"The Parasound ... gave me a taste of the best that high-end audio has to offer at a price almost anyone can afford."
"Recommended Component" 2013 - Stereophile
Archive Your Vinyl and Enjoy Superb Sound
The Parasound Zphono-USB is a high-quality phono preamplifier engineered for optimum vinyl LP playback quality. The Zphono-USB has precise RIAA equalization and uses high quality parts to achieve extremely low levels of noise and distortion plus accurate frequency response.
For its performance as a phono preamp alone, the Zphono-USB would be noteworthy. But as you might expect from its name, this Parasound matches its superb sound quality in the analog realm with digital excellence, giving new life to your vinyl by bringing it into the computer age.
Stereophile honored the Parasound Zphono-USB phono preamp by including it in its "Recommended Components" list for 2013. "The Parasound Zphono-USB distinguished itself as a confident, authoritative performer with an impressively tight and certain grip on the music, and one that produced the greatest drama, scale, and sheer power I've heard in my listening room," said the magazine.
"A Terrific Product At A Great Price!"
"The Z is pretty darned remarkable, and a sensational value," raves Rick Jensen in his August 2012 review for EnjoyTheMusic.com. "The Z manages to play records very well and to give you a very fine digital copy with a minimum of fuss. A terrific product at a great price!"
Archiving Your Precious Vinyl
In the digital realm, the Parasound Zphono-USB has an A-D converter and USB output to make high quality digital recordings of your vinyl LP collection a snap. Its unique front panel USB gain control and USB clipping indicator enable you to optimize the USB record output level to achieve a superior signal-to-noise ratio with most PC or Mac phono recording software. Just select a loud music passage on the LP that you want to record. Turn up the USB Gain knob until the clipping indicator LED turns solid red. Then slowly turn the USB Gain knob down until the clipping indicator never lights up.
Although recording software is not included with the Zphono-USB, you'll find plenty of choices on the Web, including "Spin It Again" by Acoustica, "Vinyl Studio" by Alpinesoft, and "Audacity" (free shareware).
Rear-panel RIAA Defeat Switch
If you have sophisticated recording software, the rear-panel RIAA defeat switch allows you to defeat the internal hardware-based RIAA equalization in favor of software-based digital RIAA equalization. Two separate power transformers for analog and digital circuits assure the cleanest response and lowest noise.
Gain and Impedance Settings
The Parasound Zphono-USB has stereo input jacks for an MC or MM phonograph cartridge. A choice of MM-47 k ohm, MC-47 k ohm or MC-100 ohm enables you to select the ideal gain and impedance for your cartridge.
A rumble filter switch and mono/stereo switch can further refine the quality of analog phono listening with older and mono LPs. A headphone jack is provided for easy recording monitoring.
Inputs for Other Analog Sources
The Zphono-USB includes two pairs of stereo line-level input jacks so you can also make digital recordings from other analog sources such as an AM/FM tuner, satellite radio, or tape deck.
"Recommended Component" 2013 - Stereophile
"The Z-Phono-USB was both staggeringly quiet and stunningly forceful – when the music stopped, it stopped, and when Blake played the piano, he played it."
"The Z-Phono-USB distinguished itself as a confident, authoritative performer and certain grip on the music, and one that produced the greatest drama, scale and sheer power I've heard in my listening room."
"The Parasound… gave me a taste of the best that high-end audio has to offer at a price almost anyone can afford."
- Stephen Mejas, Stereophile, March 2012
"The Z is pretty darned remarkable, and a sensational value. On the absolute scale, it sounds very good as a phono preamplifier…
"But that is just the half of it, of course: this box also gives you a very good digital file to put on your storage medium of choice in your format of choice (limited of course to 16-bit/44.1kHz). Again, I sought out the Z because I hoped that perhaps the Z could fill a real function for the true audiophile, with a particular set of objectives in mind: to make copies of some LPs and have them available in an easy digitized form, but to retain the LPs for 'serious' listening.
"I would say at the same time that the Parasound Zphono USB should also be considered by the music lover who wants to record all his or her LPs. It does a terrific job, as long as one is not shooting for the perfect digital file. I cannot say how much of a difference a cost-no-object unit might make; I have not heard one. The Z manages to play records very well and to give you a very fine digital copy with a minimum of fuss. A terrific product at a great price!"
- Rick Jensen, EnjoyTheMusic.com, August 2012