Hearing is believing...Redux!!!

Have had a Parasound HCA 1500a 2 channel amplifier for 10 days now. Purchased used of course...

Its great that there are so many seasoned veterans of HiFi here on this forum to help guide us in the correct direction for improving our sound.

Thank You all for your wisdom and past experience with your HiFi endeavor of better sound.

In the long run your posts both past and present have actually saved me money. I have not had to spend money on something that has not worked out or I was disappointed in by not knowing all/most of the facts. The one or two things I did make mistakes with were easily and cheaply dealt with and done before I joined this forum.

Your mistakes and your successes have enlightened me. At least that's how I am looking at it.

The para 1500a has brought me another step closer to being very, very happy with my sound quality. Over the years I have had what I thought were very good sounding systems within my budget. It really sucks to know you want better but, its not in the finances (damn mortgage, car payments,kids :) )

In my circle of friends only one had superior sound, and I was envious, to a point.

Not anymore!! :p

The amp adds a dynamic to the SQ that I have never had in the past. Although the Avr I have been using seemed suffice for power there is an improvement with a smoother, effortless effect now to listening. Definitely more punch and an overall better sound. Happy happy happy.

Thanks Jesse F1nut for your help and knowledge with a few of my questions.

So be very, very quiet, I'm hunting heading further down the rabbit hole.

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Comments

  • tonybtonyb Posts: 27,218
    Thanks for all that, and you picked a great guy to bend his ear with about audio. Your scenario isn't much different than most, we all want better but, dang those bills come like clockwork and spending money needlessly is not something most are accustomed to. I say "needlessly", because some look at audio and where they are at as "good enough", so spending more on it isn't a priority. Nothing wrong with that, as long as your happy with the sound your getting. Unfortunately most of us have champagne tastes and beer budgets to work with, right ?

    Truth be told, we always want "better", better clothes, nicer cars, bigger boat, nicer homes, toys like Grills and lawnmowers, women like better purses, shoes/clothes, hair styles, better vacations. Life is about progressing forward, doing better at work, making better money, better quality of life in general and of course....better audio, least when you think you need it.

    Many of us can't afford to waste money, don't have the time for trial and error. That's why this forum and the great folks that make it up are so valuable in my eyes anyway...and now yours too.

    Thank you for that post, rock on.
  • motorhead43026motorhead43026 Posts: 1,801
    Yep, you will need to move up the ladder considerably and part with much more coin too best that HCA-1500. That day will come, so enjoy it while you can.....lol.
  • txcoastal1txcoastal1 Posts: 7,514
    Yep, you will need to move up the ladder considerably and part with much more coin too best that HCA-1500. That day will come, so enjoy it while you can.....lol.

    I'll have to agree to disagree ;)

    STOP while your ahead :)

    Congrats Manti
  • voltzvoltz Posts: 4,392
    edited May 11
    Manticore wrote: »

    So be very, very quiet, I'm hunting heading further down the rabbit hole.

    That is sig material
    BTW Congrats!!
  • ManticoreManticore Posts: 89
    Thanks guys for all the well wishing. And your very welcome tonyb.

    The truth is the truth.

    I am finding the HiFi hobby very similar to other hobbies, muscle cars, shooting, boating... the list goes on. Its very satisfying to purchase something, hook it up and realize, wow that sounds great! Really great!! I done good!! :)

    I understand that I will never have the "price is no object stuff" and I am OK with that. I really don't need that type of stuff anyway but, I have been slowly working my way up the ladder (down the rabbit hole) slowly, a little bit at a time.

    Being new to this forum I can figure out who the more educated folks are. Im not going to list names and am not including myself in that description. There are great folks on most all forums and then there are... well... trolls. Yeah I said it. No tower center for me.

    I am very satisfied with the way my system is taking shape and as said in other posts "buying used sometimes is the only way to go" for some things.

    I do have a question about the 1500a amp or amps in general. Since this one can be up to 20 years old already, is there anything to look out for, telltale signs when an amp is starting to go... or its time for a recap or rebuild. What do I need to be aware of and look out for?

