The last time vinyl records were this popular, the main alternatives were cassette tapes and 8-tracks. Now we’ve got 24-bit/192kHz digital downloads that sound like you’re in the studio hearing every finger movement on the fretboard.
If you still dig listening to LPs but also enjoy the state-of-the-art digital downloads out there now, Parasound‘s new Halo P 5 stereo preamplifier is right up your musical alley. For less than a thousand bucks, you get a beautiful-looking piece of gear that will allow you to spin records and shuffle high-res digital files, with little care which way your audiophile biases lean.
The P 5 is a replacement for the long-standing Halo P 3, with Parasound addressing some of the demands of today’s listeners, like adding a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) for high-res formats, including subwoofer outputs if you need some more oomph, and adding moving-coil support for the phono stage.
“For 10 years, the Halo P 3 has been a mainstay of our line for value-conscious audiophiles,” says Richard Schram, Parasound founder and president. “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 (moving magnet) 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 P 5 includes a pair of balanced XLR inputs and outputs to go with the subwoofer XLR, five RCA line-level stereo inputs plus a front-panel 3.5mm auxiliary port to plug in your mobile device and headphone jack. The aux port features an additional 12dB gain stage to give those portable devices an audible boost.
On the DAC side, the P 5’s coax and optical ports can accept signals up to 192kHz, and the USB port up to 96kHz, for your 16- and 24-bit digital enjoyment. On the analog side, there’s a 100 ohm/47k ohm switch to select the appropriate load impedance matching, the company says.
Like other Parasound gear, the P 5 comes in silver or black. It is scheduled to ship in September for $950.
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.