Gold Sound's PARASOUND Page
Parasound has long been recognized for world-class sound, exceptional durability & great value. Audio reviewers in the U.S. & Europe praise Parasound for exceptional sound. STEREOPHILE rates Parasound amps in the same class as amps costing 8 times as much. STEREOPHILE & ABSOLUTE SOUND writers own Parasound amps & use them as their reference units.
All Parasound Halo amps are designed by John Curl, "an audio design genius, arguably the greatest one of our generation. He designed & built the electronics for Mobile Fidelity's Super Master & David Wilson's Ultramaster tape recorders, two of the three 's best analog recorders. He designed the Marc Levinson JC1 head amp & JC2 preamp." STEREOPHILE 3/11
ABSOLUTE SOUND, 5-6/2012, chose the Levinson JC2 as one of the four most historically significant solid state preamps ever made. John Curl designed electronics for the Grateful Dead over 30 years ago. Parasound's best power amp, the JC1; best line-stage preamp, the JC2; & best phono preamp, the JC3, all bear his initials.
The JC1, JC2 & JC3 have 10 year parts & labor warranties. Other Halo models have a 5 year parts & labor warranty. Many more expensive competing amps only have a 3 year warranty. The Classic models have a 3 year parts & labor warranty; Z series, 2 years.
At the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, Gold Sound, with Richard Schram, Parasound's president, presented a complete Halo system. STEREOPHILE's 10/4/09 blog said, "with Parasound's universally praised Halo JC 2 preamp ($4000) & JC 1 monoblock amps (a steal at $9000/pair), this system delivered great highs, ear-opening depth & 3-dimensionality & excellent midrange. With the volume turned way up, there wasn't a hint of strain. The sound was sensational enough to live for."
In 3/12 STEREOPHILE, Richard Schram, said, Building cost-no-object audio dosn't interest me in the least. But building high performance / high value audio is a challenge that never ceases to be exciting. My work feels like a hobby most of the time."
Listeners' Iove Parasound's sound quality, its detail, super-quiet & natural imaging. Every Parasound has superb construction & impeccable build quality. Here's audiophile quality at an affordable price. The power transformer is an amplifier's most expensive & most important electronic part. The transformer determines the power output & bass of any amp. The fact that Parasound amps have oversize torroidal transformers makes them unique. The finest amps, for many thousands of dollars, use torroidal transfomers, since they sound best & are quieter. Most amps & receivers for thousands of dollars have noisier standard transformers that can be heard humming across a room, even without the speakers being connected. Standard transformers have metal plates that vibrate 60 times a second. Torroidal transformers are inherently shielded, more efficient & don't have the many buzzing metal plates that are in most transformers.
PARASOUND on display:
A23* & A21* stereo power amps
JC1* Monoblock power amps
JC3* Stereo phono preamp
P3* Stereo preamp
2100 Stereo preamp
PARASOUND Z - Only 9.5" wide!
Z Phono USB phono preamp*
Z Phono preamp*
Z DAC, digital to analog converter
Z Speaker selector switch
PARASOUND, the Choice of the Pros
MOVIE STUDIOS & DIRECTORS
LUCASFILM acknowledged the role that Parasound power amps & surround processors played in the sound production for STAR WARS EPISODES I, II & III by giving Parasound screen credits for all three movies. This honor is unique among audio companies.
20th CENTURY FOX
SOUND DESIGN & RECORDING
SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY
LESLIE ANN JONES
MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS has made over 60 recordings while conducting these orchestras: Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia Jazz Band, English Chamber., Hungarian State, London Sinfonietta, London Symph., Los Angeles, New World Brass, New World Symph., St. Luke's, Philharmonia, Royal Concertgebouw [Holland], San Francisco & Utah.
MARY J. BILGE
How to Improve your Home Theater System
Most home theater receivers have power ratings that melt away like a snow man in the hot sun. HOME THEATER, 12/12, tested a $600 Denon receiver rated at 125W/ch. With all channels running, the tested power is under 53 watts/ch. However, you can easily fix this problem.
If your receiver has preamp outputs, hooking up a good separate power amp makes your system come alive. Beyond getting a larger quantity of watts, you'll get far better quality watts. Power amps have more robust power supplies, which enable them to have richer & deeper bass, plus imaging that you can touch & feel.
