Near-Field Nirvana Quick Takes 

by | Oct 17, 2019 | Component Reviews | 1 comment

Magnepan’s LRS Speaker

Parasound’s Halo HINT-6 Integrated Amp

Magnepan LRS Speaker

Magnepan LRS Speaker — Worth The Wait!  Only $650!

Parasound Halo HINT-6

Parasound Halo HINT-6 — Five Components in One!  Only $2995!

Magnepan LRS New “Horn” Speaker

Magnepan LRS Speaker

Magnepan LRS Speaker

Yes, it sounds kind of like a horn speaker?  Wait, a flat horn?  How can this be? Well, because they have many attributes of a really good horn design; Clarity, transparency and purity. Open sounding with life like presence.  Took them out of the box cold and hooked up my old vintage NAD 3020 and they sounded RIGHT. No break in.  I had a pair of my vintage Magnepan SMGa’s paired with the 3020 and it sounded rich and full, like a big pair of Spendor’s, great midrange and ripe bass.  Now, one could live with that sound on a rainy day with a Hot Toddy! It rains a lot up here in Portland.

Ok, so now back to modern reality.  I had the new Parasound HINT-6 on hand, burned in for a while, juicing up the LRS all Quasi Ribbon planar designed Magnepan’s. They are quite like the larger all Quasi Ribbon .7 and 1.7 models in the line-up.  They sounded bright up tight and thin with the Parasaound.  Wendell Diller of Magnepan said 100 hours of break in was needed to bring the LRS into focus.  So, a solid week of pounding dynamic aerobic music went into the speakers.  It really puts a strain on the family household with this going on.  At least were able to audition many of our CD’s from the vault listening through the floor upstairs!

After the break in period, it was time to do some auditioning of the speakers and amp.  I had thought some months ago, this pairing would be a good match.  I had to wait in line to get a pair of the selling like hot cakes LRS.  Even for us reviewers!  Well, makes you humble and patient.  Set up was a bit challenging getting the positioning right.  Remember, my sound space is geared for Near-Field listening and I sit close in with speakers in an equal lateral triangle.  Speakers ended up being 28 inches from the back wall, spaced 89 inches apart with the tweeter arrays on the outside.  If you position the tweeters on the inside the highs are too hot, at least for me.  Magnepan says the speakers are tuned a little lively for those who have damped rooms.  They are different from past Magnepan designs.  Now I know why my previous 3.7’s were too bright for my then huge lively reflective room.

I once owned the Tympani IV A’s without that issue.  They do supply attenuating resistors to pad the highs, but I find, they suck the life out of the speaker.  I did put some additional damping beanbag chairs in the space and it did the trick.  $40 at Wally Mart. I was able to align the speaker with no toe parallel to the listening position. Now, music was starting to come alive!  I put on a Beach Boys Surf’n USA Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab Master Tape reissue CD. Now, I have to go the dentist, because my jaw dropped!  I was totally in the mix and it was reminiscent of listening on a pair of Altec Voice of the Theater horn speakers to the master tape.  Brian Wilson produced and performed in the recording and was fanatical about things being perfect at any cost or time in the studio.  Remember, the Beatles were enamored of his work, right around Sgt Pepper creation.

I was hearing it all spaciously and tunefully correct.  No speaker in the room, the HINT-6 had the power and the finesse to make recordings come alive.  The recording was crystal clear and with good bass, midrange and dynamics.  These speakers have a gorgeous midrange.  All instruments were portrayed as being their actual size without any bloating. The LRS are very revealing, similar to electrostatic speakers.  You don’t need to crank it up to retrieve the detail and the feel of live music. However, if Rock is your music, the LRS won’t be the speaker for you. The addition of the DWM Magnepan subwoofer would be recommended. The Parasound was a great dance partner with the LRS.

Dance Partner

I will be going deeper into the LRS with a follow up review with more technical and subjective information with more in depth revelations about comparisons and performance

Parasound HINT-6 First Take

Parasount HINT-6 Interior

Parasount HINT-6 Interior

First Massively Built! Buffed Out!

What would you expect from Parasound. You get a lot for your $$$$.  John Curl is a world-renowned electronics designer paired up with Richard Schram, entrepreneur who created Parasound, with the best bang for the buck home entertainment proposition for the music minded customer.  You have to think of them as a great paring, such as Sam & Dave, or Simon & Garfunkel.  Two of them together are better than the one.

Now this Halo HINT-6 is on secure footing of consideration for one of the best values in audio.  What you get is all this for $2995.00:

  • First Rate Preamplifier
  • First Rate Amplifier, Designed by John Curl, Lots of Power
  • Excellent DAC with one of the best chip sets in the Industry.
  • A really good Phono-Section with cartridge Loading for MM/MC
  • Wonderful Head Phone Amplifier

Ok, looks like we have five components in one chassis.  Now lets consider the value proposition here. The Magnepan LRS goes for $650.00 per pair. So, does a $3k integrated amp make sense to use with a $650 pair of speakers? If you divide $2995.00 by 5, you end up with $599.00 per component within the HINT-6.  Looks like the ratio is correct.  If you were to go out and purchase individual components with hopes of achieving great performance of the HINT-6, good luck!

Sound Quality

The HINT-6 had an ease and openness when paired with Magnepan LRS.  It delivers music with poise and polish.  Never bright or strained, there is ample power to cruise through the choppy waters.  There is rightness to the sound that is neither tube nor solid state.  There is detail without hot spotting.  The timbre of instruments sounded very natural, strings especially sounded real.  The DAC is superb.

I will do an in depth follow up review of the HINT-6, because this is an Edward Scissor Hands multi tool to discuss.  There will be more speakers coming into the Near-Field Nirvana sound space in the up coming weeks.  I’m hoping to keep the HINT-6 after school?

Associated Equipment

  • Rogue Audio Pharaoh Integrated Amplifier, Phono
  • Parasound HINT-6 Integrated Amplifier, DAC & Phono
  • Cambridge CXC Transport
  • Rega Planar 3 Turntable with Ortofon, MC Quintet Cartridge
  • Sim Áudio 110 LP V1, Phono Preamplifier
  • Chord Company Speaker Cables
  • Monster Cable Sigma Interconnects
  • Nordost Digital Co-Ax
  • Black Ravioli E-Floss Energy Drains

NOLA Brio Speaker System
VAC 170 Integrated Tube Amplifier
Follow Up Parasound HINT-6 Integrated
Follow Up Magnepan LRS Speaker

Thank You
Stereotypes Audio for Equipment Loans!

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—Ric Mancuso



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