going to grab the A23, then update it to an A21, when I come across a good used specimen at the right price, at least that's the plan. I'm getting enough of a discount on the A23 that I feel confident hanging on to it while I hunt for my "perfect" amp, the A21. I've heard both and a really over the top McIntosh reference system at a friend's house, different rooms and different speakers unfortunately, but I heard my Magnepans on the Halo A21 and I was just awe struck but what that amp did with them, granted every other piece of his system was better than every piece of mine at the time. I'm planning on keeping an eye out for them, thanks for the great recommendation.

Have you gotten the new speakers set up? How are you liking them?
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post #12 of 28 Old 04-06-2020, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post
I picked up a great condition Parasound HCA-1500a amplifier from USAudioMart for $450 shipped a few years back. It's a very impressive unit and offers a ton of value. I see a bunch of them on Ebay/Audiogon/USAudioMart. Something like that, with a preamp, for around $800-1000 all-in would be a much better value. Then go and spend more money on speakers, like the Ascend Sierra-2 or something.
I have no idea how to audition the Sierra 2's, but I have heard the LS50's. Do you know any place that sells them that allows in home audition?

They seem similar but inferior to Salk/Philharmonitor BMR's, which is the speaker that's on my must own list. The Sierra 2's are $1200 B-Stock, which is not unreasonable but also I don't think I could resell them if I don't like them for exactly what I paid without hassle. For what I'm paying for the LS50's I can sell them for $700 locally and undercut the local used market by $100, no harm no foul. Same with the Amps I'm getting. If I don't like the A23 I can sell it locally for $900 and it'll be gone within the week probably. If I don't like the LS 50's I'll like just sell them and try to find someone with Sierra 2's in Seattle I can hear. I do like the folded ribbon tweeter, those sound fantastic. It's why I'm willing to buy any used BMR I find without ever hearing them. I think this may be a good interim. At the moment I'm seeing if I can swing the Focals Alan linked. I have family that only lives a couple hours from the guy with these speakers and they said they'd pick them up for me
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post #13 of 28 Old 04-06-2020, 05:08 PM
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That's impressive. I can't find an A21 for an affordable price, people that have them seem to want to keep them. I'm going to grab the A23, then update it to an A21, when I come across a good used specimen at the right price, at least that's the plan. I'm getting enough of a discount on the A23 that I feel confident hanging on to it while I hunt for my "perfect" amp, the A21. I've heard both and a really over the top McIntosh reference system at a friend's house, different rooms and different speakers unfortunately, but I heard my Magnepans on the Halo A21 and I was just awe struck but what that amp did with them, granted every other piece of his system was better than every piece of mine at the time. I'm planning on keeping an eye out for them, thanks for the great recommendation.

Have you gotten the new speakers set up? How are you liking them?

Remember, I am NOT saying anything about the A23, I can't find the circuit diagram, so I just comment on the internal pictures I found. It looks like a good medium power amp, it has 3 pairs of output transistors per channel as I circled in red. I cannot tell the size of the transistors. The A21 has 4 pairs, BUT I know they use a super transistor that is equal to two normal big transistor, that's like 8 pairs. I cannot tell from the picture that it's the normal or the super transistor. If those in A23 are the super transistors, 3 pairs is plenty.


I like it that it has a good size heatsink of each side. It is very important. I can tell you, my first line judging an amp is how heavy, how big the heatsink and how many pairs of power transistors. There is a very good reason for that technically, nothing beats that, people can say what they want, but again, as an amp designer, you just cannot make it good and light weight and small heatsink. Also, the transformer is decent size on the A23.


From experience with two pairs of JM Lab Focal, they are efficient speakers, BUT they are not easy to drive speakers. You need amps with more output transistor pairs and big heatsink, there is no other way around it. I don't want to bore you with all the technical details. The number of watts is NOT even important, you can get some less than good power amps that rated 200W, but it doesn't mean anything. A good 60W amp is plenty for these Focal Utopia. The amps I designed are only [email protected], but [email protected] or [email protected] The important thing is how low the impedance the amp can drive. The A23 claim it can drive 2ohm, which is good. That's more important than how many watts.


