Gold Sound's PARASOUND Page
STEREOPHILE & ABSOLUTE SOUND give Parasound 9 recommendations, the most of any solid-state amp. While most McIntosh amps cost several times more than most Parasound, no McIntosh solid-state amps are recommended by ABSOLUTE SOUND or STEREOPHILE.
"Parasound [is] built on making audio components that look & sound expensive, but sell for much less than it appears they should & on the substantial legend of audio engineer John Curl, designer of enduringly influential classics [Mark Levinson, Vendetta Research, Grateful Dead electronics, etc.]" STEREOPHILE 11/15
New PARASOUND HALO INTEGRATED AMP in Stock STEREOPHILE & ABSOLUTE SOUND Highly recommended
$2495; Remote Control
384k DAC: USB, RCA & Optical; DSD input
PHONO Input: MM/MC [100 or 47k ohms] SUBWOOFER / SATELLITE OUTPUT: Adjust. Crossover, 20-140hz;
HOME THEATER BYPASS
Line inputs: 5 RCA, one XLR;
Bass & Treble controls
Outputs: XLR balanced & RCA
POWER AMP FEATURES:
160W/ch, 8 ohms
270W/ch, 4 ohms
Toroidal power transformer
Dual mono power supply
High bias Class A/AB topology
This amp's features, sound quality & power are far above other integrated amps. The Parasound has more power & features than 8 competitors, including $4700 amps. Only Parasound has a 384k DAC USB input, DSD decoding, an XLR preamp output & dual mono power amps with over 200 Watts/ch, max. RMS. The competing brands include McIntosh, Bryston, Musical Fidelity, NAD, Arcam & Rotel. Parasound's 5 year parts & labor warranty is longer than most of its more expensive competitors. Parasound is available with silver or black front panels & optional rack mounting hardware.
"The Parasound Halo integrated amp uses the latest generation ESS Sabre 32 Reference DAC for decoding PCM up to 384khz / 32 bit & DSD & has a full complement of digital inputs including asynchronous USB 2.0." ABSOLUTE SOUND
"The Halo integrated's overall sound was spirited, naturally detailed & alluringly three dimensional. This combination of amp & speakers made for pure audio joy. Soundstages were enormous & tangible. The imaging was glorious. One of the best-ever audiophile systems for under $5000." STEREOPHILE 11/15
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.
New PARASOUND P5 PREAMP
STEREOPHILE highly recommended!
$1095; Remote Control
DAC: USB, RCA & Optical PHONO Input: MM/MC [100 or 47k ohms] SUBWOOFER / SATELLITE OUTPUT: Adjustable Crossover, 20-140hz; HOME THEATER BYPASS
Line inputs: 6 RCA, one XLR bass & treble controls
Outputs: XLR balanced & RCA
The P5's feature set & sound quality is far above anything anywhere near its price. Most preamps for several times its price do not include Parasound's DAC, home theater bypass, adjustable subwoofer crossover or 5 year warranty.
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
ABSOLUTE SOUND 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. The Halo & Z series models are now available with black & silver front panels. The Classic series are only black.
At the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, Gold Sound, with Richard Schram, Parasound's president, presented a 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 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 amp's most expensive & most important electronic part. The transformer determines the amp's power output & bass. 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 speakers connected. Standard transformers have metal plates that vibrate 60 times a second. Torroidal transformers are inherently shielded, more efficient & don't have the buzzing metal plates that are in most transformers.
PARASOUND on display:
A23 & A21* stereo power amps
JC2* Stereo line stage preamp
JC3* Stereo phono preamp
P3 Stereo preamp
P5* Stereo preamp with built-in DAC
Stereo Integrated Amp with built-in DAC
2100 Stereo preamp
PARASOUND Z - Only 9.5" wide!
Z Phono USB phono preamp*
Z Phono preamp*
Z Power amp
Z DAC, digital to analog converter*
Z Speaker selector switch
*These models are highly recommended by STEREOPHILE &/or ABSOLUTE SOUND
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 125 watts/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 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 A23 stereo amp, 125W, 8 ohm; 200W/ch, 4 ohm; $995, improves most receivers.
The A21, 250W, 8 ohm; 400W/ch, 4 ohm; & $2499 has far more wattage & better quality watts than any AV receiver. The new Parasound A31, $3295, 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 $1799. 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, phono preamp with USB output, speaker selector, AM-FM tuner, cooling fan, CD player & Digital to Analog Converter.
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.
PARASOUND Z REVIEWS
Z PHONO phono preamp, $199 "An impressive showing," EXCEPTIONAL VALUE, favorably compares to $600 model, STEREOPHILE
"Excellently built & makes very nice sounds: large sound stage, excellent layering & bloom with remarkably good balance, dynamic range & detail." ABSOLUTE SOUND
"Remarkably high neutrality; superbly built. ONLY RECOMMENDED PHONO STAGE UNDER $500.
