Note: Measurements can be found through this link.
Parasound Products was founded in 1981, in San Francisco, by Richard Schram, whose mission was to provide value for the money to his customers. 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. Parasound serves both the consumer and professional markets; their products have been used by multiple Oscar-winning sound designers, from such studios as Lucasfilm, Pixar, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros.
According to a note on his website, Bruce Springsteen’s new album, Western Stars, was inspired by “the Southern California pop records of the late ’60s and early ’70s.” Echoes of Glen Campbell’s late-’60s hits “Wichita Lineman” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” both by songwriter Jimmy Webb and both recorded in Hollywood, run through the album, along with Burt Bacharach’s productions of that period. Many Springsteen records have had layers of instrumental detail, but Western Stars is, by any measure, his most lavish.
Although I’m now a big fan of using a powered subwoofer or two with a stereo pair of loudspeakers, as I explained in a May 1 article on this site, I’m a recent convert to the practice. It’s only in the last year or so of my 30-year audio journey that I’ve realized two things: 1) The sound produced by all but the most expensive and extreme speakers will benefit from the reinforcement provided by a subwoofer -- few speakers of any stripe can produce useful output down to 20Hz, the lower limit of human hearing. 2) Dollar for dollar, the quality of bass produced by a good subwoofer easily outclasses the quality of bass from a good or even a great speaker. This is due not only to the fact that subs are designed to reproduce only the low bass, but also because their placement in a room can be much more easily optimized to serve their intended purpose.
Note: Measurements taken in the anechoic chamber at Canada's National Research Council can be found through this link.
I recently reviewed Paradigm’s Monitor SE 3000F floorstanding loudspeaker, and though it had shortcomings, I was impressed by what its price of $698/pair (all prices USD) bought in terms of physical quantity of speaker and audible quality of sound. Now I’ve got my hands on Paradigm’s Premier 100B minimonitors, which are tiny in comparison but cost $100 more per pair. I expected less bass output from the Premier 100Bs, of course -- but other than that, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
On March 1, 2016, I enthusiastically reviewed Onkyo’s A-9010 integrated amplifier-DAC, calling it “a screaming bargain.” My opinion of the A-9010 amplifier hadn’t changed since then, so I was very pleased when editor-in-chief Jeff Fritz suggested I review the A-9010’s successor, the A-9110, which costs precisely what the A-9010 cost three years ago: $349 USD.
Cooking Vinyl COOKCD731
In the 38 years Mike Scott has led the Waterboys, he’s taken this Scots band in various musical directions while maintaining its distinctive identity. Scott has remained the only constant through many changes of personnel, so it’s really his musical vision that remains at its core. He injected stomping rock’n’roll into Modern Blues (2015), and on the two-disc Out of All This Blue (2017) Scott gave in to his love of R&B, blues, and soul. On Where the Action Is those strains are joined to hints of the group’s signature Celtic folk-rock.
When I think of Sonus Faber, I think first of their ultra-high-end speakers -- for example, the Aida, which retails for $130,000 USD per pair. However, their speaker line spans a huge range of prices, and is one of the most comprehensive I’ve seen. My second thought is usually of the exquisite Italian craftsmanship evident in every Sonus Faber speaker, and their extensive use of cabinets shaped like works of art.
Single Lock SL028
The Hurting Kind is John Paul White’s second solo outing since he and Joy Williams ended their duo, The Civil Wars, in 2014. While a few of the songs can be broadly described as Americana, most have a strong hint of the Nashville Sound of the late-1950s and early ’60s, made famous by producers Owen Bradley and Chet Atkins, whose productions of albums by such singers as Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline included strings, background vocals, and other elements that broadened country music’s popularity. Further reinforcing the impression of what seems White’s veneration of country-music traditions are the assistance on three songs here of veteran songwriters Bill Anderson and Bobby Braddock.
SVS is well known to two-channel-loving audiophiles and home-theater enthusiasts alike. Founded in 1998, the company began by producing subwoofers that quickly earned critical acclaim. In 2012, SVS added loudspeakers to its product line, and in 2015, cables, footers, and wireless products. Today SVS offers 12 subwoofer models, ranging in price from $500 for the SB-1000 and PB-1000 in standard Premium Black Ash finish, to $2500 for the flagship PB16-Ulta in Piano Gloss Black (all prices USD). They offer a total of six bookshelf and floorstanding models of passive loudspeaker, ranging from $270/pair for the Prime Satellite to $2000/pair for the Ultra Tower in Piano Gloss Black. There are also center-channel and surround models, to flesh out full surround-sound arrays.
SVS Inc., a major player in the subwoofer game since 1998, currently offers a broad range of models at various prices and designed to satisfy a wide range of needs -- each of their subwoofer lines contains sealed and ported designs, and some include décor-friendly cylindrical models. In SVS’s system of model names, SB stands for sealed box, PB for ported box, and PC for ported cylinder.