Sunday night shootout -- Emotiva UPA-2 vs Parasound Halo A23

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I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Sunday night shootout -- Emotiva UPA-2 vs Parasound Halo A23
« Reply #20 on: 20 Mar 2014, 04:38 pm »
It's too bad that you had so much trouble with the A23.  I have an A21 which is a different animal from the A23.  It has been reliable for the 5 years that I have had it.  It is very dynamic, detailed with excellent bass and slam.  It drove my Magnepan 1.6's effortlessly.  I have since replaced it with a Pass Labs X250.  The Pass is a much better amp at 3 times the cost but the A21 had much better attack and a crisper sound compared to the X250.  The A21 needs careful preamp matching IMHO.  The build quality on the A21 is fantastic.

By the way, the A21 weighs 60 pounds and the A23 weighs 28 pounds. 

ricardojoa

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Re: Sunday night shootout -- Emotiva UPA-2 vs Parasound Halo A23
« Reply #21 on: 20 Mar 2014, 05:10 pm »
It's too bad that you had so much trouble with the A23.  I have an A21 which is a different animal from the A23.  It has been reliable for the 5 years that I have had it.  It is very dynamic, detailed with excellent bass and slam.  It drove my Magnepan 1.6's effortlessly.  I have since replaced it with a Pass Labs X250.  The Pass is a much better amp at 3 times the cost but the A21 had much better attack and a crisper sound compared to the X250.  The A21 needs careful preamp matching IMHO.  The build quality on the A21 is fantastic.

By the way, the A21 weighs 60 pounds and the A23 weighs 28 pounds.

Hi,
would you mind to discribe how the pass lab is better?
Thanks.

Doctor Fine

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Re: Sunday night shootout -- Emotiva UPA-2 vs Parasound Halo A23
« Reply #22 on: 20 Mar 2014, 05:14 pm »
I can believe my troubles may have been exclusive to the A23 design and not the A21 as Sam Tellig never mentioned going crazy with HIS A21.

But once burned twice shy.  NEVER AGAIN PARASOUND.  Once lost I am lost for GOOD.

As for preamps I ran the little A23s off a Bryston BP25 and upstairs off a Benchmark DAC/Preamp, neither of which is a slouch.  What kind of "careful matching" you speak of white man?

The extra crispiness and better attack of your ex-A21 may have been due to it having its first 20 or so watts biased into class A which is great for revealing detail.

I am surprised you went for a Pass amp from their lower lines biased only into class AB.  I like ALL the Pass amps and am very familiar with them.  I helped Gayle Sanders over at Martin Logan back when he owned Martin Logan.  Gayle at one point used class A Pass amps over at his house powering Martin Logan "Statements" which are (ahem) pretty damn high end if I may say so.  Not as well organized as my own personal system but very very nice.  And BIG.

I also hung out over at Sumiko in Berkeley California and played around with John Hunter's Sonus Faber Amati Homage speakers---again powered by a class A Pass amp. Very clean presentation.  I wish I could have "tweaked" it but I am afraid John would have killed me if I moved them even a little or tried some equipment substitutions, haha.

A friend of mine owns the Maggie Tympany Fours with two 200 watt per channel handmade tube amps powering them and an uber-botique preamp and crossover network plus a linear tracking air suspended turntable.  A VERY revealing system even if I don't much care for the way Maggies put the image into the room.

Perhaps if I could kick my pal out of his home and take over his system I would be able to do more with the Maggies.  As it was I totally restaged them and his jaw dropped at how much sound he had been leaving on the table.

"Setup" is KING.  I would rather adjust the room parameters ANYDAY than spend money on "upgrades" because the return for the investment in sweat is so much greater than what the dollar buys.

Do you own and use Jim Smith's excellent starter book on setup called "Get Better Sound."   ???

Do you used the "Sumiko Method" for finding the sweet spot for your speaker installation?

Anyway thanks for the interest.  And good choice with Pass.  His stuff is bulletproof in my experience...

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Sunday night shootout -- Emotiva UPA-2 vs Parasound Halo A23
« Reply #23 on: 20 Mar 2014, 05:25 pm »
Hi,
would you mind to discribe how the pass lab is better?
Thanks.

The Pass has more transparency and air with a wider sound stage.  There is more detail and resolution and the Pass is much more dynamic and sounds great at low volumes, it keeps its dynamics.  Bass is deeper with much more slam and it is delivered faster.  I use to think that the A21 had great bass slam but the Pass is much better in this area.  I always felt that the A21 had a hint of grain (some pro reviews also claim this), the Pass has no grain at all.  The Pass has a smoother more natural sound.  The only area's where I preferred the A21 was in the attack on guitar and piano and cymbals sounded better as they were just a little more forward in presentation.  The Pass has a softer or smoother presentation in these area's.