I am still experiment with the Alto, so far, they are definitely better than the Spectral 913.1 I have, I am still optimize everything, like adjusting the sub, the position of the speaker, and what speaker cables is the best. Those are really important when you get into your Mini Utopia class of speakers. This is the thread I talked about my new speaker starting in post #52 . Still have a long way to go to optimizing them.
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/173-2...-utopia-2.html
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Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.

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post #14 of 28 Old 04-06-2020, 05:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by alan0354 View Post
Remember, I am NOT saying anything about the A23, I can't find the circuit diagram, so I just comment on the internal pictures I found. It looks like a good medium power amp, it has 3 pairs of output transistors per channel as I circled in red. I cannot tell the size of the transistors. The A21 has 4 pairs, BUT I know they use a super transistor that is equal to two normal big transistor, that's like 8 pairs. I cannot tell from the picture that it's the normal or the super transistor. If those in A23 are the super transistors, 3 pairs is plenty.


I like it that it has a good size heatsink of each side. It is very important. I can tell you, my first line judging an amp is how heavy, how big the heatsink and how many pairs of power transistors. There is a very good reason for that technically, nothing beats that, people can say what they want, but again, as an amp designer, you just cannot make it good and light weight and small heatsink. Also, the transformer is decent size on the A23.


From experience with two pairs of JM Lab Focal, they are efficient speakers, BUT they are not easy to drive speakers. You need amps with more output transistor pairs and big heatsink, there is no other way around it. I don't want to bore you with all the technical details. The number of watts is NOT even important, you can get some less than good power amps that rated 200W, but it doesn't mean anything. A good 60W amp is plenty for these Focal Utopia. The amps I designed are only [email protected], but [email protected] or [email protected] The important thing is how low the impedance the amp can drive. The A23 claim it can drive 2ohm, which is good. That's more important than how many watts.


I am still experiment with the Alto, so far, they are definitely better than the Spectral 913.1 I have, I am still optimize everything, like adjusting the sub, the position of the speaker, and what speaker cables is the best. Those are really important when you get into your Mini Utopia class of speakers. This is the thread I talked about my new speaker starting in post #52 . Still have a long way to go to optimizing them.
I found this info from avhub.com.au

Internally, the most visually impressive component is the massive custom-made 1kVA encapsulated toroidal power transformer with its independent secondary windings for each channel. Storage and smoothing is by way of four 10,000µF/80V electrolytic capacitors, for a total of 40,000µF. (Parasound specifies a total of 48,000µF, so presumably there’s been some slight modifications to the circuit over the years the A23 has been in Parasound’s line-up… the PCB on our review sample, for example was last revised in 2002.) The amplifier topology is that of a complementary MOSFET driver stage and JFET input stage, with the final output being via twelve beta-matched 15-amp, 60MHz bipolar output transistor pairs—Sanken C3519/ A1386 types, to be precise. There are two big internal aluminium heatsinks running down either side of the PCB, so there’s no need for any noisy fan-cooling. The amplifier is well-protected from misadventure thanks to the use of d.c. servos, relays and fuses, along with thermal protection. Rather unusually, all the individual components on the PCB are ‘old-school’ through-hole types… there’s not a surface-mount component in sight!

https://idoc.pub/documents/parasound...s-d49oqdjxw849

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I have no idea how to audition the Sierra 2's, but I have heard the LS50's. Do you know any place that sells them that allows in home audition?
According to their website, Ascend Acoustics offers a 30-day mailorder refund policy (minus shipping) on non-custom loudspeakers.

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/Merch...c?Screen=GRNTE

Music room: Cary SLI-80 tube integrated amplifier, McIntosh MA6500 integrated amplifier, Quad 99 preamp, Quad 909 power amp, Acoustic Research AR9 loudspeakers, Yamaha CD-N500 CD player, Teac UD-503 DSD DAC, Phase Linear 8000 II linear-tracking turntable.
Theater room: Panasonic 65S60 plasma television; Yamaha RX-A2020 (preamp section); Adcom GFA-5503 and GFA-5400 amplifiers; Polk LSi25, LSiC, and LSiF/X loudspeaker system; Velodyne FSR-18 servo-subwoofer.
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According to their website, Ascend Acoustics offers a 30-day mailorder in-home refund policy (minus shipping) on non-custom loudspeakers.

