B&k 200.2 , audio research 100.2 . Parasound a21 . Which one to buy?


I have a Marantz 7702mkii as a pre pro and want to get a two channel amp to drive my monitor audio silver 8 's . The B&k is the most affordable , but I am intrigued by the a21 and audio research 100.2 .Which one would best match up to my speakers , and if neither which route would you go ?
nesto719
I've owned an ARC 100.2 so I can speak on that amp. Owned a B&K ST 140 and although a different amp than you mentioned it was a nice amp; great little amp for the money. Never owned the Parasound A21 but have listened to it at one of my favorite shops and it's a really nice amp, but it's not a ARC 100.2. Funny I mentioned my B&K amp because I gave it to the owner of the store I mentioned and they used it on the floor for months and one of the salesperson stated he preferred it over the A23 on Magnepan 1.7i's; not sure I'd go there but it did sound very nice on the Maggie's.

I ended up selling my 100.2 only because it just didn't have the juice to power my Aerial Acoustics to where I knew they could go and I ended up with a much bigger amp that works much better. The 100.2 is a great amp with a little tube magic. It's not too soft mind you but if you want a cold, sterile amp it is not it. The bass is really good on it as well and it holds it own against much bigger amps there as well. It's a great amp and no way would I take a Parasound A23 over it. Only reason I'd maybe consider the A21 is if the 100.2 just doesn't have enough juice for your speakers. If speakers are not a concern the 100.2 is the better amp. The A21 is a really nice amp but it's not magic. I'll admit I prefer my Pass over my previous 100.2, but I still miss the 100.2. Could listen to that amp for hours and get lost; no fatigue at all. 

Our Parasound dealer is a Monitor Audio dealer. Your Silver 8's will be no problem for the 100.2 and you don't need the power of the A21 in my opinion. You could easily drive your speakers with an A23 as well but the A21 is better than its little brother. Monitor Audio's can't play to insane levels so I don't think the A21 will play any louder than 100.2 on your speakers. I'd for sure do the ARC 100.2... it's the better amp.
Thank you for the honest review ! You said monitor audio won't play loud , but are they a good speaker to even match an amp to them? 
Where is your parasound dealer located ??

Not that Monitor Audio's can't play loud enough for most but they can't blast your ears like a similar priced Paradigm Speaker. I just don't think you're going to be able to play your S8's any louder with a 250 watt Parasound over a 100 watt ARC 100.02 amp. Paradigms just play loud without losing it where the Monitors Audio's will start breaking up; they just don't play as loud as some others. Still a great speaker and I bought my daughter a pair of the little B2's. Paradigm are fine speakers but I find throughout their entire line the top end is too hot for my taste.

Parasound Dealer in Des Moines, IA.

Would you say the marantz is a good pre pro for music or would a halo intergrated be better ?? I really want to try that audio research amp though 
Would you say the marantz is a good pre pro for music or would a halo intergrated be better ?? I really want to try that audio research amp though 
I’ve listened to the Halo Integrated and it’s nice. Really haven’t done any serious listening to it but what little I have its not in the same league as the ARC 100.2. The Halo is an integrated with DAC and phono included for a lot less than what the 100.2 sold for years ago. As far as your Marantz pre pro goes I’m sure for what it’s designed for its great; especially at its price point. Pretty sure I’ve heard your Marantz in a theatre setup at the shop I referenced above. Would I use it in a two channel set up? Before I would answer that I would want to audition it that way but not sure why I would consider it for a two channel system only. I’m sure it’s very good but again it does a lot and I image for the same money a dedicated two channel preamp will probably outperform it. When I had my 100.2 I used it with a ModWright SWL 9.0 SE and that was a great combination. I recall the 9.0 has home theatre bypass if you need that. I’m sure your Marantz will sound very good on the 100.2. I don’t want to say the 100.2 sounds like a tube amp but it sounds closer to than any SS amp I’ve heard except a Pass. So knowing it has a little tube magic to it you might find it will be a nice match in your current system. Probably the strongest thing I can say about the 100.2 is it just disappears and you’ll forget it’s there. I did use a Kimber PK10 Gold power cord on it and that worked well too. If by chance you do opt for the 100.2 hopefully it still has the original PC with it because for a stock PC it was actually pretty good.
The Marantz is fine as a pre/pro for music.  If you aren't happy with the onboard DACs, just have your CD/SACD player do the work and use the "pure direct" or "direct" feature.  This feature takes the Marantz out of the picture, so to speak, and directly passes the signal to your amp.

