I'd forgotten all about Maxima strings! I had a bandmate back in the '80s who used them on his Ovation acoustic, and I can't honestly remember seeing any since then. They were just too expensive. Do you remember SIT (Stay In Tune) strings from the '80s? Steve Lukather was their big celebrity endorser. I tried some once, but never used them again. Oddly enough, contrary to their name and sales line, they wouldn't stay in tune AT ALL. How about Kahler strings? Remember those? Hey, how about Kahler TREMOLOS? All are now relics of the past.
Nothing ever has or ever will beat a Floyd Rose, even though I do have a certain affinity for my Kahler Pro that I use with a Floyd Rose locking nut. The obsolete Washburn Wonderbar and Kahler Flyer, as well as Wilkinson and most of the "licensed by Floyd Rose" bridges are awful. Steinberger Trans-Trems stayed in perfect tune but were way too finicky.
The double locking Kahler/Floyd Rose hybrid was pretty good, except for the G would often go out of tune a bit (sharp) and you were always grabbing for the fine tuner. Before you locked down the nut, you had to make sure you had the "G" fine tuner screwed nearly all the way in so you'd have enough counter-clockwise travel for plenty of tuning tweaks.
There were only a few of the Kahler/Floyd hybrids made before Kahler went belly up. I had one on a Peavey Vandenberg, which Peavey still makes as the V-Type. I absolutely adored the guitar's feel and sound, but eventually sold it because of the tuning problems. OTOH, I could go total wacko on a Floyd for a whole gig and it would still be in tune when I cleaned the strings and put it in the case.
You mentioned the plastic film coming off the wound Elixir strings after time. Yep, they most certainly do that. It slowly frays and leaves little "fuzzies" hanging off. It's too bad that stainless steel strings sound so brittle, thin, and bright. Bummer. I don't think they're even made any more. I guess it seemed like a good idea to their designer at the time!
I hate to hear that Parker has resorted to costcutting like most other guitar manufacturers. A solid, thick block of maple definitely costs a lot more than a thin ash body, but to me ash just doesn't sound good despite all the hype surrounding it. It's too fuzzy and unfocused sounding. Koa, alder, and mahogany all have great tone, but maple is hands-down the best sustaining and most sharply focused body wood, especially when paired with a good ebony fingerboard. It's very different from the alder or poplar body/rosewood fingerboard sound. I have an old Carvin that's an Eastern Hard Rock maple body and neck, and it just sustains forever, with incredible chime and clarity. Unfortunately, it's also so heavy it makes a Les Paul Custom feel like a piece of styrofoam.
I wasn't aware that Washburn owns Parker now, but the drop in quality you described is pretty typical of what happens when the big mass production company buys the Mom and Pop boutique company. It sounds like the same thing that happened when Hondo bought Charvel, or (as you mentioned) when CBS bought Fender. Everything went to pot overnight. It's sad that the whole reason we now have much better cheapo line guitars than we did 20 years ago is the same reason we now have poorer
upper middle line guitars now than we did 20 years ago, which is machine-manufacturing of guitars.
Hartley Peavey revolutionized the way electric guitars were made by replacing hand labor with CNC machining. Today, you can get a guitar for $500 (or less) that feels and plays as good as a guitar costing $800 to $1000 back in the mid '80s. But, it's also made everything into a single, "generic cookie cutter" category that feels and plays the same; not quite bad, but not quite good either.
Today, the only differences between a $400 guitar and a $1300 guitar are a little better woods, better attention to detail in fret dress and setup, and sometimes maybe also name brand pickups. The very best guitars still cost upward of $2K to well over $2.5K, the same as they did back in the '80s, and have lots of highly skilled hand labor involved after the initial CNC work, the same as they did back in the '80s.
Nothing will ever beat the excellence of Old World craftsmanship by a master artisan who "feels" his craft. Humans make art, machines just make "stuff." It's like when drum consumer market machines first came out, and they were predicting that as the technology improved the machines would replace real human drummers on a large scale. I always said it would never happen no matter how good drum machines got, and over two decades later it still hasn't. Truth is, it can't. No machine can ever replace a real drummer until it learns how to throw drumsticks at the back of your head, eat the hamburger you were saving for after the gig, and make a pass at your girlfriend.