You need to be aware that Monitor Audio ( including your RX8) uses crossovers which are that good that they can give a deep and wide stage like the best highend speakers can. But......you need amps who can give this deep and wide stage. Pioneer is a 2-dimensional brand, this menas there is almost no depth till maximum of 1 metre. This means that the image is projected forward. A 3-dimensional image is the most thrilling part in music but also for surround sound. Amps which can give you a 3 dimensional sound are Onkyo and Primare. There are more, but a lot more expensive. I have sold a lot Monitor Audio in 6 years of time and also a lot Platinum. goodluck!!
Hi Bo1972 - thanks for your comments; what would you recommend as a 5 channel amp between Parasound A51 and cary Audio 7.125? I am not planning to use the Pioneer going forward ..
The Pioneer is 2-dimensional, Parasound as well. You only keep the 3-dimensional image wenn you use both surround amp and poweramp who can give a 3-dimensional image. Cary audio I cannot Judge. Your Pioneer is not that good. Maybe it is better to sell it and buy a better surr. amp first.
How do like the job your A21 is doing on your L/R mains now? If you're happy, you can expect the same level of performance from the A51 - a very fine 5 channel amp indeed.
I currently use a Pioneer Elite VSX 52, similar to your 53, as my pre/pro hooked up to a Parasound 5125 power amp and am extremely pleased with the results. The A51 with its increased wattage and Class A-A/B biasing would be a whole new level of performance. So I personally I would opt for the Parasound A51.
I would not be swayed by claims made by an audio salesman who frequents this forum that Parasound is a 2 Dimensional brand. I have had and heard many amps over 30 years and never seen a specification for dimensionality. Whether an amp produces 2 dimensions, 3 dimensions or even multi-dimensions is nothing more than the subjectivity of the audio salesman. His much coveted 3 dimensions also seems to exists with the brands he sells but not with brands he does not. He will also tell you he knows this from many years of listening which again amounts to nothing more than perception, because that is all it is. Without published specs, how does anyone know the dimensionality of an amp unless they take the word of someone is selling it? The last time I listened to someone who said "Bo Knows", I bought a pair of Nikes.
The A51 is a fine multi channel amp used by some very well known Home Theater Mag reviewers in the their personal systems who use it as a reference amp against other models. These same gentlemen also write for their sister publication, Stereophile.
Regarding using an AVR as a pre/pro, many of us do and I personally like Pioneer Elite products and their proprietary MCACC. It does a good job. So don't be swayed by slams against Pioneer either. To be frank, I don't know why they were even made as you indicated you will get dedicated pre/pro eventually. You initiated the conversation about amplifiers.
Good luck in your decision and happy listening.
"Without published specs, how does anyone know the dimensionality of an amp unless they take the word of someone is selling it?"
What specs do you look at to find the dimensionality of an amp?
It is very simple; you test and listen to the amps. I alwys use speakers which can bui;ld a big stage. So you know if they are 2 or 3-dimensional.I can sell what I want, because the company were I do business with has it all. But I do not sell amps which give a lower level in performance anymore. The same as for speakers. I want my clients to get the best results for the money. The thing I hate most in this business is the many average amps, speakers, cables etc. Many people spend a lot of money in audio. Wenn you listen to the end results it is often quite average or poor. We had a client with the Focal BE 1027. Also these speakers can give a deep and wide stage. He had a Pioneer surround amo of 2500 dollar. The stage was flat, so full 2-dimensional. Wenn we connected the Onkyo TX-NR5010 it went to a much higher level. Better dynamics, more resolutie and space. And also depth and a better sound. The class D sound of the Pioneer had not emotion. Like everything sounds the same. For me it is very simple how it will sound. And what are the limitations.
"It is very simple; you test and listen to the amps."
What tests are you performing and what test equipment are you using? If you are just listening, then your assertion that some amps are dimensional and others are not is purely subjective.
Per Bo again...
"For me it is very simple how it will sound."
And in this statement, you actually admit that your opinions are purely subjective.
Bo, I don't mind you having a preference of one amp over another and then choosing to be a dealer for those brands. Its your prerogative. I don't mind you even recommending those brands. I do mind that you sell your preferences by slamming the competition and by using "made up" specs like dimensionality - something that there is no specification for and therefore cannot be measured. So in the end, all your claims about multi-dimensionality in an amp is nothing more than your subjective opinion.
