Parasound HCA-1205A Amplifiers

HCA-1205A

5-Channel Power Amplifier - 140 Watts

User Reviews (12)

Showing 1-10 of 12  
circuithead   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 02, 2005]
Strength:

Powerful Low end Price Quality product made in USA

Weakness:

High end but what do you expect?

The bad you've heard is true. It runs kind of hot. It needs ventilation or a cooling fan. Also the binding posts kind of stink. I snapped one the other day. The posts are very close together and do not rotate. They are gold plated but the space is kind of small for thick wire. I am in the process of replacing them. That was a bit of a pain. This amp is all about its circuitry. It has a decent transformer, but the circuitry is what John Curl is about. In terms of price - not bad... Amps are expensive. The ATI 1505 is comaprable as is the Sherbourne and the Outlaw. any of those are going to sound good. Why do some amps costs thousnads of dollars? Because of the smooth hihg end. the Parasound does not have a smooth high end - but neither is it a Krell, Bryston or Mark Levison which all cost 4-6 times as much. This amp is solid if not overwhelming. It runs hot and has very poorly placed binding posts- if you need to run plugs go straight through the posts rather than through the side. It has a very good low end, decent mid and fair to poor high end. That's what you'd expect in this price range. Overall, better than any receiver you're going to get - may cause you to want to upgrade a couple years from now. Anyway I am pleased with this amp. Still can't figure how to work the 12V trigger that I'm trying to connect with my Lexicon DC-1 V.4.0 If you see this for under $700 than it is a good buy. What other 5 channel amp are you going to be able to get for that kind of bread?

Similar Products Used: None - Used to have an old Kenwood receiver.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
djxtasy   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 26, 2004]
Strength:

Affordable Price, Strong Build, DC Trigger, Mute / delayed start up to prevent that dreaded "thump" sound, Overload sensing indicator, THX Certified, 10 Year Warranty. Excellent customer and tech support if ever needed.

Weakness:

Tends to get HOT, even at low volumes. (Will need to purchase a cooling fan). HEAVY!!! 12" deep (May not fit your AV rack). Rack handles placed in the back of the unit, instead of the front.

Purchased this b-stock model at Audio Advisor. Was very lucky, since I purchased their last parasound HCA 1205a b-stock model. I was very impressed with the overall cosmetic and the sound of the unit. This amp is rated at 140 watts X 5 channels, but this is more of a conservative value. The sound that this amp puts out is powerful, yet clean. This amp can definitely go up against many $2,000 - $3,000 amps and win!!! Not to many company I know is confident enough with their product to back it with a 10 year warranty. Keep in mind that this warranty is ONLY valid if you buy from an AUTHORIZED dealer. I have only three gripes with this unit. The first is that this unit tends to get hot, thus requiring an external cooling fan placement above the unit (I also have the Carver AV-705x, and with its deep heat sink, this unit always run cold). My second complaint is the placement of the rack handles. Traditionally rack handles have always been placed in front of units, I don't understand why parasound places theirs in the back. Lastly, the height of the unit is slightly larger in comparison to other HT amps, thus it may become a problem for some AV racks. Overall, this unit is an excellent amp and I wouldn't hesitate in buying another parasound amp.

Similar Products Used: Carver AV-705x.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Jim   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 13, 2003]
Strength:

Clean, warm sound. Able to drive even difficult speaker loads.

Weakness:

19 inches is deep. It's something to mention ;-)

After the amp within my Marantz SR-8200 failed to meet the needs of my M&K speakers I began looking for outside amps to lessen the burden on the poor A/V receiver. Let's face it, driving 6 channels (at a nominal 4 ohms impedence each) at high volumes would be taxing for most receivers. Initially I ultilized two Audio Control amps to drive L/C/R and back channel. About 3 months ago I integrated the Parasound for the L/C/R and surrounds. The two Audio Control amps (each now bridged) drive my 6th and 7th channels respectively. My Marantz is now purely a pre-amp. I mention all this to show that I have tried several means of amplification with the same speakers in the same listening environment. The Parasound has so far performed flawslessly. It's operation is quiet and has no trouble handling the M&K's load even at sustained high volumes. It also seems to provide a warmer sound(but not rosy coloration) than the Marantz and Audio Control units. On a side note, if you're looking for a near bullet proof and affordable amp for multi-room applications look into Audio Control. They have no trouble maintaining stereo output into even a nominal 2 ohm load.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Placidman   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 30, 2002]
Strength:

Price, sound quality, 12V DC Trigger, THX Ultra certification, 10 year warranty.

