Parasound, Monitor Audio, Kimber, and more
There was so much going on in Audiohouse’s ParasoundMonitorKimber etc . . . room that all I’m certain of is that the system had a really nice midrange. The Monitor Audio Platinum PL200 speakers ($9000/pair), alas, were insufficiently broken in, and there was no time to return on the last day when, I’m told, the system strutted its stuff so well that Audiohouse’s David M. McPhee sold two pairs of the Platinum PL200s to attendees.
That's no surprise, given that behind the Monitor Audio Platinums were Parasound electronics. Doing the honors were a pair of Parasound Halo JC1 monoblock amplifiers ($4500/each), Halo JC2 bp preamp ($4500), new Halo JC3+ phono preamp ($2850), and Halo CD1 CD player ($4500). The JC3+ improves on John Curl’s original design by adding variable MC load adjustment capability for each channel using dual-gang potentiometers specially made for Parasound by Vishay, and phono boards with new 24-karat gold-plated copper traces. It also augments the power supply with a 47% larger, low-ESD, power-supply filter capacitor, and includes an 82% larger R-core power transformer. “It really kicks this thing to a different plateau for $500 more,” Parasound’s Richard Schram told me.
Cable haters will wince when I also give credit to Kimber Kable’s PK10 Gold and Palladium Powerkords, Bifocal XL speaker cable ($3420/pair), and SSSEUPB and KS1026 interconnects. Let them use wire from Radio Shack and Home Depot and pretend it sounds as good.
Also in the room, on static display, was Parasound’s eagerly anticipated new P5 2.1-channel stereo preamp/DAC ($1095). This full-featured baby, which includes a phono preamp (MC/MM), balanced in and out, balanced out for sub, and a Burr Brown PCM1798-based DAC that handles up to 192kHz (but just 96k via USB), is slated for release approx. November 1.