Parasound’s Z Series
Speaking of great things in small packages, here we see Parasound’s Zphono USB phono preamplifier ($349) and Zdac digital-to-analog converter ($450). Parasound’s Z Series products are handsome, truly affordable, and built like bricks. Interesting side note: The half-width, rack-mount design has its roots in a mic preamp that Parasound built for AMF bowling centers in the 1980s. I bet those mic preamps kicked butt, too.
I hope you’ll read all about the Zphono USB phono preamp in the March issue of Stereophile. I’ll tell you now that I love the damn thing. Parasound’s Richard Schram is especially excited about the new Zdac, however. It’s compatible with resolutions up to 96kHz via USB and up to 192kHz via optical/coaxial, and its circuitry was derived from the DAC used in Parasound’s top-of-the-line CD1 CD player.
Schram did a little jump. “I like being disruptive,” he grinned.
The Z Series also includes an impressively hefty, 45Wpc class-A/B amplifier ($350) and matching preamp ($400). If only they came in silver, too, and without the rack-mounting holes. Oh, wait.