parasound a31 review

With every cut I played, there was great pace and musicality in these arrangements for acoustic instruments. The front panel features Parasound's logo on top with three small indicator lights below the THX logo and a small backlit power button resting in the far left corner. As accomplished as the A 31 was, it wasn’t the last word in transparency. Operated in bridged mono, Bel Canto’s six-channel eVo6 ($4900, discontinued), which I usually use to drive my center and surround channels, is claimed to produce a powerful 350Wpc into 8 ohms, three channels driven -- and it has a transparent and musical sound. By staying out of the way and letting me enjoy the music, the A 31 made this review a challenge to find new ways to say that it sounded wonderful. The many screws securing the top plate slightly protrude and are easily visible, but are not particularly distracting. It's hefty, too, weighing a respectable but not unmanageable 65 pounds. I ended my evaluation of the A31 with another Blu-ray disc, Iron Man 2 (Paramount). Parasound Halo, ZoneMaster, Z Custom, and NewClassic are four distinct product families. This year they finally added a 3 channel amplifier targeting the home theater crowd that want a single amplifier to drive their front three channels. I noticed a bit more inflection in Dylan's voice than through previous amplifiers, as well as a bit more surrounding air, which lent a greater sense of dimension, not to mention scale, to the performance and to his physical being. Parasound has nothing to hide here as these are real numbers supported by A21+'s capability of delivering 60 amperes of current per channel, the ability to deliver this power through the amplifier's full band-width, and a low <0.1% Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) when driving the full audio band (20Hz - 20kHz) at rated power. I’m not sure how much demand there actually is for three-channel amps, but I do use one to drive the center and surround speakers of my home-theater system, so I can see the utility of the A 31. Lastly, I found the A31's binding posts to be a bit pedestrian and, well, not up to the same standard as the rest of the amplifier's build and sonic quality. It has XLR and RCA input jacks, toggle switches for selecting between them, and binding posts far enough apart to accept heavy-duty, audiophile-approved cables. Parasound has established close and long-term relationships, some spanning more than three decades, with contract manufacturers in Taiwan, which are responsible for the manufacturing. As with everything else I've just described about the A31's sound, its soundstage definition was equally detailed and neatly arranged, but in a wholly natural-sounding way. Earlier in the review, I spoke about the A31's gain controls and how that was more a pro feature aimed at pairing different amplifiers together. . Another benefit of having a three-channel amp over, say, a five- or seven-channel one is that it gives you the ability to selectively power up only certain components when need be, thus saving you money at the meter. There was a natural presence and richness to his voice, and to those of the many female guest singers. I would say I'm using my system 90% of the time for music. I've had both the XPA3 and A31 on B&W speakers (683, CM9, and 802). Installing the A31 into my Sanus equipment rack was fairly straightforward, thanks to a) the A31 being of rack-mountable size and b) Parasound including rack ears with purchase to facilitate such an installation. Inherent in the design are high current output (up to 60 amps per channel), and a high slew rate of >130V/µs—these specs alone suggested that the A 31 would work well in my system. Moreover, the A31 wasn't critical (at all) of my choice of speaker, as it managed to reproduce similar results with all the options I had on hand, whether they were lower-sensitivity bookshelf speakers (Wharfedale) or commercial cinema loudspeakers (JBL). 1 users rated this 5 out of 5 stars 1. You get a switchable phono stage, a headphone output and even tone controls. The subwoofers were two Paradigm Reference Servo-15 v.2s. Parasound calls the Halo Integrated a … 4 Distinct Product Lines. 5.0 out of 5 stars based on 1 product rating. This is a decidedly pro feature, one I'll discuss in a moment. I hate the term mid-fi, as that carries with it a sort of negative connotation that the customer is somehow settling for middle of the road, which the A31 is clearly not. Even at reference levels at which I could feel the jarring kick of weapons’ recoil among the frenetic action, there was no discernible distortion: the music and dialogue remained stable and coherent, allowing me to listen at these levels for extended periods without fatigue. Polk LSiM-707, LSiM-704C, LSiM-702FX; Dual SVS SB2000 subwoofers; Marantz SR7011 receiver; Parasound A31 and A23 amps; Oppo 205; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S2 cables 2. The many fins of the large heatsinks that comprise the side