McCormack DNA-1 compared to Parasound HCA-1500A

I know this may seem like a ridiculous comparison to some of you, but I want to understand the real differences between mid-fi and hi-fi amps (other than cost). I know the DNA-1 can drive 2 ohm loads, but aside from that, what audible differences exist? I know that specs aren't the be-all-end-all, but they're all I have to go by. I own the Parasound and I'm happy with the sound, but I plan to biamp, which begs the question whether I should upgrade. I haven't heard the DNA-1, but I've read stellar reviews about McCormack amps and it's piqued my interest. Ideally, I want my system to disappear and create a natural soundstage with a tight bottom end. I'm currently driving a pair of Dahlquist DQ-20i's. They may be the weakest link in my system, but I like their sound and I can't afford to upgrade right now. A biamp arrangement will benefit any future speaker I bring in. Associated equipment: Anthem Pre-2L, Rega Planet 2000, Rega P3, Denon DL-103, Musical Fidelity X-LPS.

Insights and suggestions are warmly welcomed.

Many thanks in advance. -Mark

Parasound HCA-1500A

- Continuous power output: 205 wpc 8 ohms; 315 wpc 4 ohms
- Current capacity: 60 amperes peak per channel
- Slew rate: > 130 V/second
- Frequency response: 5 Hz - 100 kHz, +0/-3 dB at 1 watt
- Dynamic headroom: > 1.5 dB
- Interchannel crosstalk: > 80 dB at 1 kHz; > 60 dB at 20 kHz
- Input impedance: 33 k ohms
- S/N ratio: > 110 dB, input shorted, IHF A-weighted
- Damping factor: > 800 at 20 Hz
- Price: $995 new, roughly $450 used

McCormack Power Drive DNA-1

- Rated power output: 150Wpc RMS into 8 ohms (21.8dBW), 300Wpc RMS into 4 ohms (21.8dBW), 500Wpc RMS into 2 ohms (21.0dBW)
- Output current: 50A peak per channel
- Input impedance: 100k ohms
- Frequency response: -3dB at 0.5Hz and 250kHz
- Rise time: ±2µs
- Slew rate: 50V/µs
- S/N ratio: 88dB, "A" weighted
- Damping factor: >100 (1kHz, 8 ohm load)
- Output impedance: ±0.1 ohm
- Signal polarity: non-inverting
- Price: $1995 new, roughly $800-900 used
I assure you the McCormack is a much better sounding amplifier. Years ago I replaced a Parasound HCA 2200 II with a standard DNA-1 and this was quite an improvement. The McCormack is more refined and balanced sounding with a slightly warm midrange that is not unlike tubes. My advice is to make the switch.

your speakers are great...the mccormick will drive them just fine...some other ss in your range that do a disappearing act as well...bryston, belles....check for minty used.....the mccormick is fantastic
Thanks Oz and Jaybo, I appreciate the feedback. Can you recommend specific SS amps in the 150-200 wpc category that stand out as outstanding values? It's difficult to navigate through the various models of each manufacturer.
I picked up the McCormack Micro drive amp a bit ago. It's the model right below the DNA-1. It's an absolutely amazing amp. I can't believe how huge the soundstage is and how powerful it sounds. 100 percent dissapears (and this one is only 50 watts!). It seems very underpriced for when it came out! I serverely doubt the parasound will even be close to the same league as the DNA-1.
I'm no SS expert, being a tube guy. But all McCormack amps have sounded good to my ears. I have owned the standard DNA-1, DNA-2 and DNA-1 Deluxe monoblocks and liked them all. Especially the monoblocks. Coda also makes some very nice sounding SS amps. I owned the 11 years ago.

Its really difficult to critize the Mccormacks. THese are just some of the bang for buck amplifiers out there.
I even prefer the dna 1 or 0.5 to the Krells I've owned in the past.
Thanks folks. I appreciate your input. I had no doubt McCormack made nice sounding amps, but it's encouraging to hear your endorsements. How does Bryston stack up to McCormack?

Buying a used amp is like fumbling around in the dark. Without being able to audition, I have to rely on your opinions. I appreciate your help!
Any thoughts on the Channel Island D-200?
i've had my fair share of bryston amps.
While they are more powerful esp on the bass department, I still prefer the mids & high's of the mccormacck.
i'd take the Mc any day over the bryston.
Buy a Bryston if you want hi-fi sound, buy a McCormack if you want music.

Mingles Wrote-
"Any thoughts on the Channel Island D-200?"

If you're looking at digital amps, I'll tell you my story. I was very happy with my McCormack DNA 1 driving my Vandersteens, until I heard the Nuforce amps. Better in just about every way. I ended up buying a demo pair of 8.5's here on A'gon for $1050. They're only rated at 100 watts, but they drive my 3A's better than anything I've had them hooked up to.

Check out the Nuforce thread. Many positive testimonials.
another option for you to consider if you are looking at digital amps would be the jeff rowland model 102. Its only 100watts but it doesnt sound like a solid state amp.
All McCormack amps are head & shoulders above Parasound especially the ones with revisions.
Thanks folks! I appreciate all the input. McCormack seems like the obvious choice. When I hear tube enthusiasts say they like an SS amp, there must be good reason. But Ecruz's experience with Nuforce and Vandersteen sounds intriguing. My DQ-20i's are not unlike the Vandie 2C. I sifted through the forums and read the glowing comments about Nuforce. I understand digital amps are relatively new to the hi-end audio scene. If you were in my shoes, and trying to decide between the two, which would you go with? These are available on Agon right now:

Nuforce reference 9.02 $1300
Mccormack DNA1-R1 $1299

DNA-1's without the mod pop up once in a while for $800-900. Is the mod worth an extra $400-500?
Obviously I'd say "go with the 9.02". But I think you'd be really happy with either.

If space is an issue then the Nuforce is a no-brainer. They also run very cool. But man the DNA 1 is pretty, in an audiophile kind of way.

Let us know what you decide.

I thought I should follow up with this post. I ended up buying a pair of NuForce 8.02b's. I've had them for about month now and I'm pleased with the sound. I definitely notice a new clarity. I'm biamping with the NuForce running the HF and the Parasound to the LF. When I get antsy in the future, I'll look for a used McCormack. If there had been one available at the time, I would have preferred to go that route, but I'm impressed with the NuForce. It's amazing how small they are and how cool they run. It's easy to the appeal for home theater. The 8 series are selling for dirt cheap right now.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for the suggestions and advice. I appreciate it.