Instead, other brands always offer rack ears as an optional extra, sometimes a costly one. Atmospheric scenes had dead-silent backgrounds when required, and dialogue was more than merely intelligible -- it was realistic, and perfectly integrated within the mix, heightening Emily Blunt’s deadpan delivery of some of the film’s most memorable lines. Competition and Comparisons Among its three-channel peers, I found the A31 to compete very favorably against both the Mark Levinson No 533H and the Krell Evolution 3250e. 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. It was a certainty; that this house full of speakers, was powered by a big Parasound wholehouse amplifier. 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. 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 Halo Integrated 2.1 combines a preamplifier with a power amp, phono preamp, DAC, and built-in adjustable crossover to make a device that can handle any current-format digital, line-level analog, or phono input. When the world does literally begin to crumble beneath the characters' feet, the resulting sound was truly epic and, yet again, I felt as if I was able to discern more of it due to the A31's (and A21's) incredible clarity and definition throughout. 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. ALL B-stock items are all professionally inspected by Parasound technicians and, most importantly, ALL B-Stock products contain the exact same FULL Parasound manufacturer’s warranty. I even went so far as to use the A31 in conjunction with professional commercial cinema loudspeakers from JBL. Dialogue was always intelligible, arguably more so as a result of the A31's power and resolution as described above. But while the M1 is a fantastic-sounding and amazingly powerful and revealing amplifier, the Halo A 31, for less than a third as much per channel, wasn’t far behind. I ended my evaluation of the A31 with another Blu-ray disc, Iron Man 2 (Paramount). Note: Measurements can be found through this link. My Definitive Technology BP-8080ST surround speakers were powered by an Axiom ADA-1000 or a Bel Canto eVo6. Below the input options rest a pair of five-way binding posts, one pair for each channel. The whole sonic spectrum was (largely) uncolored and sounded wholly natural to me, possessing zero grain, edge or other maladies that would've otherwise spoiled the performance. I think so, though undoubtedly traditional stereo and five- or seven-channel amplifiers will always be more popular than three-channel ones. The A 31 also got the better of the eVo6 with two-channel music. $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. Network’s Erich Wetzel estimated that an A 23 driven by a Halo P 5 preamp would “result in sound that is unassailable in quality by any other combination of components that can be bought for a like amount.”. Parasound Halo A31 Review. I only run a 3 channel home theater and have a Parasound A31 3 channel power amps. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Vocals again were intelligible and natural in their timbre, not to mention true to their respective actors, but also carried with them a wonderful sense of weight and physical presence. Dynamics, much like the rest of the A31's performance, felt right, in that they were neither trumped up nor sluggish. A couple of years ago, Parasound introduced the Halo A 31 ($3295 USD), a three-channel version of their top-of-the-line stereo and multichannel amplifiers, and the subject of this review. This blend of qualities made it a joy to listen to. So that is how a three-channel amplifier comes into play. At first look the Parasound Halo A 21 is an appealing and robust amplifier accented by brushed metal finish. Instead, the amp and drivers seemed to work in harmony. 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. “Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans” The many screws securing the top plate slightly protrude and are easily visible, but are not particularly distracting. The A31 retails for $3,000, which puts it square in the mid-fi budget category, for it's not quite Emotiva/Outlaw affordable, but a far cry from Mark Levinson/Krell/Classe/McIntosh/ARC/Pass prices. And when this album’s deep, sustained bass kicked in, the Parasound packed more punch, with a tight concussive quality and extremely low sustained tones. This site was designed by JoomlaShack, Karen Fanas, and The SoundStage! The A 51 amplifier is loaded with usable features above and beyond most other amplifiers. For more details on the A31's inner workings, as well as design notes, please visit the A31's product page on Parasound's website. 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. The question that remains is whether the A31 is any good. And despite what the purists say, on occasion, for example when playing a poorly engineered recording, they can be useful. It should be noted that I ran the A31 both as a main amplifier and as a secondary one, meaning I used it to power my mains exclusively, as well as rear channels. For example, in “Always On My Mind,” the piano was placed slightly in the back right of the soundstage, accompanied by a lone snare drum that did an excellent job of keeping time. 1 users rated this 5 out of 5 stars 1. The Hookup I received the A31 amplifier from Parasound shortly after attending the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. Parasound Halo A51 Multi Channel Amplifier. 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. Each features XLR as well as RCA input options that are selectable via a small toggle switch. 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. 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 gold lettering is understated, and the red Parasound logo glows to indicate that the mains power is connected. If you only wish to listen to music, then you needn't power up the A31 at all. 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. Y al reducir y plantear la A23 hizo un buen aparato, pero NO es la A21. . 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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. Along with being on the large side, the A31 does run warm and, under spirited listening, it can even get hot so proper ventilation is an absolute must, with open air installations being the best option, though by no means mandatory. After soliciting some advice here and considering various brands and models, I decided on the Parasound A23. Although the Parasound has a lower power rating, it sounded more dynamic and visceral with sound effects, yet more refined with the film’s musical score. It is Magnificent looking and certainly must sound Wonderful. Parasound calls the Halo Integrated a … While the eVo6 didn’t sound thin in any way, there was a richness to the A 31, as evinced by the big but melodic, gentle notes of the piano in “Christmas Time Is Here.” Lorde’s voice on her Pure Heroine (24/48 FLAC, Lava Music/Republic) had a wonderful purity in the midrange with the Bel Canto, but the Parasound -- also very clean through the midrange -- had just a touch of warmth, and a bigger but better-defined image of the voice, that were more musically satisfying. And with a claimed power rating of a whopping 1000Wpc, the M1s had more power in reserve for the up-tempo “Jai Ho,” with its intense Bollywood dance beat and soaring singing. IMO the Parasound is the better amp with a little more of a laid back presentation. 