panels, and the Parasound logo stamped into the top plate, are all covered in a high-quality, black-anodized finish that gives the A 31 a professional, refined appearance. Regardless of the speaker choice, all were connected via 12-gauge bulk speaker cable from Binary, a SnapAV company. Add to that its prodigious power output and rock-solid build quality, and I can assure you: It’s the real deal. Through the A 31, the sound across the front channels was flawless. Parasound Products was founded in 1981, in San Francisco, by Richard Schram, whose mission was to provide value for the money to his customers. The cracks of Ivan Vanko's whips were positively violent in their dynamic snaps and the resulting electrical crack was so vividly rendered that it made me shudder. It had the excellent transparency and imaging, with plenty of grip, that you’d expect from a high-powered solid-state amp, but it also had a richness through the midrange, and a smooth treble that was easy to listen to while still being very revealing. My reference Anthem Statement M1 mono amplifiers ($3750 each) have a midrange that is slightly clearer, making voices more present, and small vocal inflections and nuances more discernible. Parasound Halo JC 1 Monoblock Amplifier High value at a low(ish) price! It just so happened to not suck and live up to every expectation I had prior to its arrival. . Parasound has a longstanding history when it comes to amplifiers. Explosions and crashing cars rocked my room, yet were pushed through effortlessly and with terrific focus and control - no warbled drivers here. I even went so far as to use the A31 in conjunction with professional commercial cinema loudspeakers from JBL. Roger Kannorogerk@soundstagenetwork.com. Parasound A31 Three Channel Power Amplifier. In truth, I never felt as if I was even tapping its full potential, as the resulting sound was effortless. Cymbals sounded like real cymbals, versus artificial enhancements in order to show off traits such as air and decay. For me, the A31 from Parasound's Halo line of products is aspirational but obtainable, in that it competes very favorably with far costlier competition, yet can be had by many with just a little foresight and financial planning. I installed the A31 along the bottom of my rack with the A21 resting above, though there are three or four rack spaces between the two in order to allow for proper ventilation. When I played multichannel recordings, I heard the same precision and musicality, as well as impressive dynamics across all three front channels. I'm not big on "break-in," but I do believe amplifiers, especially those with Class A and AB topologies, do need a little bit of time to warm up, so I gave the A31 a good 30 minutes or so of just playing music at background levels before sitting down for any critical listening sessions. However, this may not allow for the same level of flexibility should you wish to power your stereo mains differently than the rest of your speakers. From there, I connected the A31 to a host of different loudspeakers, ranging from my trusty Tekton Design Pendragons to a complement of Jade 1 bookshelf speakers from Wharfedale. Boasting classic circuit designs by renowned engineer John Curl and prices that range from just under $1000 to a few thousand dollars, Parasound’s Halo models have gained a fervent following among value-minded audiophiles. The Hookup I received the A31 amplifier from Parasound shortly after attending the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. Make sense? "Doing so has proved that extremely high performance-per-dollar is still possible today when a company leverages decades of experience, and is spearheaded by a legend." The gain can also be adjusted by +/-6dB using the Gain Normal/THX knob. As with my first tests, I have heard a bit more low-end oomph, but again, I tend to cross my speakers over at anywhere between 50 and 60Hz (80Hz for bookshelf speakers), so that uber-low bass is going to be dealt with by a sub and is only being pointed out here for evaluation purposes. $3295 isn’t exactly a low price, but based on what I heard from the Halo A 31, I can’t think of a single reason for not considering it and/or one of the other Halo amps for powering any or all of the channels in a high-quality audio system and/or home theater. Along the far right side of the back panel rests a large master on/off switch as well as a standard AC power receptacle. The best part of a product like the A31, or any found within Parasound's lineup, is that the reliability is on par with a wood-burning stove. Parasound A52+ Five Channel Solid-State Amplifier Parasound's impressive A52+ is truly faithful to music. . So that is how a three-channel amplifier comes into play. After soliciting some advice here and considering various brands and models, I decided on the Parasound A23. Parasound Halo A 31 Three-Channel Power AmplifierPrice: $3295 USD.Warranty: Five years parts and labor. Parasound may have been thinking along these lines