PARASOUND HALO 6 INTEGRATED AMPLIFIER HINTS AT P 6 DNA
Parasound has unveiled the Halo Integrated 6 (HINT 6, to its friends). The new amplifier features upgraded components, more features, more inputs and a John Curl designed 160-watt class A/AB power amp stage.
The Parasound Halo Integrated (HINT) first appeared in 2011 and won plenty of fans. The latest iteration remains faithful to the original's ‘powerful, musical and versatile' design philosophy as well as its value-engineered price. The newest model adopts the six suffix to reflect the fact that it borrows from the forthcoming Parasound P6's pre-amp.
Instead of the previous model's motorised potentiometer, the HINT 6 features a Burr-Brown analogue resistor ladder volume control. The high-performance, electronically-controlled analogue volume control IC with high dynamic range functions as an analogue switched resistor ladder array. The upshot of which is that the signal is not converted to digital as with most IC volume controls. The chipset's onboard gain stage is bypassed entirely using an external, high-performance operational amplifier with a dedicated power supply. This approach achieves the lowest noise and the lowest distortion for superior sound quality.
There is also an updated USB input and ESS-based DAC implementation that makes it easier to integrate with Windows 10. Additionally, there's an improved phono stage with higher gain for lower output cartridges. New convenience features include a dimmable display, volume level memory and an additional optical input.
In addition to the class A/AB power section carried over from the original HINT, the HINT 6 retains the dedicated high-current headphone amplifier, a direct input that bypasses the pre-amp section, 12v trigger and IR integration, and fully balanced XLR in/out connections. Comprehensive analogue bass management and subwoofer control are available for your 2.1 systems. Finally, the phono stage offers variable loading for MM and MC cartridges.
The heart of the HINT 6's power supply is a custom designed 1.1 kVA toroid power transformer. It is fully shielded with an epoxy-filled steel canister to ensure ultra-quiet performance. Independent secondary windings supply the dual power supply circuits; the company says that this improves stereo imaging by reducing inter-channel crosstalk. The HINT 6 uses a total of 40,000uF of Lelon electrolytic filter capacitors to provide a reserve of massive power sufficient to reproduce “unrestricted low end”.
160 Watts x 2 @ 8 Ohms (RMS, both channels driven)
240 Watts x 2 @ 4 Ohms (RMS, both channels driven)
45 amps peak current per channel
High bias class A/AB operation
Oversized 1.1kVA shielded toroid power transformer
Dual-mono power supply and power amplifier
40,000uF power supply filter capacitance
Matched JFET input stages and MOSFET driver stages
12 high voltage/high current bipolar output transistors
Heavy-duty 24k gold-plated 5-way speaker binding posts
Over temp and short circuit relay protection
ESS Sabre32 Reference DAC (ES9018K2M)
Asynchronous USB 2.0 supports PCM up to 384kHz/32-bit
USB input decodes Native DSD64, DSD128, DSD256 and DoP DSD
Coax, and optical inputs accept PCM up to 192kHz/24-bit
Parasound founder and president, Richard Schram, told StereoNET:
“We began by upgrading key parts in the analogue preamp circuitry to achieve exceptional sonic transparency and improved channel separation. On the digital side, we redesigned the ESS-based DAC implementation making it easier to integrate with cutting-edge PCs and music servers. We also thoroughly modernised the volume control, replacing the original's motorised potentiometer with an electronically switched, pure analogue resistor ladder array to achieve exceptional channel tracking even at low listening levels. John Curl's circuit topology is timeless, so we carried over the Halo Integrated's 160-watt, Class A/AB power amplifier stage to the HINT 6.”
The Halo 6 is finished with gold trim and hand-milled aluminium end-caps and is available now in silver or black. The unit comes supplied with a backlit remote controller.
Rackmount hardware for its four rack space chassis is available to order. The net weight is 20.4kg.
The Parasound Halo Integrated 6 is available UK with an SRP of £3299.95.
For more information visit Parasound.
StereoNET UK’s Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He’s captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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