Parasound Halo P3 Balanced Preamplifier Preamplifiers

Halo P3 Balanced Preamplifier

User Reviews (17)

Showing 1-10 of 17  
Gene Baptista   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 09, 2016]

I have never felt compelled to do a review of product before I bought this preamp. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. This preamp sounds pretty good in most respects but has almost no bass at all and what bass it does have is very muffled and dull sounding.I went back to using a passsive preamp that is night an day different.I got this used and was looking forward to having a remote an all the inputs I would need in a single unit.I will go up for sale as soon as I get a
chance to list on craigslist..

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
Boer   AudioPhile [Jun 17, 2009]

I bought this preamp about 2 weeks ago and used it every day.
I like it - no-nonsense preamp with balanced output (I needed that) 12v trigger, etc. features you usually find in 2k$+ preamps.

Strengths:
Sound
Price
Look

Weaknesses:
The led lights are too intense in the evening

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
dpl35   Audio Enthusiast [May 23, 2008]
Strength:

Looks really cool

Weakness:

thin sound
limited bass
constricted sound

I read reviews when looking for a 2 channel pre-amp, and after reading the positive reviews for the P3, I purchased a demo unit. I was very disappointed with this preamp. In my case the sound felt constricted, bass was limited, and the sound was thin and flat.

In my opinion you could do much better in the $500-$800 range. I replaced the P3 with the Vincent Audio SA-31 hybrid preamp which sells for $500. In my opinion, this preamp is much better, better bass, better mids and great, open sound.

Associated equipment:
Rotel 1072 CD player
Silverline Prelude speakers
Emotiva BPA-1 amp (2) used as mono blocks

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
aram gegaregian   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 23, 2008]
Strength:

Newer unit is so much quieter than previous model. Dynamic, neutral and provides a decent soundstage for the money. I think this is as good as it gets for up to $1K IMO.

Weakness:

Ok...you have to give it some more volume, but who cares if it sounds better!

This is a review on an updated P3 that I just recieved from Parasound. My original P3 that I bought in 2004 served me well over these few years until the first weekend in Feb. 08' when a transister burned out on the unit. Called Parasound and their customer support was excellent! They gave me an RA # and had me ship it to their San Francisco head quarters. Living in central Ca., I sent the unit out on a Monday and on that very Thursday...yes, I said that Thursday, a brand new P3 was at my door step. Hooked everyting up that includes my Sherbourn Technologies M 1/300 monoblocks, my Marantz DV-9500 uni-spinner player and PS Audio Quintessence power center. Immediately, I drew concern over the low decible output that was being produced from my NHT 2.5i's. An output level that certainly was not there with my prior P3 for my common level of listening was typically set at 35 on the P3's display. Played around with the different ouput connections on the P3 for I typically utilize the quasi-balanced outputs to the mono's. No change! In a panic, I called Parasound. Spoke with their tech team and they informed me that with their more recent product line of P3's, they lowered the gain ouput from the factory...stating that it lowers audiible noise and distortion. Well, after critical listening, I have concluded that this preamp sounds much better than my original P3. Yes, I have to turn the gain up 15 points on the display, but man, it really improves on low level detail and everything else that makes the initial P3 shine! I think for the cost of shipping one way, I received a better performing preamp...and it's not totally burned in yet! IMO, I give Parasound high marks on their product line and especially with their awesome customer support! An A+ ..................again!

Customer Service

"Excellent" is the best word that comes to mind in my experience thus far.