when they engaged the well-known amplifier designer John Curl to create their new five-channel amp, the Halo A 52+ ($2,995). Not that it needed help. Dynamics, much like the rest of the A31's performance, felt right, in that they were neither trumped up nor sluggish. When more than three channels were needed, it was always paired with my Parasound Halo A21. Parasound Products, Inc.2250 McKinnon AvenueSan Francisco, CA 94124Phone: (415) 397-7100Fax: (415) 397-0144, E-mail: marketing@parasound.comWebsite: www.parasound.com, SoundStage! On Cyndi Lauper’s The Body Acoustic (16-bit/44.1kHz FLAC, Sony BMG), the various stringed instruments -- including a particularly steely guitar -- and the singer’s raspy voice can sometimes be a bit jarring, but the A 31 struck the perfect balance between vividly realistic reproduction of the acoustic instruments and a deft addition of just a touch of warmth to the voice. The A 21 amplifier is loaded with usable features above and beyond most other amplifiers. It should not be overlooked. As Parasound defines it, value begins to decline when additional cost provides only marginal and diminishing returns, and increases when a product is reliably functional over decades. This review will look at the more conventional, yet equally impressive, design from Parasound. The Downside The A31 is a phenomenal overachiever as far as amplifiers go. If you're an existing Halo customer or simply want to take your two-channel rig to new multi-channel heights, you'll be hard pressed to do better than the A31 sonically, though you can definitely spend more. Even at low volume levels, the A 31 took control of my speakers, providing a refined sound that was at once rich and inviting, as well as a precisely defined soundstage. Even so, with Edge of Tomorrow it lacked some of the A 31’s weight and depth. One of the newer entrants to that legacy is the Parasound A31 three channel power amplifier. Well, I used it (sparingly) when employing professional cinema equipment elsewhere in my signal chain, as it allowed me to better integrate the pro gear with the rest of my consumer-sourced equipment. Just inside the left handle are the A31's "Turn On Options," which include an auto/manual power switch and a 12-volt trigger. The film’s soundscape wasn’t quite as expansive, and I couldn’t feel the forceful recoil of the automatic weapons as easily as I had with the A 31. I'm not suggesting that other amps simply ignore the score but, as with the rest of the performance, there just seemed to be a little more presence to it, lending a grander, more epic touch to the whole sequence. For more on these amplifiers and others like them, please visit Home Theater Review's Multi-Channel Amplifier page. I was taken aback by the level of low mid-bass articulation that was present, which I found equal to that of its high-frequency performance. The A31 is THX Ultra2-certified as well. Additional Resources• Read more multi-channel amp reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com's writers.• Explore more reviews in our AV Preamp and Stereo Preamp review sections..• Find a pair of Bookshelf Speakers or Floorstanding Speakers to drive with the A31. Joe, a great concise summary of your journey and review of the A21+. Instead, the bells were clearly delineated from one another and presented with such focus and control that their presence in my room was one of three-dimensionality, as they were not only arranged side to side but front to back very clearly. Three-channel amplifiers were all the rage a few years ago, but then sort of faded away. I think so, though undoubtedly traditional stereo and five- or seven-channel amplifiers will always be more popular than three-channel ones. The A31 plays host to a large encapsulated toroid transformer (1.5 kVA) with separate, independent windings for each of its three channels. I'm not suggesting the A31 bests the Evolution 403e, I'm just using it to help qualify (or perhaps quantify) its high-end value. Add to Compare. Nonetheless, it is still very much a Curl design, with his customary J-FET input stage, MOSFET driver stage, and beta-matched bipolar-transistor output stage—each arrayed in a complementary configuration, making for a more linear and lower distortion circuit. The control it exhibited over my speakers' drivers was impressive, but not so much so as to call attention to itself. Write a review. Parasound already brings listeners heavenly sound, but its halo now shines more beautifully than ever with its brand new version of the Halo A 23 two-channel power amplifier. You'll automatically be entered in the HTR Sweepstakes, and get the hottest audio deals directly in your inbox. The gain Normal/THX knob and sheer effortlessness always intelligible, arguably more so to. Filter capacitance Heinonen Leave a Comment sometimes a costly one, well spaced and 1!, much like the Levinson, the Halo affords you Mountain Audio Fest Inc., unless otherwise noted to. 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