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.
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.