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/Merch...c?Screen=GRNTE
I totally missed that I can't get their site to properly display in Windows 10 with the Chrome Browser or the Chromium Edge browser. I'll give Firefox a shot and see if I can't read through their in home demo policy. The b-stock they have for sale may not apply to their in home demo, but if it does and the Focals don't work out I'll give them a listen! Thanks for the help!!!!!
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I found this info from avhub.com.au

Internally, the most visually impressive component is the massive custom-made 1kVA encapsulated toroidal power transformer with its independent secondary windings for each channel. Storage and smoothing is by way of four 10,000µF/80V electrolytic capacitors, for a total of 40,000µF. (Parasound specifies a total of 48,000µF, so presumably there’s been some slight modifications to the circuit over the years the A23 has been in Parasound’s line-up… the PCB on our review sample, for example was last revised in 2002.) The amplifier topology is that of a complementary MOSFET driver stage and JFET input stage, with the final output being via twelve beta-matched 15-amp, 60MHz bipolar output transistor pairs—Sanken C3519/ A1386 types, to be precise. There are two big internal aluminium heatsinks running down either side of the PCB, so there’s no need for any noisy fan-cooling. The amplifier is well-protected from misadventure thanks to the use of d.c. servos, relays and fuses, along with thermal protection. Rather unusually, all the individual components on the PCB are ‘old-school’ through-hole types… there’s not a surface-mount component in sight!

https://idoc.pub/documents/parasound...s-d49oqdjxw849
Sounds like it's the same design of A21 with JFET input and MOSFET driver stage, the difference is the output transistor. A21 uses Sanken C2922/A1216, those are two of the biggest transistors on the market. Sanken C3519/ A1386 are good transistors, but not the super transistors I talked about in the A21.

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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I totally missed that I can't get their site to properly display in Windows 10 with the Chrome Browser or the Chromium Edge browser. I'll give Firefox a shot and see if I can't read through their in home demo policy. The b-stock they have for sale may not apply to their in home demo, but if it does and the Focals don't work out I'll give them a listen! Thanks for the help!!!!!
Refund policy applies to home trial of B-stock as well:

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/Merch...ode=9SRM2PPBS&

Music room: Cary SLI-80 tube integrated amplifier, McIntosh MA6500 integrated amplifier, Quad 99 preamp, Quad 909 power amp, Acoustic Research AR9 loudspeakers, Yamaha CD-N500 CD player, Teac UD-503 DSD DAC, Phase Linear 8000 II linear-tracking turntable.
Theater room: Panasonic 65S60 plasma television; Yamaha RX-A2020 (preamp section); Adcom GFA-5503 and GFA-5400 amplifiers; Polk LSi25, LSiC, and LSiF/X loudspeaker system; Velodyne FSR-18 servo-subwoofer.
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Yeh, Parasound A21 is a lot more expensive, but hell, you can always make a low offer and see who bites!!
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...o+A21&_sacat=0

I watched the seminar of the designer John Curl, I like him.

My personal opinion, I don't keep buying, you waste more money in the long run. Power amps design has not evolve much if any, only time they improved was in late 80s when a new generation of faster transistors came on the market. After that, the ones with the new transistor from the early 90s is going to be every bit as good as the one today. So I'd bite the bullet go for the best.

But of cause, if you are into selling on ebay or Audiogon, then you can always sell the A23 later. You won't lose much money if any doing that. It's up to you. I guess I am not into selling, so I tend to buy the ultimate one and move on.


Ha ha, I am talking you way out of your original budget!!!


JMHO.




EDIT: I don't see any used ADCOM GFA-565, if you have a chance to listen to a pair, try them and see what you think. One listen speaks a 1000 words. But I like the design even more than the A21. There is something to be said of monoblocks, I design my amps a dual mono block, that is literally two independent amps in one housing. It sounds better. Keep checking on ebay, I've seen a used pair for about $1200.

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.

