Parasound or PS Audio?

To Roger Kanno,

I hope this e-mail finds you well. I really enjoyed your review of the PS Audio Stellar M700 monoblocks, and in that review, you referenced their similarity to Parasound’s amps. I have narrowed my search down to the M700s and the Parasound A 21+ stereo amplifier. Both retail for $3000. I would be able to get either for more like $2200. If you had the choice between both of these to own for the next five to ten years, which would you go with?

I appreciate any help you can provide as you are the only person I can find that has some familiarity with both companies (locally, there are only Parasound dealers as PS Audio went direct in the United States).

United States

Those are excellent amplifiers and I don’t think that you could go wrong with either choice. Although they are very different in design, the PS Audio being class-D output with a class-A input stage and the Parasound being a more conventional class-AB design, they both have similar neutral and very powerful sonic characters. You didn’t mention what speakers you will be using them with, but considering how good they both sound and how powerful they both are, they should do well with any reasonable loudspeaker.

Still, there are other things to consider. Because the M700 is a small, efficient class-D monoblock, each pair will likely use less power and each monoblock can be placed close to the speaker that it will be driving. The A 21+, on the other hand, is a large, beefy class-AB design that will require a fair amount of space on a rack or on the floor and will use more electricity. While the Parasound is larger and less efficient, I will say that I really like the look of this big, solid classic amp; however, others might prefer the svelte, more modern look of the PS Audio. Also, I will admit that I have not heard Parasound’s upgraded A 1+ series of amplifiers, but based on what I found with the original A 1s, I have no doubt that they are excellent-sounding amplifiers. Plus, from what I can tell, there has even been a slight increase in power output over the originals.

If you can get either for $2200, that would be a heck of a bargain in my opinion, and I think that you would be happy with your purchase for many years. . . . Roger Kanno