Parasound, Bryston, McCormack?

pkquatpkquat Posts: 591
I currently have a Parasound P5, and a Parasound 2250. My planned last / dream amp has been a SMc McCormack DNA-250. I have yet to find one near by, and overall seam pretty rare. Before McCormack, I was hoping to find a Bryston 4B (ST, SST, SST2). I've heard mixed reviews between the SST and SST2. The original 4B is aged, so I am scratching that off the list. Since I got the Parasound stuff, I've kept my eyes out for an A21 for a decent deal. I have also wondered about JC1's. Those may be over kill. Belles Reference has also been mentioned, but I think they didn't have a ~250W/Ch version.

Any recomendations, other amps, rankings, best deal between them, used price check?

General pricings seem to be
McCormack $1600-2200 <$1400 deal price
Bryston 4bST $1500-2000 <$1300 deal price
Bryston SST(2) $2000+ <$1700 deal price
Parasound A21 $1500-2000 <$1300 deal price
Parasound JC1 (pair) $3500-5000 <$3000 deal price

All opinions appreciated.

Comments

  • jumpindickjumpindick Posts: 208
    I used to have Parasound A21. I loved it, and it drove two RTiA9s well. Then I got McCormack DNA500 in place of A21. And things became much better. The depth/clarity went up and the effect became more crisp. I have not seen the one with 250W..
  • gmcmangmcman Posts: 1,189
    FWIW, I found a McCormack DNA-1 that was originally a mono amp and I had SMC (McCormack) convert to stereo. I believe the initial purchase was about $300 then the mods were $3200 to a platinum status.

    I was using a B&K 200.2 which is a very respectable amp.....but the DNA-1 is a substantial upgrade.

    As I change out cables and components the DNA-1 responds to any upgrades and seems to never run out of steam.

    It's the single, largest upgrade I've made, and I'm confident I haven't seen it's full potential yet..it keeps responding to every change I've made.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 29,585
    I think everyone knows my feelings on this. Get a McCormick and don't look back. Also highly recommend the Butler TBD 2250....which may even be better than the McCormick.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    Tad 803 bookies
    Polk 500 surrounds
    Polk s35 center
    SVS SB-2000
    Sonos

    Music-

    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k 1403 amp
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    ERA D5 bookies

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable
  • halohalo Posts: 4,317
    edited June 9
    I can concur on the McCormack amps. I had a Rotel RB980, a Parasound A23, two TAD60's (tube amps), Sanders ESL amp, the McCormack DNA-125, a Parasound A23, a B&K ST125.2, a B&K Reference 2220, & the McCormack DNA-125 is, by far, the most musical of the bunch. The soundstage is wider, taller, and deeper with the McCormack. The DNA delivers solid, accurate, bass while providing a very warm, lush, midrange. There's plenty of detail on top but, thankfully, it's never sibilant.
  • daddyjtdaddyjt Posts: 619
    I use a McCormack DNA 250, and it drives all of my speakers effortlessly - from the Legacy 20/20, to the Polk SDA SRS, to the Infinity Kappa 9, I couldn’t ask for more. It never even gets hot driving the wild impedance load of the Infinities.

    Sound quality is superb, and build quality is top notch. Highly recommended.
    Too much stuff to keep track of.

    Currently enjoying: Legacy Focus 20/20, McCormack DNA 225, Bill D C1, Oppo 105
  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 2,466
    I concur with Halo, as I was able to have his McCormack in my system for a time. Very nice experience. Unless you have a troubling load you could save some change and go with a 125. Prior to having the DNA-125 I had the A21. I'd pick the McCormack any day.
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
    Dual SVS SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

  • marvda1marvda1 Posts: 3,149
    Amplifiers: MasterSound Compact 845, Ayre v6xe, Consonance Cyber 800, Usher R1.5
    Preamp: deHavilland Ultraverve 3
    Transport/Dac: Cayin Venus cd-100i, Musical Paradise mp-d2 mkI
    Speakers: Rosso Fiorentino Volterra
    Speaker Cables: Analysis Plus Black Mesh Oval 9, Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme
    Interconnects: Analysis Plus Copper Oval-In Micro, MG Audio Design Planus Cu2,
    Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme
    Power Cables by: Cullen Cables, 6sons Audio, Swiss Cables
  • gmcmangmcman Posts: 1,189
    edited June 10
    Two DNA-1's on A'gon.

