Parasound HCA-855A Amplifiers

Parasound HCA-855A Amplifiers 

DESCRIPTION

85 watts RMS x 5 at 8 ohms 125 watts RMS x 5 a 4 ohms 5 Hz-100 kHz, +0/-3 dB at 1 watt 115 dB, full power, IHF A-weighted 41 pounds

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 22  
[Feb 16, 2006]
theseeker61
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Sweet, Clear, Rich & Beefy sound at all volumes. Non-fatiguing high volume sound. Exceptional Value: < $100 per channel for sound that will make you lament waiting so long to move up to high quality amplification.

Weakness:

If your speakers are inefficient (<93db1watt/1meter), consider the 855A's big brother, the 1205A, and then ONLY if you like to shake loose the nails holding your house together on a regular basis.

I picked up this unit on ebay for 426 including shipping. I waited a couple weeks of listening prior to this post. I agree with much of what has been posted by the folks before me. I am running a Denon 3803 as a preamp/processor and was slightly concerned dropping from the Denon's rated 110 watts per channel to the Parasound's 85 watts. I've verified what I had suspected: The power rating is largely moot. I could crank up the Denon to levels I could barely stand to be in the room, but the smooth high end of the Parasound makes listening at high volume a joy; volumes where the Denon was terribly fatiguing. This may not be a high fidelity amp by audiophile standards, about which I could care less. I notice the clean sound, the smoothness and richness of music. High end, Midrange and Bass are all noticibly better than the Denon. I'm not an expert on "vertical and horizontal" soundstage, but I know great sounding audio reproduction when I hear it. To the point: If you have some excellent speakers and a receiver you paid less than a grand for - maybe even 2 grand - you will HEAR an AMAZING difference if you pick up a really good power amplifier - and make no mistake, this "little" 85 watt per channel amplifier is a GREAT amplifier. I would suggest that, if you listen often at HIGH concert level volumes AND have inefficient speakers, you may want to see if you can find a HCA 1205A. It'll likely cost twice as much used so think hard about it. I find this amp is a perfect match for my Klipsch speaker system, which is very efficient at around 98dB @ 1watt/1meter. The Klipsches are very bright by nature, so the smoothness of the Parasound high end allows me to run my bass and treble setting flat compared to the Denon, which I was running at -4db treble and +2db bass. But I've learned settings are not the answer, they're just a tweak, and have little bearing on the depth and richness, the "soul" of your system's sound: Upstream from the speakers, that soul is largely in the character of the amplification, and the Parasound has great character - arguably unbeatable for the money. Conclusions? I'd gladly trade several hundred watts of amplification with the (pretty darn good) characteristics of my Denon receiver for the sweet midrange, clear subtle highs and beefy bass I'm getting from 85 watts of Parasound. There's just no contest. BTW, if you have a Denon receiver with a 12V trigger, it takes a 1/8" mono mini jack (phone plug) available at radio shack. It's nowhere in the Denon manual (which is abysmal). The center connection is the 12V trigger signal and the outer sheath crimp/connector is GND. One last thing - if you want phenominal power (for almost any efficiency speaker) and sound from your fronts, you might consider consider bi-amping them with one of these puppies, if you can find one: you may end up with more net power for less $ than buying a higher power Parasound amp, which tend to go for more coin.

Similar Products Used:

Integrated Amps: Luxman and Proton. Receivers: Denon Onkyo and Sony.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jan 14, 2004]
Lyle Poulin
AudioPhile

Strength:

Incredible Bass and midrange, high end is sweet

Weakness:

none

IAm posting this review to state that my previous rating is incorrect. This product rocks, and it it deserves the best quality rating that any audiofile wannabe's want to hear and read. My sound system is incredble to listen to since adding this key piece of power to my home theater set up. The bass will stir up yesterdays lunch, the treble will tickle your ears without harshness and the midrange will blow you away. This is a superior power amplifier that will make your system sound powerfull. I A'm currently running A Denon AVR2800 reciever- -Parasound HCA-885A high current amplifier -Paradigm 11SE Fronts -Paradigm LCR350 center -Paradigm Mini monitors for rears -Paradigm PS1000 Subwoofer I want to upgrade to a Denon Avr3800 but that will take some time and cash and possibly the turfing of my old lady. Lately she has proven herself to be, Well less importent than my drive to a great system. She hates this thing and I love it. Iv'e got $10,000 Canadian into this thing and I'm not stopping here.

