Published On: December 28, 2008

Parasound Halo A52 Five Channel Power Amplifier Reviewed

Published On: December 28, 2008

Parasound Halo A52 Five Channel Power Amplifier Reviewed

Andrew Robinson reviews the five channel Parasound Halo A52 power amplifier. His thoughts? If you are in the market for a home theater on a budget, you will be happy with what Parasond offers.

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If you're looking to build a home theater on a budget, why not take a peek at the Parasound Halo A52 five-channel amp? With a retail price of $2,500, the A52 comes from Parasound's cost-no-object line of products, designed in conjunction with legendary audio designer John Curl. You heard me correctly: $2,500 buys you a cost-no-object amp from Parasound, one of the leaders in the value-per-dollar AV electronics game.

Additional Resources
• Read more multichannel amp reviews from the likes of Anthem, NAD, Krell, Mark Levinson and many others.

The A52 is a five-channel amp churning out a solid 125 watts into eight ohms and 225 watts into four ohms. The A52 is a THX Ultra2-certified amp that runs in a high-bias Class A/AB configuration, which also means the A52 is ready to rock from the moment it is turned on, unlike other high-powered amplifiers. The A52 features gold-plated balanced and unbalanced inputs, as well as gold-plated five-way binding posts.

The A52, like the rest of Parasound's Halo lineup, is stunning with its smooth silver façade and pale blue indicator lights. Truthfully, you're going to be hard-pressed to find a better-looking and more solidly-built amp in or even remotely close to the A52's asking price. Throw in Parasound's time-tested reputation and rock-solid warranty, and the A52 is one of the most attractive multi-channel amps under $5,000 today.

Read more on Page 2

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High Points
• Like its bigger, more powerful brother, the Parasound A52 possess the Halo signature midrange and sublime upper-frequency performance.

• The A52's bass performance is solid and extremely agile, not to mention dynamic, though it won't plunge to the depths of the basement the way some amps will. 
• The most startling thing about the A52 is just how musically and rhythmically "right" it feels, regardless of what source material you throw at it. 
• Though the A52 is a Class A/AB design, heat never became an issue for me, though it does put off its share of warmth, it never became too hot to touch.
• The A52's moderate power output was robust and proved to be enough to power even the mighty Magnepan 3.6s to reference levels. Though more power, as with the Parasound A51, would bring new levels of control to power-hungry speakers.

Low Points
• While brilliant in many respects, the A52 is a lighter-sounding amp with a touch of energy in the upper frequencies that may not mate well with already bright or lively speakers. 
• The casework behind the faceplate didn't seem as solid or rigid as its larger, costlier siblings.
• The binding posts, while gold-plated and color-coordinated, are not quite up to par, considering lesser amps give you more robust, easier tightening connections.

Conclusion
Ten years ago, a multi-channel amp giving you the level of performance you can achieve with the A52 would've cost you thousands more than its modest $2,500 asking price. While the sub-$3,000 amplifier market has become a bit crowded as of late, the A52 still holds its own and remains a notch or two above the competition. It's a truly musically engaging amplifier with an alter ego that likes to blow stuff up should the mood or movie strike it. The A52 is a solid all-rounder and one hell of a good-looking piece of kit. While it may be getting on in years, there is still plenty of life left in the A52's tanks and it's definitely worth checking out. 

Additional Resources
• Read more multichannel amp reviews from the likes of Anthem, NAD, Krell, Mark Levinson and many others.

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