    I am not experiencing any problems at all with this amp. Its just a general knowledge type of question. Thanks again all.
  • motorhead43026motorhead43026 Posts: 1,801
    You can pop the hood and inspect the caps to see if any are bulging or leaking. Yet, if it sounds good don't worry about it for now. I am in the same boat and I plan at some point in time sending mine off to Big Sky and have it refreshed and updated, but for now it is just fine.
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 17,659
    edited May 12
    My HCA-1500A is 14yrs old, and I have no reason to replace it. Had the hood off of mine a year ago to blow it out, everything looked fine. I recently bought a cooling fan set for the top of it that contains 4 fans, drawing air up and out. The amp barely gets warm anymore---wish I would have done that years ago.

    From Coolcomponents.com:

    u3kfts7e9aa5.jpg

    The voltage is selectable from 3.3vdc to 12vdc to balance fan noise/cooling rate. It also comes on automatically depending on which thermoswitch you buy. I set mine to 7vdc, and cannot hear the fans at all until right up on the amp. It blends perfectly with the HCA amp finish.
  • ManticoreManticore Posts: 89
    Again thanks for the info. The inside does look very clean. Since the warranty is long over (and non-transferable to start with) I guess I could remove the top cover and inspect it closely. Great tips.

    /\/\/\I am in the same boat and I plan at some point in time sending mine off to Big Sky and have it refreshed and updated,

    Is there a link for this place? I'm only coming up with ski resorts and other non related stuff.

    /\/\/\ Coolcomponents.com
    I did see you post this on another thread. That is a cool concept. Pardon the pun!
    If heat ever becomes a problem its worth looking into.

    At the moment heat does not seem to be a big problem. I have noticed the right side of this amp above the side with the indicator lights is considerably warmer than the left side. The left side barely gets warm. Is this the norm for this particular amp? I'm not talking burn your hand hot but, noticeably warmer. Bordering hot. Just curious.
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 17,659
    As I face the amp, to my left, that side gets warmer than my right.
  • ManticoreManticore Posts: 89
    steveinaz wrote: »
    As I face the amp, to my left, that side gets warmer than my right.

    That's so strange. The exact opposite. So I will guess that this is totally normal?
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 37,360
    edited May 12
    If one side is warmer than the other the bias has drifted and should be adjusted.
  • ManticoreManticore Posts: 89
    F1nut wrote: »
    If one side is warmer than the other the bias has drifted and should adjusted.

    Hey Jesse, Way over my head!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Any instructional videos or is that a professional fix?
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 37,360
    I'm sure there are videos online. You'll need a DVM though.
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 8,967
    Manticore wrote: »
    Have had a Parasound HCA 1500a 2 channel amplifier for 10 days now. Purchased used of course...

    Its great that there are so many seasoned veterans of HiFi here on this forum to help guide us in the correct direction for improving our sound.

    Thank You all for your wisdom and past experience with your HiFi endeavor of better sound.

    In the long run your posts both past and present have actually saved me money. I have not had to spend money on something that has not worked out or I was disappointed in by not knowing all/most of the facts. The one or two things I did make mistakes with were easily and cheaply dealt with and done before I joined this forum.

    Your mistakes and your successes have enlightened me. At least that's how I am looking at it.

    The para 1500a has brought me another step closer to being very, very happy with my sound quality. Over the years I have had what I thought were very good sounding systems within my budget. It really sucks to know you want better but, its not in the finances (damn mortgage, car payments,kids :) )

    In my circle of friends only one had superior sound, and I was envious, to a point.

    Not anymore!! :p

    The amp adds a dynamic to the SQ that I have never had in the past. Although the Avr I have been using seemed suffice for power there is an improvement with a smoother, effortless effect now to listening. Definitely more punch and an overall better sound. Happy happy happy.

    Thanks Jesse F1nut for your help and knowledge with a few of my questions.

    So be very, very quiet, I'm hunting heading further down the rabbit hole.

    Not to be b u t t kissing here, but this is a good example of a positive attitude post, versus a negative, combative post. Rather than nonsensical complaining about advice outside of some undefined mid-fi budget, just go with the flow, listen to the advice, make a decision, and then enjoy it.

    Have fun, and start saving for the inevitable upgrade down the road. :)



  • ManticoreManticore Posts: 89
    Thank you. I will look into that. I now have a new DVM. The old radio shack one just cant cut it anymore. Off to do some errands.
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 17,659
    F1nut wrote: »
    If one side is warmer than the other the bias has drifted and should be adjusted.

    Exactly. There's actually a youtube video showing how to do it, I just never tried.
  • motorhead43026motorhead43026 Posts: 1,801
    Manticore wrote: »
    Again thanks for the info. The inside does look very clean. Since the warranty is long over (and non-transferable to start with) I guess I could remove the top cover and inspect it closely. Great tips.