HOME THEATER 10/08 compared a $5200 Denon & $7000 Lexicon receiver with a $2000 power amp. The amp "easily won in every department, especially treble transient clarity, transparency & resolution, with an airy, open & extended yet sweet top end; far superior to Denon, which was closed in & opaque. The amp produced complete sonic satisfaction at any volume; combined delicacy, detail, transparency & a velvety overall sheen. Bass more supple, subtle, better textured & less mechanical than the Denon. I doubt any receiver at any price can match the amp's sonic performance."
The Parasound A21 stereo amp, 125W, 8 ohm; 200W/ch, 4 ohm; $949, improves most receivers. The A21, 250W, 8 ohm; 400W/ch, 4 ohm; & $2299 has far more wattage & better quality watts than any AV receiver. The new Parasound A31, $2999, has the same power as the A21, but has three channels, for a home theater system's front left, right & center speakers.
Parasound makes several fine five channel power amps. We have a special on the Parasound 5250vII five channel power amp, 250-385W/ch. The list is $2850, but we have only one left, reduced to $2299. This amp is new, in a sealed box, with a 3 year warranty.
PARASOUND Z Custom
The Z series provides true high-end performance in an ultra-compact size. Every Z component is only 9.5" wide, 1.75" high [2" with feet]; & 10" deep. They sound better than many larger, more expensive components. The Z series includes a power amp, line level preamp, phono preamp, speaker selector, AM-FM tuner, cooling fan & an HDMI switcher. All have gold inputs & outputs, plus built-in power supplies with IEC cords. The line level preamp, tuner & HDMI switcher include remote controls & two-way RS232 connectors. The preamp remote control also controls the tuner; the tuner remote control also controls the preamp. The Z series integrates with popular control systems such as Crestron, Niles, AMX, Control 4, Russound & Netstream.
Z PHONO phono preamp, $199 "An impressive showing," EXCEPTIONAL VALUE, favorably compares to $600 model, STEREOPHILE 10/07
"Excellently built & makes very nice sounds: large sound stage, excellent layering & bloom with remarkably good balance, dynamic range & detail." ABSOLUTE SOUND 3/10
"Remarkably high neutrality; superbly built. ONLY RECOMMENDED PHONO STAGE UNDER $500.
BUYER'S GUIDE, ABSOLUTE SOUND Spring 2010
RECOMMENDED, SENSIBLE SOUND 12/07
Z PHONO USB, Phono preamp with USB output, $399 "Impressed by the quality & quantity of the heavy bass, as well as by the size of the soundstage & the wealth of recorded detail," STEREOPHILE 3/12
Z AMP, v.3 stereo power amp, $399, 45W/ch,
8 ohm; 60W/ch, 4 ohm, 90W/ch, 8 ohm, 20-20k
"One helluva 45 watt amp, regardless of price tag & chassis size," THE AUDIO CRITIC
"The smoothness & naturalness of the Zamp's midrange was exceptional: clean, sweet, realistic & musical. If you're in the market for an inexpensive amp, run - do not walk- to check out this amp. It's a fabulous value for the money." audioXpress
PARASOUND Classic Amps
2100, $649, Stereo Preamp, "I don't know of another preamp with all these features - Subwoofer output with variable crossover; Phono input, switchable to moving magnet, coil or line; Remote control; Tone controls; & Front panel MP3 input. The sound is clean, transparent, airy highs, tight & controlled bass. Distortion is so low we couldn't measured it." 11/07 ENJOY THE MUSIC .COM
"High-end stereo preamp with unique capabilities for integration into home theater systems & custom installs."
