Designed for Serious Two-Channel Music Listening
Parasound does it again, surpassing all expectations with its brand new Parasound P 6. This advanced 2.1 channel preamplifier that has been designed for the highest performance for serious two channel music listening and ease of integration with a surround sound system. Based on the high performance preamplifier section of the brand new Halo HINT 6 integrated amplifier, the P 6 offers a plethora of added features compared to its predecessor, the Halo P 5, along with improved sound and exceptional ease-of-use.
Ready for today's hi-res digital music files and excelling with vinyl playback, too, the P 6 packs an advanced ESS Sabre32 Reference DAC to decode a wide range of digital music files via its digital inputs. It also includes a very high quality built-in MM/MC phono stage with three-position load/cartridge selector switch as well as a high-current headphone stage built around the top grade Texas Instruments TPA6120A headphone amplifier chipset.
The new feature set includes a Burr-Brown volume control with easy-to-read front panel display. It also adds an upgraded USB receiver with plug-and-play functionality for Windows and Mac, a second optical input, increased phono gain, greater channel separation, and some pleasing refinements to its appearance compared to the P 5 and original model Halo Integrated. Among the other new features are a Favorite volume memory with remote control button, increased phono stage gain for lower output cartridges, improved channel separation and balance tracking, a ball-bearing supported solid aluminum volume knob, and a programable default turn on volume setting.
"Pure Sonic Magic"
"Parasound has a history of offering products that punch well above their respective price points," reports Dylan Seeger in his review for hometheaterreview.com. "The P 6 continues that trend, offering a level of performance not typically found in the neighborhood of $1,600. In particular, I found that the P 6 sounds especially impressive when paired with an amplifier within the Parasound family. It's also resolving enough that if you pair it with another amplifier or an analog source component, those sonic traits offered by those products are carried through to the rest of your system."
Dylan Seeger concludes, "With its excellent build quality, handsome looks, extensive set of input and output options, as well as its impressive built-in DAC section and bass management capabilities, the P 6 is a no-brainer for anyone shopping for a digitally enabled preamplifier close to its asking price."
"Together, the Parasound P 6 and A 23+ are dynamite," raves Roy Ervin Solstad, Stereo+ (Norway), January 2019. "Pure sonic magic with brilliant dynamics, delicious midrange and impressive resolution. To get such good sound for the price of this duo seems almost unnatural. One incredibly appealing preamp-amplifier package from Parasound."
New Burr-Brown Volume Control
The Parasound Halo P 6 is packed full of technical advancements. The volume control replaces the motorized potentiometer and sliding mechanical contacts used on the Halo P5 and original-model Halo Integrated with a Burr-Brown electronically controlled analog resistor ladder volume control. Technical advancements in the new volume control offer a more distinct sound stage by increasing the dynamic range, lowering the noise floor, improving left-right separation and maintaining absolute left-right channel tracking at any volume level.
The solid aluminum volume knob is supported on ball bearings to rotate with exceptional smoothness, while the dimmable two-digit display shows volume level in increments from 0-99. This advanced volume control enables users to program both a default turn-on volume level as well as a favorite-volume level with remote control button.
ESS Sabre32 Reference DAC
The P 6 uses a proven ESS Sabre32 Reference DAC to decode a wide range of digital music files via two optical, one coaxial, and a new upgraded USB receiver – now with plug-and-play support for Windows 10 in addition to Mac. The asynchronous USB 2.0 input supports PCM up to 384 kHz/32-bit, native DSD256, and DoP DSD bit streams. The coax and optical inputs accept PCM up to 192 kHz/24-bit.
Phono Stage with Three-Position Selector Switch
The Halo P 6 is equipped with a high quality phono stage. The Phono input has a three-position load/cartridge selector switch. MM is for moving magnet cartridges. It provides a 47k ohm load and the appropriate gain for all MM cartridges. This is the most common cartridge type.
MC 100 ohm is for most moving coil cartridges. It provides the higher gain required for even very low output MC cartridges and a 100 ohm load that is ideal for the majority of MC cartridges.
MC 47k ohm provides the appropriate gain for MC cartridges with an alternative 47k ohm load. You can try both the 100 ohm and 47k ohm settings to see which sounds best in your system. The MC 47 k ohm setting is also the load which Soundsmith and Grado recommend for their MI (moving iron) cartridges.