    /\/\/\I am in the same boat and I plan at some point in time sending mine off to Big Sky and have it refreshed and updated,

    Is there a link for this place? I'm only coming up with ski resorts and other non related stuff.

    /\/\/\ Coolcomponents.com
    I did see you post this on another thread. That is a cool concept. Pardon the pun!
    If heat ever becomes a problem its worth looking into.

    At the moment heat does not seem to be a big problem. I have noticed the right side of this amp above the side with the indicator lights is considerably warmer than the left side. The left side barely gets warm. Is this the norm for this particular amp? I'm not talking burn your hand hot but, noticeably warmer. Bordering hot. Just curious.


    http://bigskyaudiomt.com/

    I think Littlewoodenboats had his Adcom refreshed there and really liked the results.

  • ManticoreManticore Posts: 89
    edited May 12
    /\/\/\http://bigskyaudiomt.com/

    I think Littlewoodenboats had his Adcom refreshed there and really liked the results.

    Thanks for the link. Place sounds promising. Are there any other reputable places that do similar work say around the New England area? Anybody aware?

    /\/\/\If one side is warmer than the other the bias has drifted and should be adjusted.

    If the (bias) is left as is and not adjusted am I running the risk of any severe damage to the unit?

    I am going to watch a few videos. If I feel that I'm over my head then I wont touch it.

    /\/\/\Not to be b u t t kissing here

    There is absolutely wrong :p with a little b u t t kissing every now and then. Ask my wife!!

    How do you think I was able to get this amp!

    Thanks guys
    Post edited by Manticore on
  • nbrowsernbrowser Posts: 6,282
    edited May 12
    Manticore wrote: »
    Have had a Parasound HCA 1500a 2 channel amplifier for 10 days now. Purchased used of course...

    Its great that there are so many seasoned veterans of HiFi here on this forum to help guide us in the correct direction for improving our sound.

    Thank You all for your wisdom and past experience with your HiFi endeavor of better sound.

    In the long run your posts both past and present have actually saved me money. I have not had to spend money on something that has not worked out or I was disappointed in by not knowing all/most of the facts. The one or two things I did make mistakes with were easily and cheaply dealt with and done before I joined this forum.

    Your mistakes and your successes have enlightened me. At least that's how I am looking at it.

    The para 1500a has brought me another step closer to being very, very happy with my sound quality. Over the years I have had what I thought were very good sounding systems within my budget. It really sucks to know you want better but, its not in the finances (damn mortgage, car payments,kids :) )

    In my circle of friends only one had superior sound, and I was envious, to a point.

    Not anymore!! :p

    The amp adds a dynamic to the SQ that I have never had in the past. Although the Avr I have been using seemed suffice for power there is an improvement with a smoother, effortless effect now to listening. Definitely more punch and an overall better sound. Happy happy happy.

    Thanks Jesse F1nut for your help and knowledge with a few of my questions.

    So be very, very quiet, I'm hunting heading further down the rabbit hole.

    Stick around man I like your attitude! And it can only get better from here! I still remember tonyb somehow finding another user a HCA-1200ii up here in the Vancouver BC area from his home in Chicago, that user didn't jump on it as he didn't think it'd offer anything over an AVR...but I ran and got it myself from the local retailer, it's not leaving any time soon. That said this forum has become my go to when it comes to audio, good guys and solid advice that won't make ya go broke. Granted I play in the shallow cheaper end of the pond but what I got mostly used and cheap can smack down quite a bit. Oh and it's Friday night and my house is just a shakin thanks to the big rig :)
  • ManticoreManticore Posts: 89
    I have found a past post or two referring to a maintenance diagram/manual for biasing adjustment for the hca 1500a and other amplifiers. The link in that past post did not work. Is this info still floating around? Would anyone still have this? I would greatly appreciate it.

    I still have not decided whether or not to try this myself. Fortunately I do have enough common sense to realize when I'm in over my head.

    What is the general consensus on continued use of this amp if the biasing is off. Is it in danger of a meltdown or other damage?
  • lightman1lightman1 Posts: 8,051
    c4r8y63daz2m.gif

    Magic smoke cannot be replaced.
  • ManticoreManticore Posts: 89
    lightman1 wrote: »
    c4r8y63daz2m.gif

    Magic smoke cannot be replaced.