EXCITE AWARD, CUSTOM RETAILER 10/07
5250 II, list $2850, now on sale at $2299!!! THX Certified. 250W x 5 chan, 8 ohm; 385W x 5 chan, 4 ohm. BEST AMP UNDER $3000 "Parasound has always offered terrific value. Packs a tremendous punch with one of the best $ to watt ratios." HOME THEATER VISION 2007 annual
A21, power amp, $2299, 250W, 8 ohm; 400W/ch, 4 ohm "Very fine amp at exceptionally fair price. Midrange & bass excellent; sounded fundamentally similar to $20-40,000 amps." ABSOLUTE SOUND 1/07
"Excellent amp, 250W/ch/8 ohm, 400W/ch/4 ohm." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE 3/11
A23, power amp, $949, 125W/ch, 8 ohm; 200W/ch, 4 ohm; "Reasonably priced amp, musically quite involving." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE 3/11
JC1 Power Amp $8998/pr, 400W, 8 ohm; 800W, 4 ohm; 1200W, 2 ohm, EXCEPTIONAL VALUE, A RATED; "Powerful, refined, smooth, dynamic, transparent; rated at 400W, does 586W." PRODUCT OF THE YEAR; IN SAME CLASS AS $55,000 AMPS. STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED 4/12
"The build & sound quality of my JC1 mono amps, my reference amps, is first rate. If they were made in America or Australia, it would cost a lot more. Thirty grand for a pair of Halcros? I'll take Parasounds. I heard both & I did." STEREOPHILE 12/05
"I [Sam Tellig] own a pair of JC1 amps. They're a steal. I've used the JC1's with 24 different speakers & never ran out of power. In a large room - especially one with cathedral ceilings & open space - you need increased power." STEREOPHILE 12/07
"A revelation; impressively coherent; transparent & detailed soundstage." STEREOPHILE 3/08
"Effortlessly powerful, silky smooth, crystal clear abundantly detailed." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE 3/11
HOME THEATER, 6/2012 highly recommended;
Tested Power: 8 ohm, 499W, .1% dist; 582W, 1% dist
4 ohm, 609W, .1% dist; 836W, 1% dist
"The JC1 apparent bass response was far better than I'd ever heard before, demonstrating low-end reach that I just didn't expect. Subtle ambiance, imaging & the soundstage were all staggering. The placement of instruments had a more realistic feel. On Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams," the crisp highs & Stevie Nicks liquid vocals never sounded so good. I no longer felt the need to integrate a sub into my two channel listening."
"Parasound's Halo amps get my complete standing ovation. The JC1 left my jaw on the floor & the A51 proved to be a superb complement with multichannel music & soundtracks. They made a true believer out of me. It's rare that any amp wil have such a profound effect on my listening experience, but these provided one I never wanted to let go of & the JC1 / A51 combo has now found a permanent home in my reference system. I can't give a higher recommendation than that."
PARASOUND HALO PREAMPS
P3, preamp, $849 "Should be celebrated. Parasound has a solid reputation by offering high-value products that compete well with more expensive products." AVguide.com RECOMMENDED
A23 & P3 "A winning combination! Sexy in appearance, easy to use; sound solid & satisfying. Their sleek cases & glowing blue lights will make them showpieces in your living room & should earn them easy spousal approval." GOOD SOUND.COM 12/1/04
JC2 Preamp, $4000, PRODUCT of the YEAR 09, ABSOLUTE SOUND GOLDEN EAR AWARD; EDITOR'S CHOICE 3/11
"Neutral & natural, transparent, quick & delicately detailed; a masterwork." BUYER'S GUIDE, ABSOLUTE SOUND Spring 2010
"Like the JC1, the JC2 is up there with the best of them, but down to earth in price. Competes successfully against preamps, solid-state or tubes, that sell for twice the price or more. It excels at reproduction of space; helps the JC1 amps throw a huge soundstage." STEREOPHILE 12/07
EXCEPTIONAL VALUE, A RATED; IN SAME CLASS as $37,000 PREAMPS "Excellent reproduction of space; music emerges intact with body, bloom & dynamics, with definition & detail form an utterly silent background. Perhaps the finest solid-state line stage I've heard." STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED 10/12
"Remarkably detailed & shockingly realistic sound. Rock solid build quality; parts quality absolutely first rate. JC1 & 2 sound strikes a keen balance between superlative resolution & sounding beguilingly sweet & natural. I'm totally absorbed by CDs that previously bored me. Experience the Parasounds first hand. Bring your favorite music & hear it like never before." HOME ENTERTAINMENT 6/08
"The BEST BUY in a HIGH-END PREAMP TODAY."
