Parasound Halo A23 paired with Peachtree Nova 125

I recently acquired a used Halo A23 from a local buyer. I also have a fairly new Peachtree Nova 125. As I mentioned in another thread, I recently bought B&W CM10s and found the Peachtree to be a bit too bright and lacking just a bit on the bass (the CM10s have an additional base driver). However, I really love the DAC in the Peachtree and am quite satisfied with the overall clarity and detail.

So the question is if its worth spending $$$ to buy a Parasound P5 preamp or use the Peachtree as the preamp/DAC in combination with the A23. I mostly listen via a digital source (iTunes via Airplay/Apple TV) and don't really need phono or other features of a typical preamp.

Problem is that no dealers in my area actually have the P5 in stock, so there's no way to do an audition. Of couture, I can buy it from Audio Advisor which has a decent return policy. But I don't want to go through the hassle of shipping it back if it doesn't work out.

Trying to figure out if the improvement in sound will be noticeably better if I get the P5.

Any advice will greatly appreciated.
You're going to get rid of your B&W speakers. The only variable is, how much money are you going to spend before they go?
Zd542, I'm not sure what to make of your response. I am not selling my speakers, nor do I intend to in the near future. Maybe in a few years. Regardless, that was not my question. Thanks.
I get your response, and to be honest, I expected it. That said, I stand by my comment. It wasn't meant to be negative. If there's one story that comes up, over and over again, its how to go about fixing the highs on B&W speakers. Because that's what we are dealing with here. There's nothing wrong with your other equipment. Its always the same thing with B&W.

Maybe some of the other posters will agree with me on this. I know there's a long list of people who feel the same way I do. You can try The Cable Company. They have a demo program where they lend out components, cables and accessories to people before they go and buy something expensive. I've been using them since the mid 90's and can't say enough good about them.

Don't listen to zd. I have all Parasound amplification and B&W speakers (803d) and they are not "bright" or unlistenable. They are, however, very revealing of distortion in program material or electronics feeding them.

To get back to your question, you can buy a P5 from Audio Advisor online and return it if you don't like it. It might cost you return shipping but at least you can try it in your living room with your program material.

I have to say I started with a P3 and an A21 with B&W 804S. I am now at JC2 preamp and JC1 poweramps and 803D. I did not care for the "opamp" sound in the P3/P5 level Parasound product and you may hear this with you system as well. But I understand everybody starts somewhere and evolves from there. BTW I still have my B&W 804s.
 A very logical and informed response by @dhl93449   I had JC1's and JC2 at one time and it was quite good.
Hey Arafiq, looks like you picked up that used A23 you mentioned in your other post. How is driving the CM10's? Are you getting the bass extension you felt was lacking with the amp section built into the Peachtree? Is it a keeper?

If so, then its just a question of which will be a better preamp for you - the P5 or keeping your current Peachtree. I would definitely get the P5 from AA and take advantage of their return policy. IMO, the cost of return shipping is a small price to pay for a 30 day in home trial. If the P5 turns out to be the right preamp, then sell the Peachtree - its a current model and should bring you a good amount to help subsidize the new purchase.
Trying to figure out if the improvement in sound will be noticeably better if I get the P5.
From all your efforts to date, you have probably figured out by now that no one can really answer this but you - you'll have to hear for yourself and be the judge. But if you don't get the P5 and try it, you will always be wondering "what if"?
Dhl93449 - I totally agree with you. After I paired the CM10s with the Rotel separates, the brightness went away. Unfortunately, I just didn't agree with Rotel's so-called 'house sound'. This is not to say there's anything wrong with Rotel gear, as they do sell quite a bit, and most reviews I read were positive. But perhaps, not my cup of tea.

I wish I could move up the Parasound chain to JC2 and JC1, but I just don't have the funds for it presently. Besides, my better half, who's already a bit leery of this expensive hobby, will give an earful to me - and that too in a very bright, unbalanced tone :)
Hi Paraneer, yes I did pickup the A23 from a local buyer. It turned out to be a pretty good deal. The amp is a little over two years old and in pristine condition. Besides, he knocked down the price even lower. I just couldn't refuse.

