Mmm. Competitors? Of course there's competition in today's upscale monitor sector, from Focal to Magico to sonus Faber and many steps in-between. On matching concept however, I'm aware of only one: Vimberg's ~€13'000/pr Amea from Germany. Like Parker Duo, it uses all Accuton drivers, a rear-aiming aluminium passive radiator and offers a diamond tweeter upgrade. Its mid/woofer is 6.8" across, its radiator 8.6", its weight 20kg down the scale.
If you want this particular layout and driver tech, Amea and Parker Duo would seem to be the most closely matched candidates, albeit at still disparate pricing. The Swedes get a few thousand less.
Unlike the aluminium championed by Magico, Stenheim and YG Acoustics—even Vimberg with Amea's driver plate and bracing—Wilson Audio built their name upon various methacrylate polymers. Mårten's building block solution for the Parker range can't be the carbon-fiber laminate of their statement range but is their constrained-layer M board laminate. As ultra high-speed cameras show, conventional MDF is prone to micro deformation when its drivers 'attack' it with bigger excursions.
It's why most all upscale speaker housings pursue harder stiffer or at least thicker materials which resist flex to create an inert wave-launch pad for expensive drivers. In a passive speakers, the 'brain' is the frequency-divider network which inserts between your amplifier and its drivers. Mårten refer to their filters for the Parker range as multi diverse. To learn its meaning and more about the M board, I'd have to talk to them.
To learn about the company, their 'about' page describes a three-brother family business run jointly by Leif, Jörgen and Lars Olofsson whose grandfather built advanced violins modeled on Stradivarius two generations ago. To pursue realistic sonics systemically, Mårten Design built their own recording studio in 2014. Since then they've worked with the best reference possible – knowing exactly what's on your recordings because they were mastered and are then played back on your very own speakers. A proper sound room is part of the same equation and the next video shows what the Olofsson brothers have to work with.
Finally, part of the Parker genesis story is having been planned as a simpler refresh to the Heritage range. According to Mårten, the eventual improvements accrued well beyond expectations to call for an entirely new range with its own identity rather than go by Heritage 2 or some such thing. When the cook surprises even himself, it's always a very good thing.
If we ask why stand-mount 2-ways are so popular, we come across a few pointers. In no particular sequence, there's the visual/psychological aspect. Stereophonic playback is an illusion. It sends mixed messages. Our eyes tell us there's nobody there, our ears try to convince us otherwise. To eliminate the conflict, many enjoy listening with their eyes shut. That's also what a small speaker has over a big one. It's not only less visibly obvious, it obscures (stands in front of) a smaller area of the soundstage. So it 'disappears' more easily with fewer brain gymnastics. Mechanically, smaller enclosure panels are less talkative. They require less bracing or heroic builds to keep quiet. The absence of a 3-way's high-pass filter on the all-important midrange has less reactive/lossy components in its signal path. That benefits speed and clarity. Smaller mid/woofers don't overload smaller rooms as easily/quickly as dedicated big woofers. And just how many lord it over capacious dedicated listening temples? For most folks, the main lounge of standard dimensions doubles as family and listening room. Visually and acoustically, smaller speakers thus win.
The obvious challenge has always been how to augment liberated out-of-the-box imaging with mature bass power and reach. A 5¼" or 6½" mid/woofer in limited cubic volume only does so much. Enter the ubiquitous port. It 'sings along' in the low end but is usually challenged to stop exactly on time. The fancy term for that behavior is higher group delay. Because a hole in the head doesn't look terrific, most ports aim out the back to not show. Now they work directly into the room's front corners as the areas where three boundaries meet to create high-pressure zones. The upshot is more likely bass boom. Into this scenario landed Kaiser's Chiara as one of the earlier luxury monitors with rear-firing passive radiator. Like a port, it increased bass extension and dynamics over a sealed alignment of the same cubic volume. Unlike a port, it stopped quicker to be better damped. That also cleaned up customary port overlay on the midband for benefits well beyond just more and better bass. Now our little detour circles back at today's Parker Duo. Its front looks like a 7.5" two-way but it behaves like an 11.7" in the low registers. If your room is of standard not mansion size to also sit closer, would you rather look at the Parker Duo or Parker Quintet in the above overlay? With deliberate boundary gain from close-wall placement, the two-way might really be all you want also sonically. If you have money to spare, there's the diamond tweeter, Jorma's statement cabling, upgraded capacitors and connectors to become your Charlie Parker's angel.
… to be continued…
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