Parasound HCA-3500

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  • Trevor Schell
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Aug 2000
    • 10935

    Parasound HCA-3500

    Audio Advisor has the Parasound HCA-3500 power amp back on their webpage. The amplifier features Dual Mono high current design with 120 amprers per channel and 350 watts output per channel. (Not THX cerftified??)This amp was available last year at Audio Advisor and then disappeared. It seems to be a discontiued model as it is being offered at $900 off the regular $2,500 price.
    It is advertised as being designed by Audio legend John Curl and this amp is his masterpeice.

    Do you guys think this is a good deal For $1,595?
    Not familiar with John Curl?? What makes his amps so great.?

    The power rating of 350 watts would be a good match for my 350 watt Studio 100's..

    Any suggestions.?
    Thanks!






    Trevor
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  • Trevor Schell
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Aug 2000
    • 10935

    #2
    Maybe while you guys are answering my questions, Lex can design a dancing GIF for me.




    Trevor
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    • ThomasW
      Moderator Emeritus
      • Aug 2000
      • 10934

      #3
      Trevor

      John Curl is a very well known and respected designer.

      This is a very good price for an amp with TONS of power. You don't however need to match the amplifier power with the "rated" power of the speakers. If you were to put 350 watts into your speakers they would melt, regardless of what the mfgr's rating is




      theAudioWorx
      Klone-Audio

      IB subwoofer FAQ page


      "Complicated equipment and light reflectors and various other items of hardware are enough, to my mind, to prevent the birdie from coming out." ...... Henri Cartier-Bresson

      Comment

      • Trevor Schell
        Moderator Emeritus
        • Aug 2000
        • 10935

        #4
        Thanks Thomas.

        I realize that, but I know that matching the power rating of the speaker does bring out the best in it..Combined with the high current they would pack a huge punch,,lots of headroom.




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        • Bing Fung
          Ultra Senior Member
          • Aug 2000
          • 6521

          #5
          Ohh, you better buy that now Trev




          Bing
          Bing

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          • DanB
            Moderator Emeritus
            • Oct 2000
            • 24

            #6
            Trevor... For whats its worth...I saw the 3500's (new in box) on audiogon and in the alt.HT. newgroups for like 1100 and 1200 bucks a month or so ago.
            John Curl used to design Mark Levinson equipment..notably their preamps.




            _____________________________________________
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            • Lexman
              Super Senior Member
              • Jun 2000
              • 1777

              #7
              Awesome amp Trevor! I say jump on that bad boy. Wait, that didn't sound to good, did it? lol.

              Lex

              Comment

              • Dennis T
                Junior Member
                • Feb 2001
                • 4

                #8
                Trevor,
                I just bought this same amp from Audio Advisor and received it yesterday. Wow what a monster it is. First let me tell you that we have similiar setups. I have Paradigm Reference Studio 100v.2's, Studio CC, Studio 20v.2, and the PW-2200. I also have had a Denon AVR-5800 since last fall and have been contemplating upgrading to separates. So you've caught me in the middle of this mayhem. I am working on putting together a 7.1 setup with separates. My two amp choices right now for this setup are either the Parasound duo consisting of the HCA-3500(350Wx2) & HCA-2205AT(220Wx5) or the Rotel duo - Rotel RB-1090(380Wx2) & RMB-1095(200Wx5). I've decided to just demo the 2 channel amp for both manufacturers and use the 5800 for the pre-amp for demo purposes as apposed to picking up the 5-channel amps and trying to pick up a pre-amp to demo also. By the way my choices for my upgrade to a processor one decided upon the amps are either the Lexicon MC-1 or the B&K Reference 30. I figure the sound characteristics should be right on within the same brand of amps chosen so I decided to start with the HCA-3500 first. Right off this is one hell of a price for an amp of this caliber. Let me say this again - this amp is built. You will just sit in awe of the build quality. Just make sure you have the room cause this baby is close to 23 inches deep due to having handles in the front and back!!! This beast is heavy. Unfortunately I haven't had alot of time to test it out. Only listened to it for about an hour and I was pretty impressed. I will be doing some serious testing Friday & Saturday and will report back. Once I'm done testing the Parasound I plan on testing out the Rotel RB-1090 to do a direct comparison. In the end the best performer will win a conveted postion in my HT setup. Still the HCA-3500 for the price I don't think anything can touch it. I'll keep you guys informed.

                Comment

                • Trevor Schell
                  Moderator Emeritus
                  • Aug 2000
                  • 10935

                  #9
                  Thanks Dennis,,I can't wait to hear what your thoughts are on the Parasound..Funny how I had the same ideas in the seperates upgrade..The Parasound 3500 for the mains and the 2205 for the remaining 5 channels.. Or..The Rotel 380 watt beast for the mains and the 1095 for remaining 5 channels...Or the Cinepro 3k6III...
                  I will keep the Denon 5800 as the Pre/pro though as I think it is a great unit. The two channel amps for the mains would come first for me,,using the Denon to take care of the remaining 5, then down the road update the 5 channel amp.




