Emotiva XPA-5 to Parasound A21 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 12 Old 08-07-2017, 10:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Emotiva XPA-5 to Parasound A21

I was highly skeptical that an amp would make a significance in my system. After a house fire, we replaced our old system with Paradigm Signature S6 mains, Signature C3 center and Signature S2 surrounds. These are driven by an Emotiva XPA-5 with Atmos and rears driven by a Yamaha A3050. The room is treated by panels from Acoustimac. Music is served through an Auralic Aries Mini. We have been very pleased with this system and I was considering upgrading the Yamaha for a component based pre-amp.

We have a great shop in Indy, who let me borrow a demo Parasound A21 amp (thanks Audio Solutions). I went in to this doubting that there would be much of an audible difference. After using a SPL meter to level match the output I sat down and did some listening.

The Parasound A21 opened up the S6 speakers in a way that I had not heard before. Stunned is a good way to describe my reaction. The sound was significantly more full, almost liquid and smooth. The entire sonic range seemed to be more coherent and balanced. While I was happy before, this was a much greater difference in sound quality than I expected. I listened at quiet, moderate and loud levels, and the difference was present at all volumes, not just the initial 10 watts of class A range.

When my wife got home I had her listen and didn't tell her what had changed. I simply asked her if she heard a difference in the system, I said I had been doing some "tweaking". Her response was that the sound quality difference was "dramatic". She then added that it sounded "F&$%ing awesome" (yes, I'm a lucky guy to have a wife who loves great audio). Once I told her what it was, she asked if we could keep the demo until the order placed the next day was received :-).

Needless to say, my hat is off to Parasound, and John Curl for designing and delivering a magnificent amp. Its not cheap, but seems to be a fantastic value for the money. Its beautifully built, and obviously well engineered. It seems to me that the pairing of Paradigm Signature S6 speakers with a Parasound A21 amp is an excellent match and highly recommended. I hope that my experience helps others evaluating potential system upgrades.
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Eletronics: Yamaha 3050 RX A-3050 | Emotiva XPA-5 | Parasound A21 | Parasound P5 | Auralic Aries Mini (music server) | Oppo 205
Speakers: Paradigm Signature S6 v3 (mains) | Paradigm Signature C3 v3 (center) | Paradigm Signature S2 v3 (surrounds) | Paradigm CI Pro 65-R (Atmos ceiling) | Subs SVS SB Ultra 13
Room Treatments: Acoustimac wall and bass traps

Last edited by knappster007; 08-07-2017 at 10:39 AM.
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-07-2017, 10:20 AM
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Awesome amp, I have one and an A31 powering my Revels with a zonemaster powering my Atmos ceilings.


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post #3 of 12 Old 08-07-2017, 11:33 AM
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Funny why people wonder why it hasn't been updated in years, It ain't broke

Congrats
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post #4 of 12 Old 08-07-2017, 11:44 AM
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I don't think that's an apples to apples comparison IMO, the parasound is a lot more expensive than Emotiva for the same numbers of channels. Comes down to cost and benefit like for everything else.


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post #5 of 12 Old 08-07-2017, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imureh View Post
I don't think that's an apples to apples comparison IMO, the parasound is a lot more expensive than Emotiva for the same numbers of channels. Comes down to cost and benefit like for everything else.


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I agree, the Parasound is more expensive, I just didn't expect that large a difference in sound between two amps with somewhat comparable specs that compete in the 'quality/value category'.

Parasound A21: 250w/ch, THD <.2%, S/N ratio 112db, damping factor 1100 at 20hz.
Emotiva XPA-5: 200w/ch, THD <.016%, S/N ratio 119db, damping factor >500 at 8Ohm load.
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Eletronics: Yamaha 3050 RX A-3050 | Emotiva XPA-5 | Parasound A21 | Parasound P5 | Auralic Aries Mini (music server) | Oppo 205
Speakers: Paradigm Signature S6 v3 (mains) | Paradigm Signature C3 v3 (center) | Paradigm Signature S2 v3 (surrounds) | Paradigm CI Pro 65-R (Atmos ceiling) | Subs SVS SB Ultra 13
Room Treatments: Acoustimac wall and bass traps

Last edited by knappster007; 08-07-2017 at 12:13 PM.
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post #6 of 12 Old 08-07-2017, 12:12 PM
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Yes, big price difference but also wondering if comparing 5 channel Amp to 2 channel Amp is fair?? Curious, which Generation XPA-5 do you own?

