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  1. #1

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    Default Parasound Halo A21 vs A23

    I'm looking at gear for a 2nd rig, and wondered if those of you that have heard both these amplifiers would say they sound pretty much the same (ignoring the power difference) when paired with a P3 preamp?

    If I went with the next step up in preamp (the P7), does the A21 then start to distance itself from the A23, or are the designs so similar that it's still a toss-up between the A21 and A23.

    I won't be able to try/hear before I buy. I'll be looking at used gear.

  2. #2

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    Don't understand your question..the Halo 21 is about twice the power of the other unit...of course it's going to give you more than the smaller unit! It is currently the Kingpin in that series.

    It also depends on what you are powering. If you are powering a 4 ohm load...the more clean power the better. In that case it is a no brainer....Halo21!

    Good luck!

    cnh

  3. #3

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    Greetings! I've owned both. The big A21 is has a lower noise floor because of the power. The sonics are similiar but the A21 is more dynamic and smoother to my ears. You will be happy with either one but you'll never get rid of the "what if" itch. Buy the big one now you'll thank me later.:D Good luck!





    Last edited by schwarcw; 03-06-2010 at 10:37 PM.
    Carl

  4. #4

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    Nice pics Carl....

    Halos are 'pretty'. And that looks like a great set up!

    cnh

  5. #5

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    Very Nice Carl.....


    Love the Halo look :)

    Speakers
    Carver Amazing Fronts
    CS400i Center
    RT800i's Rears
    Sub Paradigm Servo 15

    Electronics
    Conrad Johnson PV-5 pre-amp
    Parasound Halo A23
    Pioneer 84TXSi AVR
    Pioneer 79Avi DVD
    Sony CX400 CD changer
    Panasonic 42-PX60U Plasma
    WMC Win7 32bit HD DVR



  6. #6

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    Yeah, those look great Carl. So, are the bottom two units both A21s? If so, are you running them bridged mono (thats a helluva lot of power there)?

    To the OP: if you can afford the A21 now, just go for it. I've got the A23 and once I can afford to (probably not for a few years) I'm going to replace it with the A21.
    2 Ch.
    Parasound Halo A23 Amp
    Parasound Halo P3 Preamp
    Parasound Halo T3 Tuner
    Bada HD22SE tube CD Player
    Magnum Dynalab Signal Sleuth
    Magnum Dynalab ST-2 antenna
    polkaudio Lsi9s (upgraded cross-overs)
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Bi-wire Interface Speaker Cables
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Interconnects (3)
    IegO L70530 Power cords (3)

    HT
    Denon 2808ci AVR
    polkaudio RTi A5s (fronts)
    polkaudio RTi A1s (rears)
    polkaudio Csi A6 (center)
    Signal Cable Ultra Speaker Cables
    Signal Cable Analog II Interconnects

  7. #7

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    I'm looking forward to hearing more feedback in this thread. I'm planning on upgrading my 2 channel rig to a P3/A23 combo soon. I'm looking forward to it!:D
    The nirvana inducer-
    APC H10 Power Conditioner
    Denon DVD-2910 universal player
    DPA The Little Bit Three DAC
    Yamaha P-300 turntable/TCC TC-750 phono preamp
    Acurus L10 preamp
    Adcom GFA-545 power amp
    PolkAudio SDA 2A's/PolkAudio Monitor 7A's
    Audioquest Type 4 speaker cables
    Audioquest Sidewinder IC's
    Audioquest Black Mamba IC's
    Signal Cable Analog II IC's

  8. #8

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    Same, I nearly bought the A23, but then i got the Carver Amazings and need for power!

    Jason
    2-Channel - So far...
    Pre: Dodd ELP
    DAC: W4S-Dac2
    Source(s): Computer and Denon 2910
    Amp: Parasound HCA-1200II
    Speakers: LSi9s - Vr3 Fortress Mod

  9. #9

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    Go for the A21 its a great Amp!
    Linn AV5140 fronts
    Linn AV5120 Center
    Linn AV5140 Rears
    M&K MX-70 Sub for Music
    Odyssey Mono-Blocs
    SVS Ultra-13 Gloss Black:D

  10. #10

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    As BlueFox says above, the size of the A21 can be difficult to manage. The case is the same sized one used with the A51 amp and JC1 amp, most likely because it's less expensive to maintain the tooling for one size for those three amps. Looking inside the A21 case, you see lots of extra room, and very large heat sinks. The A23 is very compact by comparison with small heatsinks inside the case and all the components jammed close together.

