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. This blend of qualities made it a joy to listen to. When more than three channels were needed, it was always paired with my Parasound Halo A21. Dialogue was always intelligible, arguably more so as a result of the A31's power and resolution as described above. Around back, you'll find a host of input/output options, as well as a few features not commonly found on most amplifiers, budget or otherwise. 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. It also utilizes eight beta-matched, 15-amp 60Hz output transistors for each channel. Like all Parasound products, the A31 comes with a full five-year parts and labor warranty in the United States and in Canada. The Halo A 31 is able to drive any speaker you are going to throw at it and not complain, as well as impeccably built and beautiful in appearance." More importantly, even with each crack spiking at around 100dB, the resulting sound was never fatiguing, sharp or brittle. Parasound A31 Three Channel Power Amplifier. 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. Right away, the A31 proved exceedingly resolute in that it shone appropriate light upon every detail and nuance in a wholly convincing and natural way. 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. Note: Measurements can be found through this link. 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. And despite what the purists say, on occasion, for example when playing a poorly engineered recording, they can be useful. Below the input options rest a pair of five-way binding posts, one pair for each channel. 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. Review By Dwayne Carter It's amazing how the mind works. It arrived, along with a matching A21 two-channel amp, to serve as a personal reference in not only my review systems, but also in my in-home mastering suite. To each his own, I guess. “Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans” 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. It's hefty, too, weighing a respectable but not unmanageable 65 pounds. 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. So that is how a three-channel amplifier comes into play. 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. 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). Moving on, I went with an old pop favorite, The Wallflowers' hit "One Headlight" off their album Bringing Down the Horse (Interscope Records). It’s a fantastic-sounding amp with power to spare. My Definitive Technology BP-8080ST surround speakers were powered by an Axiom ADA-1000 or a Bel Canto eVo6. The A 31 comes properly packed in a large double box. 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. The slightly curved and rounded front panel is a thing of beauty. The gain can also be adjusted by +/-6dB using the Gain Normal/THX knob. . 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. 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. 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. The A 31 is certified THX Ultra2, for those who care about such things. I also used a pair of Definitive Technology Mythos ST-Ls. 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. From the outside, the A31 looks every bit a Parasound Halo product, clad in its trademark brushed silver facade, though Halo products are now being offered in black, too. I consider the Halo A 31 to be one of today’s best values -- if not the best value -- in a power amplifier. The Hookup I received the A31 amplifier from Parasound shortly after attending the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. 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. 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. . And it had no trouble driving my speakers to any volume level I desired. What I mean by this is that a manufacturer of a three-channel amplifier, in this case Parasound, assumes that the customer has an existing stereo amp (or two mono amplifiers) that he or she likes and simply wishes to add amplifier channels for a center channel and surround speakers. Moving on to movies, I cued up a guilty pleasure of mine, the disaster flick 2012 (Columbia), on Blu-ray disc. 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. 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. Write a review. Andrew Robinson evaluates the A31 to see if it carries on the Parasound name. 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. CES Trends: MiniLED and is it Better than OLED? Each features XLR as well as RCA input options that are selectable via a small toggle switch. 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. . Parasound Halo A 31 Three-Channel Power AmplifierPrice: $3295 USD.Warranty: Five years parts and labor. 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. Andrew Robinson evaluates the A31 to see if it carries on the Parasound name. I recently upgraded my front speakers to B&W 804D3. The Halo A 31 was highly musical, but it also had the massive amounts of power required for playing hi-rez audio from movies on Blu-ray. Again, the dynamic swings of this track were incredible and at times more than a little palpable, in that they quite literally stirred the soul. Meet the Halo A 23+ and enjoy performance upgrades for cleaner, ultra-low distortion sound, revised front panel cosmetics, and a revised rear panel layout offering enhanced features, too. The A31's internal circuitry was designed by none other than John Curl, a longtime Parasound collaborator and designer extraordinaire, with more than a few hits to his name. The component under review, the $2000 Halo A 21 stereo amp, is slotted in further down the Parasound line. The newest product, the A31 three-channel amplifier reviewed here, is a first for Parasound. 