"The BEST BARGAIN in a HIGH END PREAMP. This is the closest I've heard solid state come to a fundamentally neutral sound. It preserves fine harmonic & dynamic detail, air & bloom in the midband; [plus] the frequency extremes, which is unique in a solid state preamp. EXTREME RARITY - A REFERENCE QUALITY PRODUCT THAT MANY of us can ACTUALLY AFFORD." GOLDEN EAR AWARD, ABSOLUTE SOUND 7/08
JC3 Phono preamp, $2350, GOLDEN EAR AWARD, ABSOLUTE SOUND 9/12 - The only other phono preamp chosen was $19,000!
JC3 midbass attack is timbrally & texturally ideal; bass tight & punchy; midbass attack timbrally & texturally ideal, performing well beyond its price. Superb musical grip & control. At $2350, the JC3 is remarkably fine & easily held its own against preamps from $10,600 to $26,000. The JC3 represents the best current value in a phono preamp. STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED 3/11
STEREOPHILE EXCEPTIONAL VALUE, 4/12, in same class as $3900 preamps
PHONO STAGE OF THE YEAR "There's a riveting balance of extremes at play here - a kiss of romance through the mids & an ability to extract & define low-level information in acoustic space. There's a warm breadth of life in every musical image." ABSOLUTE SOUND 1/12
GOLDEN EAR AWARD "Curl's earlier efforts, the Halo JC-1 amp & JC-2 preamp, had been overwhelmingly well received & phono stages are one of Curl's passions. The JC-3 is a dual-mono design. Each channel is housed in its own extruded aluminum enclosure & further isolated from the power supply with thick, low-carbon-steel partitions. The JC-3 is fitted with top-quality parts throughout. What continues to strike me about the JC-3 is its balance of profound silence & kick-butt energy, its kiss of romance through the mids & its ability to extract low-level information & define it in acoustic space. There's a warm breath of life in every musical image." ABSOLUTE SOUND 9/11
P7 HOME THEATER, 6/2012 highly recommended;
"The perfect choice for those looking for a preamp that won't be outdated a year later & who want an audiophile grade preamp for 2 channel & multichannel sources. At $2000, its value is a testament to Parasound's ability to deliver world-class audio at prices that are actually realistic & attractive. With the right front-end device, you have everything you need for an involving sonic experience that will knock your socks off."
"Delightful sound" STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED 10/12
Parasound Halo AV Amps
A51, 250W, 8 ohm; 400W, 4 ohm x 5 channels, $4500, Surround sound power amp, EDITOR'S CHOICE "Powerful power amp with impressive sound. Excellent value." HI-FI CHOICE, AWARDS 2008
HOME THEATER, 6/2012 highly recommended; tested
power: 8 ohm, 301W, .1% dist; 330W, 1% dist
4 ohm, 357W, .1% dist; 423W, 1% dist
The same issue has a test of a $6000 McIntosh MC8207, 7 channel power amp, with the same power as a $8500 MC207 amp. Parasound's A51 amp is $1500 - 4000 less, has 40% more 8 ohm power, won a higher value rating & is the amp the reviewer decided to purchase.
"Parasound's Halo amps get my complete standing ovation. The JC1 left my jaw on the floor & the A51 proved to be a superb complement with multichannel music & soundtracks. They made a true believer out of me. It's rare that any amp wil have such a profound effect on my listening experience, but these provided one I never wanted to let go of. The JC1 / A51 combo is now my permanent reference system. I can't give a higher recommendation than that."
A52, $2249 "This 5x125W, 8 ohm [200W, 4 ohm] amp has warm, natural sound." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
"Those who prize flexibility will appreciate RCA & balanced inputs & individual channel level controls. Warm, natural, never edgy sound."
PERFECT VISION winter 2005
P7 PREAMP, $2000, "Set-up as a straight-through stereo preamp was a piece of cake. Delight to use & listen to. Outstandingly transparent. A superb analog stereo preamp at a realistic price. Icing on the cake: sophisticated controls, renamable input displays, superb remote control & valuable ability to manage bass via its stereo inputs. A category killer. Nothing else can do what it does & the few that sound marginally better cost many times more." STEREOPHILE, 1/09
STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED, exceptional value, in same class as $8,000 preamp, 4/12
"Sounds transparent & near silent. When you consider how noisy a receiver can be with the amp & massive power supply next to sensitive audio parts, the P7 makes a lot of sense. Free the music from all that electronic noise & audiophiles can get the source material to the best ability their system can muster. Fantastically well built." HOME ENTERTAINMENT 1/09
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