Audiophile Headphone Stage
The P 6 is equipped with a dedicated high quality current-feedback headphone amplifier based on the top grade Texas Instruments TPA6120A. This superior design allows for an extremely high slew rate preventing odd order distortions which are responsible for listening fatigue. The virtually instantaneous response to musical dynamics doesn't raise the noise floor or degrade the s/n ratio like typical headphone amps. The headphone amp circuit was also designed with a low 10 ohms output impedance and high gain to drive headphones rated up to 600 ohms.
The headphone jack accepts a 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo mini plug. The Left and Right Speaker Outputs and the Preamp output jacks (RCA and XLR) are muted whenever a headphone plug is inserted into this jack. The L and R Record out jacks are not muted.
Balanced and Unbalanced Subwoofer Outputs
The P 6 provides one XLR connector and two RCA jacks for one or more subwoofers. The two unbalanced and one balanced subwoofer outputs all carry the same mono signal. You can select whether the mono signal is full range or crossed over according to the frequency you select for the Low Pass crossover. The Balanced XLR Sub Output has the same signal as either Sub 1 or 2 Output RCA jack. Balanced has 6dB higher gain. Both RCA 1 and 2 outputs and the XLR output can be connected at the same time.
If you have two subwoofers and want them to operate in stereo you can connect them to the Left and Right Main Output jacks instead of to the Sub Output jacks which are mono. In this case you would need to set the High Pass crossover switch to Off. With this configuration the front panel Sub Level control does not function.
High-Pass and Low-Pass Crossovers
The P 6 is equipped with adjustable low-pass and high-pass crossovers. Crossovers are filters that allow certain frequencies to pass while blocking other frequencies. A low pass filter permits only low frequencies to pass and blocks high frequencies. A high pass filter permits only high frequencies to pass and blocks low frequencies. 80 Hz is the best starting frequency for both the High Pass and Low Pass crossovers if you are using a subwoofer and are not certain where to set the crossover frequency. If you are not using a subwoofer, set the P 6 Main Output Crossover switch to its Off position. The crossover settings affect both RCA and XLR Main Outputs.
The Low Pass crossover allows only low frequencies to be output from the P 6 Sub Output jacks. If your subwoofer has a built-in crossover that cannot be switched off, set it to its highest frequency to minimize the negative effects on bass response from filtering in the P 6 and again in the subwoofer.
The P 6 High Pass Crossover for the Main Outputs (both XLR and RCA) allows you to block low frequencies from going to your main L and R speakers. This can be particularly useful if you are using small speakers (typically with woofers of 6.5"/165mm or smaller) and you have a subwoofer. The most common settings are between 50 Hz and 80 Hz. If you are not using a subwoofer you will get better results by turning the P 6 High Pass Crossover off or setting it below 40Hz. If you want your L and R speakers to operate full range with no frequencies blocked set the High Pass crossover switch to its Off position.
Theater Bypass Input
The Home Theater bypass input jacks allow you to easily incorporate the P 6 into a surround sound system while also using it as a dedicated two-channel amplifier for hi-fi listening. The Bypass input works by passing the incoming L, R and Sub channels directly through to the L, R and Sub output jacks. None of the P 6 circuits or controls has any effect on the bypassed signals. The P 6 is thus transparent to the Left, Right and Subwoofer(s) outputs from your surround sound processor or receiver and passes them on to your amplifier(s) and Subwoofer(s). In order to use the P 6 Bypass function your surround sound receiver must have line level preamp output jacks.
The P 6's Bypass function is a direct connection between its L, R and Sub Bypass Input jacks and its Main and Sub output jacks. All controls are excluded from the bypass signal path.
Your surround sound receiver or processor's bass management menu settings and volume control function normally when you are listening to surround sound with the Left, Right and Sub channels routed through the P 6. Please see the owner's manual for your surround sound receiver or processor to set the proper speaker levels, distance and bass management. If you have already calibrated your surround sound system, there is no need to recalibrate your system after adding the P 6. Don't forget that the volume control on the P 6 does not work when the Bypass Input is selected. Use the volume control on your surround sound AVR or processor.