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#28237 - 12/22/03 05:48 PM Re: Parasound Halo (short review)
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4829
Loc: western canada
In reply to:

that does kill me about Advance because they have some great products there


Yes, yes they do.
Salesmen are pretty good too. If you ever have a problem, get pushed too much, whatever, go see the manager.
Just awesome customer service response.
In reply to:

What all dealers should have is a spot on their website, like Creative Audio, where they sell demo/obsolete products. I like a bargain as much as the next guy, and it would be nice to see what they have on their clearance table without having to physically visit the store.



Yes. I kind of like these guys at Canadian Hifi
The guy i bought our Tannoys from down in Calif. was also just EXCELLENT to deal with and he apparently does alot of business with Canadian Hifi. He said to mention his name (that he referred you to them) if you approach them for a deal. Their prices are still a bit elevated for my pocketbook.
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#28238 - 12/22/03 06:45 PM Re: Parasound Halo (short review)
sidvicious02 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 05/09/03
Posts: 973
Loc: Brandon, Manitoba
that's funny Chess, Canadian Hi-Fi was actually where I bought my M60s and my Sherbourn amp. I was very impressed with them and I love their website setup!
_________________________
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#28239 - 12/22/03 09:48 PM Re: Parasound Halo (short review)
slownlo Offline
buff

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 44
Loc: San francisco, CA
<<>>

Kinda like the Axiom message board? (lol)

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#28240 - 12/22/03 11:07 PM Re: Parasound Halo (short review)
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
Are you suggesting we never have a bad thing to say about Axiom products?

I beg to differ.

I've never suggested anyone purchaes Axiom speaker cables.
I've ALWAYS suggested that people purchase a Hsu subwoofer over an Axiom sub.
And as far as M22's, M60's, and QS8's are concerned. I've honestly never heard anything as good as them for near the price.

Over reactive, defensive rant over.


_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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#28241 - 12/29/03 04:05 PM Re: Parasound Halo- Final review
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4829
Loc: western canada
I thought i would post my final thoughts on the Parasound.
I had a chance to take one home along with the Anthem MCA20 for Christmas. Both are now heading back to the store before the return policy expires.

The Coles notes version of my demo on these amps ( it's real easy).
THERE WAS NO DIFFERENCE IN SOUND.
....[sentences of edited comments removed].....
I actually had setup a proper A/B test for these 2 units (mono setup, 2 speakers, one amp powers each speaker so the balance knob on the preamp could be used as the 'switcher').
You know what i found out?
That my left ear hears differently than my right (not an odd thing though) and when i switched amps:speakers to L&R or when i turned my head 90 degrees to switch and listen with only my left ear pointing towards the speakers, all the perceived differences between the amps went away or were reversed!!
....[further edited comments removed]....
Secondly, the 2 amps had to be calibrated for the A/B test such that the volume output was identical. The volume on the preamp produced a louder volume through the Parasound than through the Anthem amp. If it were not for the gain selectivity feature on the Parasound amp, lowering the gain to match the volume of the Anthem would not have been possible. In my first run around, i actually thought there was a sound difference but realized that one amp just sounded louder than the other. After calibrating the decibels, this was no longer apparent. (I can only speculate how many ppl have auditoned amps in their home and not accounted for such a variable but then reported one amp is "more robust" or "more punchy/powerful" etc. than another.)

On the other side of things, i did do my best to find any type of flaws in either unit such that i could try to rank them in my short selection list.
Here is that list of things i found:

Parasound Halo A23
Positives
    powers well
    gorgeous case and lights, nice design
    great features (just loaded -balanced or unbalanced connections, loop out connections, 3 methods for turning it on/off, carry handles, gain selectivity knobs to adjust for preamp signal strengths and a ground loop switch)

Negatives
    runs pretty hot when pushed
    more pricey than Anthem
    auto signal detect on feature really needs a strong signal to get it to work, below volume 7 on my preamp (scale of 0-35) would actually cause the amp to shut off thinking there is no signal. This was kind of annoying when playing music relatively low but at least the alternative was to use the trigger switch method or find a preamp that puts out a stronger overall signal .