Similar Products Used: Hafler 915, Parasound PLD 1100 and PHP 850, True Image preamp, Rotel RA 1070 and Acurus LS-10.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
franxavier   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 09, 2007]
Strength:

NO

Weakness:

ALL IN THE TEXT, PLS READ

SOUND HARSH, LOST CONTROL WHEN LOUD VOLUME PLAYED CAN MAKE YOU WANNA GO TO HELL.. BAD ENTRY LEVEL FROM PARASOUND, I RATHER GO WITH THE KRELL KSL WITH SAME PRICE BUT WARMER SOUND_ TO SOME PEOPLE IT HAS THE NICE COLORFUL LOOK BUT FOR ME IT'S SCARY IN THE NIGHT! I DO'NT DARE TO TURN THE LIGHT OFF WHEN I'M ALONE WITH IT_ :(

Similar Products Used: CLASSE
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
sintz   AudioPhile [Sep 16, 2005]
Strength:

- Price - Overall sonic performance - XLR connections - Build quality - Cosmetics

Weakness:

- Inability to adjust tone digital tone controls/balance using the remote. - Direct output is not active when using non-direct inputs/tone controls (no secondary line outs for adding subwoofer).

Purchased this preamp after much consideration of the Anthem TLP-1, AMC1100, as well as Adcom and B&K models. I decided on the Halo P3 because it had the features I needed (direct input/outputs, adjustable tone/contour, remote, and balance functions). Nothing more than I needed (except the ability to upgrade to XLR connections in the future), nothing less. I upgraded from a 5 year old Chase RLC-1 preamp based on a cheap automotive opamp design with almost no power filtering. I did modify the Chase RLC-1 by shorting the unused inputs to reduce noise. Before I start the review, here is my current system: JBL S310: http://www.audioreview.com/mfr/jbl/floorstanding-speakers/PRD_123904_1594crx.aspx Parasound P3 Halo Preamp: http://www.audioreview.com/mfr/parasound/preamplifiers/PRD_136631_1591crx.aspx AKSA 100 Audiophile Dual Mono Stereo Amplifier: http://www.aksaonline.com/products/products_aksa100.html Denon DCM-370 HDCD Player: http://www.audioreview.com/mfr/denon/cd-players/PRD_116875_1586crx.aspx IXOS Interconnects: IXOS XHA516-100 1m Stereo Audio Cable http://www.audioreview.com/mfr/ixos/speaker-cables/PRD_136085_1584crx.aspx Kimber Cable 4TC Speaker Cable: (arriving next week - using Monster 12ga now). http://www.audioreview.com/cat/cables/speaker-cables/kimber-kable/PRD_116461_1584crx.aspx Connection: I connected the Halo P3 to the Denon using single-ended 0.5M (RCA) IXOS interconnects and using the non-direct CD single-ended inputs. I connected the output of the P3 to the AKSA using the same IXOS (1M) cable. Listening Room: My room is approximately 12Wx18Lx7H. First Impressions: The sound was anemic, but this was very short-lived while my ears adjusted to not listening to a preamp with automatic loudness contour. Within a few seconds, I was already able to hear sublties never heard before. A few favorite albums had so many nuances revealed that it had a dramatic affect on the interpretation of the music. Some of the albums almost sounded unfamiliar. Although the high end was ever-so-slightly layed back, it is well extended, detailed, and smooth. Well balanced with regards to the rest of the music. The bass and mid-bass was tightened up considerably with the lowest octaves well extended. Mids are by far the most amazing aspect of this preamp. I was able to listen to a variety of rock, jazz, and electronic genres at very considerable volume levels (95-100dB) for 3-4 hours w/o any listening fatigue. The most I could listen for using the RLC-1 was about 1 hour. Soundstage: Significantly improved over the RLC-1. The sound doesn't go beyond the sides of the speakers, but there is much better placement. Dynamics: Also better improved over the RLC-1. Attack is quicker across all frequencies. Even after the first couple of tracks I listened to, I had a huge grin because I'd realized that I'd just renewed my whole CD collection. Two weeks later, I'm still antsy to get home to dig out albums I haven't listened to in years. I have about 20 hours of use on the P3, and I have noticed some changes in the overal sound characteristics. The highs have smoothed out ever so slightly, the bass has become a little more extended, and the midrange seems to have smoothed out as well (with no loss of texture or dynamics). I love it. Worth the cash if the rest of your system is up to it.