Weakness:

none

I added the 1205A to my existing setup which consists of a Pioneer Elite VSX-39TX running as a pre/pro, along with a AMC 2100 stereo amp powering the rear center surrounds in a 7.1 channel set up. The 1205A exceeding my expectations for power, increased depth, clarity, and an increased sound stage. This amp has great lower end dynamics, and fair mid bass. I think it's presentation is pretty neutral as well. The unit was manufactured in 2002, and Parasound has added a toggle switch which when set to the " lift " position will help eliminate ground loop problems. I have no ground loop problems so I was unable to test this option out, however it is nice to see that Parasound has addressed it should you have the need. This is an attractive amp with stylish finish and great build quality. Hookup was a breeze, and the connection of the 12 volt DC trigger assembly was a snap. I bought a 12V AC to DC adaptor from Radio Shack, cut the end off, and connected to bare wires to the positive and ground connections on the rear of the 1205A while plugging the other end in to one of the switched outlets on my receiver. Overall a great unit for the price.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
74fish   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 04, 2002]
Strength:

Build,sound,trigger very nice,

Weakness:

it ain't free,but its the most for the least with a warranty!

OK,If you are here,you want to know about this amp.First I should say I use the Denon 3802 as pre/pro,and Klipsch rf7,rc7,rs7,sunfire sub,Polk sub.I have been looking for 3 months,all over, for a $1500.00,or less amp.This amp was highly rated by almost everyone who tried it,so I thought its worth a try.Well, I can say it did NOT let me down,the first thing I noticed was much more power than the 3802.Also more everything,low's,highs,mids,much more dynamic,wide,the power is incredable for 140 watts,actual bench test at 157.777 watts.I was thinking I'll try it but I may need the 2205at,Wrong,this amp has all the power I need,and I do like to crank it up sometimes.One thing,High current amps are prone to ground problems from cable/sat,etc,when I first hooked it up,humming sound,I unhooked everything,left only 5 speakers hooked to amp,no more hum,then unhooked all from 3802,connected 3802 to amp ,no hum.When I started hooking up components all was good until the VCR,DSS,and the s video out of 3802 to tv,these all cause hum.I have not resolved ground problem,but it was not the 1205a,or 3802,and thats good news!Music is almost as good as live,movies are better than my local theater,I have heared 5k amps that made music/movies sound this good,but never a sub $1000.00 amp,so it is a giant killer for that reason.Check all the reviews,everywhere,you will see why this amp is such a deal!one more thing,I hooked up the 12v trigger via 12v converter plugged into rear of 3802,cut end,hooked two wires to amp,works perfect!

Similar Products Used: Carver,adcom,no trigger,booo!
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
danbry39   AudioPhile [Jun 24, 2002]
Strength:

A fluid, warm powerful sound. Low end punch.

Weakness:

When the amp is on, there is a slight hiss from the front speakers that can be heard up to a foot away.

I bought the Parasound because my Onkyo receiver, I felt, had anemic power and was too bright sounding to match up well with my Klipsch Reference speakers. I expected to hear a difference, but was I pleasantly surprised. The Parasound definitely is warmer sounding than my Onkyo's power supply. The power is superb. There is no way I can comfortably turn the power up all the way. The low end provides much more punch and is more defined. The soundstage is much improved with good positioning and definition of all instruments and voices. I most enjoy the unstrained dynamics of the amp. Effortless and at times powerful shifts between soft and loud sounds is exemplary. As far as Home Theater, the voices are much clearer and more easily understood. The front and surround channels are clear and, if called for, impactful. All in all, a wonderful amp that has proven to be a wonderful investment in the capabilities of both my music listening and home theater.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
David   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 29, 2000]
Strength:

Inexpensive, powerful

Weakness:

