Parasound Halo P 5 Preamplifier Review


Parasound Halo P 5 Preamplifier Review Highlights

Best of 2014 Awards

Parasound has updated the Halo P3 after more than a decade with the new Halo P5 preamplifier. With the inclusion of digital processing and bass management, the Halo P 5 is a bargain, competing with preamps costing many times more. Bottom-line, I highly recommend the Parasound P5 for your consideration as an exceptional preamp.

Parasound Halo P 5 Preamplifier Review

Parasound Halo P 5 Preamplifier Highlights Summary

  • • 2.1 channels with analog bass management for two subwoofers
  • • Burr-Brown DAC for digital processing, with input options for USB, coaxial, and Toslink optical
  • • Home theater bypass, allowing the P5 Preamplifier to be connected in-line in a system for both two-channel listening and home theater.
  • • Two load settings on the phono stage for MM (moving-magnet) and MC (moving-coil) cartridges.
  • • Balanced inputs and outputs

Introduction to the Parasound Halo P 5 Preamplifier Review

Calling the new Parasound Halo P 5 simply a preamplifier is an understatement. As expected it naturally handles analog audio in spades, but now the inclusion of digital processing places the P-5 preamplifier in another category. If that weren’t enough, the P 5 provides serious bass management and a headphone amp as well.


  • Design: Stereo Preamplifier, Solid State
  • Output: 7 Volts RMS Maximum
  • MFR: 10 Hz - 100 kHz, - 3 dB
  • THD+N: 0.01%
  • Input Impedance: RCA - 24 kOhm, XLR - 200 kOhm
  • Crossover Slope: 12 dB/Octave
  • Dimensions: 4.1" H x 17.25" W x 13.75" D
  • Weight: 14 Pounds
  • MSRP: $1,095 USD
  • Parasound
  • SECRETS Tags: Parasound Preamplifier, Parasound P 5 Preamplifier, preamplifier, Stereo, Preamplifier Reviews 2014, Halo Preamplifier

The Parasound Halo P 5 preamplifier replaces the 12 year old P 3. While the flagship JC 2 preamplifier garnishes so much attention, the popular P 3 was well received, hit a perfect market slot at a great price point. SECRETS reviewed the P 3 back in 2002.

Yet when you consider the new P-5 at $1,095 and all the features is virtually unchanged from the elder $800 P 3, considering replacing it with the P 5 is a no-brainer.

Outboard DACs these days seem to be all the rage in the audiophile world as we transition to digital file playback. In the past, compressed digital music had not entered the realm of a serious two-channel world. Not only is digital music gaining momentum it’s becoming the norm. Don’t believe me or think audiophiles aren’t buying into digital music? Attend a high-end two-channel show, CES 2014 or RMAF 2014 for example and see what the exhibitors are using for demonstration, 2-1 it’s sources from their laptops. Perhaps this is for convenience but the quality of high-res files and equipment has them confident in how their gear sounds.

Most quality outboard DACs do offer some form of volume control, multiple digital inputs, and typically at least one analog input, aside from the fact that DACs are digital, literally omitting the relevant phono stage. Does this render the analog two-channel preamplifier obsolete? Never! Up until recently, the sound of a DAC (alone) other than for headphones was well, just too digital sounding, synthetic; edgy, sharp highs, lacking of vocal/ instrumental layers, unmusical and disconnected. Higher sampling rates, corrected jitter, etc., have made DACs much better, but there are still imitations of DAC units and it’s typically in controls.

Go to Page 2: Design