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If I were shopping for stand-mount loudspeakers up to several thousand dollars a pair, these would still be on my shortlist:

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_336EVO...-2-Walnut.html

https://www.musicdirect.com/speakers...shelf-Speakers

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_700LNT...-Mahogany.html

I have no experience with Wharfedale's products, but if you prefer loudspeakers that have a reputation for warm, nonfatiguing sonics, they are worth consideration.

Music room: Cary SLI-80 tube integrated amplifier, McIntosh MA6500 integrated amplifier, Quad 99 preamp, Quad 909 power amp, Acoustic Research AR9 loudspeakers, Yamaha CD-N500 CD player, Teac UD-503 DSD DAC, Phase Linear 8000 II linear-tracking turntable.
Theater room: Panasonic 65S60 plasma television; Yamaha RX-A2020 (preamp section); Adcom GFA-5503 and GFA-5400 amplifiers; Polk LSi25, LSiC, and LSiF/X loudspeaker system; Velodyne FSR-18 servo-subwoofer.
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Originally Posted by alan0354 View Post
Sounds like it's the same design of A21 with JFET input and MOSFET driver stage, the difference is the output transistor. A21 uses Sanken C2922/A1216, those are two of the biggest transistors on the market. Sanken C3519/ A1386 are good transistors, but not the super transistors I talked about in the A21.
I can likely swap that amplifier, for this http://www.echohifi.com/details/14544/Parasound_A21

Would you buy at that price?
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I can likely swap that amplifier, for this http://www.echohifi.com/details/14544/Parasound_A21

Would you buy at that price?
It is sale pending, must be reasonable price. $400 lower than what I saw today.


BUT BUT, now that you know the base line, go offer on the others on ebay that I gave the link to you. This one is $1395, you can go on ebay and offer say $1200 and see........or even lower!!!


Hey, if you get a steal, you owe me a lunch!!!


See to me, it's one thing to buy good stuff, more importantly, is to get a great deal. Anyone can pay and buy good stuffs, it's the one that can get a great deal and save money that I am impressed.

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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I have no idea how to audition the Sierra 2's, but I have heard the LS50's. Do you know any place that sells them that allows in home audition?

They seem similar but inferior to Salk/Philharmonitor BMR's, which is the speaker that's on my must own list. The Sierra 2's are $1200 B-Stock, which is not unreasonable but also I don't think I could resell them if I don't like them for exactly what I paid without hassle. For what I'm paying for the LS50's I can sell them for $700 locally and undercut the local used market by $100, no harm no foul. Same with the Amps I'm getting. If I don't like the A23 I can sell it locally for $900 and it'll be gone within the week probably. If I don't like the LS 50's I'll like just sell them and try to find someone with Sierra 2's in Seattle I can hear. I do like the folded ribbon tweeter, those sound fantastic. It's why I'm willing to buy any used BMR I find without ever hearing them. I think this may be a good interim. At the moment I'm seeing if I can swing the Focals Alan linked. I have family that only lives a couple hours from the guy with these speakers and they said they'd pick them up for me
You can demo them in home and just pay shipping if you don't like them. They are very popular and highly regarded, you'd have no trouble selling them if need be. The BMR is a better speaker, but also $1000 more from Salk.

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Originally Posted by alan0354 View Post
It is sale pending, must be reasonable price. $400 lower than what I saw today.


BUT BUT, now that you know the base line, go offer on the others on ebay that I gave the link to you. This one is $1395, you can go on ebay and offer say $1200 and see........or even lower!!!


Hey, if you get a steal, you owe me a lunch!!!


See to me, it's one thing to buy good stuff, more importantly, is to get a great deal. Anyone can pay and buy good stuffs, it's the one that can get a great deal and save money that I am impressed.
I like your style Alan, and if I can manage to pick one up for a song lunch is on me. I'm messaging some folks and we'll see if someone bites :-D
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Originally Posted by alan0354 View Post
Yeh, Parasound A21 is a lot more expensive, but hell, you can always make a low offer and see who bites!!
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...o+A21&_sacat=0

I watched the seminar of the designer John Curl, I like him.

