Parasound PLD-1100 Preamplifiers

PLD-1100

line drive preamp with remote control, John Curl design

User Reviews (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8  
Lyle Fong   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 15, 1999]

Overall, a good sounding pre-amp. Very solidly built, and I like the rackmount fins for aesthetics. When you order this or other Parasound equipment, make sure you specify whether or not you want the rackmountable version or the non-rackmount (smaller width) version. Unfortunately, the headphone jack volume is not always balanced with the line-outs, and thus when listening with headphones I have to first mute the speakers and turn the volume knob all the way up. It is easy to forget to turn the volume back down when switching back to speakers. Maybe others don't run into the same problem, but this is really annoying. There are other small problems too, but those are more usability issues. I'd say for the sound, these are a good deal. Supposedly, these aren't bad as a headphone amp either, but I haven't tried other headphone amps so I can't make a comparison. But this is one unit I'd definitely try before you buy, to make sure you can live with it's usability shortcomings.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Bob   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 11, 2001]
Strength:

Heavy Duty Build,Transparent

I bought this baby so I would no longer have to run my Rotel RB991 through my Denon AVR 95. The one I bought was a demo so I was able to pick it up what I considered a fair price. After bringing it home and dealing with the fun of rearanging things in my rack I was ready for a listen. As soon as I heard the first few bars of music I was shocked, no longer would I have to wonder if I made the right choice. The soundstage was better than ever,clarity made a huge jump, vocals had great realism. I think if you have a nice high quality power source and an equaly good sounding front end you cant go wrong with this pre amp.

EQUIPMENT USED:
Parasound PLD 1100
Rotel RB 991
Ah Tjhobe 99
SVA 1600

Similar Products Used: Luxman,Denon
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Wayne   an Audio Enthusiast [Mar 11, 1999]

I have the PLD-1100 in a full Parasound system: HCA-1500A amp, TDQ-1600 tuner, CDP-1500 CD player, and Paradigm Studio 100 speakers (bi-wired). I am happy with the sound (or lack thereof) of the 1100. I was even happier when I ran my CD player through the Direct input, rather than the CD input. The quality of the high-end was improved in the Direct mode (cymbals were more pure, for example). However the improvement was marginal, not astounding. All in all, the total package has all the sonic integrity I need. Vocals are sweet, imaging and depth are satisfying. The volume knob is motorized, and the same remote runs the tuner. I paid about $300 for a used 1100, so the price and quality were right.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
VW   an Audio Enthusiast [Jun 18, 1999]

I recently picked up this preamp for only 340$ at a clearance sale. Well worth the money. I had done listening tests comparing this preamp to those from Rotel, NAD, Adcom, in it's price range and it easily blew away all of them. I think a lot of the differences in sound that people claim they hear, is just imagined or biased, but I can honestly say that I noticed a much deeper and more refined low end on this preamp, and a much better soundstage. I didn't compare it to any preamps over 1000$ but in my opinion it beat anything in it's original price range of 700-800$. It's very basic (no tone controls, no subwoofer out (although you could use the 2nd output for that if you had a crossover on the subwoofer) but it does have a functional remote and a smooth solid volume control. All the switches are very solid and the kind that you just feel you never have to worry about failing mechanically. I can't say the same for many other preamps I looked at. The preamp runs very cool, as I think any preamp should. My only complaint is that there is a significant amount of leakage if one source is left on while listening to another. I had to turn the volume up about 50% before it became noticeable. Almost every preamp I listened to under 1000$ had this problem. It's simple to test, just leave one source "playing", select a different source on the preamp, and turn the volume all the way up. I have never tested this on preamps over 1000$, can anyone tell me if this is common even on higher end equipment? Anyway, I hope that doesn't discourage anyone from at least looking at this preamp. It's still a great piece and turning of other sources when listening to others really isn't a major problem in my opinion. I have my doubts you can find anything that sounds as nice in it's typical price range, and I know that for 340$ it was a steal. Oh, and in case you are wondering, my setup is a Carver AV705X amplifier (only using 2 channels for now, at approximately 180 watts/channel), a SONY ES CD player, all Audioquest Ruby cables, Audioquest F18 speaker cable, and Polk Audio speakers. I'm hoping to add a powered sub soon, and eventually a surround processor and the extra speakers.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
VW   an Audio Enthusiast [Aug 12, 1999]