Similar Products Used: - Chase RLC-1 Remote Line Controller
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
OldSchool   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 22, 2005]
Strength:

Lots of cool features at a reasonable price. Remote switching and volume control are the main features I like, plus the ability to use balanced connections. Having both balanced and unbalanced outputs is useful for bi-amping.

Weakness:

Other than the noise floor, nothing stands out. The fact the unit is made in Taiwan may lead to an unfair intellectual bias, but otherwise I suppose the unit might cost a good bit more.

I'm used to buying audio equipment sight-unseen based strictly on published specs and user reviews, and this product looked like a winner based on the other reviews here and my investigations on the Parasound web site. I've been using the pre-amp for a few days now and am happy enough with it to keep it. It is replacing an old Kenwood Basic C2 Pre-Amp that had the balance control go out on me. I hope to clean the Kenwood or bypass the part eventually, but it seemed time to go ahead and splurge on a replacement unit, even if just for the convenience of remote control capability (particularaly volume control). OK so that's a real expensive remote! I had considered other passive units, such as the Creek, but I need the wealth of input selection the Parasound has, and you have to admit the unit *is* sexy looking. There is one thing I want to point out, to explain why I'm not giving 5 stars to this unit. That is that it does NOT have a dead quiet noise floor. Now, admittedly my speakers are quite sensitive (Jamo CBR 1704 is the model, I think they are over 90db sensitivity). The noise I confirmed is entirely due to the preamp and not due to source or amplifier. It is constant regardless of source selection (even if no source is hooked up) and will (mostly) mute when the mute button is pressed. So the noise is constant. However, I'm a lucky dog any my amplifier (Kenwood Basic M1A) has input volume controls (oh if it only had a source selector) so after testing what sorts of listening volumes are possible (i.e. I want to be able to get ear-splitting) I found I could put the amp gain down where I can't hear the pre-amp noise any more. Even at full gain, the noise isn't too bad - you have to stand near the speakers to hear it. So it is a fairly quiet amp, but not as quiet as my Kenwood Basic C2 was, which *was* dead quiet at full gain. I wonder if these days you can find any dead quiet pre-amps, so when I bought the unit I did realize I might be in for a let-down with the noise issue. But it ain't too bad. Sound-wise, the pre-amp is powerful, detailed, and just a tad bright, but that's OK as I'm just starting the burn-in and the Jamo speakers are known for being a little on the bright side anyway. Recommended.

Similar Products Used: Kenwood, NAD pre-amps
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
aram gegaregian   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 01, 2005]
Strength:

Dead quiet especially with the usage of balanced outputs, very good build quality, flexibility, overall excellent sonic performer for twice the cost IMHO.

Weakness:

Ok...those little plastic pieces on the outer sides of the front panel display. Wish it had been made in USA or Japan.

I love this preamp! I've played with many, but this one exceeds my gratification for under a grand. This preamp has allowed me to incorporate the balanced configuration for the first time and what a difference. Quieter noise floor by a long shot over single ended! I've gone through so many preamps like I said earlier...Rotel's RC 970, RC 1070, Hafler 915 (class A), Parasound's P/PH 850 and the PLD 1100, Audionics BT-2, Adcom 565 and True Image TP-2. I give the remote an average rating, but user friendly for sure. I don't think mine has even been fully burned in yet, but I can certainly say that this preamp boast weight, finess and detail without the sacrafice of soundstage. Oh...the unit is not that bad looking either.

