Parasound Halo Integrated integrated amplifier Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Sources: Acoustic Signature Wow XL turntable & TA-1000 tonearm; Thorens TD 124 turntable with Abis SA-1.2 tonearm; Technics SL1200MK2 turntable with SME M2-9 tonearm; Jasmine Audio Turtle, Ortofon 2M Black & CG 25 DI II, Shure SC35C, Soundsmith Carmen, Zu Audio DL-103 cartridges.
Digital Sources: Halide Design DAC HD DAC,Onkyo Integra DPS-7.2 disc player.
Preamplification: Blue Horizon Ideas Profono, Schiit Audio Mani phono stages; Intact Audio step-up transformer.
Integrated Amplifiers: Hegel Music Systems H160, Line Magnetic LM-518IA, Rogue Audio Sphinx, Simaudio Moon Evolution 340i.
Headphone Amplifiers: Audeze Deckard, Burson Conductor, Schiit Audio Asgard.
Headphones: AKG K812, Audeze EL-8, AudioQuest NightHawk, Beyerdynamic DT 880 (32 & 600 ohm), Sony MDR-7520.
Loudspeakers: Falcon Acoustics LS3/5A, GoldenEar Technologies Triton 5, KEF LS50, Magnepan .7.
Cables: Interconnect: AudioQuest Cinnamon & Big Sur & Golden Gate, Auditorium 23. Speaker: AudioQuest Type 4, Auditorium 23.
Accessories: Sound Anchor stands, Dr. Feickert Analogue cartridge-alignment protractor.—Herb Reichert

Parasound Products, Inc.
2250 McKinnon Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94124
(415) 397-7100

Ishmael's picture

Herb, I think you may have been given bad info somewhere along the line. Your Burson does not use a TI chip for the headphone out. In fact Burson is very anti-opamp, and has been pushing that agenda for some time. I believe the Halo integrated uses the same headphone stage as Parasound's Zdac v2 incorporating a TI TPA6130a2 chip. Other than that, a very enjoyable write up.

Long-time listener's picture

Looking at the graphs showing the tone controls, I've realized this is not an amp I want to buy. The fashion in tone controls these days is to "keep them out of the midrange" by boosting mostly the extreme highs and lows. But the result is that all you get is a lot of extra hiss in the high treble along with some awful, thudding, one-note bass. I've had several amps with tone controls like this and I hate them.

To actually hear a subjective increase in bass or treble, tone controls need to center more on the mid-bass (100 Hz) and mid-treble (10 kHz), and should level off below and above those that points. This doesn't affect the midrange, except in the sense of providing a nice transition to it. The tone controls in this amp are useless. Fashions come and go; this one has never made any sense.

nick22samm's picture

I couldn't disagree more. Like most, I prefer to bypass the tone controls, but they are far from useless, and how important and useful a function they serve will be HEAVILY dependent on the rest of your equipment, the albums you're listening to/how they were mastered, and your preferences. Boosting treble a bit for certain albums, especially with my paradigm studio speakers, has proven to be an invaluable asset that brings the sound quality to a whole new level, allowing the entire system to work together in a way that produces sound rivaling systems and speakers 10 times the cost. It has also allowed tweaks to allow me to get a poor mastering of one album to sound identical to that of a known to be better master of the same album, in the same or different format. Some "audiophile," tenets really need to go away and people need to be more open to various features, formats, etc, instead of sticking to their preconceived beliefs with greater conviction than religious zealots.

the short of it: the tone controls are not useless, they're very valuable; and with true bypass inherent in its circuity, the worst-case scenario for its biggest opponents is simple: don't use it

Long-time listener's picture

You're not reading what I wrote. I said the tone controls "in this amp," are, for me, useless. I didn't say ALL tone controls are useless. I'm VERY heavily in favor of them. But again, if they only boost the very lowest bass and the very highest treble, it only results in a dull, thudding bass or extra hiss and brightness. Tone controls whose action includes a boost in the mid-bass and mid-treble as well as the further extremes are much more musical, and are the ones I favor.

nick22samm's picture

doing vinyl rips with and without tone controls on, set to various degrees, and comparing them to one another, as well as needledrops with the tone controls off, has completely debunked your assertion, verified not just by listening but comparing the visual audiowaves of each recording at the same point in the song to one another. And certainly no highlighting hiss unless completely maxing out the treble, or using it on an already hot or treble-heavy album/master

Allen Fant's picture

Very good review -HR.
the specs certainly make this integrated powerful. Maggies aside, the ultimate speaker to drive would be the Thiel Cs 2.4 or Cs 2.7.
These too, are current-hungry monsters that deliver the audio "goods" when fed properly.

wgb113's picture

My two primary transducers of choice. I wonder how the Halo would match up with my McIntosh MA6300 & Oppo HA-1 combo. Could be nice to "downsize" and have more flexibility in the subwoofer integration department.

tschwagerl's picture

thanks for taking the time to write about several different type of speakers paired with this particular amp. I wish more reviews would write little paragraphs detailing the differences between each one (what you liked and didn't like). Most helpful when trying to find the right combination.

schmonballins's picture

I know it's late to comment on this review, but I have owned my Halo Integrated for over a year and this review is entirely accurate. I have my Halo Integrated paired with PBN Audio's Montana EPS Speakers. This amp makes those speakers sing. I use every part of this amp, and I must say that this review is accurate. I just wanted to make a plug for this amp powering some more "affordable" Montana Speakers. It is a great pairing, I know that I am late to comment. Most people buying Montana speakers have a bigger budget for all of the other components, but if you are looking for a pair of used EPS speakers or EPS2s they can be had for around 5K, plus the 2.5K for this amp, you have an amazing stereo for less than 10K.