Heavy as sin, forward sound

Well, I recently borrowed this amp to get a feel for what my theater would sound like (upgrade fever can be fun). I listened exclusively in stereo mode because I feel that if it can handle stereo, it'llmost likely do just fine in a hometheater, provided it has enough power. Anyway, here's the setup: Rega Planet into a Lexicon DC-1 feeding this monster through Monster interconnects and speaker wire to my Snell E.5's.
The Snell is a fairly forward sounding speaker with a very wide and deep soundstage, partly due to the rear firing tweeter. When mated with my Carver, it yields a decent sound that's perhaps a bit too thin through the midrange and too edgy on the highs. The bass isn't terrible, but I thought I could do better- hence the new amp. The amp is a heavy beast that's also considerably deeper than my Carver (4 inches are so) so it might not fit on your rack. It didn't fit on mine. I listened to several tracks from the likes of Pink Floyd (Dark Side and Division Bell) as well as some more moder stuff like Radiohead ("Exit song for a film" works well) and Creed.
The Parasound gave me a more refined sound throughout the midrange and a little more control over the bass. The edgy highs were still present and were, I felt, the amp's only real fault. It was, for the most part, very similar to the Carver in most regards. That's really not surprising since the amps are in the same price range really. MSRP for the Carver was $1000 (I paid $600) for 250x2 into 8 ohms and the Parasound is $1800 (here it's $1200)for 140x5 into 8ohms. Overall, I definately prefer the sound of the Parasound over the Carver, but I think I'd like something with a little less forard sound. However, don't take my word for it- give it a listen and decide for yourself. Those with a similarly bright setup like mine (sans the Planet) might want to look elsewhere.

Similar Products Used: Carver A500x (250x2 in 8ohms)
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Dave   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 31, 2001]
Strength:

Plenty of power, independent fault detection, 12V trigger

Weakness:

Very deep design

Bought this baby on eBay, barely used.

Sonically, this amp is well-balanced. A previous reviewer thought it was too forward, but that's because his speakers were too forward - not the fault of the amp, just a system matching issue. (Carver amps are known for a laid-back sound, which is why his worked well with his Snells). I'm running mine with the Parasound AVC-2500u processor and Monster M550i interconnects on the input side, and DH Labs T-14 biwired into Ruark Prologues up front. The Ruark is a slightly forward sounding speaker, so the sound I am getting is indeed slightly forward.

Bass is much better than before, more controlled and more of it. 140W per channel is plenty - don't think you need the 2205A to get the whole home-theater experience unless you are running some very inefficient speakers.

I have mine configured to use the 12V trigger from the AVC-2500u pre/pro so I don't have to get up to go turn it on all the time - a nice feature.

The independent (per channel) overcurrent and fault detection is nice as well - I had my surrounds poorly wired - just bare ends onto the binding posts of the amp, and ended up having one wire slip off and cause a short. Not to worry, it told me which channel had the problem and kept it shut off, thus avoiding any potentially costly repairs.

Other reviewers had trouble fitting this unit into their racks - mine fit OK in my Vantage Point euro 5-shelf. It does hang out the back, but since my rack is open on all 4 sides it can handle it.

All in all, an excellent amp at a reasonable price - that's really my only beef, it could always be cheaper....

Similar Products Used: None really, had an H/K AVR55 receiver previously.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Keith   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 03, 2001]
Strength:

Decent power and headroom.

Weakness:

Too damn big to fit on my shelves. It's also not the most attractive amp there is.

So far the amp has been great but maybe I will appreciate it more when I have the Parasound processor.

Similar Products Used: Adcom amps.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Robert   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 06, 2001]
Strength:

Solid power, clean sound

Weakness:

Too deep in size, possible ground loop problem if not setup correctly

This is a great amp for the money. I was contemplating this or the ATI 1505 for a home theater/music amplifier. While I admit I never heard the ATI, I asked the opinions of several people who heard both and felt I made the correct decision. I even talked to John Curl a bit, the designer, to get some feedback on the kind of design implementation he used.

It has a nice clean, if every so slightly forward sound that matches well with any speaker. I find this to be an advantage in the home theater arena where you want sound that is recognizable & articulate, like voices. However, don't confuse that with bright. It's not bright at all (unless your speakers are) and has plenty of power to drive my ACI Sapphire's and Emeralds.

I had a problem once with a ground loop hum and traced it back to my cable TV coax coming into my VCR. Once I bought a filter for that, the problem went away.

I highly recommend this amp to anyone on a budget who requires top notch sound for a separates setup.

Similar Products Used: Nak AV-8 receiver
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 12  

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