Similar Products Used: Rotel's RC 970, RC 1070, Hafler 915 (class A), Parasound's P/PH 850 and the PLD 1100, Audionics BT-2, Adcom 565 and True Image TP-2.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
muska   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 19, 2004]
Strength:

Smooth character. Very musical, Gorgeous good looks, Soundstaging and imaging are impressive

Weakness:

Gorgeous good looks are distracting making them look more lifestyle items than serious components. May be irritatingly too nice for audiocrats who paid USD5000 for their swanky amps and still not able to enjoy thier music

Actually I first comtemplated buying an old showroom model of the pld1500. Not bad but when I couln't get an owner's manual, I wrote to the local dealer and he said he'll try to get it from the US while suggesting that I audition more current parasound models. Went to the dealer and listened to the Halo P3. Thought it looked gorgeous and sounded more detailed and full bodied than the pld 1500, but then at the shop they were using XLR balanced connections so of course the sound was better. Had it not been for the high asking price of the pld 1500, I would not have decided on the p3. So last Saturday night I brought it home and was advised not to expect too much during initial listening as it requires at least 72 hours of continuous play for effective running in. Even with the first CD I played,Anita Baker's Greates Hits,the P3 was already displaying potential. Still on that first night, the sound that came out was slightly veiled and thin.Now, after one week of only between 2 to 3 hours of buring in nightly, the P3 is beginning to blossom. With Prince's Musicology, this baby funks oh so sexily. Vocals regardless of how shrill the singers sounded with other systems sound more natural never forced or coloured.Bass is fast , to the beat accurate and agile, goes deep to thump your heat when and whre needed. Treble is sweet and never piercing. This is an amp for people who never strayed from the objective of owning a good system ; the enjoyment of music. Audiphiles and so called purists may accuse it of being too smooth and they could be right as it does display a glossed over effect on poor recordings. This amp makes all songs sound nice and never fatiguing. It may not be the purest in terms of accuracy. But then, they may be missing the point, music lovers want to listen to all of their favourite music in a way that seduces them, inspires them, excites them and could not be bothered with listening to a singer swallow his/her saliva in between phrases.

Similar Products Used: previously used a Marantz PM6100SA integrated amp as preamp/ Still using Marantz 6100MA monoblocks as power amp/ Looking to upgrade to the Halo A23 soon.CD player is Marantz CD6000SE LE and speakers are ProAc Studio 125, Interconnects are Tara Labs Prism 22 for amps , Moster mk400i for CD and QED profile 12 bi-wires for speakers
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Lowdef   AudioPhile [Mar 03, 2004]
Strength:

Deep Bass, smoth midrange, clear and detailed highs. Loaded with features and is real nice to look at. Remote Control

Weakness:

none

First off let me say in the the last 2-1/2 years I've had the same power amp ( Parasounds HCA-1500A )which I love but have used no less than 5 other pre amps starting with Parasounds P/HP-850 and PLD-1100, Cambridge Audio C500, Perreaux EP and then the Creek OBH-12. All had their strenghts but also their weeknesses and was never happy with the overall sound they provided. When the Halo came out I was hesitant to give it a try with the experience of the other Parasounds Pre-amps which I thought were on the dry side. So I waited but felt I was missing something with the passive Creek now in the chain. Then I read a few positive reviews about the P3 and finally decided to give it a try, after all you do get a 30 day money back trial with it thru AA. The minute I hooked it up I realized I was hearing things that I could'nt from the other pre-amps. It had deep bass, a smooth midrange, and a clear and detailed high end. Instruments were now easy to pinpoint and had much more accracy during complex passages. After 3 months and fully broken in I can say the sound has only gotten better and my system now sings regardless of volume setting. It can play loud ( reasonable levels ) without distortion and find myself listening and enjoying my music much more playing CD after CD than ever before. In closing let me say this is the best pre-amp I have ever owned and don't plan on changing pre-amps again for a long, long time. If your looking in the under $1000 range, or over for that matter you must audition this pre-amp , I think you will be as impressed as I was. Highly Recommended! Associated Equipment: Parasound HCA-1500A Parasound Halo P3 Pre-amp SonyKA2Es Cassette Deck Ah! Njoe Tjoeb 4000 CD player PSB Goldi Speakers MIT2 Speaker Cable Cardas Cross IC's

Similar Products Used: Mentioned them in review
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 17  

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