Both amps sound better with a tube preamp IMO.  I bought a matching Pass X1 preamp to go with the X250 amp.  It is a great preamp with great air, detail and bass slam.  But I ended up buying a BAT VK-51se to replace it as I prefer the tube midrange with my Magnepans.

By the way, I am selling the Pass X1 preamp.  It sold for $6K new, I have it listed for $2150.

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Sunday night shootout -- Emotiva UPA-2 vs Parasound Halo A23
« Reply #24 on: 20 Mar 2014, 05:29 pm »
Doctor, my Pass amp is Class A for the first 40 watts!  The Pass weighs about 110 pounds and has massive heat sinks.  It uses 200 watts at idle.  The heat sink fins get up to about 120-125 degree's.   I would say that even at loud levels that the amp is playing in Class A 90% of the time.  The Pass just has a more liquid sound. 

My room is 17x17x10.  I have them about 7-8 feet apart, 2.5' from the back wall, with some toe in so that the sweet spot is centered on the center of my sofa.  I played around with positioning till I found what sounds the best.

My system never sounded better once I added the BAT preamp.  The X1 has more bass slam compared to the BAT but I prefer tube midrange with a hint of warmth and darkness.  The BAT also has more front to back depth and detail.  It should as it was a $9K preaamp new, $3K more than the Pass. 

Doctor Fine

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Re: Sunday night shootout -- Emotiva UPA-2 vs Parasound Halo A23
« Reply #25 on: 20 Mar 2014, 05:48 pm »
OK  glad we cleared that up!  Went to double check as I recall that series had A/AB designation at one point but I was just on Pass's site and they list it as just AB.  My bad.

I am mostly familiar with their "pure" class A amps which are as you know very popular with recording engineers.

Do you use set up disciplines as I mentioned those are critical to assuring you "get what you paid for."  ???

Just curious.  It amazed me that my buddy with the Maggies had never done ANY setup at all and just placed them "where they look good."   He thought they sounded magnificent until I spent an afternoon getting them to "lock up with the room acoustics" by moving them a quarter inch at a time.  Then BINGO---his jaw dropped.    OMG.

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Sunday night shootout -- Emotiva UPA-2 vs Parasound Halo A23
« Reply #26 on: 20 Mar 2014, 05:56 pm »
I edited my prior post.  I have had Maggies for about 12 years, started with MMG's so I know about placement.  I read just about everything I could on Maggie placement.  It still comes down to trial and error in the long run.

Just a side note about the sweet spot.  My BAT preamp presents a wider sweet spot.  At least 2 feet wider maybe more.  I am still amazed at how good the Maggies sound.  They really respond to higher end gear.  They put out what you put into them.

RDavidson

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Re: Sunday night shootout -- Emotiva UPA-2 vs Parasound Halo A23
« Reply #27 on: 20 Mar 2014, 06:22 pm »
OK  glad we cleared that up!  Went to double check as I recall that series had A/AB designation at one point but I was just on Pass's site and they list it as just AB.  My bad.

I am mostly familiar with their "pure" class A amps which are as you know very popular with recording engineers.

Do you use set up disciplines as I mentioned those are critical to assuring you "get what you paid for."  ???

Just curious.  It amazed me that my buddy with the Maggies had never done ANY setup at all and just placed them "where they look good."   He thought they sounded magnificent until I spent an afternoon getting them to "lock up with the room acoustics" by moving them a quarter inch at a time.  Then BINGO---his jaw dropped.    OMG.


I believe class A/AB is the same thing as class AB. I think the class A/AB designation is used by Pass to help us, less technically knowledgable, understand exactly what Pass amps are doing / understand the transition from pure class A to class AB.

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Sunday night shootout -- Emotiva UPA-2 vs Parasound Halo A23
« Reply #28 on: 20 Mar 2014, 06:30 pm »

I believe class A/AB is the same thing as class AB. I think the class A/AB designation is used by Pass to help us, less technically knowledgable, understand exactly what Pass amps are doing / understand the transition from pure class A to class AB. Pretty sure even the X250, though designated as class AB is actually pure class A for a certain number of watts.

RD, you are correct.  The X250 is Class A for the first 40 watts and the massive heat that it puts out is consistent with it (between the Pass and my 8 tube BAT preamp, I can heat my whole house).  It is 500wpc total with the first 40 Class A. The A21 was Class A for the first 8wpc and its heat sinks barley got warm to the touch.  During the summer, I may have to swap in the A21 or my Class D audio amp to keep the heat down.

