I own a Parasound 1205A and am looking for something that would be an upgrade. I want an amp with balanced inputs and need it to be in black (which seems to cut down your choices in high end amps these days). I am wondering if the Showcase would really be an improvement over what I have. I am somewhat suspicious of these newer Krells (as compared to, say, the Krell TAS which looks like a real Krell!). Would I be getting just the name or a real sonic improvement?
I have B&W803N's, and would get a Classe, but they seem very rare on the used market. The Dreadnaught seems like a great idea, but perhaps a bit more expensive. Any other suggestions?
I used to own the 1205A and its a good amp but can definitely be improved upon. Have not heard/demoed the showcase but the TAS is worth it. Even better is the Dreadnaught with the 200 or 225 (Dreadnaught II) modules. I am very impressed with the D'naught II driving the Martin Logan's. I would stay away from Bryston (lacks transparency), Cary (reliability?) but consider the newer Delta series Classe.
I also recommend the Cary Cinema 5. Each channel accepts either bal or unbal inputs independently. Suitable for both HT and music - decent extended lows, rich and textured mids, sweet highs, no electronic glare and a decent soundstage. It's quite impressive for $1000 per channel. I believe it's also available in a black faceplate.
It is amazing to me how controversial the Bryston amps are. I've never had a chance to hear them...I am also confused about those Earthquake amps. High power yes. Refined and transparent? What do people think?
Has anyone spent time comparing a Dreadnaught I and II?
If anybody has a 5 channel 225watt Dreadnaught II in black, a Cary 5 or Krell TAS in black, or a Delta series Classe they should contact me.
If you are primarily a music lover, don't get a multi-channel amp. If I understand correctly, the Parasound is a multi-channel amp? If so, keep it for your HT and get a good 2-channel amp (Krell FPB or go back to the ML 23.5 - which is a great amp) or tons of others. Even at a used price of $1,000 a decent 2-channel amp is going to blow the Showcase out of the water and also the Dreadnaught II which I owned for 2 weeks and sold because it was useless in terms of performance in 2-channel mode!
FWIW I tried to go the 5-7 channel amp route with Krell KAV 1500, Dreadnaught II, Conrad Johnson, and none did it for me in 2 channel. I now run a Krell FPB and a Proceed 3 channel for center and surrounds - but HT is a very low priority for me. Previously I ran a ML 331.5 with the Proceed which was a pretty good balance for HT.