I own an XPA-2 Gen 3 plus an older Parasound Amp so I'm a fan of both companies

Primary set-up 5.1.4; Yamaha A2050, Paired w/Parasound P5 & ATI 500NC 2 channel amp
Revel F206 fronts & Revel M16 rears; Outlaw X12 Sub & 4 RSL C34e in-ceilings

Secondary 5.1: Denon S900W, Polk LSiM703/704C, Polk RC80i in-ceiling rears, RSL Speedwoofer 10s
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post #7 of 12 Old 08-07-2017, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yanks1 View Post
Yes, big price difference but also wondering if comparing 5 channel Amp to 2 channel Amp is fair?? Curious, which Generation XPA-5 do you own?

I own an XPA-2 Gen 3 plus an older Parasound Amp so I'm a fan of both companies
Its a Gen 2. If I had an XPA-2 I would have loved to do that comparison, but unfortunately I have what I have. I'm a fan of both companies as well and the Emotiva will stay as a part of my system. I posted this for the benefit of those in my situation with a similar amp contemplating if a new amp might make a difference. It did when comparing these two in my setup.
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Eletronics: Yamaha 3050 RX A-3050 | Emotiva XPA-5 | Parasound A21 | Parasound P5 | Auralic Aries Mini (music server) | Oppo 205
Speakers: Paradigm Signature S6 v3 (mains) | Paradigm Signature C3 v3 (center) | Paradigm Signature S2 v3 (surrounds) | Paradigm CI Pro 65-R (Atmos ceiling) | Subs SVS SB Ultra 13
Room Treatments: Acoustimac wall and bass traps

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post #8 of 12 Old 08-07-2017, 12:27 PM
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Emotiva XPA-5 to Parasound A21

Got it, thank you. Wish I could do a compare with my or someone else's current Gen XPA-2; but the A21 is 2.5x more expensive

Primary set-up 5.1.4; Yamaha A2050, Paired w/Parasound P5 & ATI 500NC 2 channel amp
Revel F206 fronts & Revel M16 rears; Outlaw X12 Sub & 4 RSL C34e in-ceilings

Secondary 5.1: Denon S900W, Polk LSiM703/704C, Polk RC80i in-ceiling rears, RSL Speedwoofer 10s
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post #9 of 12 Old 08-07-2017, 02:55 PM
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This thread and your thoughts are greatly appreciated. True might not be a great comparison but the past week I have been trying to decide If it's worth making the jump up. I'm starting to think it is worth it. True the Parasound amp has a huge following but after my visit to my local HT retailer who I have done business with for 25 years.....they rave about Parasound and are begging me to try the A31.
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post #10 of 12 Old 08-08-2017, 09:57 PM
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I too went from an XPA-5 Gen 2 to Parasound, however I went to a pair of JC1's for the mains and an A31 for center and surround duty. While the XPA-5 did a great job, the added headroom and lower noise floor with the Parasound amps was quite impressive.
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post #11 of 12 Old 08-08-2017, 10:20 PM
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Of course if you have the funds for a parasound then go for it. They are not in the same league so one would expect better performance when paying twice as much.


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post #12 of 12 Old 03-07-2019, 11:11 AM
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I recently upgraded my system and switched from Parasound to Emotiva. My Parasound 2205 powered my 5.1 system for 20 years and sounded great with my old Snell C1V's , snell center and Boston Acoustics rears. When I switched to the Goldenear Atmos set up I needed another five channel amp. I wasn't expecting too much difference between the Parasound and the newer XPA-5 gen 3 but I suppose there have been some nice improvements in 20 yrs. The newer Emotiva has noticeably better clarity, imaging, and bigger soundstage. Had budget allowed I probably would have gone with another Parasound but I opted to upgrade my aging Parasound C2 pre/pro for an Anthem avm60 instead. I don't expect the Parasound amp to last forever and then the Emotiva will get relegated to the Atmos speakers and I'll choose mono blocks for the main speakers.

Goldenear Triton ones, Triton 5, ref center, invisa 650's, Anthem AVM60, Emotiva XPA-5, Parasound 2205, Adcom 555, JVC X55, Oppo 103, JBL 18" sub

Last edited by nevets77; 03-07-2019 at 11:14 AM.
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