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"Heartily Recommended" – Stereophile
Parasound’s Halo P 5 replaces the popular and long-lived Halo P 3 stereo preamplifier. Among its many advantages over the P 5 are a high-quality DAC with coaxial, optical, and USB inputs, subwoofer outputs with analog bass management, Parasound’s most advanced home theater bypass to date, a phono stage with moving-coil capabilities, and a precision, motorized volume control.
It does so much, founder and president of Parasound, Richard Schram, calls it “the Swiss Army Knife of stereo preamps.”
How good does the P 5 sound? “It’s audibly superior to the P 3 in every respect,” observes Richard. Considering the superb audio performance of the P 3, that makes the new P 5 extremely special.
"What's Not to Like?"
"This is about as fine a $1095 preamp as I can imagine in 2014. Heartily recommended," reports Art Dudley in his April 7, 2014 review for Stereophile. "Exceptional clarity. Exceptional dynamics. Neutral without being colorless. Very well made and complete for the price. What’s not to like?"
"It performs exceptionally well, quiet for a preamp, a low noise floor, balanced input/output, digital processing and bass management," notes Piero Gabucci, in his Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity review for July 21, 2014. "The fact that it replaces up to four separates is more than just space saving, it’s smart in our economic climate, for me anyway."
"Power and Performance at a Ridiculously Low Price"
"Parasound is one of the very few companies in the world that has a reputation for state- of-the-art sound quality and engineering as well as a reputation for delivering superb value for money, and in looking at this duo, it’s easy to see why," reports Greg Borrowman in his joint review of the Parasound Halo P5 preamp and Parasound Halo A 23 power amp for the May / June 2014 Australian Hi-fi magazine. "Buy this pair and you’ll be getting an awful lot of power and incredible performance for what, quite frankly, are ridiculously low prices. And that’s true no matter whether you buy the P 5, the A 23, or both."
A Value-Conscious Upgrade
"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. The P 5’s Cirrus Logic Digital Receiver scrubs the digital clock to attenuate jitter not only for the USB but for all inputs. This enables its acclaimed Burr- Brown PCM1798 DAC to achieve outstanding, natural sound quality for all of your digital sources.
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.
"This is about as fine a $1095 preamp as I can imagine in 2014. Heartily recommended... Exceptional clarity. Exceptional dynamics. Neutral without being colorless. Very well made and complete for the price. What’s not to like?"
– Art Dudley, Stereophile, April 7, 2014
"It performs exceptionally well, quiet for a preamp, a low noise floor, balanced input/output, digital processing and bass management."
"The fact that it replaces up to four separates is more than just space saving, it’s smart in our economic climate, for me anyway. If DACs become more sophisticated and technology changes, the P 5 can still remain the controller."
"My advice is simple, just get one, I recommend it strongly!"
– Piero Gabucci, Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity, July 21, 2014
"Parasound is one of the very few companies in the world that has a reputation for state- of-the-art sound quality and engineering as well as a reputation for delivering superb value for money, and in looking at this duo, it’s easy to see why: buy this pair and you’ll be getting an awful lot of power and incredible performance for what, quite frankly, are ridiculously low prices. And that’s true no matter whether you buy the P 5, the A 23, or both."
– Greg Borrowman, Australian Hi-fi magazine, May/June 2014 (joint review of Parasound Halo P5 preamp and Parasound Halo A 23 power amp)
|Product Reviews Click here to review this item|
|Sounds good but needs better volume pot|
The Parasound P5 when paired with the A23 the sound is beautiful. Top end is extending and midrange is neutral while resolving tons of details. Low end is a bit dry but tightly controlled. However, theres one flaw - the volume pot is not up to the task for this beautifully designed preamp. I got 2 P5 and also auditioned one locally - 2 of them have the L/R balancing issue L louder than R - both on the preamp out and the headphone out; the other one got a noisy pot when turning. Nothing DIYers cant fix with a high-end volume pot, but thats just not for me. If they kept the electronic volume control like P3, I think itll be an absolute win. Luckily the P7 still have the electronic volume control, but the integrated does seem to have the same pot....
|- Frederick F, WA|
|Glad I Did|
Was cruising for XLR connections w a 2.1 system when I found this -and AA. Zero noise between tracks or any switching. Nice texture and smoothness to the buttons and knobs. The phono stage is a big plus too. Not hard to admire at this wife pleasing price point. Very happy w this top shelf unit and AA, Thank You!
|- Rob R, AL|
Its not complicated, gets out of the way and the rlet music shine through with my D-Sonice D class 1200 wpr @ 4ohm If you enjoy hard to drive speakers give this one man shop a listen. Outstanding combo. With the 2.1 channel and my MAggies I love a sub with REL S/5. Thanks Parasound. A pair of monos are next move in D-Sonics line.
|- Steven Kaiser, IN|
i had a rather unconventional home stereo setup. 2 amps, 1 fed the monitors, 1 fed the subs. Advance Acoustic preamp, Yamaha eq, Rotel phono stage, Behringer 24/96 dac, and bass eq. the Halo eliminated all 4 pieces plus all that cabling. stubborn as i am, and on a fixed income, it didnt take me long to make the decision to purchase this fine piece of workmanship and quality. couldnt be happier.
|- GEORGE MAJEWSKI, WI|
|Best Electronic Component In My Rack|
By far the best pre-amp I’ve ever owned. Measures up to the advertising hyperbole and then some. The P-5’s digital optical in and on-board DAC provide clarity, depth, and detail I didn’t know was in my CD’s. This pre-amp perfectly matches my Ortofon MC cartridge’s impedance. Big difference! Love the sub level controls, and the convenience of the front panel digital input. Now I’m saving up my nickels for the A21.
|- Andy R, SC|
|Back from the dead.|
This single component has resurrected my OLD Theta Miles, Music Hall MMF-7, Adcom GFA 2800 and Snell C-Vs to a time Ive missed since my oldest son was born 17 years ago. Ive been listening over the last few days and Im blown away with what Im hearing. And guess what? That 17 year old is too!!! See ya later MP3!
|- Ben B, GA|
|Feature Packed and Good Sound|
I got this from Audio Advisor during the initial availability. They were kind enough to lock me in at the intro price, but even at the current price this unit is a bargain. I have ripped all my CDs to a Mac, as well as purchased some High Res files. Playing from the computer through the onboard DAC is a beautiful sounding front end. Then I can go really old school and play vinyl through the phone stage, and that sounds great too. Really good sound and absolutely best in class for its price.
|- David B, CT|