Parasound Launches Zphono XRM for Improved Vinyl Experiences

December 21 2018, 00:10
For those still in the market for a decent phono preamplifier, Parasound just announced a new model that's a big step up from its entry-level Zphono. The new Parasound Zphono XRM phono preamplifier offers higher performance, dual-input MM and MC, with XLR balanced outputs, adjustable MC loading, rumble filter, and mono/stereo switch. Price wise, Parasound's new $599 Zphono XRM phono preamplifier bridges the gap between its entry-level $200 Zphono and the internationally acclaimed $1,495 Halo JC 3 Jr. 

Among the reasons to consider the new Zphono XRM, the balanced XLR outputs, combined with a switchable rumble filter, a mono-stereo switch, plus continuously variable load adjustment for moving coil cartridges, should be more than enough. The XRM also adds separate input jacks and independent circuitry for MC and MM cartridges, allowing it to accommodate two turntables and providing an ideal solution for vinyl enthusiasts. Like other Parasound Z models, the Zphono XRM uses the company's compact 1U high x 8-1/2 inches wide chassis.

"Our current Zphono is the ideal product for entry-level vinyl lovers," says Richard Schram, Parasound's president and founder. "We've noticed the fast-growing popularity of more expensive turntables and increasingly high-performance MM and MC cartridges. With the Zphono XRM's adjustable load impedance knob (rather than DIP switches) MC cartridge users can easily make on-the-fly adjustments to achieve the best sound. With its rumble filter and mono-stereo switch, the Zphono XRM provides even more control to the increasingly serious vinyl lover."

A front panel input switch selects MM and MC input jacks. Each of these jacks has its own circuitry optimized for the cartridge type. This improves the signal-to-noise ratio and overall performance for MM and for both low-output and high-output MC cartridges. A bonus of having separate input jacks with their own circuits is the capability to connect two turntables (or two tonearms mounted on a single turntable). The Stereo/Mono switch combines L and R channels so users can optimize sound quality of mono LPs as well as reducing background noise on worn or poorly stamped pressings. This useful feature is rarely found on even high priced phono preamps, much less at the Zphono XRM's modest price point. Another significant feature is the Rumble Filter switch which selects a steep 18 dB per octave high-pass filter which "cleans up" the low end by preventing feedback from mechanically transmitted vibrations.

The Zphono XRM has gold-plated single-ended RCA output jacks and balanced gold-plated XLR outputs with a high common mode rejection ratio (CMRR) to reject external sources of noise. An internal linear high-capacity/low-noise power supply is also significant improvement over the typical "wall-wart" power supplies. The Parasound Zphono XRM will be available by the end of December 2018 with a suggested retail price of $599.
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