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A Fine Power Amplifier

This amplifier is a power house with good looks & very good sound to boot... Its stable & a rock solid performer and being a John Curl design its defiantly worth the audition!!!!! Richard Schram pat yourself on the back, what a treat to own something that performs beyond anything conceivable at this price.

- Michael S, IA
 
If your speakers are 90db efficient or better this is the amp for you

Wadia 381 direct into the A23 driving Usher Compass X-929 speakers. All electronics off Furman Reference IT-15i conditioner. I use PS Audio ac cords, Kimber KS-1121 XLRs cd to amp and DH Labs Q-10 speaker wire. ... ... The A23 is of excellent build quality both parts and layout...and most importantly sounds great. I wont go in to all the audiophool drooling superlatives but will say this is imo one of the best amps for the money in its power class. Kudos to John Curl and Richard Schram for bringing high quality products to our hobby as there is surely no lack of stupid-expensive products whose performance rarely dictates the insane asking price. THANK YOU PARASOUND!!! When you consider the AA 30 day demo and a 5 year warranty from Parasound youd have to be crazy to spend more money

- Eric R, MO
 
great amps

I bought a pair to use with a Bryston BP-6: this is a great combination. Bought the BP-6 first, and the A-23’s brought the potential of it to life. The combination brings focus and imaging that get your attention. Timbre on acoustic instruments is a little cold when new, but becomes neutral with break-in. Sounds better over long term. Played ‘Green Carnation’s’ “Light of day, day of Darkness” when had units about 2 weeks, and didn’t really hear anything different: played it after two months of break-in, and heard more subtlety and detail—lots of chances in this song of 1 hour and 6 seconds long. About features: has XLR and RCA inputs, and can be ‘daisy chained’ through a pair of RCA’s. Can go stereo or monoblock, has ‘trigger’, and has a filter for IM noise switchable from back. The lights on front add an unexpected element of cool and flash that were unexpected-the red shield with a “P” is lit, and blue around the switch at all times, with 2 blue power lights when power on. From construction, engineering, sound, and price, a hard unit to beat for people on a budget. Very impressive.

- Vernon H, TX
 
outstanding value

Like the previous reviewer, Kevin from WY, I am a committed tube amp advocate. I love the warmth that tubes provide for classical music. My main system includes a Unison Research Unico SE hybrid integrated being fed by a Benchmark DAC1 and in turn feeding Vandersteen 2c Signature speakers with low end help from Velodyne DD-12 and REL Q100 subs. My interest in the Halo A23 was as an alternative to the tube sound for rock, folk, blues, etc., where more accuracy in the frequency extremes can be crucial. I purchased the A23 and it is being driven by my Benchmark DAC1 in preamp mode. Digital source is a Sony 9100ES SACD/CD player. All I can say is that the A23 is a truly fine solid state amp! Boy, have they come a looong way since I last had one in my system!! My impressions after about ten days are that: 1. You need to allow at least 24 hours of burn-in before you really listen to the A23. It was bright and undernourished and maybe even clinical during the first few hours, but it improved tremendously after that. The mid-range now approaches what I hear from my Unico SE. I have them wired so that I can quickly A/B them and the main difference is that the high end is more apparent and better resolved by the A23. 2. My tests of piano, violin, symphony and Fender bass guitar recordings have been passed with flying colors by the Benchmark/Halo A23 combo -- a match made in heaven! 3. Which brings me to the last point -- component combinations really matter a lot and perhaps the problem Kevin of WY had was not so much with the A23 as with his system combinations along with his desire to have the A23 sound like tubes. Kevin does not identify his sources and speakers, so its hard to say if system mismatches may be part of the issue. Finally, the A23 is a superb solid state amp that has the ability to bring out the best and also reveal the worst in your records. Thats about all I could want from an amp costing less than $1000. GREAT VALUE!

- Dave D, ME
 
A little disappointing

I bought two of these for bi-amping. Visually, they are beautiful amplifers and are very well built. Sonically, however, they are leaving me wanting. These are the least expensive comps in my system...by far. My preamp and universal player each cost $5,500, for example. I bought them to try because of the rave reviews. One of the great pleasures in this hobby is to find a bargain. Yes, these amps do sound OK but, in my system at least, they sound like $850- no more. And, lest you think it unfair of my to judge these in a system with much costlier componenets, I also have an Outlaw RR2150 receiver that has spent a lot of time in my main system. In many ways, the $699 Outlaw sounds better to me-both as a receiver and using the amp-in connections with my tube preamp. The most disappointing aspect of the Halo A23 is its clinical sound. A lot of the reviews say neutral and actually praise the midrange. I say it goes beyond neutral to the clinical. There are a lot of midrange harmonics and overtones that are present with my other applification that I do not hear with these amps- or at least to a lot lesser degree. Acoustic guitar and piano are prime examples. The bass is tight, but lacks some authority and bloom where appropriate. The mids and highs are very detailed, but lack a smooth, liquid character. There is definitely a processed sound to these amps versus a natural feel. The Outlaw receiver has a smoother, liquid mid-range and the bass has more impact, if not as much detail and tightness. The bass with the Halo is, again, more clinical. The soundstage is wide and has good imaging, but lacks some depth compared to what Im used to- even when compared to the Outlaw. Dynamics are no better than the Outlaw. I really wanted to like these, but I dont see me keeping them. Thankfully AA offers a 30 day return policy. Who knows-maybe these will be your ticket. Give them a try since you have nothing to lose here with AAs generous satisfaction policy. For me though, theyre going back.

- JASON W, WY