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. They didn't go extinct, but they fell out of favor as the "it" solution. The subwoofers were two Paradigm Reference Servo-15 v.2s. 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. Edge of Tomorrow is a surprisingly smart, exciting film with an electrifying soundtrack. Y al reducir y plantear la A23 hizo un buen aparato, pero NO es la A21. 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. The power-on options include Manual, 12V Trigger, and Auto, with an adjustable Turn On Threshold. 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. Parasound calls the Halo Integrated a … While they were completely functional, they just felt cheap in comparison to everything else the Halo affords you. Explosions and crashing cars rocked my room, yet were pushed through effortlessly and with terrific focus and control - no warbled drivers here. 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. But if a three-channel amp is really not what you’re looking for, Parasound still has you covered, with their A 21 two-channel and A 51 five-channel versions of the same basic Halo design. Cymbals sounded like real cymbals, versus artificial enhancements in order to show off traits such as air and decay. I ended my evaluation of the A31 with another Blu-ray disc, Iron Man 2 (Paramount). With regard to the two-channel A 23, Parasound’s smallest, least expensive Halo amp, the SoundStage! The sound of Willie Nelson’s To All the Girls . In 1988, Schram enlisted the services of circuit designer John Curl, and he brought along designers Carl Thompson and the late Bob Crump, forming a team whose work resulted in the development of Parasound… I set up the Parasound Halo A 31 to drive the three front channels of my reference multichannel system, primarily using an Anthem Statement D2 surround-sound processor to listen to multichannel audio recordings and movies as well as two-channel recordings. While the Halo A 31’s power and bass control were impressive, its midrange clarity and ability to vividly float voices between the speakers at exactly the right depth -- not too up-front or recessed -- rivaled that of much more expensive amps. . Regardless, the A31 never wavered nor seemed to run out of juice. Front-man Jacob Dylan's vocals were presented in their full unaltered dry but sultry state. 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. 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. is part of. Parasound Halo, ZoneMaster, Z Custom, and NewClassic are four distinct product families. Dynamics ran the gamut from wow to I think I may have messed myself, depending upon the scene and my choice of overall volume. 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. 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. While this isn't going to be of much use to 99 percent of those who buy an amp such as the A31, I found it very useful and, as a result, a huge selling point. It fills the hole that was left in 2012 when Parasound discontinued the $2,500 A 52. December 5, 2012 by Chris Heinonen Leave a Comment. 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. 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.”. My only complaint about the massively built A 31 is that while its binding posts are claimed to be of high quality, they look a little cheap and out of place in relation to the otherwise impeccable appearance and build quality. Each of the channel inputs are neatly arranged, well spaced and labeled 1, 2 and 3, respectively. 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. Potencia de salida: 250 vatios RMS x 3 continuo, 20 Hz - 20 kHz a 8 ohmios; 400 vatios RMS x 3 continuo, 20 Hz - 20 kHz a 4 ohmios. This review will look at the more conventional, yet equally impressive, design from Parasound. There was a natural presence and richness to his voice, and to those of the many female guest singers. You get a switchable phono stage, a headphone output and even tone controls. 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All contents available on this website are copyrighted by SoundStage!® and Schneider Publishing Inc., unless otherwise noted. First, the A31 is large and in charge, meaning its physical requirements may be a deal-breaker for some and/or in certain installations. 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. 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. John Curl’s circuit design for the Halo A 31 features complementary matched pairs of JFETs for the input pre-driver stages, matched pairs of MOSFETs for the driver stages, and an impressive eight matched 15A, 60MHz bipolar output transistors for each channel. Parasound has a longstanding history when it comes to amplifiers. I connected the A31 to my Integra DHC 80.2 AV preamp, using individual runs of balanced interconnects courtesy of Monoprice. The Halo A 31 was exceptional with two-channel recordings. I even went so far as to use the A31 in conjunction with professional commercial cinema loudspeakers from JBL. Additionally, Parasound's A21 just won an … Enjoy! I would say I'm using my system 90% of the time for music. Two-channel music sounds close to live, and the movies at home feel just like the theater. It’s claimed to provide pure class-A operation up to 7Wpc, high-bias class-A/B operation thereafter, and to deliver 250Wpc into 8 ohms or 400Wpc into 4 ohms, all three channels driven. This site was designed by JoomlaShack, Karen Fanas, and The SoundStage! Parasound Halo A23 Stereo Amplifier Review In light of our slow shift toward two channel audio (no, we are not abandoning personal audio), I decided it would be a good idea to start with something basic, like a stereo amplifier. The Halo A 31 has a clear, detailed sound that belies its price, combined with just a touch of warmth. 