BUYER'S GUIDE, ABSOLUTE SOUND
RECOMMENDED, SENSIBLE SOUND
Z PHONO USB, Phono preamp with USB output, list $400, now $249 "Impressed by the quality & quantity of the heavy bass, as well as by the size of the soundstage & the wealth of recorded detail," STEREOPHILE
Z DAC Digital to Analog Converter, $475, now $299 "Offers an immaculate sound stage with velvety black backgrounds devoid of electronic hash or noise. It is all about space & ease in reproducing the timbre & texture of acoustic instruments & voice." ABSOLUTE SOUND
"In addition to its 24-bit / 192kHz USB/DAC, the ZDAC includes optical & coaxial digital inputs, a front-panel headphone input [32 - 600 ohms via a high current Class A op-amp] & RCA & XLR outputs. Sonically the ZDAC offers an immaculate soundstage with velvety, black backgrounds devoid of electronic hash or noise. This is one for the long haul." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
Z AMP, v.3 stereo power amp, $349, 45W/ch,
8 ohm; 60W/ch, 4 ohm, 90W/ch, 8 ohm, 20-20k
"I've used a couple of Zamps for years. They've powered my rear surround speakers, my officie & filled in for other amps around the house. The Z amps are totally reliable & sound nice."
"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, $695, 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." ENJOY THE MUSIC .COM
"High-end stereo preamp with unique capabilities for integration into home theater systems & custom installs."
EXCITE AWARD, CUSTOM RETAILER
5250 II, list $2850, now on sale at $1798!!! 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
A21, power amp, $2495, 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
"Excellent amp, 250W/ch/8 ohm, 400W/ch/4 ohm." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
A23, power amp, $995, 125W/ch, 8 ohm; 200W/ch, 4 ohm; "Reasonably priced amp, musically quite involving." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
JC1 Power Amp $8988/pr, 400W, 8 ohm; 800W, 4 ohm; 1200W, 2 ohm, EXCEPTIONAL VALUE, A RATED; "Powerful, refined, smooth, dynamic, transparent; rated 400W, does 586W." PRODUCT of the YEAR; in SAME CLASS as $55,000 AMPS. STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED
"The build & sound quality of my JC1 mono amps, my reference amps, is first rate. If they were made in America, it would cost a lot more. $30,000 for a pair of Halcros? I'll take Parasounds. I heard both & I did." STEREOPHILE
"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
"A revelation; impressively coherent; transparent & detailed soundstage." STEREOPHILE
"Effortlessly powerful, silky smooth, crystal clear abundantly detailed." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
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
JC2 Preamp, $4295, PRODUCT of the YEAR, ABSOLUTE SOUND GOLDEN EAR AWARD; EDITOR'S CHOICE
"Neutral & natural, transparent, quick & delicately detailed; a masterwork." BUYER'S GUIDE, ABSOLUTE SOUND
"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
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
"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
"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
JC3 Phono preamp, $2350, GOLDEN EAR AWARD, ABSOLUTE SOUND - The only other phono preamp chosen was $19,000!
GOLDEN EAR AWARD "Built by Parasound but designed with the inspiration & insight of the legendary John Curl, the JC3 seems destined to embarass much pricier phonostages for the forseeable future. With a fully isolated dual- mono layout inside its full-sized chassis, each
channel is housed in its own extruded aluminum vault. As a result, backgrounds are eerily quiet; instrumental timbres are rich; channel separation is exquisite. There's a sweet kiss of romance through the the mids & an uncanny ability to extract & define low-level information in acoustic space. Capable of handling all but the lowest of the low output moving coils on the market, the JC-3 truly is an affordable examplar of Curl's passion for a format once given up for dead." ABSOLUTE SOUND
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
EXCEPTIONAL VALUE 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
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
P7 HOME THEATER, $2295, 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 $2295, 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, Surround sound power amp, 250W, 8 ohm; 400W, 4 ohm x 5 channels, $4795, "My reference amp is the Parasound A51. I purchased this amp last spring after wanting to own it for more than 10 years & I consider it to be one of the best amps that money can buy." SOUND & VISION, 10/14
EDITOR'S CHOICE "Powerful power amp with impressive sound. Excellent value." HI-FI CHOICE, AWARDS
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 purchased.
"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 music & soundtracks. They made a true believer out of me. It's rare that any amp has 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."
A31, $3295, 3 channel power amp "The A31 is rated at 250W/ch, 8 ohms; 400W/ch, 4 ohms, all 3 channels driven 20Hz-20k. Immediately I was struck by the A31's treble; it seemed to reveal more detail across the soundstage & subtleties of texture. The remarkable definition continued into the midrange & bass. The bass was firm & extended & never lacked for power & weight. The A31's clean, luminous sound was distinguishable from the slightly opaque treble of the $6000 Bel Canto Ref1000Mk2 monoblocks. The A31 is slightly less powerful than the $10,000 McIntosh MC303 into 8 ohms & more powerful into 4 ohms. The Mac's treble was a bit recessed in comparison." STEREOPHILE
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