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A New Mainstay for Value-conscious Audiophiles
Parasound's Halo P 5 replaces the popular and long-lived Halo P 3 stereo preamplifier. Among its many advantages over the P 3 are a high-quality DAC with coaxial, optical, and USB inputs, subwoofer outputs with analog bass management, home theater bypass, a phono stage with moving-coil capabilities, and a precision, motorized volume control.
How good does the P 5 sound? "It's audibly superior to the P 3 in every respect," notes the founder and president of Parasound, Richard Schram. Considering the superb audio performance of the P 3, that makes the new P 5 extremely special.
"For 10 years, the Halo P 3 has been a mainstay of our line for value-conscious audiophiles," reports Richard. "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 MC 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 2.1-channel listening.
Adjustable Low-pass and High-pass Crossovers
Among the P 5's many benchmark features is the ease with which it allows you to integrate audiophile stereo speakers with a home theater surround system. It is probably the only audio component currently on the market that includes switchable and adjustable low-pass and high-pass crossovers. Infinitely variable rear-panel controls let you set both crossover points exactly where you want them.
The addition of an XLR balanced subwoofer output contributes to the convenience in a home theater set-up. Most people like to position their subs on the other side of the room, so a balanced output makes excellent sense. And for connection versatility, two RCA unbalanced outputs are also provided.
The Parasound Halo P 5 incorporates a very high quality state-of-the-art DAC. This 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.
Five Line-level Sources Plus a Phono Input
The Halo P 5's analog audio inputs include consist of RCA line-level stereo input, one pair of balanced XLR inputs, a phono input, and a front panel 3.5mm mini jack for portable audio players or smartphones. The 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.
Defeatable Tone Controls and Much, Much More
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 watts 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.
*Note: Input 5 is shared with the XLR balanced input, therefore the RCA and XLR jacks for input 5 should not be connected at the same time.