My personal opinion, I don't keep buying, you waste more money in the long run. Power amps design has not evolve much if any, only time they improved was in late 80s when a new generation of faster transistors came on the market. After that, the ones with the new transistor from the early 90s is going to be every bit as good as the one today. So I'd bite the bullet go for the best.

But of cause, if you are into selling on ebay or Audiogon, then you can always sell the A23 later. You won't lose much money if any doing that. It's up to you. I guess I am not into selling, so I tend to buy the ultimate one and move on.


Ha ha, I am talking you way out of your original budget!!!


JMHO.




EDIT: I don't see any used ADCOM GFA-565, if you have a chance to listen to a pair, try them and see what you think. One listen speaks a 1000 words. But I like the design even more than the A21. There is something to be said of monoblocks, I design my amps a dual mono block, that is literally two independent amps in one housing. It sounds better. Keep checking on ebay, I've seen a used pair for about $1200.
Ya for what it's worth my wife is a buy once type of gal, so I get away with pretty extreme purchases. I'm just pretty picky about what I pay for things. I hate paying full price for anything. It just feels wrong to me. I'm going to probably grab the A23 while I haggle on the A21 until I find one at the right price. Preferably $1300 flat. The guy with the Focals seems to be cool with a lower price, how much lower I'm not sure yet still discussing that, but I'll be in Vegas again in May and if we can work out a price I'll grab them then. I'm going to use this configuration as is and sell the A23 and KEF and swap it for the Focals and an A21 when I find them. I can sell the two and probably not lose very much money since they're 2019/2020 models with the full factory warranty. The KEF's sell for 800 plus locally all day and there are no shortage of buyers in Seattle. Everyone lives in 600 sq ft apartments for the most part so near field speakers that CNET recommends are not a hard sell. Thank goodness I don't have a limited budget for the purchases or my wife would be very mad at the both of us right now. In complete seriousness though, thanks for all the help! I feel very good landing on the final destination of Focal + Parasound.
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post #26 of 28 Old 04-08-2020, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Alex F. View Post
If I were shopping for stand-mount loudspeakers up to several thousand dollars a pair, these would still be on my shortlist:

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_336EVO...-2-Walnut.html

https://www.musicdirect.com/speakers...shelf-Speakers

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_700LNT...-Mahogany.html

I have no experience with Wharfedale's products, but if you prefer loudspeakers that have a reputation for warm, nonfatiguing sonics, they are worth consideration.
So a used of of the Denton 80th Anniversary was my original first choice from Wharfedale. I heard them locally at a store here in Seattle, and I quite liked them, but the wife liked the KEF LS50's better aesthetically in the space. She isn't complaining about the money I'm spending on all this gear so I figured we could try them out and see. I have a 30 day in home demo of all the equipment coming in, I personally think I'm going to grab a set of Focals now and be done with it. I'll give these KEF's a listen and see for sure.
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post #27 of 28 Old 04-08-2020, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by pablo906 View Post
I like your style Alan, and if I can manage to pick one up for a song lunch is on me. I'm messaging some folks and we'll see if someone bites :-D

I am just kidding about lunch. But I am serious about wanting you to get a great deal. Get a great deal, let me know and I'll be very happy.


Now, don't take that I don't approve of the A23. All I said is I don't know because I don't have the circuit diagram. I push for A21 because I know the circuit and actually sat down and analyzing it before. A23 could be every bit as good as the A21.


I don't brag on how good my stuffs or what, but I do brag about how good a deal I got. I am still bragging that I paid $5000 below invoice on the car I bought in 2003!!!! The car is long gone, but the bragging still going!!!

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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post #28 of 28 Old 04-08-2020, 02:58 PM
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BTW, I still have this in my ebay watch list. You did say you are looking for a bookshelf.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Focal-Micro...d/333528028311


I found 2 original price, one is $7500USD and the other 5000 euro, I don't know which one is right. 5000 euro = $5500USD, calculate 1/3 will be $1833. This speakers are the same era as my Alto, I got it for a little less than 1/3. So I use it as guide line.



But I have a suspicion $1800 is a little low, but no hurt of trying. It's been on the market at least 2months.

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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