I'm not saying it is as good as a Modwright or anything like that, but I don't believe there's any coloration of the sound by the Marantz while in one of the direct modes.  What is nice, for me at least since I use monitors for the front L&R channels, is that it will send the low frequency info to the sub channel, even in "pure direct".  

The feature set of the Marantz makes it nice for non-critical listening/background music via Apple airplay, Pandora, etc., etc.  I've been extremely happy with my Marantz 8801 pre/pro. 

adg101:  I'm curious as to your comment on the AR 100.2 sounding closer to a tube amp than any SS amp except a Pass Labs amp.  I'm actually looking at a couple of old Pass Labs multichannel amps (X3 and X5).  My Arcam P1000 (135w/ch x 7) is in the shop due to the soft on/off circuit taking a dump (I'm hoping that's it) so I'm proactively shopping (e.g., feeding the upgrade-itis) for other amps.  Since my front monitors are extremely revealing (ATC SCM 19v2), a sterile amp isn't what I'm looking for.  The ARs and Pass are of interest, but I need some headroom to drive the inefficient ATCs in my large listening space.  The A51 Halo is also a contender, but based on your comments above perhaps I'm better off looking at an AR or Pass amp and then something else for the remaining channels since those speakers aren't nearly as capable as the ATCs.

admranger: If you need an amp with power and finesse Pass are definitely great amps. If a 100 watt 8 ohm amp that doubles at 4 ohms is enough for your ATCs then the ARC 100.2 will definitely work on very revealing speakers but looks like you need a multi channel amp. I used to use it on Apogee Centaurs which were pretty revealing being a full ribbon tweeters. I personally don't think later or current SS amps from ARC compete with the 100.2 and many others agree. If a Pass is in your budget it is a much better amp; has the finesse of the 100.2 but more everything... cleaner, more extended, more control if your speakers require it. There's many great amps out there and the Parasound's are very good but between the A23 and A21 you can get a lot more amp buying used in my opinion; I know these two amps. My dealer has never had a set of the JC 1's so I won't comment on those beast; those appear to be different animals which I'd love to hear someday. Can't speak on the A51 but I know they have sold many of them and I suspect it's a real nice amp but betting its signature is the same as the A21 which is a very nice amp remember so I wouldn't be afraid to try it. I've never listened to the X3 or X5's but I'd be surprised if they aren't pretty darn good. Another shop here in town used to be a Pass dealer and one of the owner uses an X3 and I believe he's always liked it.


Hopefully your Arcam is an easy fix. Good luck.

I really want that tube sound without having to go tubes , so sounds like the 100.2 wins over vs the parasound a21 . The intergrated halo interested me because I like the sabre Dac and always thought  that a intergrated would be better than using a AV prepro for music 

The 100.2 isn't real tubey or do I think it will fool you being a tube amp but it doesn't sound like a lot of SS amps either; it has no edge to it. A lot of tube amps are starting to sound more like SS amps these days so maybe it is somewhat accurate to say it sounds like a very neutral tube amp.

I took home an ARC hybrid HD220 that I compared my 100.2 to and that amp retailed for around $9K! Maybe I can't hear but I preferred the 100.2. The HD220 was lifeless to me and didn't have the magic the 100.2 has. Be surprised if anyone on this site who has or has owned a 100.2 thinks that amp isn't a really nice amp. Yes the HD220 went back to the dealer and I eventually ended up with a Pass. I have owned tubes and still enjoy tube amps but I don't want to deal with the cost and maintenance of them. Tube preamps are a different story; tube life is much longer and cheaper to re-tube.

Well I must ask,  is the 100.2 really worth 1700 ? Does it help make non cd music sound decent still or is it strictly an amp for high quality sources? I guess I'm stuck over the more is better mentality, with wanting a higher powered amp , thinking it will do a better job than a 100 watt amp. I really wish I could demo the amps I'm interested in instead of having to buy something , while crossing my fingers hoping that's it's the real deal !!