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. The component under review, the $2000 Halo A 21 stereo amp, is slotted in further down the Parasound line. Andrew Robinson evaluates the A31 to see if it carries on the Parasound name. What I actually found most impressive was how balanced the background score seemed to be in the face of all that was unfolding in front of it. The Halo A 31 was exceptional with two-channel recordings. This track is a little more chaotic in comparison to "Everloving," but even with its more bombastic dynamic swings and high-frequency energy, the A31 never faltered. The A31 is THX Ultra2-certified as well. The A 31 comes properly packed in a large double box. When more than three channels were needed, it was always paired with my Parasound Halo A21. 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. While there was still plenty of detail, the explosive, metallic sounds of battle were a little forced and lacking in weight in comparison to the A 31’s smooth, effortless delivery. With every cut I played, there was great pace and musicality in these arrangements for acoustic instruments. Pero efectivamente John Curl hizo una obra maestra con la A21. There was a richer, woodier character to the double bass in “Linus and Lucy,” from the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s A Charlie Brown Christmas (SACD/CD, Fantasy), and the difficult task of articulating the deepest notes of this instrument was accomplished more precisely. I had been a Parasound customer previously, having owned both the Halo and Classic line of products, so I was not unfamiliar with the brand or its sound. The A31 utilizes the same chassis as its fellow multi-channel and stereo siblings (including the JC1), measuring 17.25 inches wide by nearly eight inches tall (with feet) and just over 19 inches deep. With regard to the two-channel A 23, Parasound’s smallest, least expensive Halo amp, the SoundStage! 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. In all fairness, I didn't request the A31 for review so much as I sought it out in order to utilize it in my reference system and mixing studio. The power-on options include Manual, 12V Trigger, and Auto, with an adjustable Turn On Threshold. 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. For example, let's say your home theater and two-channel system are one and the same and you use a A21 Halo amp for your left and right mains and an A31 for your center and rear channels. The only faults I found with the A 31 were the lack of a black finish finish, which has been remedied by a new finish that Parasound is releasing now, and the bright lights on the front of the unit. 5.0. At first look the Parasound Halo A 51 is an appealing and robust amplifier accented by brushed metal finish. Parasound says that the Halo A 31 was developed in response to the increasing demand for a high-performance, high-power, three-channel amplifier. JM Labs Electra 920.1; Parasound JC2 and JC5; Sony HAP-Z1ES; Marantz SA8004 SACD; Music Hall MMF7 and Acoustech phono pre; PS Audio P1000; MIT S1 Cables Regardless of the speaker choice, all were connected via 12-gauge bulk speaker cable from Binary, a SnapAV company. However, there are a few items worth noting before making your final purchasing decision. Read about the performance of the Parasound A31 amplifier on Page 2. The front speakers were KEF’s R900 and R600C (center). B-Stock gives audiophile enthusiasts the opportunity to purchase Parasound products at a discounted price. The signal path is direct-coupled, meaning no capacitors or inductors are used anywhere in the signal path, and is capable of full power output down to 5Hz. Not that it needed help. 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. More importantly, even with each crack spiking at around 100dB, the resulting sound was never fatiguing, sharp or brittle. On the other hand, the Krell Evolution 3250e has a slightly more spirited sound versus that of the A31, in that the Krell is a bit more dynamic and taut throughout. Over the years, I’ve heard the Halo JC 1s driving myriad high-end speakers at many audio shows, and have always been impressed by their sound. 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. Parasound Halo, ZoneMaster, Z Custom, and NewClassic are four distinct product families. While there was still plenty of detail, the explosive, metallic sounds of battle were a little forced and lacking in weight in comparison to the A 31’s smooth, effortless delivery. I would say I'm using my system 90% of the time for music. Additionally, Parasound's A21 just won an … "Parasound has chosen to take a staple core product that has remained an exceptional value for over fifteen years, the Halo A21 amplifier, and re-spin it into the Halo A21+," reports Michael Zisserson at positive-feedback.com. 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. Joe, a great concise summary of your journey and review of the A21+. The manual switch allows you to set the A31's auto power up feature to either auto (which has a sensitivity dial), manual (using the front-mounted power button) or via a 12-volt trigger. 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. Ratings and Reviews. The slightly curved and rounded front panel is a thing of beauty. Dynamics ran the gamut from wow to I think I may have messed myself, depending upon the scene and my choice of overall volume. The Levinson No 533H has a slightly more sultry sound in comparison to the A31, but one that is still pleasing, though it costs decidedly more at $10,000 retail. 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. Add to that its prodigious power output and rock-solid build quality, and I can assure you: It’s the real deal. I suppose I've heard a touch more top-end sizzle, but I'm not certain I'd say the A31 is wrong in its portrayal, as everything simply felt right in its delivery. Moving on, I went with an old pop favorite, The Wallflowers' hit "One Headlight" off their album Bringing Down the Horse (Interscope Records). I've had both the XPA3 and A31 on B&W speakers (683, CM9, and 802). Next I cued up another favorite, Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells III, and the track "Far Above the Clouds"(Warner Bros. UK). The massive, encapsulated toroidal transformer produces 1.5kVA, and has independent secondary windings for each channel and 98,400µF of power-supply filter capacitance. 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