Doctor Fine

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Re: Sunday night shootout -- Emotiva UPA-2 vs Parasound Halo A23
« Reply #29 on: 20 Mar 2014, 07:33 pm »

I believe class A/AB is the same thing as class AB. I think the class A/AB designation is used by Pass to help us, less technically knowledgable, understand exactly what Pass amps are doing / understand the transition from pure class A to class AB.

Unless corrected by Nelson himself (or someone of similar authority) it is NOT the same.  AB amps do NOT transition first starting out in class A.  There IS no class A in an AB amp.

A/AB class HAS the transition.  Which is what confusicated me about Nelson's new amp listings.  In the older Pass amps I am familiar with he had an active A/AB designation.  Now it appears he has completely split his amps into A class and AB class.

I could not find on his site any mention of the first few watts on the newest version of the amp in consideration.  The new ones MAY be A/AB but they do NOT say so on his site.  The older model Pass amps WERE A/AB.

It makes a difference.  Class A is more "true" to the input signal with no notch distortion to cloud the sound.  It will run hot if it has much wattage while running in class A AND it is pretty rough on the amp unless it is built for it.

I will be very interested in the implementation of 60 watts of class A on my new Emotiva XPA-1 Gen 2 500 watt mono-blocks.

As I said already good clean amplification with endless headroom and great dynamics is a MUST.  After you have achieved THAT the next thing is Finesse---the "tactile---reach out and touch them" quality of certain high end tube amps and class A solid state amps is the final step on the quality ladder.

The problem is that once you have a perfectly set up system and can HEAR every tiny thing that is going on---you simply can not go BACK once having heard a great power amp in the chain.  Power amps, Preamps, DACs and WIRING----ALL will put more "life" into your signal and isn't "LIFE" what we are all looking for?  I AM!

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Sunday night shootout -- Emotiva UPA-2 vs Parasound Halo A23
« Reply #30 on: 20 Mar 2014, 08:26 pm »
The emotiva amp that you are buying is basically a copy of the old Threshold amps from what I have read.

RDavidson

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Re: Sunday night shootout -- Emotiva UPA-2 vs Parasound Halo A23
« Reply #31 on: 20 Mar 2014, 08:28 pm »
Unless corrected by Nelson himself (or someone of similar authority) it is NOT the same.  AB amps do NOT transition first starting out in class A.  There IS no class A in an AB amp.

A/AB class HAS the transition.  Which is what confusicated me about Nelson's new amp listings.  In the older Pass amps I am familiar with he had an active A/AB designation.  Now it appears he has completely split his amps into A class and AB class.

I could not find on his site any mention of the first few watts on the newest version of the amp in consideration.  The new ones MAY be A/AB but they do NOT say so on his site.  The older model Pass amps WERE A/AB.

It makes a difference.  Class A is more "true" to the input signal with no notch distortion to cloud the sound.  It will run hot if it has much wattage while running in class A AND it is pretty rough on the amp unless it is built for it.


Yes, sorry. I believe you're correct. It comes down to amplifier design and biasing. A lot of (higher end) class AB amplifiers I've seen are specified to run in class A for the first few watts, which made me think that this applied to all AB amps whether the manufacturer specified it or not. So in my mind the A/AB designation was a matter of semantics. My logic was that those who didn't specify it, didn't do so because it was not important to them (ie the amp only runs a few watts or fractions of a watt in class A, and/or the intended consumer wouldn't care or even understand the spec anyway). What's confusing about Pass amps is that I'm almost 100% positive all their amps run in Class A/AB. Even the XA series, though specified only as class A, also transition to class AB.....which is the reason the meter on front exists. Not sure why the clear designation (A vs AB) split between the two series (XA / X) exists. It must all come down to differences in circuit design and especially biasing. Perhaps to help customers understand that there IS a difference, which would require a lot of unnecessary technical explanation, the A/AB designation was removed. The customer should really only be concerned with sound quality and power requirements anyway. Pass probably received a lot of questions like "Why shouldn't I just spend $5000 on an X series versus $15000 XA monoblocks? They're both specified as A/AB. They both have the same power rating too."

Doctor Fine

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Re: Sunday night shootout -- Emotiva UPA-2 vs Parasound Halo A23
« Reply #32 on: 20 Mar 2014, 08:47 pm »
I would hazard a guess that Nelson Pass is trying to differentiate between his different series of amps by drawing a line in the sand:  "THIS is a CLASS A amp---the OTHER is a CLASS A/B amp.  That is why the Pass class A amp is a lot more MONEY."

