In the pantheon of audiophile electronics, Parasound stands among those at the top with its storied history, vast product range and legendary performance. The Halo P3 stereo preamplifier is no exception, providing solid performance and features, coupled with tremendous value ($799 retail), which is what Parasound has been all about for years. The P3 is as attractive as they come, having a sleek aluminum façade with pale blue glowing manual controls. The P3 is solidly built. Its ease of use and day-to-day livability is unique among audiophile components in that you actually want to interact with and use the P3. The front of the P3 features hard buttons for source, tone and balance, as well as volume. The P3 has a crystal clear fluorescent display that shows your source's volume in mono mode, i.e., right and left channels, and can be read easily from across a listening room.
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• Find a receiver to integrate with the Halo P3 preamplifier.
The P3 features six gold-plated line inputs, one of which can serve as an MM Phono stage, which is quite a feat, considering its asking price. The P3 features both unbalanced and balanced outputs for use with an outboard amplifier, as well as a pair of balanced inputs for a high-end source component. The P3 has a high-resolution headphone section, as well as features not found on most audiophile products, for instance an RS-232 port, an IR input and output jacks. The P3 is clearly an audiophile product with home theaters and system integration in mind, making it a more modern and forward-thinking piece of kit than the competition.
The P3 features dual layer glass epoxy circuit boards, coupled with a toroid power transformer more suitable for a receiver or power amplifier than one normally found in a preamplifier. Beyond the P3's underpinnings, its rock-solid reliability, coupled with Parasound's unheard-of ten-year parts and five-year labor warranty, make it an investment that comes standard with piece of mind. Oh, and the P3's remote isn't too shabby either; while not as sexy as the P3 itself, it's supremely functional and bears no resemblance to some off-the-rack universal you'll get with other brands. Read about the high points and the low points of the Halo P3 on Page 2.