Parasound P/HP-850

audioblissaudiobliss Posts: 12,633
edited May 2006 in Electronics
In case you didn't notice, I snagged a Parasound P/HP-850 stereo preamp from ohskigod. Was selling it for a steal of a deal, and I had decided I was/had planned to spend too much on audio, so I left a tube pre for another day and jumped on this instead. Ohskigod was nice enough to also throw in some Outlaw locking interconnects. Wow, they're nice! I'm sure I know how to use the m correctly...I just screwed 'em on 'til the were tight and then shoved 'em on the RCA jacks. How are you supposed to do that?

Now, to the preamp...

This little thing is amazing! I wasn't really sure if I'd be able to hear a difference going from my Yamaha RX-V1400 receiver as a preamp to this Parasound, but boy was there a difference! So much so, I'm no longer really 'searching' for a better system. If I fix my placement, I'll be completely happy with what I've got.

I read so much about people saying new/better components 'lifting a veil', as if their system sounded muffled the start with. I can't say as that's what I thought when I heard my new preamp, but I've since thought about it and I've decided that that idea is probably applicable.

The bass has improved once again. It became more forceful when I added my ASL monoblocks, and once again now that I've added the Parasound. The highs are also not as shrill/harsh on some CD's/tracks as they were before, but the Parasound has not completely done away with that, either.

The first and most noticeable difference is the volume. The first few degrees of rotation of the volume knob make a BIG difference! Just a degree or two and you're good. Two more degrees and you're LOUD. But then today I was really rocking out to it, and after the first few degrees the rate at which the volume increases drastically decreases. I had it turned up fully a quarter of the way earlier today. Based on how fast the volume increases for the first little bit, I thought I'd never turn it up that much.

One question about the Parasound, though. On the back it has two sets of outputs. One is 'Normal' and one is 'Direct'.
Normal - These are the jacks you can use with any power amplifier. They connect to circuits that block DC which might be amplified through the amplifier.
Direct - These are directly coupled and are used where you are certain your amplifier either blocks DC with a capacitor at its input or bypasses DC with servo circuits. The Direct ouput should sound a little stronger and clearer.

I just hooked my ASL's up via the Normal outputs as I'm not sure if they can handle the Direct outputs or not. Should I just keep 'em hooked up to the 'Normal' outputs?


I apologize for not having as many photos of the box, the unpacking process, etc. as usual. I just couldn't seem to practice any self-control as I ripped my new preamp out of the box. So, you'll just have to make do with some pics I've snapped of it sitting in my 'system'. I decided to put it on top of my Rotel RCD-02, as the CDP is much heavier than the pre. You can also see the ASL's in their full glory since I took the covers off earlier today.
Jstas wrote: »
Simple question. If you had a cool million bucks, what would you do with it?

Wonder WTF happened to the rest of my money.

In Use
PS3, Yamaha CDR-HD1300, Parasound P/HP-850, Parasound HCA-1000A, Klipsch RF-35
In Storage
[Home Audio]
Rotel RCD-02, Yamaha KX-W900U, Sony ST-S500ES, Denon DP-7F, ASL Wave 20 monoblocks, Pro-Ject Phono Box MKII

[Car Audio]
Pioneer Premier DEH-P860MP, Memphis 16-MCA3004, Boston Acoustic RC520
Post edited by audiobliss on

Comments

  • Mike ReeterMike Reeter Posts: 3,315
    edited May 2006
    I'm using the "normal" outputs on our 850 to the amp. If your amps. have gain controls,you might try setting the volume control on the pre to about 11 clock,and then adjusting the gain on the amps. to a "normal" listening level.

    I enjoy the 850 very much,for the money,it has to be one of the best pre-amps in its class...I plan on trying to move into a tube pre one day also,when I do I will use the 850 in a "shop rig" that I'm going to set-up...doubt if I ever sell it.
    SDA SRS 2.3TL's/SDA SRS 3.1TL's/SDA CRS+4.1TL's and some other stuff
  • audioblissaudiobliss Posts: 12,633
    edited May 2006
    Mike Reeter - I notice from your sig that you're using a Rotel RCD-1072 CDP and a Parasound DAC. Does the Parasound make a drastic difference? The 1072 is such a good CDP, I wouldn't have thought it too common to use an external DAC with it.
    Jstas wrote: »
    Simple question. If you had a cool million bucks, what would you do with it?

    Wonder WTF happened to the rest of my money.