    I would recommend the A23 more for easy to drive speakers like Polk's RT series, or just about any bookshelf. I wouldn't recommend using one for any of the SDA's. The A21 provides far more power output and a more refined sound with better bass and smoother midrange and in the long run may be a better choice if you have the room for it and think you may have need of its power now or later.
    1. JM Labs Electra 920.1 and CC30; MB Quart Vera Sub; Pioneer SC-57; Squeezebox Touch; Panasonic BDT-500 Blu-Ray; Samsung 52" LCD; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S3 cables
    2. Polk SDA-SRS 2.3TL; Sonic Frontiers Line 3 SE; Classe Model 25; Marantz SA8004; Acoustech PH1P; Squeezebox Touch; Music Hall MMF7; PS Audio P1000; MIT S2 cables
    3. Polk SDA 2A; Parasound Halo JC-2 and A21; Musical Fidelity X-DAC; Squeezebox Touch; PS Audio 4.7; MIT S1 cables

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emlyn View Post
    As BlueFox says above, the size of the A21 can be difficult to manage. The case is the same sized one used with the A51 amp and JC1 amp, most likely because it's less expensive to maintain the tooling for one size for those three amps. Looking inside the A21 case, you see lots of extra room, and very large heat sinks. The A23 is very compact by comparison with small heatsinks inside the case and all the components jammed close together.

    I would recommend the A23 more for easy to drive speakers like Polk's RT series, or just about any bookshelf. I wouldn't recommend using one for any of the SDA's. The A21 provides far more power output and a more refined sound with better bass and smoother midrange and in the long run may be a better choice if you have the room for it and think you may have need of its power now or later.
    Some great information and points here.

    To the OP: what speakers will you be driving with this amp? Are they power hungry? It seems to me that this might be an important factor in you decision.
    2 Ch.
    Parasound Halo A23 Amp
    Parasound Halo P3 Preamp
    Parasound Halo T3 Tuner
    Bada HD22SE tube CD Player
    Magnum Dynalab Signal Sleuth
    Magnum Dynalab ST-2 antenna
    polkaudio Lsi9s (upgraded cross-overs)
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Bi-wire Interface Speaker Cables
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Interconnects (3)
    IegO L70530 Power cords (3)

    HT
    Denon 2808ci AVR
    polkaudio RTi A5s (fronts)
    polkaudio RTi A1s (rears)
    polkaudio Csi A6 (center)
    Signal Cable Ultra Speaker Cables
    Signal Cable Analog II Interconnects

  12. #12

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    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by schwarcw View Post
    Greetings! I've owned both. The big A21 is has a lower noise floor because of the power. The sonics are similiar but the A21 is more dynamic and smoother to my ears. You will be happy with either one but you'll never get rid of the "what if" itch. Buy the big one now you'll thank me later.:D Good luck!





    Could someone pass me a towel - I just made a mess. Thanks.
    Do you hear that buzzing noise?

  13. #13

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    Those are beautiful! Do you ever have a problem with heat in their enclosure? Just asking, I know the HCA parasound amps can run on the warm side.

  14. #14

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    Holy crap....nice 'pair'!:D

    Does this mean I'm addicted now to audio 'porn'?:D

    H9: If you don't trust what you are hearing, then maybe you need to be less invested in a hobby which all the pleasure comes from listening to music.

  15. #15

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    Thanks for all the nice comments guys!

    Emlyn recognizes the components as three of these were once his! Thanks again Mark!

    I was using the two A21's to biamp my big SDA's. I found out that I didn't need both. I had more power in one than I ever needed. I sold one to another Forum member (Analog97) who is still having orgasims over the way his 1.2TLs sound. I sold the C2 controller and the A52 lat Fall, as I went to strictly a two channel setup. I still have one A21 and it's more power than I will realistically need. It sounds fabulous!

    I will always miss the silver stack.

    Go for the A21 and don't look back!:)
    Carl

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by schwarcw View Post
    Thanks for all the nice comments guys!

    Emlyn recognizes the components as three of these were once his! Thanks again Mark!

    I was using the two A21's to biamp my big SDA's. I found out that I didn't need both. I had more power in one than I ever needed. I sold one to another Forum member (Analog97) who is still having orgasims over the way his 1.2TLs sound. I sold the C2 controller and the A52 lat Fall, as I went to strictly a two channel setup. I still have one A21 and it's more power than I will realistically need. It sounds fabulous!

    I will always miss the silver stack.

    Go for the A21 and don't look back!:)
    Hi Carl,

    I'm curious about what pre-amp you are currently using with the remaining A21 (P7, P3 or something outside the Halo line?)
    2 Ch.
    Parasound Halo A23 Amp
    Parasound Halo P3 Preamp
    Parasound Halo T3 Tuner
    Bada HD22SE tube CD Player
    Magnum Dynalab Signal Sleuth
    Magnum Dynalab ST-2 antenna
    polkaudio Lsi9s (upgraded cross-overs)
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Bi-wire Interface Speaker Cables
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Interconnects (3)
    IegO L70530 Power cords (3)

    HT
    Denon 2808ci AVR
    polkaudio RTi A5s (fronts)
    polkaudio RTi A1s (rears)
    polkaudio Csi A6 (center)
    Signal Cable Ultra Speaker Cables
    Signal Cable Analog II Interconnects

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norm Apter View Post
    Hi Carl,

    I'm curious about what pre-amp you are currently using with the remaining A21 (P7, P3 or something outside the Halo line?)
    Hi Norm!

