Don Lindich’s Sound Advice: GoldenEar, Parasound give bang for your buck


Share with others:


Print Email Read Later

Question: In a recent column, you said that very high-priced audio gear is often outperformed by less expensive gear produced by larger, better-known manufacturers. What are some examples of this?

BRENNAN H.,

Cleveland

Answer: I can think of two spe­cific ex­am­ples right off the top of my head. Be­fore I go on, I would like to point out that there are ex­am­ples where the op­po­site is true, and that will be the topic for next week. My main point is that a lot of high-end equip­ment is over­priced and does not out­per­form less ex­pensive equip­ment.

The first ex­am­ple that comes to mind is an ex­pe­ri­ence I had at the 2012 Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show. I had just heard a $20,000 pair of speak­ers and was not im­pressed. Across the hall was Gold­enEar Tech­nol­ogy, demon­strat­ing their new Aon 3 book­shelf speak­ers at $1,000 per pair.

The Gold­enEar speak­ers were sim­ply fan­tas­tic, and clearly bet­ter than the $20,000-per-pair speak­ers. It wasn’t even close, and I was grin­ning ear to ear as I lis­tened. I spoke with Sandy Gross, Gold­enEar’s pres­i­dent, and or­dered a pair on the spot. It’s not like I needed them, as I have plenty of speak­ers. I just had to have them, and knew they would be a per­fect match to the tube amp in my home of­fice.

Gold­enEar cer­tainly rates as high-end qual­ity though the prices, while not in­ex­pen­sive, are rea­son­able and make these speak­ers a great value. The equip­ment is de­signed by very tal­ented en­gi­neers in the U.S., man­u­fac­tured over­seas to keep prices down, and sold through an ex­cel­lent dealer net­work. You can see them at www.gold­enear.com.

A few years ago, Lex­i­con, a pre­mium brand, had a very em­bar­rass­ing mo­ment when it tried to sell a Blu-ray player for $3,500. The web­site au­dio­hol­ics.com opened it up and found it was a re­ba­dged Oppo with some firm­ware changes. It ac­tu­ally per­formed worse than the un­al­tered Oppo unit! You can read about it at http://​tinyurl.com/​lex­i­conoppo.

There is also a point of di­min­ish­ing re­turns with high-end equip­ment. Ar­gu­ments can be made for very ex­pen­sive speaker sys­tems and phono play­back gear, but some of the elec­tron­ics are ab­surdly priced. There are am­pli­fi­ers that sell for $50,000 or more.

Even if I had bil­lions of dol­lars in the bank, I would not buy any­thing like this. While I don't be­lieve all am­pli­fi­ers sound the same, I also don't be­lieve there is any­thing worth that kind of money, and you max out the sound qual­ity long be­fore you come close to huge five-fig­ure prices.

If some­one handed me a blank check to buy am­pli­fi­ers for my power-hun­gry Ohm Walsh 5000 speak­ers, I would buy a pair of Para­sound Halo JC1 mono­block am­pli­fi­ers for $9,000 per pair, a rel­a­tive pit­tance com­pared to some of the es­o­teric stuff out there.

The Para­sounds are de­signed by a re­nowned en­gi­neer, beau­ti­fully made, have al­most end­less power and are re­li­able.

They are also made by a solid com­pany that has been around for a long time and will be there to sup­port you in the fu­ture.


Read prod­uct re­views by Don Lindich at soundad­vice­blog.com.

Join the conversation:

Commenting policy | How to report abuse
To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Commenting policy | How to report abuse

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

You have 2 remaining free articles this month

Try unlimited digital access

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here

You’ve reached the limit of free articles this month.

To continue unlimited reading

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here