Parasound Halo P 5 2.1-channel D/A preamplifier Specifications

Sidebar 1: Specifications

Description: 2.1-channel stereo preamplifier with phono stage. Line-level inputs: 4 single-ended, 1 usable as single-ended or balanced. Input impedance: 24k ohms single-ended, 100k ohms per phase balanced. Output impedance: 100 ohms single-ended, 470 ohms per phase balanced. Line-level gain: 10dB. Frequency response: 10Hz–100kHz, +0/–3dB. THD: 0.01%. Signal/noise ratio: >108dB (IHF A-weighted).
Dimensions: 17" (437mm) W by 4.5" (114mm) H by 14.5" (368mm) D (dimensions include knobs and feet). Weight: 13.9 lbs (6.3kg).
Serial number of unit reviewed: 01119.
Price: $1095. Approximate number of dealers: 200+.
Manufacturer: Parasound Products, Inc., 2250 McKinnon Ave., San Francisco, CA 94124. Tel: (415) 397-7100. Fax: (415) 397-0144. Web:

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

otaku's picture

The remark about "carving away everything that does not look like a guitar" is not very original.

"Struggling to emerge from the brute marble, they remind us that Michelangelo is supposed to have said that he simply 'carved away everything that wasn't the sculpture'."

John Atkinson's picture

otaku wrote:
The remark about "carving away everything that does not look like a guitar" is not very original.

If you click on the link in the footnote to my review of the book on Henderson's guitars, you will see that I did say: "Most important, the reader is exposed to how a guitar can be made by someone who echoes Michelangelo by merely removing the excess: sawing, scraping, whittling, and sanding away from a pile of raw lumber everything that isn't a guitar."

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

yaka24's picture

It would be great to have a review of Emotiva XSP Gen 2 to compare this to. Same price range, similar features. 

Eddie Currents's picture

This is a bit off topic but owing to the fact that it probably never will be a Stereophile topic I decided to post it anyway.  On page 106 of the May 2003 issue of Hi-Fi World, David Price had some nice things to say about what must be the most unloved piece of audio equipment ever (no it's not an equalizer) - the servo controlled Japanese linear tracking turntable of the 1980s.  Scratching a senior citizen itch I bought one (Technics SL 5) on eBay and after getting over the shock that it worked at all, I was amazed by its performance (and I'll just leave it at that). Price talked about the SL 10 but says the 7 is the one to look for.  Ortofon makes a high input MC P-mount cart and LP Gear sells an MM with a Shibata stylus.  Maybe Art could find one at a yard sale, clean it up, take a listen and prove that it's not just the Brits who have an open mind.

Muzicianx's picture

Mr. Dudley - 

I really must ask why you were given the obvious chore of reviewing the P5.  You did not integrate it into a surround sound system, you did not use a subwoofer, you did not try the balanced connections, nor did you try it with an amp that might suit this particular preamp - say the A23, or modest counterpart.

I'm super excited that the phono stage is adequate, and surprised about your reactions to the DAC (glad to hear the positivities), but it would have been nice for this thing to be run through it's courses, as I can't be the only one seriously looking to buy, and integrate it in a critical listening environment.  

I know, try it for myself, listening is speculative, but this review is about as vanilla as it gets.  At least Audio Advisor has a trial period!

John Atkinson's picture

Muzicianx wrote:
You did not integrate it into a surround sound system...

Even if the Halo P5 has a home theater bypass function, it is not a surround-sound component.

Muzicianx wrote:
you did not use a subwoofer, you did not try the balanced connections...

Those aspects of the P5's performance were fully covered in the Measurements section.

Muzicianx wrote:
nor did you try it with an amp that might suit this particular preamp - say the A23, or modest counterpart.

Guilty as charged. :-)

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

R2D2's picture

Hi, I am in between the Parasound Halo P5 or the Nad C165Bee. This will be used for vinyl cd/SACD only. Which one Do you think suites better? It is going to be used with a 50-70 watt Nad or Parasound amplifier and a pair of Atlantic technology At-1 or AT-2's.
If I'm going for an integrated system, I like the Arcam A19, Creek 50A or the Yamaha A-S2000. Would you go for a separate or an integrated system taking into consideration the ones listed here? Do you think this would make any sound improvement over my current sound system: Nad 326bee, Nad 245bee 4 channel amp (for biamping a pair of PSB's Image T6), Nad C446bee cd player, Nad C446 media streamer and a Musical Fidelity M1DAC?
Thanks for your help...

sumitumi's picture

Does it allow airplay?

KeithWrites's picture

my current plan is to actually use this unit as designed. The Modwright Oppo-105D will feed the 5.1 - of which the R/L/Sub will go though the P5 to the amp, the SR/SL/C will go directly to the amp allowing the oppo to do the whole thing for movies - and 5.1 SACD material. The analog Stereo out of the Oppo with the Modwright Tube analog section will go to the P5 R/L input #1, the FM Tuner (yeah I still have one of those) will go to R/L Input #2

The sub out will go to the Velodyne HGS15BG and the R/L out will go to the amp and then to the Sonus faber Concerto's - the remaining channels of the amp (fed directly from the Oppo) will to to the Sonus faber center and surrounds.

Here are the questions:
Should Vpi Super Scoutmaster with the Shelter 501 go to the MC phono In - and at which setting?
Or should it go to my Linn Linto Phono Preamp and then to R/L Input #3?

Just how good is the Phono pre-amp in the P5?

Rick1958's picture

I am maybe (but maybe not) confused about what was used in the evaluation. Seems like Art didn't like the MC input with either load setting, but apparently the carts he used were (MM) mono and (low output MC) stereo. So were all the stereo LPs used with the LOMC thru an external stepup transformer into the MM input? Seems like it.

I assume his comments are referenced to the same MC cart thru the same transformer(s) into the (MM) input on his Shindo preamp?

Apparently NO stereo LPs were evaluated with a stereo MM cart of normal output into the MM input. I also didn't see any comments about the sound when used with the mono (apparently normal output) cart into I assume the stereo MM input.

Similar comment for the line level inputs. Seems like the sources were digital sources thru external DACs into the line level inputs, compared to the same sources into only the USB digital inputs (and not either of the 'higher res' capable digital inputs). So the DAC (at least with USB input) seems to be a little better than the Proton but not nearly as good as the Halide ...

I'd certainly be interested in what a (possibly higher res) digital source sounds like into the other digital inputs, compared to other external DACs ...

Maybe a follow up? I'll probably buy one anyway, but it'd be good to read about what folks with lots of other listening experience think about it. Which to me is the main point of reading Stereophile. I could listen to other components in showrooms, etc., but the real test is long term listening to a variety of components in one's own listening environment ... that is why your magazine continues to be important to us 'regular folk'.

Rick1958's picture

I am 'afraid' that the MM input won't have enough gain for this HOMC cart ... and since the MC inputs are crappy, seems like I'd need another 10dB or so of gain ... BUT aren't all SUTs low impedance input? Not suitable for the Denon cart. Arrrgggghhh.

Probably only way to know is to try. Know of any ~10dB gain SUTs or whatever with 47k inputs?