Parker Audio 95MK II Loudspeakers Reviewed

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ParkerAudio_95MKII_image.gifChances are you've never heard of or seen a pair of Parker Audio 95MK II loudspeakers. Because of that fact, you're probably thinking they're some sort of uber-esoteric, high-end, ultra-expensive loudspeakers from some designer's garage in Munich. Well, you'd be partially right. Park Audio loudspeakers, specifically the 95MK IIs reviewed here, are uber-esoteric and high-end but not expensive. However, they do come from a bloke's workshop, only it's not in Munich ... it's in Kentucky.

The 95MK IIs retail direct from Park Audio's own website for a startling $599 a pair in their black finish and $799 a pair for veneer. You can even buy the 95MK IIs as a kit and make a pair yourself for $219. What you get for your money is very simple and straightforward: you get a two-way bass reflex floor-standing speaker with a three-quarter-inch tweeter sandwiched between two five-and-a-quarter-inch drivers. The 95MK II is about as basic as it gets. The fit and finish is not what I'd call furniture-grade, nor can it compete with the likes of Paradigm or Definitive, but that's not really the 95MK II's market and/or appeal.

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The 95MK II is designed for a very specific customer, one who fancies himself or herself an audiophile but is very much anti-establishment, the type of consumer who isn't swayed by technical papers and PR mumbo jumbo - in fact, such things would most assuredly enrage a Parker Audio customer. The 95MK II is for a true music lover: as long as the music sounds good, to hell with what it looks like. Which is probably why the Parker Audio 95MK II is designed somewhat specifically for one of my all-time favorite yet very esoteric amplifiers, the Zen SET amp from Decware.

Getting back to the 95MK II's design and performance, it has no crossovers of any kind. In fact, the only real parts the 95MK II uses are Hovland Musicaps in the tweeter section. This means the 95MK II is very revealing, agile and easy to drive. It can be powered to loud volumes by as little as two Watts thanks to its 95dB sensitivity rating. The 95MK II has a reported frequency response of 55-23kHz, which is far from full-range, though the 95MK II's bass output is rather surprising. Overall, the 95MK II is about as sexy on paper and in person as Susan Boyle. However, like Susan Boyle, when it comes to music, it has talent in spades.

The 95MK II is extremely natural-sounding, with zero bloat or the fake syrupy warmth that so many speakers exhibit these days. It has electrostatic-like transparency, speed and detail, yet it can be powered by almost any amplifier and doesn't require quite the attention to set up that electrostatics do. The 95MK II images like a pair of high-end monitor speakers, aurally disappearing, leaving behind a seamless, well-composed and wholly natural soundstage that is about as good as they come and highly addictive. It's not what I'd call a bass-heavy speaker and will come up short in that department without the aid of a quality subwoofer, but what bass it does have is exceptional and extremely musical. Dynamically, the 95MK IIs are almost without rivals, for they can start and stop on a dime, as well as energize all but the largest of rooms on little to no power.

Read about the high points and the low points of the 95MK II on Page 2.

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