    Wow, So if that happens; what radius should I evacuate the family?
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 27,218
    Manticore wrote: »
    I have found a past post or two referring to a maintenance diagram/manual for biasing adjustment for the hca 1500a and other amplifiers. The link in that past post did not work. Is this info still floating around? Would anyone still have this? I would greatly appreciate it.

    I still have not decided whether or not to try this myself. Fortunately I do have enough common sense to realize when I'm in over my head.

    What is the general consensus on continued use of this amp if the biasing is off. Is it in danger of a meltdown or other damage?

    It would have to be off a good amount to go nuclear. lol Most amps have an operating "range" for bias, and usually SS amps don't wander too far out of line like tube amps can. Given the age of yours though, it may need an adjustment, but I don't think defcon 4 is warranted.

    If one side of the amp runs way hotter than the other, then I'd worry about it. Pop the top, see if any caps are bulging or leaking. If you have to eventually bring it in for an update on caps, just ask them to check and set the bias to factory specs. Normally they'd do that anyway but in todays world, who knows anymore.
  • ManticoreManticore Posts: 89
    /\/\/\If one side of the amp runs way hotter than the other, then I'd worry about it. Pop the top, see if any caps are bulging or leaking. If you have to eventually bring it in for an update on caps, just ask them to check and set the bias to factory specs.

    Good to know. Thanks T.

    Any places for referral. So far just http://bigskyaudiomt.com/. This guy sounds awesome but, so far away. I'm in New England.
  • txcoastal1txcoastal1 Posts: 7,514
    http://parasound.com/misc/us_svc.php

    Looks like you can google some reviews for authorized repair centers, call and get some estimates. Pop the hood and take some good pics.

    After a refresh that amp will last ya another 10+ years. I had my Thresholds done.
  • nbrowsernbrowser Posts: 6,282
    txcoastal1 wrote: »
    http://parasound.com/misc/us_svc.php

    Looks like you can google some reviews for authorized repair centers, call and get some estimates. Pop the hood and take some good pics.

    After a refresh that amp will last ya another 10+ years. I had my Thresholds done.

    Agreed, mine was gone thru when I got it, caps done, adjustments taken care of. That old 1200ii just rocks and has zero issues with the 4 ohm slightly upgraded SDAs. Yes @Manticore you can change speakers with these amps and they will deliver power when needed. When I went from the "easy to drive...pfft suuuuure" RTiA7 towers to the SDAs I was sure the amp would have problems...nah...just does it's job perfectly fine.
  • ManticoreManticore Posts: 89
    txcoastal1 wrote: »
    http://parasound.com/misc/us_svc.php

    Looks like you can google some reviews for authorized repair centers, call and get some estimates.

    Thanks for that link. Had I taken the time to look more closely at parasounds web sight I should have seen that. It does appear that the guy at Big Sky is probably the way to go, when I'm ready.

    After taking off the cover all I can notice is some very old dust. "I don't remember that being included in the product description" Lol
    No cracked, leaking or bulging caps.
    To me "a novice" all looks good.

    I did find two adjustable pots on the board, probably L & R sides but being a novice and not knowing the values and other pertinent info "I will not be attempting to adjust the bias myself". No biggie!

    I will keep an eye on the temp. If it gets out of hand Ill deal with it. Maybe I will buy a cheap temperature gun from lowes for $20 beans to see what temp it actually is.

    Ive read the 1200ii is very similar to the 1500a. Curious why they don't list it on the legacy products page? Maybe its the milk mans kid :o

    Thanks guys
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 27,218
    You don't need a temp. gun to figure it out. Use your hand, it's free. lol Just play the music you normally listen to, at the volumes you normally listen to, and place your hand on either side of the amps heat sinks. If one side is noticeably hotter, then the bias is off. A little bit of difference would be acceptable, especially in an amp that age, but if one side is cool as a cucumber and the other side you can make French toast on, then there's a problem.
  • ManticoreManticore Posts: 89
    /\/\/\Use your hand, it's free. Sorry, my mind started to wander. >:)

    Thanks for the info tonyb. But yes one side is cool as a cucumber and the other side is noticeably warmer. Even when pushing the volume up a little for an hour or so both sides are still exactly as described. It appears Ill be sending this one out sooner than I Thought???
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 6,612
    There was several videos on the youtube site walking you through bias adjustments on parasound amps do a search there. I'd be very surprised if they disappeared.
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