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When Parasound embarked on the Halo integrated amplifier project back in 2011 they had to re-think what a modern integrated amplifier should be. Guided by their 34 year reputation for delivering the most 'bang for the buck' in high end audio - they did just that!
They chose the best sounding parts and included the most current and useful features to bring you a superior integrated amp with the same performance as their highly acclaimed HALO separates. Their acclaimed P5 inspired its preamp stage and advanced feature set, while its power amp stage employs the same John Curl circuit topology found in the legendary Class A/AB A21 and A23.
The HALO integrated features a plethora of features. Firstly the HALO integrated allows for balanced (XLR) inputs and outputs alongside un-balanced (Phono) connections. The amplifier also has designated 2.1 outputs (both balanced and un-balanced) with individual cross-over controls for optimum flexibility, as well as a home theatre (or home cinema depending on where you hail from) bypass inputs for subtle integration into multichannel systems.
Digital inputs into the class leading DAC are a merry threesome of optical, coaxial and also a dedicated USB connection, meaning that the digital world and formats are brilliantly catered for. The analogue world is reassuringly catered for as well with the inclusion of very flexible phono input with adaptable settings that cater for both MM or MC platforms. Internally the benefits of all this connectivity is coupled with an oversize toroidal transfomer - which help the amplifier deliver.
The HALO integrated also features clever connectivity for power options - especially for those with a custom installation inclination - with 12v trigger inputs, which disables the front power button, so it is ideal for high end installations where control system integration could be required, and sticky fingers are not!
The HALO integrated is finished to Parasound's exacting standards and build quality as well, and a look across the front panel will leave you in no doubt that it is a creature born from a stable of noble distinction. The front panel also leads us to a dedicated headphone input - which leads internally to a dedicated high current headphone amplifier, which coupled with a high quality mini jack auxilliary input means that the you can indulge the benefits of great sound from headphones and mobile devices.
Demo the new Parasound HALO integrated and you'll understand why its the only choice!
I bought this amplifier in early 2017 and have held off reviewing it until I had used it for a while. I wanted to get a good amplifier, a DAC, a headphone amp / output, plenty of line inputs, and a good MC input, but using as few boxes as possible. The Parasound Halo Integrated was one of the very few that did all of this in one box. I listened to a few other options around the same price point and went for this in the end. I have been very happy with my purchase. The sound improved over the first month of use, and with my speakers (Tannoy DC8T) I get a good balanced neutral (in a good way) sound and better imaging than I have had before. The amplifier just gets on with playing the music, and the single box is very convenient in my relatively small space for equipment. A plus for me has also been the 2.1 centre speaker output. I didn't buy the Halo for home cinema etc., but found a cheap B&W ASW750 subwoofer and added that as an experiment. This was easy to integrate using the Halo's filter controls, and again you end up with a neutral balanced sound with more bass, rather than silly "special effects" thumping, and the front panel control does a good job of fine-tuning the bass level very simply. So, overall, over 6 months use, I was happy to start with, and have become even happier over time rather than finding a bunch of niggles and shortcomings. Obviously, people should listen for themselves alongside other products, but for me the Halo is very well worth considering.
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