I wouldn't swear to it but the way he is promoting his amps it seems he dropped out of the hybrid A/AB class so as to concentrate on pure Class A and lower priced AB.  Anyway that is probably old news as this is a fast changing industry lately in the amplification frontiers...  Class H rails.  Class D.  I am sticking to what I know seems to work until the dust clears.  Then perhaps another foray into a completely higher priced system will be in order.  Right now I have more than enough to use as a reference system.

Marketing is an art too.  At least class A does exist and it DOES make a difference. 

I on the other hand am old enough to remember when Clairol TRIPLED the price of their hair dye so that people would think it was GOOD.  Sales went through the roof.  As I used to be in the Advertising game as one of the original 60s "Mad Men."  to this day I sometimes sport a flat-top haircut and a skinny tie.

But I prefer Class A amps.  And they are usually triple the price.  These new hybrid A/AB amps seem to offer something of a free lunch.  We shall see...

Doctor Fine

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Re: Sunday night shootout -- Emotiva UPA-2 vs Parasound Halo A23
« Reply #33 on: 20 Mar 2014, 08:55 pm »
Greyhound I know of the Threshold S300 but how is that at all like the Emotiva XPA-1 Gen 2?  The caps, topology and outputs are not at all the same.  Splain me por favor.

As for setting up Maggies I too have a lot of reading experience with planars having been a Martin Logan rep for many years and gone through training and becoming interested in setup is MY thing.

But you didn't answer my question.  Besides "trial and error" have you ever READ Jim Smith's most excellent missive "Get Better Sound."  ???

It will certainly take you far away from the "trial and error" method.  Although all experimentation has it uses.  Some acoustical properties of rooms are KNOWN and can be anticipated.  READ THE BOOK.  Or don't.  It is your loss which is a shame as you have some great stuff...

RDavidson

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Re: Sunday night shootout -- Emotiva UPA-2 vs Parasound Halo A23
« Reply #34 on: 20 Mar 2014, 09:07 pm »
I would hazard a guess that Nelson Pass is trying to differentiate between his different series of amps by drawing a line in the sand:  "THIS is a CLASS A amp---the OTHER is a CLASS A/B amp.  That is why the Pass class A amp is a lot more MONEY."

--------------------end quote---------------------------------
Sorry for the messed up quote / message. IPad isn't so great for this site.

Well that's the thing. The prices of the X and XA series are comparable up until you start getting into the XA monoblocks and the amount of class A power increases into what is normal/easy AB power amp territory. I'm still almost 100% positive all Pass amps are "hybrid" A/AB despite the line in the sand in the marketing department ; Again, hence the reason for the bias meter on the fronts of all the amps regardless of series.

Doctor Fine

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Re: Sunday night shootout -- Emotiva UPA-2 vs Parasound Halo A23
« Reply #35 on: 20 Mar 2014, 09:30 pm »
By the way Greyhound I also like planars a LOT.  Their line source presentation is extremely useful in some rooms as they project like a laser beam and little sound gets lost in the process.  Were I back living in New York City I might prefer planars so as to avoid unnecessary volume and the annoyance of my apartment neighbors.

And my buddy's Tympanis are nothing short of magnificent.  Astonishing.  Amazing.

But then again so are my Harbeths with two 12 inch sealed subs and two 15 inch velodynes crossed UNDER at 40.  These image "in the next room."  You can literally walk around the room and "look" into the stage setup and "See" exactly where the musicians are standing---in THREE DEE (3D) stereoscopic display like a holograph. 

As you move around the performers they stay put and you can "view" them from all different angles.  It sounds like there is a stage there and you can actually see the image "from the side" which is pretty unreal.  Or very "real."

Maggies by design can not do THAT.  Even if they do sound prettier, I admit it...

RDavidson

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Re: Sunday night shootout -- Emotiva UPA-2 vs Parasound Halo A23
« Reply #36 on: 20 Mar 2014, 09:37 pm »

But then again so are my Harbeths with two 12 inch sealed subs and two 15 inch velodynes crossed UNDER at 40.  These image "in the next room."  You can literally walk around the room and "look" into the stage setup and "See" exactly where the musicians are standing---in THREE DEE (3D) stereoscopic display like a holograph. 

As you move around the performers they stay put and you can "view" them from all different angles.  It sounds like there is a stage there and you can actually see the image "from the side" which is pretty unreal.  Or very "real."


That's awesome. The first and only time I've heard this same thing was at a high end dealer back in the early 2000's. They had Wilson Watt Puppy 6's, Classe Omega monoblocks, and all Meridian front end gear. They played some piano music for me. It was as if the piano was in the room. I could walk around it and the sound still seemed to come from same exact place. It was so physical it was spooky. Invisible piano. :thumb: I haven't visited another high-end dealer or demoed/experienced anything like that anywhere since. Caveat, I rarely get a chance to visit audio dealers anymore and I've never been to an audio show.