    In Use
    PS3, Yamaha CDR-HD1300, Parasound P/HP-850, Parasound HCA-1000A, Klipsch RF-35
    In Storage
    [Home Audio]
    Rotel RCD-02, Yamaha KX-W900U, Sony ST-S500ES, Denon DP-7F, ASL Wave 20 monoblocks, Pro-Ject Phono Box MKII

    [Car Audio]
    Pioneer Premier DEH-P860MP, Memphis 16-MCA3004, Boston Acoustic RC520
  • faster100faster100 Posts: 6,247
    edited May 2006
    I should have kept my 850 when i went to a tube pre, i sold it .. always something to regret in this hobby. along with selling my dynaco st-70.. now i want that as a combo if that don't beat all..

    Great pre-amp (for the money) and does sound great!
    MY HT RIG:
    Sherwood p-965
    Sherwood sd871 dvd
    Rotel 1075 amp x5
    LSI15 mains
    LsiC center
    LSIfx surround backs
    Lsi7 side surrounds
    SVS pb12/plus2


    2 Channel Rig:

    nad 1020 Pre-amp
    Rotel 1080 stereo amp
    Polk sda 2B
    kenwood grunt Tuner
    realistic lab 450 TT
    Signal cable IC
  • AsSiMiLaTeDAsSiMiLaTeD Posts: 11,717
    edited May 2006
    I've got one of these in the bedroom rig and love it
  • adam2434adam2434 Posts: 961
    edited May 2006
    Congrats on the purchase! That rounded out your system nicely.

    I was also looking at that Parasound when I decided to try my hand at entry-level separates vs. a receiver. I went with the Cambridge preamp, only because it had a remote.

    I too noticed significant improvements vs. using a receiver as a preamp for 2 ch. I found the improvements a little harder to describe in words vs. amp upgrades. But I would say that music sounds less constricted, more open and free flowing, with less glare.

    Enjoy!
    Polk LS90
    Polk CS400i
    Polk FX500i
    Outlaw LFM-1 Sub
    Polk Monitor 7C (secondary location)
    Pioneer Elite VSX-45TX
    Audiosource Amp Three (2), Amp One/A (1)
    Cambridge Audio C500 Preamp
    Sony 222ES CD/SACD
    MSB Nelson Link III DAC with P1000 Power Supply, Music Hall DAC 25.2
    Squeezebox Classic
    Sony BDP-S1000ES
    JVC DLA-HD250 Projector
    Da-Lite HCCV - 100" Permwall 16:9
    Time Warner HD Cable
    Panamax 500 DBS
    MIT, Blue Jeans, AR, Outlaw Cables
    System Showcase
  • dorokusaidorokusai Posts: 25,231
    edited May 2006
    In regards to the Output jacks...stick one interconnect in your left ear and the other in your right ear.

    I use a Direct Coupled pre-amp and haven't had any issues with multiple amps, including tube amps and tube monoblocks. I would be interested in what manufacturer doesn't cap off DC potential, but I'm sure they exist.
  • ohskigodohskigod Posts: 6,483
    edited May 2006
    bliss

    the interconnects go on the rca jack loose, then tighten it while it is on the rca jack for a tight fit. remember to loosen it before you remove them.


    I never used the direct output on the parasound. as DOro mentioned, it has something to do with use if your amp has DC blocking. I would just roll with Normal.

    I'm glad your enjoying it. I know this is one of those "why did I sell it" pieces, but I would rather it give someone use and enjoyment rather than take up space in my basement.

    have fun bud
    Theater - Polk 9500 surround bar. simple elegant win
    2 Channel -
    Anthem Pre 2l, Jolida JD100 CD player, CAL Sigma DAC, Carver m4.0, Polk LSi9 w external modified Crossovers (thanks Trey!)
  • audioblissaudiobliss Posts: 12,633
    edited May 2006
    dorokusai wrote:
    In regards to the Output jacks...stick one interconnect in your left ear and the other in your right ear.
    I don't hear anything...:confused:
    dorokusai wrote:
    I use a Direct Coupled pre-amp and haven't had any issues with multiple amps, including tube amps and tube monoblocks. I would be interested in what manufacturer doesn't cap off DC potential, but I'm sure they exist.
    So you think I should give it a try with my ASL's? If they don't have any DC blocking abilities, what should I expect to hear when using the direct outputs?
    ohskigod wrote:
    the interconnects go on the rca jack loose, then tighten it while it is on the rca jack for a tight fit. remember to loosen it before you remove them.
    Thanks for the tip. I'll re-do them here in a few minutes.
    ohskigod wrote:
    I'm glad your enjoying it. I know this is one of those "why did I sell it" pieces, but I would rather it give someone use and enjoyment rather than take up space in my basement.
    And I'm soooooo glad you see it that way! :D I really am loving every minute I'm listening to it!
    Jstas wrote: »
    Simple question. If you had a cool million bucks, what would you do with it?

