Parasound, Now at Upscale
Our solid-state offerings get even more enticing
Why 'ultra-high-bias class-A' could be your new hi-fi mantra.
Every hobby has a Quiet Brand. The one that has zero flamboyance but is revered by the people who own it. In road cycling—to pick one rabbit-hole hobby beloved by hi-fi enthusiasts (and to make a change from watch and sports-car analogies)—that brand would be Giant. It doesn't have the home-team recall of Trek and Specialized, the style of Pinarello and Colnago, or the new-kid excitement of Canyon. Yet, Giant owners are some of the most loyal in the peloton, riding their bikes for 10 to 15 years and then just going out and getting another Giant.
You can see where we're going with this, and yes, we're arguing that Parasound is the Quiet Brand of hi-fi. A line-up whose flagship should be called the IYKYK (If You Know, You Know.) The premier models do have a bit of that IYKYK energy in the names, with a mysterious JC everywhere. This pays tribute to John Curl, regarded as one of the greatest audio circuit designers of all time.
John Curl's, and therefore Parasound's, approach is to pick the best parts, often bringing in the heavies, but also to keep things simple. The ideology is in the same space as Pass, Boulder, and Krell but not up in the rarified air of $60,000 for a pair of monoblocks.
While $20,000 for a pair of monoblocks might now be down to earth for many of us, one look inside and you know this is an amp that fulfills all of Kevin's dreams when he pops the hood of a product, waves his arms like an excited kid, and speaks of "parts and engineering."
What Would JC Do?
John Curl's approach avoids capacitors and inductors in the signal path and uses fully balanced, complementary (push-pull) circuits. "It’s pointless to design something that is prone to distortion and then try to remove the distortion," he says in an interview on Parasound's website.
John is also a big proponent of ultra-high-bias class-A, saying, "All else being equal, the more class-A you have, the better. We don’t need a full class-A amplifier because people don’t listen to full power levels all the time."
This is the magic of an ultra-high-bias circuit design. For reasonable to audiophile-loud listening levels, say with 25 W of class-A bias, the amp stays in class-A, bringing all of its linearity, dynamics, and smoothness, but without you having a 75 W or more of heat dissipation to worry about, as you would with a 100 W class-A amp.
And by the time you push through that 25 W bias into class-B, you're either having a wild party, or you're very soon not going to be able to hear well enough to enjoy your amp.
Parasound's circuit designer, John Curl, believes in using top-shelf components and fully balanced, complementary circuits.
The Parasound Range
Just as we have analog-heads and tube-fiends at Upscale, we also have digital-nerds and solid-state-demons, so we're excited to welcome Parasound into the Upscale fold. We like our team and product offerings to reflect the full diversity of our customer's sonic preferences. Here's a quick look at the Parasound range.
Halo: This is the premier product lineup, sporting John Curl's signature on the front panel. It's led by the JC 1+ monoblocks, followed by smaller stereo power amps and then integrated amps. There are two phonostages, two preamps (one with a DAC), and multichannel power amps.
NewClassic: This is the entry-level stereo line-up, featuring an integrated amp, a preamp with onboard DACs, and three increasing sizes of stereo power amp. The NewClassic line takes Parasound's legendary 'bang for buck' to an even more accessible level.
ZoneMaster and Z Custom: These two line-ups feature products designed for multi-room systems. The small footprint of Z Custom makes them popular for desktop setups.
By subscribing to our newsletter, you're on the 'breaking news' list. We're still bringing in our Parasound inventory but take a look at what we have on the way.
Dr. Sean Olive's Reference Brand and Discounted 40%
Talking about high-end solid-state, until the end of the year, Mark Levinson is offering an amazing 40% off two perfectly matched fully dual-mono solid-state components.
How perfectly matched? Right down to price. Both the Mark Levinson No. 5206 preamp and No. 5302 power amp are going for $6,600 each. That's a full $4,400 each off the regular retail price of $11,000.
The No. 5206 is a discrete, balanced, class-A preamp with DAC, MM/MC phonostage, and headphone out. The No. 5302 is a 135 Wpc bridgeable class-AB amp. Both products have been designed and handcrafted in the US.
Mark Levinson is famous for its visual and sonic elegance, bringing a detailed, refined, large-scale sound and some of the best fit and finish in the industry.
When we visited Harman earlier this year, we were interested to learn that the legendary audio engineer Dr. Sean Olive has Mark Levinson in his reference system. As we wrote in August, "Dr. Olive, senior fellow of acoustic research at Harman, who has authored over 50 research papers on the "Science of Sound', and whose work in audio perception and testing drives the development of major audio products, lit up as he talked about the Harman Target Curve sure, but he really lit up when he spoke of his audio system at home, built around Mark Levinson and Revel."
This Mark Levinson offer turns into a pumpkin at midnight, December 31, and will likely sell out before then, so call us today!
|Mark Levinson No. 5206 Preamplifier
|Mark Levinson No. 5302 Amplifier
New Video: A Classic Convention
John Hunter of REL and Kevin Deal have a great conversation about what inspired John to develop the Classic 98 subwoofer by REL. As a throwback design on the outside and a cutting-edge electronics product on the inside, you'll see how this retro-inspired subwoofer is actually a modern bottom-end powerhouse.
Top Sales and Deals!
Here are the noteworthy sales and offers we have going right now. Note: There are further terms and conditions; this is just a summary. To get all the details, contact our sales crew on website chat, via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or call 909-931-9686.
PrimaLuna Tube Bundle: For a limited time, customers who order select PrimaLuna power or integrated amplifiers can choose to add, at a discounted price, a set of cryogenically treated KT120 or KT150 power tubes.
JL Sale: Take $400 off the JL Audio Dominion d110 10" subwoofer.