Parasound New Affordable Zdac V.2 DAC and Headphone Amp

November 21 2014, 04:00
San Francisco, CA-based Parasound is a privately owned US company that specializes in providing affordable audio components. As Richard Schram, the president and founder of Parasound explains, “If I didn’t listen to the products we sold, or if John Curl, our legendary chief circuit designer, didn’t listen to the products he designed, then we would have never won the respect of hundreds of dealers, the praise of most of the world’s audio reviewers, and the earned loyalty of many thousands of critical listeners who have chosen Parasound products for their own.”

Schram started Parasound when he saw a clear need for high-end sound quality at much more reasonable prices than typical high-end products. “The high-end were offering gold-plated quality at solid-gold prices,” says Schram. “I thought we could do it better, and we did.”
Parasound has announced that it is now shipping its new Zdac V.2 Digital Audio Converter (DAC) and Headphone Amplifier to dealers. The Parasound Zdac V.2 follows on the success of the original Zdac, adding enhanced preamplifier features, a new headphone amplifier with increased gain and dual output jacks, and improved system integration with 12-V triggers. Lightning jack equipped Apple iOS devices can now send digital audio directly to the Zdac V.2's USB port (Apple Lighting to USB adapter required).

Zdac V.2 adds a high-slew-rate headphone amplifier to prevent the odd-order distortions that contribute to listening fatigue. Its low 10-Ω output impedance combined with higher gain enables it to drive phones up to 600 Ω. There is a dedicated headphone volume control, and dual 0.25” 0.125” phone jacks to avoid added adaptor contact noise.

The DAC is configured to drive a power amplifier directly without the need of a preamplifier. Its balanced XLR and RCA line outputs can be variable, or fixed level for maximum signal-to-noise. Twelve-volt triggers are now provided for automatic on and off.

Like its predecessor, Zdac V.2 has optical and coaxial digital inputs that support up to 192-kHz/24-bit sources, and a USB input for up to 96-kHz/24 bit sources. It provides asynchronous sample rate conversion of all inputs, which are re-clocked and up-sampled to 422 kHz/24 bit.

The Parasound Zdac V.2 is available in silver or black finish and costs $549 MSRP.
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