    Wonder WTF happened to the rest of my money.

    In Use
    PS3, Yamaha CDR-HD1300, Parasound P/HP-850, Parasound HCA-1000A, Klipsch RF-35
    In Storage
    [Home Audio]
    Rotel RCD-02, Yamaha KX-W900U, Sony ST-S500ES, Denon DP-7F, ASL Wave 20 monoblocks, Pro-Ject Phono Box MKII

    [Car Audio]
    Pioneer Premier DEH-P860MP, Memphis 16-MCA3004, Boston Acoustic RC520
  • faster100faster100 Posts: 6,247
    edited May 2006
    with my parasound amp, I think i preffered the normal outputs... In this situation just try both and see what sounds better, once you get an idea that one is "supposed" to be better, well you know.. :)
    MY HT RIG:
    Sherwood p-965
    Sherwood sd871 dvd
    Rotel 1075 amp x5
    LSI15 mains
    LsiC center
    LSIfx surround backs
    Lsi7 side surrounds
    SVS pb12/plus2


    2 Channel Rig:

    nad 1020 Pre-amp
    Rotel 1080 stereo amp
    Polk sda 2B
    kenwood grunt Tuner
    realistic lab 450 TT
    Signal cable IC
  • dorokusaidorokusai Posts: 25,231
    edited May 2006
    AB - I had to make a choice for either DC or Coupling Caps when the Pre-Amp was built....so I don't have the option of switching. I was told that it offers better slam and high end extension. It didn't change the price, so I went with what was suggested by Dennis Had. I figured I'd go with his recommendation. The Pre-Amp plays actual sound, so I am happy regardless of the choice.

    I still think the IC in the ear is the best way to demo gear.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,161
    edited May 2006
    Bliss...nice score.and even nicer your diggin it.You beat me to the punch
    on that one,saw it too late.Congrats and enjoy!!!!:D
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • audioblissaudiobliss Posts: 12,633
    edited May 2006
    Thanks, tonyb. I certainly am enjoying it!! :D
    Jstas wrote: »
    Simple question. If you had a cool million bucks, what would you do with it?

    Wonder WTF happened to the rest of my money.

    In Use
    PS3, Yamaha CDR-HD1300, Parasound P/HP-850, Parasound HCA-1000A, Klipsch RF-35
    In Storage
    [Home Audio]
    Rotel RCD-02, Yamaha KX-W900U, Sony ST-S500ES, Denon DP-7F, ASL Wave 20 monoblocks, Pro-Ject Phono Box MKII

    [Car Audio]
    Pioneer Premier DEH-P860MP, Memphis 16-MCA3004, Boston Acoustic RC520
  • Mike ReeterMike Reeter Posts: 3,315
    edited May 2006
    audiobliss wrote:
    Mike Reeter - I notice from your sig that you're using a Rotel RCD-1072 CDP and a Parasound DAC. Does the Parasound make a drastic difference? The 1072 is such a good CDP, I wouldn't have thought it too common to use an external DAC with it.

    Sorry for the slow response,been busy...I have noticed a difference in the poor quality recordings "remastered" ha.

    Seems like the DAC has given these CD's a new life and make them a little easier to listen to.

    Can't say I've noticed a "major" improvement in the sound quality of good recordings along with HDCD's...but,the whole reason I bought the DAC was to experiment and so far I like the set-up :D
    SDA SRS 2.3TL's/SDA SRS 3.1TL's/SDA CRS+4.1TL's and some other stuff
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,414
    edited May 2006
    Normal: Your amp does not have DC blocking (enables the PHP-850's DC blocking ckt's)
    Direct: Your amp has DC blocking (PHP-850's DC blocking ckt's are bypassed)

    DIRECT bypasses some of the pre's componentry for a purer signal, if the amp employs dc blocking (which most do). If you're unsure or the manufacturer of your amp can't help, use NORMAL.

    The PHP-850 is a wonderful preamp, tons better than its price might suggest.
    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD | Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2L | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; Belden 1694A Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • chumliechumlie Posts: 8,395
    Old thread I know. I'm installing on today with a 1500 for my 703's. :)
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