Parasound Readies Halo Amp, New Compact Components

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San Francisco - Parsound has added a three-channel amp to its flagship Halo series and plans four half-rack-size audio components intended for tabletop use.

The three-channel amp is the THX Ultra2-certified Parasound Halo A 31, due in April at a suggested $3,000.The high-bias Class A/AB amp features pure Class A operation up to 7 watts per channel and delivers 250 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 400 watts into 4 ohms, all channels driven.

It is said to be sonically identical to the company's Halo A 51 and Halo A 21 amps, rated respectively at 5x250 watts and 2x50-watts, respectively, into 8 ohms. It's designed for multiple applications. In one scenario, it would power two surround speakers and one center-channel speaker in a home theater system while a separate two-channel amp or pair of monoblock amps are dedicated to the left-right front channels, which can also be used for two-channel music listening.

The amp can also be used to create a home theater system without surround channels, or it could be used with a second three-channel amp to power a 6.1-channel home theater.

It turns on automatically when it senses an audio signal or receives a 12-volt trigger signal. XLR balanced inputs are included along with RCA single-ended inputs. The front panel is anodized aluminum. The A 31 uses no capacitors or inductors in the signal path.

In its Z series of half-rack-width audio components, the company is adding four models designed specifically for tabletop or desktop use. They will be available in silver to complement black Z series half-rack-width components intended for rack mounting. Those models come with rack ears and could be used to create a multizone audio system.

The four new models are the $350-suggested Zamp v.3, $400 Zcd CD player, $400 Zpre2 preamp, and $450 Zdac digital-to-analog converter, all due in the spring.

All are one IU-rack tall at 1.5 inches (2 inches with feet), a half IU rack wide at 9.5 inches wide, and 10 inches deep.

The Zamp v.3 amp is rated at 2x45 watts into 8 ohms, 2x60 watts into 4 ohms, and 90 watts bridged into 8 ohms. It features automatic turn-on/off via 12-volt triggers or audio signal sensing with adjustable sensitivity. It also offers level controls for each channel and headphone jack.

The Zcd plays MP3 files from a USB stick or CD-R disc, features NTSC composite-video output to display MP3 metadata on a TV, analog volume control for direct hookup to an amp, simultaneous fixed-and variable-level analog outputs, rear-panel 3.5mm stereo input for portable MP3 players or smartphones, optical and coaxial digital outputs, three turn-on options (manual, 12-volt trigger, AC), 12-volt trigger output to turn on a power amp, rear-panel IR input and RS232 serial port, and included remote control.

The Zpre2 stereo preamp features bass and treble controls, RS-232 serial port, and automatic turn on/off via 12-volt-tigger.

Details of the zDAC weren't available.

In its rack-mount Z series, the company offers seven models and is adding two more. The two new models are the Zcd, due in February, and the Zdac, due in March/April. They'll join the Zamp v.3, Ztuner V.2, Zpre2, Zbreeze cooling fan, Zselect speaker selector, Zphono preamp, and Zphono USB, a preamp with USB output to transfer vinyl to a PC's hard drive.


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