Peachtree Grand Integrated X1 vs Parasound Halo Integrated


I’ve been stalking the interweb for a used Parasound HINT to come around at a good price for a while now. Of course in the meantime I am obsessively looking at/ researching every other integrated and separates option known to man, but always seem to come back to the HINT - wins out for its price, HTbypass, bass control, universal respect and love. A Peachtree Grand has come up for sale at my same target price and I am also intrigued by its also stellar reviews, original $4500 price tag, 440w into 8, and seems to do everything I need. My lizard brain says get the $4500 flagship amp, but my gut says the Halo. What say you? Anyone ever compare hands on?  Will be driving my Kef LS50s in a medium/small living room.
aristokatz
I’m a big fan of all the Halo amplifiers. Neutral, sometimes warmish. Never glaring or unmusical or weak. I traded mine in for ICEPower units, but not the bridged models. :) So it’s kind of funny these are the two options you are considering. Still, you can get those amplifier modules for cheap in a Ghent Audio case.

http://www.ghentaudio.com/amp/ga-s500p.html

If you are going that route, your total price may be better with a good preamp and outboard amps.

Still, I would say buy nothing you haven’t heard when it comes to a preamp and DAC. Each DAC chip has it's own quirks that must be addressed properly by the designers. There's good ESS and bad ESS. The total package sound matters.

BTW, you’ll never use the 450 watts. The only way I would think that was a plus is if the 1 watt distortion and noise figures were better, and they rarely are. You may want to look at the smaller amplifiers at Ghent, they’ll be much more cost effective.

Best,


Erik
Thanks Erik. There's a Wyred4Sound MMC 5, multichannel amp for sale near me- 221w x 5 for $800.  I only need 3 channels (3.1 system), but Ive been considering it because the price seems right even for just 3 channels of Wyred amp.  Maybe thats a good way to go.  You're right that I'd probably do better with separates, but still the HINT keeps gnawing at me saying "just get me and be done with it forever".  On the other hand, I might be sad being done forever.  

Strange in all my incessant research, never heard of Ghent. Intriguing... any articles or reviews you can point me to, Im not finding much.
Still interested if anyone has compared the 2 integrateds? Or has an opinion on the value of the older discontinued Grand X1.

.

These are 2 very different integrated amps.  The Halo is a John Curl design using discrete output transistors running class AB where the Peachtree is a Class D amp which IMHO is not ready for prime time.  I am using the Halo integrated in a second system and have no regrets.  I got mine brand new, purchased locally for 2200.00.

@stereo5

Are you sure JC designed the integrated? They often say they derived the amps from his work elsewhere, I haven’t seen him credited directly with it’s design. I could be wrong, I am not an expert in all things Parasound.

I know it’s weird, but the truth is the ICEPower 250ASP units I have sound very similar to some of the Paraounds. That's not to say the  total package of the Peachtree would sound the same.  Just talking about the amps.

Best,

Erik
I believe I read it in one of the Audio rags, maybe Stereophile, TAS or Tone.  I do  remember reading it is a John Curl design.  I'm not a fan of Class D yet.  I have heard a few of them and find I get listener fatigue quite quickly.  I good friend of mine has a Peachtree integrated with a tube input stage and 225wpc.  He has it mated to a pair of Kef LS50 speakers.  The sound is nothing spectacular, although he listens primarily to small Jazz ensembles and he is happy with it.  I guess I am one of the old fashioned guys who likes heavy duty output transistors and class A/AB.
@stereo5 Yeah, you have to be a little careful with that. They say on the Parasound website:

"Power amp circuit topology designed by legendary John Curl"

Which is easy to want to read it as "integrated amplifier designed by...." or  "amplifier modules designed by...." but I think both readings are slightly off the mark.  I read John Curl explaining this somewhere in regards to the difference between the JC mono-blocks and the A20.

Don’t get me wrong, I like all their amps. :) I believe what they really mean is that the amplifier modules used in the integrated are derived from work done previously by JC.  Otherwise they would say "power amplifier section designed by" or "integrated amplifier designed by..."

On a slight tangent, I did e-mail Peter Shram a while ago, and his feelings were that they were putting in a much nicer DAC in the integrated than in the P5. I have not however heard the integrated at all.

Best,


Erik
there is the issue of circuit design, and quality of parts used...the older Parasounds stated Amp Designed by John Curl, the current ones do not...
@jl35

True, but again, I go back to the sound quality. I'm sure the amplifier section in the HINT is excellent, but does the end user like it?

One thing about both the Parasound and B&O amps, is they are very neutral.  They don't  really add a lot to the sound. If you are looking for something to be euphonic or add extra richness, neither of those amps would do it.

That's why I'm very interested in knowing what the whole package does. The Peachtree adds tubes, the HINT I have no idea about.  I do like the sound, generally, of the P7 preamp, but I have no idea what is in the HINT. Is it like the JC Preamp? The P7? P5?  I'm just guessing.

At the end of the day, I think they could both be fine choices, but only a listening session would determine the right one.

Best,


Erik