Parasound Halo P6
Parasound does it again, surpassing all expectations with its brand new Parasound P6. This advanced 2.1 channel preamplifier 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 P6 offers a plethora of added features compared to its predecessor, the Halo P5, 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 P6 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 P5 and original model Halo Integrated. Among the other new features are a Favourite 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 aluminium volume knob, and a programable default turn on volume setting.
The Parasound Halo P6 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 analogue 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 aluminium 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 favourite-volume level with remote control button.
The P6 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.
The Halo P6 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.
The MC 100 ohm setting 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.
The MC 47k ohm setting 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 Grado recommends for its MI (moving iron) cartridges.
The P6 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.
The P6 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 P6 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 P6 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 P6 and again in the subwoofer.
The P6 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 P6 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.
The Home Theatre bypass input jacks allow you to easily incorporate the P6 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 P6 circuits or controls has any effect on the bypassed signals. The P6 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 P6 Bypass function your surround sound receiver must have line level preamp output jacks.
The P6’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 P6. 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 P6. Don’t forget that the volume control on the P6 does not work when the Bypass Input is selected. Use the volume control on your surround sound AVR or processor.
The Parasound Halo P6 is available in BLACK or SILVER finishes.