Anthem MCA20
Positives
    larger build, very solid and huge internal parts compared to the Halo
    good heat dissipation
    powers well
    cheaper than Parasound ($1500 for the MCA20, $1600 for the Parasound but i could have haggled a bit for the Anthem dropping the price)
    auto signal detect feature worked better than Parasound
    Canadian company (i prefer to support national economy if the item is of good quality rather than buying something built overseas)

Negatives
    real boring look and case, not all silver (silver face, black case compared to the Halo which was all done in aluminum finish)
    power plug does not have a ground plug (kind of surprising)
    not as many features as the Parasound ( it had balanced and unbalanced connections and the 3 method on/off switching and that's it)


Side note
The Halo Hum as previously referred to was still evident, however the Anthem unit produced a similar sound although a bit different. In previous tests with a Coda amp, no hum was really evident. Upon changing the preamp (Denon) for my a/v receiver (Onkyo) the hum was nearly non-existant for both the Anthem and the Parasound.
It is very possible that the Denon is responsible for introducing a background noise into the signal although it was not at all noticeable once music was playing. The noise floor of the recording is easily more than double the sound of any background hum. The use of the Onkyo clarified my concern about the alleged Halo Hum. There really is none.


All in all i would probably buy either unit but my wife preferred the Halo over the Anthem based solely on aesthetics and its smaller size. I would have preferred a larger sized Halo unit as the A23 model runs a bit hot for my liking but the features it has are darn nice. However, b/c the Halo is priced so high and the auto detect feature is a little weak, i would buy the Halo unit over the Anthem ONLY if i can get it for a good price used, perhaps in the $1200-1400 range, but not at $1600 plus taxes (all Cdn values).
If i can get a good silver Anthem for about $900-1200, i would buy it instead. It is NOT worth the $1500 considering the $100 extra for the extra features of the Parasound Halo (using the retail prices i was quoted before taxes or haggling).

Conclusion
Both units sound excellent and powered my Tannoy Definition D700s with ease. There was never any clipping or overheating issues as indicated in sound or by the unit diagnostics even after an hour of 105dB playback (2.4 metres, approx. 8 foot measured distance).

If you want a no frills, heavy built, cheaper unit but also with more simple aesthetics (blander look), the Anthem was great.

For a bit more class, several more features and a slight step up in price, i would take the Halo, but NOT unless its price was very less than retail due to the auto detect issue and smaller heatsink/internals.

Their price compared to many amps in this power range is extremely good. I certainly would recommend either one.
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#28242 - 12/29/03 04:24 PM Re: Parasound Halo- Final review
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
Thanks for the final review Chess. It's always good to hear real world feedback on audio products.


_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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#28243 - 01/08/04 05:05 PM Re: Parasound Halo- Final review
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4829
Loc: western canada
{sigh}

I miss my Halo.
Actually, i think i just miss having my lovely new speakers playing sweet sound.
Now i have to go all the way downstairs into the basement and sit with the cat to hear my Axioms in a hard configured room.

Oh the audio woe of it all.

On the plus side, i'm going to do some more auditioning tomorrow aft. A friend who was interested in the Tannoy Saturns awhile back is still looking around at options. I think the Energy Veritas is on the lineup along with Totem and i believe some DefTech.
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#28244 - 01/08/04 05:09 PM Re: Parasound Halo- Final review
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
I really enjoyed the Veritas, though they're dang costly. If I had tons of cash and were ever to get board of my Axiom setup, I'd consider them seriously.

Hmm...perhaps some day in a separate two channel only setup....
_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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#28245 - 01/08/04 05:17 PM Re: Parasound Halo- Final review
curtis Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 1501
Loc: Manhattan Beach, CA
I heard the Totem Dreamcatcher and Model One yesterday, with a tube amp, tube preamp, and tube CD player.

They were much smaller than I thought they would be...and sounded like it. I was not impressed. Would have liked to hear the bigger Totems.

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#28246 - 01/08/04 05:25 PM Re: Parasound Halo- Final review
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16279
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Since tubes "do stuff" to the sound, I wonder if some speakers are better suited to them than others?

Those Totems sure look nice, but boy are they pricey.


Edited by pmbuko (01/08/04 05:27 PM)
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