    DNA-1

    https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis9036h-mccormack-dna-1-stereo-power-amplifier-solid-state

    DNA-1 Deluxe

    https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis9084f-mccormack-dna-1-deluxe-solid-state

    I believe both share these specs:

    DNA Technical Specifications:

    Output Power at Clipping, both channels driven RMS Watts per channel: 185 Watts @ 8 ohms, 370 Watts @ 4 ohms, 600 Watts @ 2 ohms
    Output Current: 50 Amps peak, per channel
  • MrBuhlMrBuhl Posts: 2,308
    I'd have to vote McCormack as well - though full disclosure, I haven't owned Parasound or Bryston, but after two McCormacks, you can't go wrong.
    VA HT HK AVR20II, Sony S9000ES CD/DVD/SACD, Polk Audio RC80i / Polk Audio CSi3, 60" Panasonic Plasma, Nordost / Signal Cable A2 / Wireworld / Pangea / Magic Power
    VA 2 Channel ,Dodd 50W Dual Mono EL34 Amp, MFA based Cocci Tube Preamp, Polk SDA2BTL (fully modded), A/L 1000VA Dreadnought, Canare 4s11 SDA cable, Sony S9000ES CD/DVD/SACD, Music Hall mmf 5.1 Turntable, Vincent Pho-700 Phono Pre, MIT S3 IC's / MIT Shotgun S3 Speaker Cables / Pangea & Signal Cable MP power
    Noggin Schiit Valhalla, Pangea, Phillips Fidelio X1, Polk UF8000
    LA Pass Labs X150.5 Amp, Eastern Electric MiniMax Preamp, Polk LSIM705, Marantz DV8300 SACD, Audioengine B1, MIT AVt3 Speaker & RCA Cables, PS Audio Power Punch power cables

    Dodd Mid Level Preamp ("on the bench" w/Charlie)
    Polk SDA1c modded
    Polk CRS+ 4.1TL modded (need veneer)
    Soundcraftsmen PCR800
    Yamaha YP-D6
    Signal Cable Silver Resolution IC's
    Audible Illusions L1 Preamp
    McCormack DNA-1 Power Drive Amp
    Eastern Electric Minimax CDP
    Infinity RS5b Speakers

  • tonybtonyb Posts: 29,585
    marvda1 wrote: »

    That's a decent price, someone should snag that and pair it with a tubed pre.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    Tad 803 bookies
    Polk 500 surrounds
    Polk s35 center
    SVS SB-2000
    Sonos

    Music-

    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k 1403 amp
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    ERA D5 bookies

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable
  • 11tsteve11tsteve Posts: 1,173
    I have had Parasound, B&K, Acurus, Conrad-Johnson, NAD, and now have a 20 watt class A N.E.W. A-20.
    While I do enjoy the A-20, of all these amps, my McCormack DNA .5 with Platinum upgrades would be my amp... all day long and twice on Sundays.
    There was really something special about that amp, and given my money situation and because I could probably never afford anything better, it was an end-game product.
    Should not have sold it.....

    Polk Lsi9
    N.E.W. A-20 class A 20W
    NAD 1020 completely refurbished
    Keces DA-131 mk.II
    Analysis Plus Copper Oval, Douglass, Morrow SUB3, Huffman Digital
    Paradigm DSP-3100 v.2
  • pkquatpkquat Posts: 591
    edited June 14
    TY for the replies.

    For the speakers I have, 250W seems to be a decent amount. Even with the 1C's, 100-125W systems strained. The 2.3's appear to be the most power hungry, and my current 250W amp handles things good. I notice the power difference, so that is my target.

