When it comes to high-performance, high-value power amplifiers, few do it better than Parasound. The A51, which is part of Parasound's Halo line of cost-no-object products designed in tandem with audio legend John Curl, has benchmark levels of performance, yet costs a reasonable $4,500. Cost no object, huh? If every manufacturer built sub-$5,000 cost-no-object products, the audiophile landscape would be vastly different.
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The A51 is a THX Ultra2-certified, five-channel amp churning out 250 watts per channel into eight ohms and 400 watts per channel into four ohms. The A51 is a high-bias Class A/AB operating amp in a direct-coupled design with no capacitors or inductors in the signal path, powered by a massive toroid transformer. The A51 uses a MOSFET driver stage complemented by a JFET input stage. The A51 features both balanced and unbalanced input connections, as well as 24-karat gold five-way binding posts. It features large heat sinks along both the right and left sides, as well as down the center of the rear panel, separating the inputs from the binding posts to dissipate some of that class A heat. The A51 has a 12-volt trigger, as well as a detachable power cord, and comes standard with rack-mounting equipment, which is almost unheard of with an amp costing as little as the A51.
Getting beyond its inner workings, one cannot overlook the visual statement the A51 makes in your rack. With its smooth silver casework and slightly curved façade, the A51 is nothing short of gorgeous and mates beautifully with the rest of the Halo line of products from Parasound.
Read The High Points, The Low Points and the Conclusion on Page 2