                  Trevor
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                  • DavidY
                    Member
                    • Aug 2000
                    • 67

                    #10
                    A related topic....what are the differences between the Denon AVR-3801 and the Denon AVR-5800 (besides the price and THX certification) when used as a pre/pro only?

                    Dave

                    Comment

                    • Ken McDaniel
                      Senior Member
                      • Aug 2000
                      • 170

                      #11
                      Trevor, I've heard the Rotel's and they are among the smoothest amps I've heard period. The RMB-1090 and 1095 have identical sonic characteristics. These dudes are buttery smooth. The only amps I like better than the RMBs right now are the Aragon 8008 and Lex's Proceed HPA-2. But you're talking way more cash when you enter that arena.




                      Ken
                      Ken

                      Comment

                      • Dennis T
                        Junior Member
                        • Feb 2001
                        • 4

                        #12
                        OK Trevor, here you go - my review of the 3500. First off this thing is massive, mostly in the length & weight department. Weighing in at around 80+ pounds, close to 23" deep, and excellent build quality are the things that stand out immediately. In researching this amp I've heard different things from different owners, with my current setup this is what I experienced. The Parasound has a bottom end like no other. Very tight, deep, slamming powerful bass. But with my setup it proved not only to be too much - if there is such a thing, but seemed to overshadow everthing else. Granted the source material has alot to do with it, my Paradigm Studio 100's already produce tremedous bass that backs up my purchase decision every day. With the Parasound it was too much. Also the amp seemed to have an edgy sort of top end characteristic. Seemed to be a little on the bright side and at loud levels I found myself turning the volume down to handle it. The amp does produce a nice soundstage resulting in a somewhat up front accuracy, not laid back at all. In the end I just don't think the amp is a good match for my speakers. Listening test were done with the Denon 5800(pre-amp in this setup)utilizing the Direct mode which bypasses the tone controls. Of course I'm aware I could always monkey around with these settings to achieve a better tonal balance perhaps with the amp, but to me this is a true test of what it's going to sound like up front. Also it may be the interconnects I chose. I went with Audioquest Viper which seem to be a solid choose given their background of quality and sound. Maybe using a differenct interconnect could warm things up. I've chosen not to try finding the culprit but instead back my decision. In comparison I just picked up a Rotel RMB-1095 the other night to put in the Parsounds place. First off this amp had less wattage, but you know what - you couldn't tell. Having spent much less time with the Rotel I pretty much liked it immediately. Softer top end, with also excellent bass attributes, tonally a better match for my speakers, and just a fantastic amp. I have to return the 1095 back to the dealer tonight and it looks like I will be purchasing one in return. I will recommend that for the money that other look into the Parasound, defintely get a demo. But with my setup the Rotel proved to be a better match. I highly recommend checking out the Rotel for all who are interest in finding a solid affordable amp that can compete with the bigger names.

                        Comment

                        • Trevor Schell
                          Moderator Emeritus
                          • Aug 2000
                          • 10935

                          #13
                          Thanks for the reveiw Dennis. Your descriptions of the sounds were very detailed and I appreciate that. From what you have said, I do not think that I would care for edginess in the top end produced from the Parasound. The Rotel sounds like a good one though. Interesting that you could not tell the difference between the Rotel and Parasound in terms of the wattage output.Could possibly be that the Rotel is a very high current amp which makes the overall difference.

                          One question though,,,How would you describe the sound quality differences between the Denon 5800 amps and that of the Rotel 1095?
                          Thanks,


                          David Y,,Sorry,,I really could not say what differences would be between the 5800 and the 3801 when used as Pre/Pro's..I would assume the 5800 would be superior though.




                          Trevor
                          My HomeTheater S.E.
                          Sonically Enhanced
                          C5
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                          • speakerman19422
                            Junior Member
                            • Feb 2010
                            • 14

                            #14
                            I have had the Hca-3500 since 1999. I wish I knew how many watts i was driving speakers with . I have Nad 162 pre amp. On most cd's I can turn pre amp up halfway on vinyl 3/4 of volume control. I use to drive Yamaha cdx-490 directly into amp att full volume before having pre amp Cd player has variable output levels. At full output 2 volts.. The Parasound manual states 1.4volts =100 watts, 2.25 volts =full output. Cd's sound brighter then vinyl on tangent tracking Technics Sl-10.

                            Comment

                            • Chris D
                              Moderator Emeritus
                              • Dec 2000
                              • 16877

                              #15
                              Wow, blast from the past on an old thread! Great product, the 3500. If you have specific questions, you might want to ask over in the Club Parasound section of the Guide here.
                              CHRIS

                              Well, we're safe for now. Thank goodness we're in a bowling alley.
                              - Pleasantville

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