    I've had/have a 100W Krell KAV-300i, a Parasound A23, an old Hafler DH-220 I used with the 1C's. The A23 sounded the best, but still struggles when the volume goes up. The Parasound 2250 is 2nd for the overall sound and punch. It doesn't struggle. The Krell was great, but the high end fell apart when the volume went up. The Hafler is not as open airy, or detailed compared to the others, but very underrated power wise or maybe it's the load handling. And although the bass drops some, the rest stays consistent, but it started from a lower bar so ???. The Hafler is still my favorite for the bass sound. If I ever got a 3-way system, I'd be temped to bi-amp and use it for the bass amp.

    I'll check on the Butler, TY. I was never aware of them. Shipping may be the $$ issue.

    All the McCormack responses remind me why I had that at the top of my list. I am a little surprised it beats out the JC1's with such margin.

    I thought I had a list of the McCormack models, older and newer, and which ones to look for based on power, but I can't find it. Maybe it was on here. There were a few of the originals that were preferred today, even with their age, and some older ones that were a recommended option to send in to SMc if the price was right.

    I need to bookmark this so I don't ask again.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 29,585
    I've had/have a 100W Krell KAV-300i, a Parasound A23, an old Hafler DH-220 I used with the 1C's. The A23 sounded the best, but still struggles when the volume goes up


    When you say "when the volume goes up"....how far up are we talking.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    Tad 803 bookies
    Polk 500 surrounds
    Polk s35 center
    SVS SB-2000
    Sonos

    Music-

    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k 1403 amp
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    ERA D5 bookies

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable
  • MrBuhlMrBuhl Posts: 2,308
    ^^ LOL My thoughts exactly ^^ honestly all of those should drive 2.3's without much issue shouldn't they? Not that they will all sound good, but that must be quite an SPL you're looking for! :o o:)
    VA HT HK AVR20II, Sony S9000ES CD/DVD/SACD, Polk Audio RC80i / Polk Audio CSi3, 60" Panasonic Plasma, Nordost / Signal Cable A2 / Wireworld / Pangea / Magic Power
    VA 2 Channel ,Dodd 50W Dual Mono EL34 Amp, MFA based Cocci Tube Preamp, Polk SDA2BTL (fully modded), A/L 1000VA Dreadnought, Canare 4s11 SDA cable, Sony S9000ES CD/DVD/SACD, Music Hall mmf 5.1 Turntable, Vincent Pho-700 Phono Pre, MIT S3 IC's / MIT Shotgun S3 Speaker Cables / Pangea & Signal Cable MP power
    Noggin Schiit Valhalla, Pangea, Phillips Fidelio X1, Polk UF8000
    LA Pass Labs X150.5 Amp, Eastern Electric MiniMax Preamp, Polk LSIM705, Marantz DV8300 SACD, Audioengine B1, MIT AVt3 Speaker & RCA Cables, PS Audio Power Punch power cables

    Dodd Mid Level Preamp ("on the bench" w/Charlie)
    Polk SDA1c modded
    Polk CRS+ 4.1TL modded (need veneer)
    Soundcraftsmen PCR800
    Yamaha YP-D6
    Signal Cable Silver Resolution IC's
    Audible Illusions L1 Preamp
    McCormack DNA-1 Power Drive Amp
    Eastern Electric Minimax CDP
    Infinity RS5b Speakers

  • gmcmangmcman Posts: 1,189
    @pkquat what area do you live in? I wouldn't sweat the wpc too much. Yes, you need ample watts, but avail amps is just as important if not more.

