PARASOUND HALO A 51 Five Channel Amp BLACK
Sure the A 51 from Parasound has been around for a long time but after using two of them in my own theater for a little while I felt they deserved a fresh Review. I have had a B&K (200.7), various ones from Emotiva (mainly their discontinued MPS-2), Russound, Niles Audio, Onkyo and a Sherwood Newcastle A-965. Of those my favorite was the B&K 200.7. Then when my divorce hit I sold it and went back to using mainly a Receiver. I get asked quite often which is better, doing Separates (pre-pro and an AMP) or just using a Receiver? Now I will admit there are some great sounding Receivers and depending on room size they could get the job done. Now if you have a larger room nothing beats using a pre-pro and an AMP. It's hard to explain but the openness and power is unmatched. The room is enveloped with more precise sound. The biggest difference is in your Center speaker. Voices have that distinct clarity that you just don't get from a Receiver. And the power you get is much more noticeable. Speaking of which a Receiver simply can't match the amount of wattage an AMP can put out. Not even close. Since there is no standard for measuring wattage Receiver brands always seem to claim much higher specs. So what made me decide on a Parasound AMP?
Parasound has had a long standing great reputation. The A 51 has ciruitry designed by the famous John Curl. THX Ultra 2 certified, Balanced inputs with discrete circuits and XLR connections (also RCA), 0.4% IM distortion and at full power 0.2%Total Harmonic distortion. Impressive! Let's not forget the power. The HALO A 51 does 250 watts (8) and 400 watts (4) with all channles driven. It is also built like a tank weighing around 80 pounds! I first off had a silver A 51 with a silver A 52. Once I had the chance to get a Parasound AMP in Black I did not hesitate. Now for the first time in about 8 or 9 years all of my components in my rack are black (pic below). And before I get emails asking about proper ventilation let me just say that it is open behind my rack (into another mancave room) and I use Antec Component Coolers with great success.
So what helps make an AMP perform flawlessly? How about a great pre-pro? I Reviewed the Marantz AV8801 here and have never looked back. Of course it doesn't hurt to have terrific speakers from Martin Logan (Reviewed here). The difference in an AMP is definitely noticeable. Sure there are AMPs that cost twice as much as the Parasound A 51 but I would bet the farm you won't get twice the performance! Actually I would be willing to put it against any other brand around and somewhat above its price range. There's a good reason why Parasound AMPs never lose their value. At the risk of sounding (no pun intended) like a snob the cost friendly AMPs out there just don't come close. I know there are others out there who agree. Don't get me wrong, I get it that we all have a budget when it comes to our set ups. My point is if you have the means do not settle for less on your AMP. It is a very important piece to the high end puzzle. Movies and Sports have never sounded better. Whether you are in the front row or back row having two A 51s in my rack has transformed the sound in my room into a high end heaven!
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Call Noah at (630) 607 0054 Tell him I sent you!
Special thanks again to the guys at Audio Video Interiors of Chicago. Stop in sometime and listen to their wide assortment of speakers and AMPs. Also check out their cool showrooms. If you are planning to do a home theater let them help you do it right the first time!
AUDIO VIDEO INTERIORS CHICAGO
Equipment used for all or part of this Review:
SONY VPL-VW1000ES 4K PROJECTOR MARANTZ AV8801 Pre-Pro OPPO BDP-103 Blu ray, Simplay Labs DVDO DUO VP, OnkyoTX-NR 5010 Receiver/ Pre-Pro, DARBLET, DirecTV Genie, Xbox 360, PS3, Monster Power HTS 5100, Sony BDP S790 4K (upscaling) Blu ray, Panasonic BDT 500 3D Blu ray player, MonsterVision 3D glasses, Sony 3D glasses, Parasound HALO A51 Black AMP X 2, Antec Component Coolers, Vutec SilverStar 120.5" screen with a Carada Masquerade Masking System. Speakers MARTIN LOGAN STAGE X Center, THEOS (Left and Right), Pinnacle Speakers- Heights BD500 OWs, Surrounds BG Radia IC-201s ,Pinnacle KLCR for surround back. Subwoofers- BG Woofer SW-210 & Pinnacle CS88 Corner Sub, Dayton APA150 Sub AMP, 8 Aura Pro Bass Shakers, 8 Seatcraft Venetian Home Theater Chairs, Remotes: Harmony 1100. Monster M1000 Ultimate HDMI cables top to bottom. And two Monster 35 foot HDX Hyperspeed HDMI cables.
A Parasound HALO A 51 in BLACK will have a sticker on the outside of the box indicating black.
Click here to go back to
Click to the left to go to Parasound's website
to read all about the A 51.
As always (of course) special thanks to my Wife Jaclyn. Her support allows me the time to dedicate doing all of the Reviews. After all, this is a hobby! : )
SONY FMP-X1 4K
Next up... Sony's new 4K server.
Let's see what it can do with the 1000ES 4K projector. ------------->