Paradigm PW Amp

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witchdoctor

Paradigm PW Amp
« on: 11 Feb 2019, 03:26 pm »
I found the Paradigm PW Amp on Amazon for $179 ($499 MSRP). It is 50 watts into 8 ohms per channel, has an RCA line in and a sub out. I bought it for my office system because it is part of the DTS Play-Fi ecosystem and I am converting to whole house audio. The amp will stream in hi rez, is DLNA capable and connects to pretty much all the streaming services. The streaming function sounds fine, very detail oriented. Where this amp rocks in that it offers ARC room correction. In a 2.1 system sub/speaker integration is key. The integration of my desktop speakers and sub is seemless and it sounds like a "system" not "speakers". My previous desktop amp was the Parasound Zamp, nice sounding amp but if you need to go 2.1 no contest, ARC makes a BIG difference. Here is an online review:

https://www.techhive.com/article/3153229/speakers/paradigm-pw-amp-review-a-dts-play-fi-amplifier-that-will-bring-out-the-best-from-your-speakers.html

apstoltz

Re: Paradigm PW Amp
« Reply #1 on: 11 Feb 2019, 09:51 pm »
very interesting, I may need to try one out. I like the ARC has a iphone app and should be easy to calibrate. I read a review of the kef ls50w and the user did calibrate and preferred the non powered versions. The second time he sat down to listen he calibrated the ls50w and could not believe the difference.

witchdoctor

Re: Paradigm PW Amp
« Reply #2 on: 12 Feb 2019, 04:21 am »
very interesting, I may need to try one out. I like the ARC has a iphone app and should be easy to calibrate. I read a review of the kef ls50w and the user did calibrate and preferred the non powered versions. The second time he sat down to listen he calibrated the ls50w and could not believe the difference.

That's exactly how I felt, I think you could spend a LOT more on an amp and still not get this SQ because of ARC.

witchdoctor

Re: Paradigm PW Amp
« Reply #3 on: 21 Feb 2019, 05:27 pm »
Update- The amp has broken in a while and is getting better. I am using it in my desktop system powering two Boston Acoustics Soundware speakers and an ASW250 sub. Very convenient the amp has a sub out. This amp likes to be cranked, a lot. At lower volumes you get a pleasant enough soundstage but at volume you just become completely immersed. When you set up ARC you calibrate 5 positions, the center and then the four corners of your listening area. In a desktop setup you don't even need to get out of your chair. to run ARC I think ARC is what makes the immersion into sound so total. It is like you are in a bubble of sound and when I play music with really deep bass there is 0 boominess, just tight, toneful BASS. Outstanding amp and if you are thinking of upgrading speakers I would advise try this amp first. I feel it helps my speakers deliver their best.

The internal DAC is good but the Parasound ZDac I have feeding it via RCA inputs is slightly better. This amp punches WAY above its current $179 price on Amazon. I have a Klipsch Powergate integrated amp on order and will post a review and a comparison once I get time to compare.

Groch

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 30
Re: Paradigm PW Amp
« Reply #4 on: 5 Mar 2019, 11:12 pm »
Thanks for your post on the PW Amp.  It is a very interesting piece at $180 to $225  ($225 is the new discounted price direct from Paradigm). I think it would probably have been more successful if it was just an amp with ARC calibration built in, and an IR remote.  There are very few small high quality amps with sub outs and sophisticated room correction built in.

There are very few reviews with real technical information that I could find.  A couple of good ones are these 2 from Taiwan: https://www.audionet.com.tw/thread-9882-1-1.html  and https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=zh-TW&u=http://www.fsaudio.net/preview/preview_5.asp%3Fart_id%3D1830&prev=search

It indicates the amp chip is a TDA8954...which can indeed output 100 clean WPC if set up properly, and that the analog line in is converted to digital, so that all of the ARC and Play-Fi processing are done in the digital realm.

Nearly all of the subjective reviews are positive except for varied reviews on the Play-Fi system.  I own some other Play-Fi components from Pioneer, and they work well for me.   The recently added Alexa voice control to Play-Fi may improve things.

So, mine is on the way.  I have been looking for a firmware update to download but have found none.  Did you update the firmware?