  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 10,582
    it's all about the current...
  • dkfreebirddkfreebird Posts: 1,053
    I've been using a McCormack DNA 0.5 Deluxe with my 1.2tl's and it never runs out of steam.I have a refurbished Sunfire Signature that puts out about 850 watts a channel into four ohms but the McCormack just flat out sounds better to me.
    2 Channel
    Polk 1.2tl's Fully modded with dreadnought.2.3tl's and 3.1tl's
    McCormack DNA 0.5 Deluxe
    Rogue Magnum 66
    Marantz HD-DAC 1
    Marantz UD 7007
    Pangea PC
    Wireworld Equinox 7 interconnects
    Wireworld Equinox 7 Speaker Cables and Jumpers
    Home theater
    Marantz SR 5009 Sunfire Signature 425x5-B&W Cdm1nt Cdm Center Channel-Rel Strata iii sub
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 29,585
    Another happy McCormack owner ^^^^. I should have worked on commission dang it. :)

    Hey pal, pm me your addy, got somethin' for you.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    Tad 803 bookies
    Polk 500 surrounds
    Polk s35 center
    SVS SB-2000
    Sonos

    Music-

    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k 1403 amp
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    ERA D5 bookies

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 14,775
    I've been wanting to give this amp a whirl:

    https://www.dayens.rs/eng_ecstasy4.html

    It isn't cheap, but I like what they do with everything else I've had from them.
    audiothesis.com/

    Speakers: Harbeth: 30.2, SHL5+; Usher: Be-10, T-515; Rosso Fiorentino: Elba, Pienza, Certaldo, Fiesole, Volterra; Polk: T50, Signature S15, RTA 15tl, RTi12; Sonner Audio Allegro Unum, Legato Unum, Legato Semis, Legato Duo; Emerald Physics CS-2.8; Klipsch KLF-20
    Preamps: Shuguang S200MK, Dayens Ampino, Parasound P5
    Amps: Shuguang S845MK, Dayens Ampino Monoblocks, Parasound A23
    Integrateds: Triode Corporation TRV-88SER, MastersounD: BoX, Dueventi, Compact 845, Evolution 845; North Star Design Blue Diamond
    Sources: AURALiC Aries, Denon HEOS Link, North Star Design: Magnifico, Supremo, Incanto, Intenso, Venti
    Cabling: Wireworld
    TV: Sony XBR-75X940C
  • pkquatpkquat Posts: 591
    tonyb wrote: »
    I've had/have a 100W Krell KAV-300i, a Parasound A23, an old Hafler DH-220 I used with the 1C's. The A23 sounded the best, but still struggles when the volume goes up


    When you say "when the volume goes up"....how far up are we talking.
    MrBuhl wrote: »
    ^^ LOL My thoughts exactly ^^ honestly all of those should drive 2.3's without much issue shouldn't they? Not that they will all sound good, but that must be quite an SPL you're looking for! :o o:)
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    it's all about the current...

    lol Points taken. When I got the 1C's I finally had a speaker that had some bass and could pump out the volume. They were also the start of the rabbit hole to better sound and better gear. All the comparisons were done on the stock 1C's. At lower volumes other speakers were used as well. It was a learning experience too. Unless I am mistaken, all the amps are decent high current amps.

    At times I do enjoy live or rock concert volume. I never bottomed the MW's on the 1C's when doing the comparisons (Although it has happened to one driver when using them for HT duty without a sub. One of the drivers is a little more active than the rest. Volume levels were readjusted so it no longer happens, and I'll get a good sub eventually). Back in the day my M4A's did occasionally suffer some abuse, so I know the sound, and also got very good at approaching the limits without passing them. I also used to give them a 50Hz and below boost back then.

    Back to the 1C's. My Hafler drove them fine, but it was hinted and recommended it might be under powered, and that there were better and cleaner amps out there. The Krell was the first one that came into the mix. I noticed some of the old Haflers short comings in the mids and highs. I also had noticed that when pushed the bass punch dropped a little with the Hafler. In theory the Krell should have been more than enough. When pushed the bass did maintain more impact than the Hafler, but the highs got distorted.

    200+ quality watts was mentioned so I was keeping . I stumbled onto a deal for a P5 and the 2250. I had seen and heard many good things about the P5 on here, so that was a bonus in my journey down the rabit hole. I compared the variable out on a older top of the line Denon CD player to the P5, and also using the Krell as an amp or preamp. I didn't notice much difference, so for simplicity and commonality, the P5 became the primary preamp.