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. The sustained hissing of hi-hat cymbals is prominent here, as in many recordings, but with the A 31, I was struck by how different each tom-tom sounded as it was hit. ! 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. Three-channel amplifiers were all the rage a few years ago, but then sort of faded away. I've had both the XPA3 and A31 on B&W speakers (683, CM9, and 802). It is Magnificent looking and certainly must sound Wonderful. The explosion of bells was precisely that - an explosion - and while they may have rocked my room, they never overpowered my ears nor caused fatiguing. "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." Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment. At first look the Parasound Halo A 21 is an appealing and robust amplifier accented by brushed metal finish. 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. Your support is greatly appreciated! 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. (16/44.1 FLAC, Columbia/Legacy) is a little dry, but the A 31 reproduced Nelson’s world-weary voice with a bit of smoothness. The front speakers were KEF’s R900 and R600C (center). There is even a loop out option for daisy-chaining several amps together if you so desire. Parasound Halo JC 1 Monoblock Amplifier High value at a low(ish) price! Next I cued up another favorite, Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells III, and the track "Far Above the Clouds"(Warner Bros. UK). Parasound says the Halo A31 was created in response to the growing demand to get a high performance, high power, three-channel amplifier. 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. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Parasound has never offered a three-channel amplifier and, while three-channel amps are nothing new within the industry, fans of the company are probably asking themselves (and Parasound) what took so long. The A 31 is rated at 250Wpc into 8 ohms or 400Wpc into 4 ohms, all three channels driven throughout the audioband of 20Hz–20kHz. Respuesta en frecuencia: 5 Hz - 100 kHz, +0/-3 dB a 1 vatio. It was a certainty; that this house full of speakers, was powered by a big Parasound wholehouse amplifier. After soliciting some advice here and considering various brands and models, I decided on the Parasound A23. 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 "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. Additional Resources Read more multi-channel amp reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com's writers. The rest of my system was as follows: Dune-HD Max and Oppo BDP-103 as the primary source components, Behringer Feedback Destroyer feeding into a single JL Audio Fathom f110 subwoofer with parametric EQ filters from Room EQ Wizard, and a SIM2 Nero single-chip DLP projecting onto a 120-inch Acoustic4K screen from Elite Screens. Network. Instead, the amp and drivers seemed to work in harmony. Not to say that these weren't present via the A31, it's just that neither drew attention to itself in a "look at me" fashion. The control it exhibited over my speakers' drivers was impressive, but not so much so as to call attention to itself. 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). Pues la Parasound se come directamente al Musical Fidelity. Parasound A52+ Five Channel Solid-State Amplifier Parasound's impressive A52+ is truly faithful to music. Around back, the Halo A 31 is equally impressive. The gold lettering is understated, and the red Parasound logo glows to indicate that the mains power is connected. 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. Read about the performance of the Parasound A31 amplifier on Page 2. I haven't done the same review (Outlaw 100-watter vs the A51's 250) on my new speakers, but I'm happy to report that I love my new speakers (Focal BE 1027) and they have wowed everyone who has heard them. 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. Parasound Halo Three Channel Power AmplifierThe Parasound Halo A31 multichannel amplifier is a power.. £4,799.00. For a Parasound customer, this could mean that he or she is already in possession of either a pair of JC1 monaural amplifiers or an A21 stereo amp. Parasound’s Halo A 31 might get overlooked because it’s a three-channel amplifier designed primarily for use in multichannel home-theater systems -- or because, at $3295, it costs more than a budget multichannel amplifier, if less than what many audiophiles would pay for a two-channel amp. We can’t remember the last time we reviewed a product such as this with bass and treble controls. You'll automatically be entered in the HTR Sweepstakes, and get the hottest audio deals directly in your inbox. Its replacement, the Halo A 21+, is priced a little higher at $2,995. Actors always came across as natural-sounding, with their scale appropriate to a) the action on screen and b) to my judicious use of my Integra's volume knob. There are also two large handles, a mains power switch, and an IEC receptacle for the provided power cord. The reader may be somewhat surprised at finding a Parasound product reviewed in Superior Audio.This San Francisco-based company has for years offered well made, good-value products that compete principally with other value-priced marques such as Adcom, B&K … It's possible to get a Halo-branded amp with five channels. The ends of the front panel seem made of plastic, but are well matched, and don’t detract from the A 31’s handsomeness, or the overall impression of outstanding build quality. 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. Instead, other brands always offer rack ears as an optional extra, sometimes a costly one. Even so, with Edge of Tomorrow it lacked some of the A 31’s weight and depth. After 15 years of devoted service, Parasound has retired its beloved Halo A 21 amplifier. 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