Key Countdown 10: Parasound - exceptional value and performance electronics
Parasound’s founder and CEO Richard Schram spent 15 years in an unusual role before founding Parasound.  He worked in retail, for one of California’s largest hifi chains, but also developed, built, and oversaw the manufacture of in-house brands, focussing his attention on reliable, relevant and saleable products.  That lineage follows through into the Parasound range.  The brand’s foundational objective is to create products that both sound expensive, and convey a premium feel in aesthetics and usability, but at a price point that has no right to be as good as it is. As evidence of this, you’ll find many companies with no budget constraints, such as Pixar and Sony, using Parasound. There is no difference between “professional” and “retail” - the products used in Lucasfilm or Capitol Records are identical to the ones we sell, and that you could have in your home.

All products are designed in California and built in Taiwan, and have been built in the same factory since day one - a factory owned by an audio enthusiast whom Richard met in the 1970s.  The genius behind many of the designs is non other than the legendary John Curl, arguably one of the finest solid state amplifier designers in the history of the industry.
My introduction to Parasound came via the custom install route. I wanted small, rackable components that sounded like real hifi, not like a cheap PA system, and Parasound offered precisely that.  I set up a system in the demo room and was blown away by the quality, and immediately invested in the brand to recommend for pure hifi use as well.  
We have many happy customers who have based a system around the Zpre or Zdac with active speakers, such as AVI, and we’re looking forward to testing the Parasound/KEF combo when we get access to our new demo room.  We’ve also specified systems based on the Halo - our favourite last year being the Halo P6 with the A21+ driving Totem Signature ones with a pair of SVS-PB3000 subwoofers.
There are three distinct families across the Parasound range.
Parasound UK | Parasound Z Series | Parasound at Expressive Audio, Lincolshire Hifi Experts
The Z series is diminutive and capable - at £279 the Zphono is a stunning phono stage for the money.  The Zdac is a brilliant piece of kit, featuring a quality headphone amp, balanced out, and the choice of setting the output to fixed or variable.  All the units are half width, and rack mountable.  They work beautifully as a mini system, and will fit on a shelf or small space, and have a handsome brushed metal finish.
Parasound NewClassic 200 Pre | Parasound UK | Parasound at Expressive Audio, Lincolnshire Hifi Experts
At twice the width, the NewClassic range are also great value for money - I use the 2 x 275W 2250 in my second system to drive some vintage B&W  DM7s, and the sound is superb, and recently we’ve been using the NewClassic 200 as a DAC with a Ming Da Dynasty Octet. 
Parasound Halo | Parasound UK | Parasound at Expressive Audio, Lincolnshire Hifi Experts
The Halo is the top of the range, starting from the exceptional HINT 6 integrated, and progressing all the way to the astonishing JC1+ mono blocks.
Parasound is a brand we love at Expressive Audio, because their values are so closely aligned with ours.  We want to provide exceptional sound and exceptional value at exceptional prices.  We look forward to showing you the range in our showroom, but in the meantime feel free to call or email us at any time - we can arrange home loans, give you advice, or just talk about music and movies.  Get in touch!

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