    At moderate volumes the Krell may have been better, but overall IMO the 2250 was a little more musical, and the Krell seamed a little harsh on more than just the 1C's. At volume the 2250 blew me away.

    I then an the A23 became a package deal with something else I wanted. At standard volumes it was more musical, refined, and clearer than the 2250. At volume the bass dropped a little compared to 2250, and the mids and highs seamed on par with the 2250. I also had to drive the preamp harder with the A23.

    From other info here and the experiences, I figured with ~250 good watts I'd always have more than enough for any the Polk speakers, and many others for that matter. It would also never be in the back of my mind if I was reaching the limits of the amp.

    So far in the journey I have heard what most have been hearing as improvements are made, but I think I am getting closer to my discernible limit. The McCormack would likely be the end of the amp tunnel in the rabbit hole.
    gmcman wrote: »
    @pkquat what area do you live in? I wouldn't sweat the wpc too much. Yes, you need ample watts, but avail amps is just as important if not more.

    I'm in the upper midwest.
  • motorhead43026motorhead43026 Posts: 2,671
    edited June 15
    This would be a good score, one or both. Look to be in like new condition. Not mine, and no affiliation.


    https://cleveland.craigslist.org/ele/d/parasound-hca-2200-mkii/6588711259.html



    tixvrgz8v052.jpg
    2 channel: Anthem 225 Integrated amp; Parasound Ztuner; TechnicsTT SL1350; Vincent PHO-8 phono pre; Marantz CD6005 spinner; Polk Signature S60's;Cables: Wireworld Eclipse IC; Audioquest Big Sur IC; Zu Audio Mission speaker cables; PS Audio AC-3 power cords, all into a PS Audio Dectet Power center.

    All TV's sound enhanced by Polk Magnfi Mini's.

    Other; SDA2BTL's, M10 series II, M7C's, Hafler XL600 amp, RB-980BX, Parasound HCA-1500 amp , P5 preamp, all in storage.

    Political memes posted as fact and accepted as fact, are sign language of the ignorant, for the ignorant

    tonyb said " but even socialists can do a good thing here and there
  • pkquatpkquat Posts: 591
    This would be a good score, one or both. Look to be in like new condition. Not mine, and no affiliation.

    https://cleveland.craigslist.org/ele/d/parasound-hca-2200-mkii/6588711259.html

    TY the price is nice, but shipping or the drive would be too much. A Bryston 4B had come up in my area twice for a moderate / high price. I think it finally sold. A 4B SST2 recently has shown up every 2-3 months for the past 6 months, but the price has been high. It finally dropped a little. A pair of JC1's, maybe the same ones showed up again, but I don't think I could get them for the deal price, and they would be overkill. Plus the consensus has been on the McCormack. So far the group here has steered me right.

  • motorhead43026motorhead43026 Posts: 2,671
    The Mac is nice but make no mistake the 2200mk 2 has John Curls DNA all over it. These are exceptional sounding amps. I do understand all the other obstacles. I just threw it out there in case you were somewhat close.
    2 channel: Anthem 225 Integrated amp; Parasound Ztuner; TechnicsTT SL1350; Vincent PHO-8 phono pre; Marantz CD6005 spinner; Polk Signature S60's;Cables: Wireworld Eclipse IC; Audioquest Big Sur IC; Zu Audio Mission speaker cables; PS Audio AC-3 power cords, all into a PS Audio Dectet Power center.

    All TV's sound enhanced by Polk Magnfi Mini's.

    Other; SDA2BTL's, M10 series II, M7C's, Hafler XL600 amp, RB-980BX, Parasound HCA-1500 amp , P5 preamp, all in storage.

    Political memes posted as fact and accepted as fact, are sign language of the ignorant, for the ignorant

    tonyb said " but even socialists can do a good thing here and there
  • indyhawgindyhawg Posts: 929
    DSkip wrote: »
    I've been wanting to give this amp a whirl:

    https://www.dayens.rs/eng_ecstasy4.html

    It isn't cheap, but I like what they do with everything else I've had from them.

    That looks very interesting. Loved the Ampino I had.
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