Similar Products Used:

sansui, sony, luxman

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 14, 2003]
Lyle Poulin
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Excellent bass Excellent mid range Excellent high end (Not Harsh) could be the warmth of DENON

Weakness:

none

This amplifier really kicks major ass. I'm currently running a Denon AVR2800 reciever that at first I was very happy with. But over a period of time it seemed to lack the midrange and definition that I wanted. I tweaked my system by adding a Monster HTS2500 power conditioner and that improved the sound. I BI-Wired my Paradigm speakers and that improved it even more. I built speaker (sand filled and on spikes) stands and that tightened the bass right up. I positioned the speakers according to the manufacturers specs and that made a difference. But my ears were not satisfied. I bought the best sheilded cables that I could afford and that improved it even more, but it still wasn't right. I was stumped at what else I could do that would not cost a fortune to appease my selective hearing. I was in a quandry as to what other recourse to take. After many months of searching on the net and inquiries at my local Denon dealer I was introduced to a Parasound Amplifier that was touted to be the best for my current system. I had read reveiws on this site that the Parasound amplifiers were the best bang for your dollar. My Denon dealer offered the HCA-855A to me at $1000.00 Canadian taxes in. But Troy, the owner said that I could take the unit home and try it out first before I bought it. Well I have to say that unit is now a major part of my set up. This amplifier has completed my lust(I think)for excellent sound. I still have a slant towards the denon AVR3803, and that will probably happen. The parasound amplifier is absolutely the best thing that I ever could have added. The bass is tightenend right up to a point that it sets you back in your chair. The detail and midrange is astounding. I'm hearing things that I had never heard before on DVD"S that I have played before. This Amplifier is the sweetest thing that I ever could have purchased. The sound is so amazing that it has truly put my home theater into a class of it's own. The fact that it is 85 watts all channels driven is truly remarkable. Parasound has has a true edge over high end and much more expensive amplifiers.

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
5
[Aug 21, 2003]
willscary
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

detail, accuracy, price, output power compared to rating, 10 yr warranty

Weakness:

none

My room is not huge, my speakers are quite efficient, and my listening habits do not include ear bleeding levels. I use an amplified sub for the deep bass. What I am getting at is that this "85 X 5" amp has ALL the power I need! I have never pushed it beyond its limits, and we listen to our movies loud. I know for a fact that "85 X 5" Parasound power in this amp will blow away Receivers that claim "140 X 5" power ratings. Detail is fantastic. Bass is powerful and well controlled, and strain at high listening levels is non-existant. I am very happy with this amp!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jan 08, 2003]
psyopwak
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Detail, Detail, and more DETAIL wider soundstage midrange is tremendous (especially with female vocals) great LOW VOLUME sound too never sounds strained best sounding amp I have owned

Weakness:

runs a touch hot weighs 41lbs do not know yet any more

All I can say is "why didn't i get one SOONER"? I have BIAMPed two Snell E-5 speakers with 4 of the 5 channels (much the way previous post did ..ASTROL). I am running through a DENON avr-4800 as a pre-pro. This is by far the cleanest and best sound I have had in my humble mid-fi (hi-fi) setup. Wonderful headroom, great seperation and better clarity (especially with dialogue in movies) than DENON amp. I worried about the load on the AMP, running 4ohm speakers,but I will have to keep my eye on the it. For now it just sounds exquisite. I will be PARASOUND fan now for a long time.

Similar Products Used:

SAE 501 (500 watts) Pioneer integrated(?) DENON AVR-4800 (receiver) Yamaha RX-v890 (receiver)

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Aug 08, 2002]
dylan0101
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

build quality high current continuous power Parasound reliability

Weakness:

none yet

After reading everyone's review about the possible lack of power, I was a bit worried about possibly having made a bad choice. I'm here to tell you it was a great choice!...but you need to be particular about the speakers you choose. The speakers need to be very sensative (at least 88db). If you can find speakers that have their base managed through an internal amp or some good, quality book shelf monitors (Klipsch, M&K or DT) you will do yourself a favor. The amp is not powerful enough to drive thirsty speakers that are full range and have no ampliphied bass. I have some infinity preludes that are very sensative (94db) and the floor standing prulude's bass is powered by a 250watt internal subwoofer amp. They sound great. Lots of detail, depth and plenty of power to drive highs and mids. I also hooked the up to Infinity RS 4b fullrange towers with two 8" woofers and they didn't sound nearly as good. Choose your speakers carefully!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Aug 02, 2002]
Charles Moore
AudioPhile

Strength:

Highly detailed, yet smooth sounding. Excellent soundstage.

