|Parasound Halo P5 Front Panel|
I don’t understand why high end audio has to be so expensive. While expensive is a relative term, for the sake of this discussion, let’s say expensive is anything over $1,000. When I was in college, I purchased a truly fantastic NAD stereo preamp for a few hundred dollars. I don’t remember the exact price but I sold it on eBay many years ago for over $250. I think I sold it for close to what I paid for it.
|Parasound P5 Rear Panel|
The only company that comes close in features is Emotiva with their XSP-1 differential preamp. It’s similar in many features to the Parasound as a 2.1 preamp. However the Emotiva is purely an analog preamp with no DAC at all.
On the one hand, I’d like to applaud Parasound for coming in under the $1,000 mark for this product. It’s clearly a significant feature upgrade to it’s predecessor but at a less expensive price point. On the other hand, the Parasound P5 makes me lament a more nostalgic time when high end audio seemed a bit more accessible to the “average person”—especially the college student.
Parasound has added a new 2.1-channel audio preamplifier to its high-end ‘Halo’ product family. The new Parasound Halo P 5, which replaces the popular and long-lived Halo P 3 stereo preamplifier, adds a high-quality DAC (digital-to-analog converter) with coaxial, optical, and USB inputs, subwoofer outputs with analog bass management, home theater bypass, moving-coil capabilities to the phono stage, and a precision, motorized volume control.
“For 10 years, the Halo P 3 has been a mainstay of our line for value-conscious audiophiles,” said Richard Schram, the founder and president of Parasound. “However, new technologies have changed the ways audiophiles connect to and enjoy their music. So, the addition of a high quality DAC was an obvious choice for the P 5. There has also been a resurgence in turntables, so we upgraded the MM-only phono stage to also handle moving coil cartridges with a choice of load impedances. While the P 3 has outstanding two-channel sound, many audiophiles today have 2.1-channel stereo speaker systems with robust subwoofers. The P 5 actually creates a sub channel output for the 2.1 listening. The P 5 also makes it easy to integrate audiophile stereo speakers with a home theater surround system. The addition of a balanced XLR subwoofer output and variable low frequency and high frequency crossovers makes the Halo P 5 uniquely capable in these configurations.”
The Parasound Halo P 5’s state-of-the-art DAC can process a wide range of digital sources with its coaxial and optical inputs accepting up to 192 kHz rates, and the USB input accepting up to 96 kHz.
The Halo P 5 inputs include one pair of balanced XLR, phono, five RCA line-level stereo inputs and a front panel 3.5mm mini jack for portable MP3 players or smartphones. Its line outputs are balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA, plus a choice of balanced or unbalanced subwoofer outputs. The main and subwoofer outputs can be run full range or placed under the careful regulation of variable frequency analog high-pass and low pass crossovers.
The phono input is compatible with all moving magnet cartridges, and virtually all moving coil cartridges, with a 100 ohm/47k ohm switch to select the appropriate load impedance matching.
The front panel has a headphone jack, controls for source selection, level, bass, treble, tone defeat, balance, and subwoofer level. There is an auxiliary input with an additional 12-dB gain stage to compensate for typically low output of portable devices. An included remote control duplicates these functions. The IC volume control of the P 3 has been replaced with a premium Alps motorized potentiometer.
In addition to upgrades to the analog audio circuitry, the P 5 features a 0.5 watt standby power consumption to meet the new Energy Star requirements. A 12-VDC trigger circuit and a IR connection and loop-out make it easy to interface with sophisticated AV systems.
The Parasound Halo P 5 audio preamplifier will be offered in both black and the traditional Halo silver finish. It will be available in September with a suggested retail price of $950.
|Parasound Halo P 5 Audio Preamplifier Product Features|
10 Hz – 100 kHz, +0/-3 dB
Total Harmonic Distortion
< 0.01 %
> 70 dB at 20 kHz
300 mv: 1 Volt Out
Total Gain: 10 dB
Maximum Output: 7 Volts
Unbalanced: 24 kohm
Balanced: 100 kohm per leg
Unbalanced: 100 ohm
Balanced: 470 ohm per leg
S/N Ratio – Line Inputs 1-5
> 108 dB, input shorted, IHF A-weighted
> 88 dB, input shorted, unweighted
S/N Ratio – DAC Inputs
> 108 dB, input shorted, IHF A-weighted
> 90 dB, input shorted, unweighted
|S/N Ratio – Phono Inputs
MM > 80 dB, input shorted, IHF A-weighted
MM > 70 dB, input shorted, unweighted
MC > 67 dB, input shorted, IHF A-weighted
MC > 55 dB, input shorted, unweighted
DC Trigger Requirements
+9 Vdc to +12 Vdc, 2 mA
XLR Pin Identification
1 = Ground (Shield)Â Â 2 = Positive Â Â 3 = Negative (Return)
Width: 17-1/4″ (437 mm)
Depth: 13-3/4″ (350 mm)
Height, with feet: 4-1/8″ (105 mm)
Height, without feet: 3-1/2″ (89 mm)
14 lb. (6.3 kg)
21 lb. (9.5 kg)
Standby: 0.5 Watts
Power On: 20 Watts
100-250 Volts, 50-60 Hz (Automatic)
Suggested Retail Price: $950