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Sunday night shootout -- Emotiva UPA-2 vs Parasound Halo A23
« Reply #37 on: 20 Mar 2014, 09:41 pm »
I have always wanted to hear Harbeths.  I have not seen a bad review.  I like traditional speakers too.  I really like PSB Synchrony's and Theils.  I have a pair of Monitor Audio S1's and PSB B6's to go along with my Magnepan 1.6's and MMG's.

Doctor Fine

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Re: Sunday night shootout -- Emotiva UPA-2 vs Parasound Halo A23
« Reply #38 on: 20 Mar 2014, 10:10 pm »
That's awesome. The first and only time I've heard this same thing was at a high end dealer back in the early 2000's. They had Wilson Watt Puppy 6's, Classe Omega monoblocks, and all Meridian front end gear. They played some piano music for me. It was as if the piano was in the room. I could walk around it and the sound still seemed to come from same exact place. It was so physical it was spooky. Invisible piano. :thumb: I haven't visited another high-end dealer or demoed/experienced anything like that anywhere since. Caveat, I rarely get a chance to visit audio dealers anymore and I've never been to an audio show.

Having worked in dealerships most of my life I can attest that the reason you rarely hear a three dimensional room set up is because:

A) they don't know HOW to do it and
B) the rooms are pretty damn awful with dropped ceilings the norm
and C) Nobody EXPECTS that because most HiFi nuts have NEVER HEARD IT.  So GLAD you have heard it.

One you have heard this "3D---IT IS REAL" effect of course one must rise to the challenge of doing that trick with YOUR room and YOUR gear. 

My mission in life when I retired was to build a very simple "alive" system at a set price point of $25,000 and see just how far into that territory I could get. 

After over five years of continuous "tuning" of the room (!!!!!!) the answer is YES YOU CAN DO IT WITHOUT SPENDING UNLIMITED AMOUNTS OF DOUGH and IT IS WORTH THE EFFORT BECAUSE IT IS SO COOL YOU WILL SH*T YOUR PANTS...

Doctor Fine

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Re: Sunday night shootout -- Emotiva UPA-2 vs Parasound Halo A23
« Reply #39 on: 20 Mar 2014, 10:24 pm »
I have always wanted to hear Harbeths.  I have not seen a bad review.  I like traditional speakers too.  I really like PSB Synchrony's and Theils.  I have a pair of Monitor Audio S1's and PSB B6's to go along with my Magnepan 1.6's and MMG's.

Funny story for you.  As you may have guessed by now I am an arrogant "know it all" asshat (at least I ADMIT IT) and have an impossible time purchasing speakers because nothing is GOOD enough for me.  I have heard hundreds of designs---Gayle Sanders setup was at least a  quarter million bucks for example as just the speakers were $120,000.

So I had a dilemma.  What to buy, what to buy. ????

The ONLY speaker NOBODY HAS EVER SAID ANYTHING BUT GOOD THINGS ABOUT WAS HARBETH MONITORS.

So I paid FULL LIST PRICE and bought a pair of Monitor 30s figuring "what the Hell, I can probably get these damn things to work pretty good or I should just GIVE UP."

Stock, alone and placed a little bit close to the rear wall for bass re-inforcement (which I HATE to do as it adds coloration) they were pretty darn nice for speakers costins 1500 bucks.  BUT THEY COST $5000!

So I moved them into the exact size room the BBC asked they be built for and BINGO they were magnificent.  SATISFYING.

But my living room beckoned and it was THREE times too big for the moderate sized two way Monitor 30s.  So I fleshed them out with the aforementioned two sealed 12s and two Velodyne 15s AND two Townshend ribbon super tweeter firing out to the side.

A giant hassel balancing the outputs and removing all "bloat".  But I DID it.

I bet a LOT of great speakers would be fun to own.  I was just trying to make sure I had nothing to blame but MYSELF if I wasn't the big genius and couldn't do the trick of "THREE DEE 3D Hologram it is in the room right THERE..."

Having done it I do not regret all the time, training and experimentation it took to get there.  Now I have moved the entire system to a new house and it is starting to sound BETTER as this has a better room to work with.

WHAT a hobby!  Screw around with cool gear and as you learn how to use it each improvement is like a first kiss.  Exciting and rewarding.

Anyway that is how I bought Harbeths.  ME, the big EXPERT.  SIGHT UNSEEN.

How's THAT for ba**s?