Weakness:

"only" 80 watts/ channel.

Replaced Denon receiver in 5 channel DVD-Audio system. Using with wide range(25-30khz)speakers. Incredible detail, soundstage. More powerful than 80watt rating suggests. Surpasses some high-end gear costing 3times as much. Highly recommended.

Similar Products Used:

Denon POA2400, AVR3300

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 24, 2002]
Astrol
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Ample, clean power, excellent build quality, price makes it a five star

Weakness:

I can't think of any. In this price/power range this amp does everything one could reasonably expect.

Wonderful quality amp at an unbeatable price...have it paired to my H/K 510 as pre/pro. I have always liked the amps in H/K receivers but this 855 shows the clear difference between receiver compromises and dedicated power. The 510 sound is now fuller, wider, clearer and more dynamic than ever...sound peaks are smooth and coherent with no audible distortion or strain... demanding material is handled with ease while soft and delicate material is delivered with great finesse. For those who might be worried about the ventilation requirements...don't. I currently have this beauty in the bottom of my TV cabinet BEHIND wooden doors but open in the back with 1 1/2" of top clearance and a little more on the sides. Not a great long term storage option, I know, but it never gets past warm. I'm bi-amping the fronts (Wharfedale Emerald 97 towers) with four of the channels and using the fifth for the CC. If your speakers allow for bi-wire/bi-amping I highly recommend it.

Similar Products Used:

Marantz, Adcom

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 01, 2002]
busychild
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Very good design. Exellent 2 channel. This has alot of power to spare for movies.

Weakness:

I do not like the fact that it is made in china due to Q/C issues.

This is a follow up after a year of use. I am still very happy. The Power cord is by Audio Magic. A/C line conditioner is the HTS-2500. Very dynamic. Very well rounded for movies AND 2 channel music.

Similar Products Used:

numerous

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 21, 2002]
mreilly01
AudioPhile

Strength:

Parasound quality, good build (weighs over 40lbs), LOW price, attractive case, and rack mountable. EXCELLECT sound quality.

Weakness:

Haven''t encountered any yet.

This amp is my latest addition to my HT setup: Receiver - Denon 2801 Mains - JBL S312 Center - JBL S-Center Surrounds - JBL S-36s Subwoofer - Velodyne FSR-15 DVD Player - Pioneer Elite DV-37 Monitor - Toshiba 40H80 16x9 40" HDTV This AMP is mated with my Denon 2801. The Denon is rated at 90x5 and the Parasound AMP at 85x5. But the Parasound is rated at ALL CHANNELS DRIVEN and the Denon doesn''t even compare to the output of this AMP. I was always happy with my Denon - it has a nice warmer sound with great detail and channel separation. However, I always wanted to see what a dedicated AMP could do. This AMP has added great dynamic power for greater impact, much better clear dialog from the center channel, and an overall better clarity for movies and music. I am VERY impressed and have watched many of my DVDs over again! You can find this AMP at places for $400-500 online used or even new. Parasound has dropped the MSRP from $1000 to $699! There is no other AMP out there that can touch this for the money! Receivers are great for small rooms and casual HT fans -- but if you''re as addicted to this hobby as I am, you NEED an AMP to power your channels. The depth, clarity, and reserve power of this AMP is great for high-impact action scenes. I did compare this AMP to some ROTEL models and preferred the Parasound "sound" -- The Rotel was a little to bright for my ears. The Parasound was more dynamic and had a tighter bass control and an overall warmer sound. This is important for my speakers and the JBL''s are a little on the bright side. My next step is a true Processor to replace the Denon 2801 - And then I will be complete in my HT addiction.... yeah right :)

Similar Products Used:

This is my first HT AMP.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 22  

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