The Klipsch Powergate, also available very cheap now, it adds the IR remote...but loses room correction, which is my main reason for ordering the PW Amp. It seems to have a significantly less powerful amp, but the MFG specifications on Class D amps are so vague as to be nearly useless.  I would be interested in hearing your comparisons.

witchdoctor

Re: Paradigm PW Amp
« Reply #5 on: 5 Mar 2019, 11:59 pm »
Groch, in Paradigm's manual they said just use the DTS Playfi software to run updates. That updated the "software" but didn't update the "firmware". Here is the manual, I did not check for a utility app but maybe I should:

https://www.paradigm.com/index.php?controller=attachment&id_attachment=200&display=inline

The Paradigm's strengths comapared to the Powergate is sub/sat integration. That setup just wraps you in an immersive bubble of sound and the louder you play it, the better it gets. It also runs very cool where the Powergate runs a little hot. The DAC sounds good but not as open as the DAC in the Powergate.
The Powergate sounds better to my ear but I needed to fiddle around with the sub crossover, volume and it still doesn't integrate the way the PW Amp did.

In making a choice think of it more as a Power amp vs an integrtated amp. The Powergate blows the Parasound away on features even if you just include the addition of a remote, plus all the connection features.

If I were using an outboard DAC I would probably lean toward the Paradigm to get ARC. If I wanted a better DAC and convenience I would get the Powergate.
Want to know the REALLY good news? At these prices you can get BOTH (like I did) and use them in two different zones. I had the PW in the office and moved it. The Powergate has the USB in (from the PC) and the ethernet in and out. I plug the ethernet into the Powergate and run another ethernet cable from the amp to the PC now in my office system. The PW will go in my sunroom, you know glass does not play well with acoustics and it has a lot of floor to ceiling windows. Hopefully ARC will tame the room. Any questions let me know.


Groch

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 30
Re: Paradigm PW Amp
« Reply #6 on: 6 Mar 2019, 01:13 am »
I think you are right about optimum use.  I have a quality old school Remote Preamp (B&K PT-3 Series II) on my main system and am using an Toslink DAC to feed TV sound to it, and Chromecast Audio for Streaming.   Feeding the B&K outputs to the PW Amp Aux In should give me ARC, using it as a power amp,  and an alternative to the CCA for streaming if that is more convenient.   I understand that if you shut down the  Play-Fi App the PW Amp defaults to the Aux input.

The Klipsch Powergate has definite advantages for use as an integrated controller with remote.

A third option, which for my use may have been a better choice, is the Paradigm PW Link.  Preamp out only, no separate sub out, but it does have a Toslink Input and full ARC Room Correction.  It is available now for $155ish on eBay.  Simply looked at as a way to add room correction (including mic) to an existing pre/power amp system...that seems very very cheap.

The sister Brand Martin Logan has clone products, the Forte Amp & Unison Preamp, but both seem to be at their original $600 & $400 prices.   

witchdoctor

Re: Paradigm PW Amp
« Reply #7 on: 6 Mar 2019, 01:23 am »
I checked for a Paradigm Utility app, I found the dts app and an Anthem Mobile ARC app, no utility app.
ARC is fantastic and if you want to use it those products should do it.
If you order a Link please post a review, have FUN!

kren0006

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 2
Re: Paradigm PW Amp
« Reply #8 on: 16 Jul 2019, 07:15 pm »
Witchdoctor,
Does the Klipsch Powergate have a streamer built in (e.g., to stream Tidal by Ethernet cable or wifi), or does it need to be fed streamed data through one of its digital inputs?

You said you prefer the sound of the Klipsch to the Paradigm.  Is that still the case? 

Do you feel that both the amp and the dac of the Klipsch are better than the Paradigm, or just one or the other?

Thanks!

kren0006

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 2
Re: Paradigm PW Amp
« Reply #9 on: 16 Jul 2019, 07:18 pm »
Also, you haven't by chance compared either the Klipsch or Paradigm to the Yamaha WXA-50, have you?

Considering all three right now (plus Bluesound Powernode but don't want to spend that much) and really appreciate any feedback.  Thanks!