If your interest is listening to 2 channel music, then separates will beat your Denon receiver or any AVR. The Denon is built with circuitry to do multiple tasks, that’s fine for HT but not optimal for listening to music.
Looking at the impedance curve of your Revel Concerta’s, the Parasound a23 rated at 125 wpc/8 ohms, 200 wpc/4 ohms would be able to drive these speakers, but if you read the recommendation, an amp with higher current might do better. That’s because of the 4 ohm load thruout the mid-bass and the drop to 2.9 ohms in the low treble.
The Parasound looks very respectable; it's a John Curl Class A/AB design, but why aren’t you looking for an integrated amp? Do you already have a preamp?
You will notice a huge improvement moving from a 150 bogus wpc AVR to the Parasound A23 that will give you an honest 125 wpc with 45 amps of current to back it up. Something the Denon does not even dare publish with its small power supply trying to drive 9 channels. Or are they up to something higher now?
The A23 will smoke the Denon when it comes to driving a pair of speakers period.
But lowrider makes a good point about an integrated amp. What are your trying to accomplish? Improve the sound quality of listening to music as you mentioned your old 2 channel receiver. If so, just adding an A23 won't help as your still held hostage to the "pure direct" preamp section in the AVR that is just an afterthought in terms of quality. The power amp may drive the speakers but its the preamp that gives the refinement, soundstage, detail, etc. Something AVR's care less about.
Look into adding a quality 2 channel integrated amp with an HT Bypass feature into your surround sound system and you'll be amazed.
I was planning on using the 4520ci as a preamp. Bad idea? I assumed being a flagship piece it would be sufficient. In addition to the Parasound a23, also looking at http://www.classicaudioparts.com/index.php/amplifiers/ati-at1202-two-channel-x-120-watt-amplifier-b-...
Thanks for the odyssey link, yogiboy.
More thoughts? So the Denon’s power supply is the culprit for mediocre music playback? And possibly the preamp? Yes I am concerned about 2 channel listening, movies sound great.
I've got both some Parasound gear, and the Denon 4520 in separate systems. The Denon actually surprised me for music reproduction, and I think it would be fine as a pre. I think it is the excellent room correction that really allows music to pop. That said, my speakers are an easy load unlike yours, and an amp would be a good move.
The Parasound house sound is quite good, if a little on the warm side. I'm sure the A23 will sound similar to the A21 with less power of course. If I was going to look outside of Parasound, I'd check out NAD(demo models at spearitsound.com or the Odyssey stuff.
This looks like it might fit the bill and save you some $$ if you are ok buying used, no affiliation with the seller.
Thanks guys. So NAD, Parasound, and odyssey. Sounds good.
Thanks for the khartago link Jon, I actually purchased my revel b1 subwoofer from tmraudio. They have the Parasound a23 listed at the same price which I was looking at before this odyssey...
Personally, I would listed to an odyssey in your system before buying. I have a friend selling one and it sounds great in his system and sounds like crap with my extremely efficient coincidents. The odyssey can drive almost anything.
Also, Revels suck up power. I would get as many watts as affordable. 200 wpc or more...
Does anyone know the 4 ohm rating for the odyssey khartago? It’s shocking they don’t provide it on the website.
So far the Parasound a23 looks to be the most powerful amp I can find under 1k(new) as it nearly doubles down on its power rating, 125/200 8/4 ohms. That looks a lot better to me than the Ati at1202 I'm also looking at, 120/180 8/4 ohms.
All Odyssey amps double their power as the impedence drops. I would say it’s at least 200wpc. Depending on what options you get in your Khartago will determine the power output. The guy that designs Magico Speakers uses a Khartago in his lab, yes it’s that good.
Don't go strictly by the specs, it is the sound that counts. The power difference between a 180wpc amp and a 200wpc amp will not be audible.
Though you may not go wrong with either the Parasound or the Odyssey, with the Odyssey you can call the guy up who will make your amp, Klaus Bunge. The conversation alone will be worth it. I was strongly considering the Khartago, however happen to find a used BEL 1001 MK5 at a dealership and purchased it.
Don't go strictly by the specs, it is the sound that counts. The power difference between a 180wpc amp and a 200wpc amp will not be audible.Good advice.
Speaking of specs, the fact that Parasound lists the current of its amp at 45 amps per channel means that it has high current, regardless of RMS wattage.
And the Odyssey is a great recommendation.
@stereo5 I understand 20 watts will not be audible. I’m looking for an impressive impedance halve power rating. I’m under the impression that’s the best way to read how robust an amplifier really is.
What should I be looking at? # of amps current delivery? The denon, at 173/238 8/4 ohms 0.1 thd should be powerful enough, but it’s not. The sound falls apart at high volume.
Edit: actually Parasound.com rates the a23 125/225. Almost a complete double down. Audio advisor specs must not be accurate?
I find the f12s to be flat with fatiguing highs with my denon.I bet the parasound amp alone makes little to no difference. These speakers are quite sensitive and don't need a lot of juice, so it is not a power/current issue. Maybe placement or room acoustics. How big is the room and how far is your listening position?
Cardas has a good write up on room setup.
I had the F12's a few years back and I never felt the need to use a high powered amp, your set up with no back wall might be adding to your problem. Try some nearfield listening and see if you like the tonal character of the speakers.
I'll chime in as somebody that has owned both an Odyssey Stratos and a Parasound a21. The Parasound was much better and they do have a stellar rep. Even though the Odyssey is built in America, good luck getting it worked on since Klaus is so back logged with orders. Plus I had problems with his components, so the quality was not there for me. My two cents...
I have a Yamaha RX-A3040 AVR, it was their flagship AVR one year ago. I thought it sounded really good when I got it, tad bright but detailed. I just purchased a Parasound A31 to use for my front 3 speakers. OMG!! What a difference!! Night and day change in authority, speed, detail, clarity, depth, I could go on and on,,,,My system is now becoming something!! Now I'm trying to get the A21 for the front 2, put the A31 on the other 3. Then.........P7 or a whole new balanced processor. GO FOR IT!