I would like to update my review of the PLD-1100 to a five star rating. This preamp has definitely grown on me over time, and after listening to an even broader range of preamps out there. Also, I did have to deal with technical support and they were outstanding. Sounds like they operate out of a garage, not because of anything negative, but because they are so friendly, personal, and helpful. I called just asking for technical information and they were very helpful in answering my questions. I also spoke with them to get assistance in finding a universal remote that would control the preamp. I had to leave a message for that one and they are one of the first manufacturers ever, for any product, to actually give me a call back the next day. All I can say is that the preamp sounds better and better every day, the service is great, and I have had no problems with it whatsoever. You probably won't see them new anymore but if you come across a good deal on a used one, get it!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
EJ   Audiophile [May 17, 2001]
Strength:

Solid build, great warranty, good sound

Weakness:

No EQ, bass not as strong and drops out at low volume levels, not enough preouts.

The PLD-1100 is a great pre-amp - the first time I used it, I threw some Ronin Hardaman into my CD player and was blown away by the sound quality - it literally brought tears to my eyes. I was running it with the Parasound HCA-1000A, and was just blown away by the dimensionality and alive-ness it brought to the music. I'm also impressed by the build - both the pld-1100 and hca-1000a amp are built with very high quality - definitely the best build out of all the electronic equipment I own. Parasound obviously stands behind their work with an impressive 10-yr warranty.

Here's the problem - the PLD-1100 sounds spectacular with some of the music I own, and not-so-good with other music. I can't lay all of the blame on the pre-amp, because I know that much of it may deal with my speakers, apt. size, and other factors. However, the PLD-1100 suffers when it comes to delivering solid bass. I demo'd the product at the stereo shop and noticed it would give an accurate portrayal of a recording, meaning it will reproduce a recording based on the way it was mixed - ultimately the way it stands on the medium (CD, vinyl, etc.). This can be good and bad - obviously the PLD-1100 is a quality product with spectacular sound, but based on my particular arrangement - small apartment, speakers, the PLD-1100 didn't allow me to make adjustments to the lower end of the signal. I didn't think this would be a problem because I have a pair of higher-end JBL's with powered subs, so I thought, no-problem, I'll just crank the volume on the subs if the very bottom is missing. Problem is, there's a lot of bass that falls above the sub crossover level within the signal that I wasn't able to amplify with my subs, and unfortunately for the PLD-1100, there's no adjustable EQ to bring up the lower-end in situations such as this. This Pre-amp is a thing of beauty already, but could be improved by providing bass/treble EQ controls so as to tune the signal to your particular room arrangement and/or aesthetic tastes. Because of this, I give the 1100 4 stars instead of 5. If you like your music with a lot of good, solid, bass, and are worried that you may need to filter or boost the bottom end, this pre-amp is not for you. Additionally, there's no loudness feature so that the bottom end drops out almost completely when playing music at very low levels. If you're not a bass maniac and enjoy music faithfully reproduced as it was originally mixed in the studio, then this is a great preamp.
The best thing you can do is demo it at home and see if it works, because unlike other pre-amps, this baby is non-adjustable - not in the least. What you see is what you get. I have no doubt it'll sound awesome in some settings, but for me, it was anemic on the bottom-end at times, which ultimately led to my dissatisfaction. I know you should give products time to break-in, but I don't think more of a break-in period would've helped this problem. By the way, I was using high-end Ultralink stereo cable and good speakers, so I know most of the blame is with the pre-amp. I'll be bringing the PLD-1100 back to the store tomorrow - too bad, I was really hoping that it would've worked out. Sometimes breaking up is hard to do.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Damian   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 09, 2000]

This is a very good pre amp. I have it connected to my amp ( Rotel ) and I am very satisfied with this product. I like the design and the little lights that it has. Remote control has a kind of retro look but who cares. This product deserves 5 stars!

Similar Products Used: Rotel
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
randy   Audiophile [Aug 06, 2000]
Strength:

sound

Weakness:

not very flexible has one direct input

overall a nice improvement on my old adcom gtp 450 all i use it for is my cd player through the direct inputs. there is only 1 direct line input though. could not be happier all of the music is very controlled and sounds very nice with no grain. will not be upgrading any time soon.

p.s. try pure note silver cables www.purenote.com last cables ill ever buy period.

Similar Products Used: adcom gtp 450
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-8 of 8  

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