Opinions on Parasound A21 & A21+


I have been informed that the sonics of both the older and new Parasound A21s are very similar.  I have never heard a Parasound product, let alone this model.  Forgetting for this moment system synergy, how good do you rate is this amplifier?  In basic sound character, is it a smooth operator with a non grainy, non fatiguing signature, that with proper systems matching will throw a 3d soundstage? Is it the entry-way to a high end, high power amplifier?  Please feel free to provide any down sides to this amplifier.  Last, what other amplifiers new or used in this $2,500-$3,100 price range would you consider?  I will mention that I generally hold onto my amplifiers for a long while so I prefer to buy new.

I have scoured and read many prior posts on this subject, but would just like some current opinions.  Thanks in advance.
jetter
It sounds like you already know the sonic characteristics. I hope by now you have listened to them.
They are a great value, and very good sounding. I like them better than a lot of Pass amps. Of course, Audiogon is Pass country, but that's my opinion.

Amps I might trade them for are from Ayre or Audio Research modern integrated.


Best,

E
I much prefer the Odyssey amps at similar price points...
manufacturer direct pricing and 20 year warranty as you like to keep them...though the warranty is also extended to the 2nd owner...
Hi Erik, I have not had a chance to hear any Parasounds.  I live in Vermont and the closest dealer with them is 2 hours away. Even then, I won't take the dealers time knowing whatever I end up purchasing will be online.
Thanks Erik and jl, please all keep the comments coming.
Jetter,

My brother has an A21 and I have a pair of JC1's I use in a second system.  Great amps for the money.  Definitely punch above their weight.
Their ability to put out the first 10 or 25 watts pure class A makes them very resolving and natural sounding.  Great bass too. 

In my main system I am now running PS Audio BHK 300.  In fact, over the last couple of years I have become quite a convert of theirs and have many of their components.  While I haven't heard them personally, they have the Stellar M700 mono blocks in your price range.  I read tremendous things about them including Sterophile's coveted "A" rating.
If I was shopping in your price range I would definitely give them a listen.
New, there are a number of PS Audio dealers that run specials on them so they can be bought right too.
I use the A52 five channel amp in my home theater system. It's a fine amplifier, smooth, never harsh or fatiguing.
Much appreciated all, please keep your comments coming. Daeone, I was just reading the online reviews of the PS Audio Stellar m700s. I was not aware of them but you are right, I can’t remember seeing such positive reviews, especially of a class D amp, and again especially when they are referring to it as warm and tube like. All for $3K seems amazing. There aren’t any you tube demos I could find (I know you can’t tell anything sound wise but interesting to watch). Only a few Agoners seem to have the m700s as they are new. Has anyone listened to them recently, and if so can someone give an opinion how they compare to the A21 or A21+?

Again though, it was the A21 or A21+ I was thinking about, should I be looking elsewhere, such as the m700s/others?.
you can find new PS Audio Stellar amps from authorized dealers, for about 30% off.  I have the S300 and it is excellent. For the price, I'm not a fan of the Parasound, but many others love them...you gotta go listen
I have been using the A21 for about 6 years. The best sounding amp I have had, but have never paid over $2.5k for any amp. Funny, I had the Odyssey amps and the A21 is much better, not to mention the Stratos failed on me....twice. John Curl designed and they sound like 2x what they cost. Also you can run balanced cables into them. The only amp I owned that was close was a McCormack DNA 125, it was sweet sounding but it was not nearly as powerful as the A21. Maybe the DNA-225.
The one thing about the A21 is that the top end is a little rolled  off sounding.  For laid back speakers or cables, etc, this can squeltch the top end, depending on one’e tastes of course.

i had the amp for about 4 years with the P7.  I wanted a more open sounding top end, some others might be fine with it.

no idea if the A21+ has the same house sound or not.
Years ago used to own an A21 and then JC-1; just bought a used A23 for my girlfriend's system. It's just like I remember the A21 - smooth, powerful & dynamic sound with just a touch of warmth. Very, very sweet! It's got the good points of solid-state amplification with really none of the bad - certainly nothing that draws attention to itself. And I'd long since gone to tube amps in my main system. Love that little A23, but of course now I wish we'd gone for the bigger A21. Great amps.
I just visited the Parasound website and didn't realize their A52 amplifier is a 5 channel home theater amplifier.  I settled for an ARCAM AVR550 instead.  I wonder how much I gave up in terms of sound quality.  I wanted to find something I could listen to in both 2 channel and 5.1 channel surround.  I love the way the Parasound Halo integrated amplifiers sounds for the money.

I really like the Arcam sound, @larry5729

I think you did fine.