You may be more successful by siting the factual information about why you "perceive" one amp to sound better than another. You know, things like build quality, amplification class, type and size of transformers and caps, watt output, current output, damping factor, s/n ratio, etc.
Good luck with your audio dealership.
"What specs do you look at to find the dimensionality of an amp?"
Not sure if your directing this question to me or Bo. If to me, I never worry about the dimensionality of an amp. I worry about whether it can adequately drive the speakers I will be using. So I look specs at wattage, peak current, damping factor, s/n ratio, etc. I also consider build quality, class type (I prefer A/B over D), reputation, etc.
Dimensionality is nothing more than the soundstage being constructed in your listening environment. The speakers and room itself are far more critical in constructing a deep soundstage than the amp. Processors and room correction is another matter entirely as these can affect the soundstage.
I sold and tested many Monitor Audio speakers. I also did a presentation for Monitor Audio. I test many different amps on Monitor Audio speakers as well. Also at shows you hear them with many different amps. I Always have my own music during shows. I love to test and know what the properties/talents are of speakers, amps, cables, sources etc. I worked for over 8 yeras in audio shops. I also did run a shop for 2 years of time. But consulting is so much more fun to do then the possibilities you have in a shop. It is the freedom I love. We are not talking about preference, we talk about the difference between 2 and 3-dimensional. I use comparing between 2 and 3-dimensional sound to let people hear how much more involving 3-dimensional sound is. What I said before; I never met a person who prefers 2-dimensional sound over 3-dimensional sound after hearing it. I am addicted to music since I was 6 years old. My father gave me a stereo Philips big tape recorder with tubes. I started making recordings from the radio at that age. Music Always has been the most important thing in my life. So you are Always looking for the best sound possible. I worked for over 6 yars in a very big audio shop. Here I could test as much as I wanted. I did compare many brands. From normal prices to highend. I owned expensive highend audio for 14 years of time. I had the freedom and possibilities to lent a lot of stuff in 15 years of time. A palpable image with depth is for every person understandable. I make it as easy and clear for every person. Here on Audiogon you only can read my words. My clients said this week to me; Bobby wenn you let us hear the 3-dimensional sound your words become so much easier to understand. That is true. The reason why I use comparing between 2 and 3-dimensional image is because I want every person to give a higher level in playing there music. I want people to love there set with there music. The reason why I use the words simple is because after all these tests you understand the paterns of the equipment. My focus is Always on the properties/talents of a cable, amp, source, speaker etc. After this you can use them in a set. And you can change parts in a set with other brands to make it more complete. Audyssey and Audyssey Pro used and measured at my way makes it all a lot easier to get a 3-dimensional image. I use differrent brands to get the best 3-d image possible. But there are enough brands of speakers and amps which cab give a good 3-d image.
Thank you for your comments; Paraneer - the A21 is excellent and creates a fantastic combo as paired with my RX 8 speakers.
Let me demo both and I can then make an informed decision -once again - thank you.
In my experience with Monitor Audio -- mostly the RS-6 -- the best sound came from using tubes, which gave a tremendous soundstage and the sense of ease and space between instruments that I've rarely experienced with any other speaker/amp combo.
The RX and RS series are very efficient speakers which allows the use of lower power tube amps. Another option I like was using a McCormack DNA-1 -- very satisfying but different from tubes, more of a clean sound with lots of inner detail, but still buttery smooth and effortless.
Heck, even an old B&K ST-140 sounded decent if you don't have a lot to spend on amperage. Not as much detail and soundstage but still very pleasant to the ear. JHMO.
--Tom in Sacramento
What I said earlier; Monitor Audio is the only brand which make speakers in all there price ranges which can give depth. You will not find any brand which can make even cheap speakers who can give depth. Tubes can create much easier depth than most solid state amps. I sold a lot RS8 and RS6 in the past. I sold the RS8 with Primare. It gave a stunning 3-D image. All the other shops sold 2-dimensional sound for the same money. I had a lot of fun. I did send my cleints to those shops to understand the difference.