Unfortunately, I was pretty busy the last few days so the A23 is still sitting in my closet. I'll probably hook it up today or tomorrow.

So my current plan is to pair it with the Peachtree and listen to it for a few weeks. If a used P5 becomes available in the meantime, I'd probably jump on that one. But in the meantime, I figured why spend money on buying a new P5. I'm sure something is bound to show up soon here at agon.

As always, your valuable advice is greatly appreciated. After I hook it up with the Peachtree, I'll post my findings here.
Yep, you may not even need the P5. Until you connect the A23 into the system and compare, hold off on a purchase would be my advice. B&W can be bright, but the right electronics and or cables can help. I found that cheap brass gold plated banana plugs on my speaker cables reduced the brightness.
Well Arafiq, now I know you haven't heard the A23 yet, I agree with Runnin. Connect that A23 first and you may find the Peachtree as a preamp is all you need.

Let us know how everything sounds as you move forward. Good luck!
I hooked up the A23 to the Peachtree a few days ago. I was a little disappointed that the A23 seemed lifeless and not much power. I had to crank up the volume quite a bit to make it sound even halfway decent. I just couldn't believe that it could sound this bad with the Peachtree.

Then I found out that there were level controls in the back of the A23 marked 'THX Reference'. As per the manual, I had to turn them to their maximum clockwise position. Once I did that we were back in business.

In short, the improvement is NOT subtle in any way, it's night and day. Overall, a very balanced and natural sound, with controlled and punchy base. I realized that with the Peachtree, the upper frequencies were favored at the expense of base. This is no longer the case. The A23, at least in my system, sounds amazing. One thing I really love about it is the way it handles the lower frequencies. The base doesn't necessarily sound louder than the Peachtree, but I can feel it in my chest. I'm not sure how to explain it, but it's good in a very satisfying way. Lastly, the brightness has been tamed. I listened to my music for a good 3 hours yesterday and absolutely no fatigue whatsoever.

About the only criticism I can come up with is that the amp seems to struggle a bit at higher than moderate volume. There were times when I was expecting the amp to pick up steam but it didn't, at least to the level I was expecting. Don't know, maybe there's an A21 in my future? ;)

Anyways, I was so impressed with the Parasound Halo sound that I sold my Peachtree at a very good price. A new P5 is on its way now, should be getting it sometime next week. A really cool feature that I was missing on the Peachtree is HT Bypass as well as balanced connections. I am hoping for even better synergy between the P5 and A23 compared to the Peachtree combo.

So all in all, this little experiment proved to me that not all watts are the same. Spec-wise, both the Peachtree and A23 give you 125 watts per channel. But the authority and ease with which the A23 is driving my CM10s sets them apart by a considerable distance. I can only imagine how sweet an A21 would sound in this mix.
Those gain knobs are usually supposed to be at full so the volume can be controlled by a preamp. I think you'll be really happy with the marriage of the P5 and A23, plus you get a DAC built in too.
Looks like you found an amp that is making your CM10's happy. And your ears too!

Congrats on selling the Peachtree so quickly and ordering a new P5. Sounds like your going to have a very nice, well balanced system for years to come. Until the urge for an A21 comes along. Dreaded upgrade spiral!
This all due to the wonderful advice I got here. You guys are awesome!

I'm still waiting for the P5 to arrive. Will post my impressions once I get it and hook it up.

As for the urge for an A21, I'm trying to keep it at bay ... at least for now. I did see a couple of listings here @ Agon. But a bit surprised to see how they've been priced. I can get a brand new A21 for maybe $150 more than what the sellers are asking, once you take paypal and shipping fee into account. Not sure if $150-200 in savings is worth buying a used piece of gear.
Yeah, I ended up with a BNIB unit for a pretty good deal.