Erik
Post removed 
lordrootman, I sent you a message.

I use an A21. Happy with sound. And, delighted with recent improvements to sound resulting from replacement of stock fuses with HiFi Tuning Supreme units. Speed and resolution has improved, and sound has more presence. Remarkable improvement for a modest investment. See description of change and account of experimenting with Furutech TF Audiophile fuses in my recent post to following thread:
https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/hi-fi-tunig-fuses-parasound-a21?page=2 
My system: Bluesound Vault 2 --> Parasound Halo JC2BP --> A21 --> Vandersteen Quatro Wood CT. 
@[email protected]
Curious to hear your impression of comparison between A21 and JC1.
Hey jetter
watch this video dealer name was mentioned with his link 
I can’t send direct message with info 
don’t know why by the way feel free to pm me 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aWacAS1QgR0
I Recently purchased the Halo A21 and A52+. Both sound wonderful. They replaced a Parasound NC 2250 and 5250 in my system. The Parasound product is very hard to beat for the money. 

If if you look at the innards of both the A21 and the A21+ they appear to have very similar topology. The majors gains in the A21+ come from a much more robust Power Supply and refinement of the A21 design. 

I wrote an end-user review of my impressions on the equipment  if interested...

https://www.avnirvana.com/threads/a-subjective-review-of-the-parasound-a21-and-a52-amplifiers.3969/ 

BTW... the high end is extended and pristine with my speakers. I would guess that some speaker/amp/cable combinations may adversely affect the amps ability to deliver full range sound but would think you would have to work very hard, or be extremely unlucky to come across that negatively impactful combination :-)




If it were me and i wanted that 3d hifi sound as OP describes, I would want to know what speakers,  what pre amp, how big the room is, etc.   That amp could be a perfect match or a horrible one, depending on speakers  It does offer gobs of power and is 4ohm stable..    I would really try to steer you towards tubes, might as well really hear the magic.if thats the goal.   .  The poster who says its pure class A, is misinformed, its an AB amp.  Its also not very smooth in the midrange for an audiophile grade amp.  I'm not a fan of Jfet input and mosfet driver stage myself,  


I run the A21 with a pair of Wilson Sophia 2 speakers and I have never for a moment found myself wishing for more. The raw power of the amp complements the dynamic punch of the loudspeakers very well, with a full bottom end, palpable mid-band, and crystal highs. Years ago when I bought the Parasound unit I was listening to other models at local hifi shops, like Rotel, Yamaha, Bryston (oh, how I loved the 4B SS2), and some pricey equipment from Balanced Audio Technology (...sweet stuff...). I really appreciate how effortlessly the A21 performs, letting you pick out singular instruments in detail amidst a layered, complex passage of a recording. Working with some other amplifiers I've also learned to respect the A21's apparent immunity to hum introduced by AC line noise. The transformers in my other home-theater amp sing like birds when certain household devices are running... You may buy one and later fall in love with something else, but you will still feel like you got more than you paid for!
I own the A51 and an A23.  Both are solid amps, great value.  I have listened to the A21 and it is even nicer.  I recently purchased the m700 mono amps for a new basement system.  The M700's are a good value, but not as nice as the A-21.  I have returned the M700's and the PS Audio BHK 250 is arriving next week!  I also swapped in my Classe CA 2300 for the  M700's and there was no comparison how much better the Classe was.  That is why I am getting the BHK 250.  Can't wait!  The m700's are smooth and warm, but lack the detail, soundstage and clarity I am looking for. Ken
batman, unfortunately my speaker brand is not one that you can say the name and people will recognize.  They are called Avance speakers, a Danish brand that is sold by dealers in 10 or 11 countries but not the U.S.  I picked up mine a while ago from a Canadian shop when they were selling in Canada, but no more.   They are two and 1/2 way with all scanspeak drivers, not unlike the Dana's on the attached but with one less driver. About 86 dB, 6 ohms nominal.   http://www.avance-audio.dk/

fastfreight, thank you for your post.  I did order the A21+ a few days ago and started reading about the M700's which I just became aware of.  Having you provide hands on experience with both amps was right on. I did do my share of reading and did consider Luxman integrateds, Pass and a lot of other more "Audiophile Check the Boxes" amps, but right now wanted the Parasound.  I have mentioned before I am two hours from an audio shop and just won't go in and test the amplifier at the store knowing I would be buying online. 

It will be delivered next week and we will see how it goes, but I am sure I will like it.  To whoever mentioned tubes, my preamplifier is tube (12AX7) based and I have had, and enjoyed, tube amplifiers in the past.

Thank you all for your kind input.