    I've gone to a two channel only. Right now the preamp is a Rogue 99 Magnum with some really nice Sylvania 6SN7's from 1954 courtesy of Jerry (check out the big Mundorf caps in the preamp pic), The rack has a vintage McIntosh MR-71 tube tuner, a Pioneer RT-707 R2R, the A21, Yamaha turntable, Hagerman phono pre, Picollo head amp and a Modwright Sony 999 SACD player with the Platinum mods. An almost exclusive tube setup. Lot's of interesting but high quality pieces. Here are a few pic's:











    Carl

  18. #18

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    Carl, May I say beautiful stuff sir, love all the Silver. :) What are the interconnects between the phone pre and amp?

    Speakers
    Carver Amazing Fronts
    CS400i Center
    RT800i's Rears
    Sub Paradigm Servo 15

    Electronics
    Conrad Johnson PV-5 pre-amp
    Parasound Halo A23
    Pioneer 84TXSi AVR
    Pioneer 79Avi DVD
    Sony CX400 CD changer
    Panasonic 42-PX60U Plasma
    WMC Win7 32bit HD DVR



  19. #19

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    Mine;)
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
    Thanks
    Ben

  20. #20

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    I thought so Thanks. :)

    Speakers
    Carver Amazing Fronts
    CS400i Center
    RT800i's Rears
    Sub Paradigm Servo 15

    Electronics
    Conrad Johnson PV-5 pre-amp
    Parasound Halo A23
    Pioneer 84TXSi AVR
    Pioneer 79Avi DVD
    Sony CX400 CD changer
    Panasonic 42-PX60U Plasma
    WMC Win7 32bit HD DVR



  21. #21

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    wow, very cool Carl! hardcore!
    I am sorry, I have no opinion on the matter. I am sure you do. So, don't mind me, I just want to talk audio and pie.

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by ben62670 View Post
    Mine;)
    You betcha!;)
    Carl

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by polkatese View Post
    wow, very cool Carl! hardcore!
    Thanks Francis! You're welcome to come over and hear Norah or Diana anytime. Their voices are so smooth that you would sail you ship into the abyss!!
    Carl

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    So, 4 yrs later....time flys!
    So for Martin Logan Source speakers, 90dB sensitivity but 5ohm nominal impedance, 12 x 15 enclosed room and moderate volume levels....A23 or A21? I'm asking because I finally decided to move to a high power SS amp for my speakers (vs tube amp) and got a good deal on an A23 and it sounds so good I'm wondering with my room size and volume requirements if I would really be able to notice a difference moving up to the A23.
    ____________________________
    2 channel - Parasound A21 amp, PS Audio PWD MKII w/bridge, modded EE Minimax pre, ML Source speakers, Kimber 4TC, Gabriel Gold Rapture V3/Silnote Morpheus Ref. II IC's, Ps Audio AC5, AC3 and Pangea AC14XL power cords
    HT - Pio. Elite VSX21TXH, LG 60PK550 plasma, Panny DMP-BDT210 BDP, DTV HD receiver, SB Touch, 5 x Polk RC85i in-wall speakers
    Computer - Windows 7/JRiver, M2Tech HiFace 2 w/external battery power, Grant Fidelity TubeDac 11, Fostex PMO.4n monitors

  25. #25

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    Moving up to the A21 I meant.
    ____________________________
    2 channel - Parasound A21 amp, PS Audio PWD MKII w/bridge, modded EE Minimax pre, ML Source speakers, Kimber 4TC, Gabriel Gold Rapture V3/Silnote Morpheus Ref. II IC's, Ps Audio AC5, AC3 and Pangea AC14XL power cords
    HT - Pio. Elite VSX21TXH, LG 60PK550 plasma, Panny DMP-BDT210 BDP, DTV HD receiver, SB Touch, 5 x Polk RC85i in-wall speakers
    Computer - Windows 7/JRiver, M2Tech HiFace 2 w/external battery power, Grant Fidelity TubeDac 11, Fostex PMO.4n monitors

  26. #26

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    I had both the A21 and A23 here in my room powering my Maggies and honestly could not hear a difference, maybe with the larger models in a larger room but on the gear you see in my signature in a medium size living room I could not hear the difference. I kept the A23 mainly due to size and the fact that I got such a good deal on it, the A21 costs 3x what I paid for mine.

    The A21 is a better design with beefier parts, but they both use quality components and in my application sounded very similar.
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  27. #27

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    That probably what I wanted to hear. Thanks ;^ )
    ____________________________
    2 channel - Parasound A21 amp, PS Audio PWD MKII w/bridge, modded EE Minimax pre, ML Source speakers, Kimber 4TC, Gabriel Gold Rapture V3/Silnote Morpheus Ref. II IC's, Ps Audio AC5, AC3 and Pangea AC14XL power cords
    HT - Pio. Elite VSX21TXH, LG 60PK550 plasma, Panny DMP-BDT210 BDP, DTV HD receiver, SB Touch, 5 x Polk RC85i in-wall speakers
    Computer - Windows 7/JRiver, M2Tech HiFace 2 w/external battery power, Grant Fidelity TubeDac 11, Fostex PMO.4n monitors

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