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Parasound NewClassic 275 v.2 two channel power amplifier Review

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I really enjoyed my time with the Parasound NewClassic 200 Pre preamplifier in my last review. I find Parasound products to sound great, are a tremendous value, and are built to last based on my own almost 30 years of personal experience with the brand. The Parasound NewClassic 275 v.2 power amplifier is one of three companion power amplifiers to the Parasound NewClassic 200 Pre preamplifier and is the lowest-priced and lowest-powered of the three.

The Parasound NewClassic is their line of two-channel power amplifiers, a preamplifier (with DAC) and an integrated (with DAC) that supposedly deliver maximum “bang for the buck” sonic performance, uniquely useful features, and Parasound’s renowned reliability. According to their website, Parasound NewClassic is a fresh interpretation of the classic designs that have earned top reviews and customer allegiance for over 25 years.

The NewClassic 275 v.2 power amplifier delivers 90 watts x 2 into 8 Ω; 150 watts x 2 into 4 Ω or 2 Ω; 200 watts x 1 bridged into 8 Ω or 4 Ω, and 20 amps peak current per channel with both channels driven. I focused on comparing the more modern 275 v.2 to my older Parasound HCA-1200 power amplifier and my Quicksilver tube monoblocks. In my listening over the years, the HCA-1200 set a fairly high bar for under-$1,000 power amplifiers while the Quicksilver monoblocks are the best power amplifiers I have ever owned.

I initially used the Parasound NewClassic 275 v.2 power amplifier with the Parasound NewClassic 200 Pre preamplifier that I had in house. I used the Thorens TD-147 with the Nagaoka MP-110 phono cartridge. There is a review of this phono cartridge in December, 2021. I used both my ESS Translinear speakers and my Paradigm home theater speakers. I was a little concerned that the 90 watts per channel from this very thin power amplifier would not be enough power for the difficult-to-drive and quirky ESS speakers. But the Parasound drove the ESS speakers to a reasonable level and delivered a warm, pleasant listening experience. Playing both jazz and classical records, the 275 v.2 never got too hot to touch and did not seem to struggle driving the ESS speakers. The 275 v.2 combined with the Parasound NewClassic 200 Pre got out of the way of the music with the natural sound that I expect from modern high-end components. You can read my review of the Parasound NewClassic 200 Pre for more details about the records I played and what I heard with this combination.

I subsequently moved the amplifier to my living room system to see how this 90-watt amplifier would work with another difficult to drive pair of speakers (Magnepans) in a fairly open space with vaulted ceilings. I enjoy listening to the Magnepan MMG on a regular basis in this room. Here I used the NAD Monitor 1000 preamplifier in place of the recently reviewed Parasound 200 Pre. For source, I used the Acoustic Research “The AR Turntable” with Sumiko Premier MMT tonearm and the relatively inexpensive Sumiko Black moving magnet phono cartridge with the Deft 1 stylus. While I do not consider this a great phono cartridge, I am trying to listen to this power amplifier (and also the 200 Pre) in a variety of situations.

The Parasound NewClassic 275 v.2 90-watt power amplifier had no trouble driving the Magnepans to full volume. I recall back in 1997, the 60-watt Parasound HCA-600 power amplifier sounded a little under powered when used with these Magnepans. The extra power 275 v.2 had made a huge difference over the HCA-600. I was able to play my Emerson, Lake & Palmer Brain Salad Surgery album at full volume. The NewClassic 275 v.2 may have sounded a tad sweeter than the Parasound HCA-1200, however, it is so subtle it was difficult for me to distinguish between the two power amplifiers. But I will say that I did not feel shortchanged by having less than half the power of the older HCA-1200 to use with these power hungry speakers. I am normally not a fan of film music, however, The Fantasy Film World of Bernard Hermann sounded spectacular. I am sure the 275 v.2 would complement the Magnepan LRS speakers that I reviewed a couple of years ago as well as most other speakers. I also played many of my classical and jazz albums listening the way I normally do. The 275 v.2 worked nicely with the other components and it was so quiet that you would hardly notice it was turned on if it wasn’t for the lights on the front of the unit.

I finally moved the Parasound NewClassic 275 v.2 power amplifier to my office stereo system, replacing the 25-watt Quicksilver tube power mono blocks with the Parasound. Using the Antique Sound Lab Line One preamp put a single tube in the audio chain before the power amplifier. I used my Audio Alchemy transport combined with the Audio Alchemy DAC for source and played through the Acarian Systems Alon 1 speakers.

Listening to Reference Recordings RR-70CD, Eiji Oue conducting the Minnesota Orchestra playing various classical pieces, I heard the extended bass this power amplifier could bring out of the Alons. I am a hardcore fan of drum & bugle corps activity. My wife and I have been volunteers for over 20 years. Ray Kimber of Kimber Kable made an audiophile recording of two world class drum & bugle corps units, the Blue Knights from Denver, Colorado, and the Troopers from Casper, Wyoming. As impressive as these recordings may be, this music really needs to be heard live.

The 275 v.2 power amplifier seemed to have a really easy time driving the Alons to full volume playing the Joe Henderson Big Band. This amplifier obviously has plenty of current in reserve. The Parasound combined with the tube line stage gave me the imaging and wide soundstage that is so important to me. There was a clear musical presentation with nice full bass. I have mentioned in the past, that I had difficulties matching components with my Alon speakers. Using the Parasound NewClassic 275 v.2 amplifier instead of my 25-watt per channel Quicksilver monoblocks gave me a direct comparison to the tube amplifiers. The 275 v.2 gave the Alons the benefit of added bass without adding any harshness.

Turning to analog, I used the Goldring turntable with the Talisman low output moving coil cartridge in this system. I set the iFi ZEN phono stage to the high output moving coil setting due to the high gain of the Antique Sound Lab line stage. I started with my Los Angeles Orange County Audio Society 25th Anniversary album and the Shoji Yokouchi Trio. I also played some Steely Dan. Playing these records gave me a similar sound to my Quicksilvers. I have to admit I do enjoy “tube rolling” with the Quicksilvers, which allows me to alter the sound with a variety of different tubes.

The Parasound NewClassic 275 v.2 power amplifier with 90 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 150 watts per channel into 4 ohms should be enough to drive most speakers unless you have some really low-efficiency or otherwise difficult-to-drive speakers. This power amplifier is so well designed that it worked well with any speaker that I threw at it. You could also consider Parasound NewClassic’s other power amplifiers if you want more power. This includes both the 2125 v.2 (150 watts 8 ohms/ 225 watts 4 ohms, $1,099) and the really powerful 2250 v.2 (275 watts 8 ohm/ 400 watts ohms, $1,799) power amplifier.

But for $749, the 275 v.2 gets you a lot of power and very good sound. And if my experience with Parasound is any indication, it also gets you an amp that will be reliable and last a long, long time. (Publisher’s note: the 275 v.2 has been repriced to $899 at the time of press.)

 

 

Copy editor: Dan Rubin

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