Parasound has introduced the Zdac, a 192 kHz Digital to Analog Converter that gives consumers high sound quality when playing digital music files from computers via USB, or from a CD player, Sonos, or other digital media players via optical or coaxial digital connections.
Zdac is the newest addition to Parasound's compact 'half-width' Z-Series product family, and it is available in either a black finish with rack-mounting tabs or the new silver finish without rack-mount tabs.
"The Parasound Zdac brings digital-to-analog converter (DAC) technology to an entirely higher level of performance at a price comparable to many conventional aftermarket DACs," said Richard Schram, president of Parasound. "The Zdac is an ideal upgrade for many components such as digital media players with less-than-optimal on-board DACs, or computer audio, TV audio, CD or other player with digital outputs. It is rugged, reliable, and easy to hook up. Once it is up and running there is little to do but enjoy the music."
The Zdac 's unique re-clocking system preserves the original source audio data by eliminating jitter contamination that is picked up along the digital signal chain. This is accomplished through the synergy of two premium parts, an Analog Devices AD1895 asynchronous sample rate converter, and an AD1853 DAC IC, the same DAC IC that Holm selected for our Halo CD 1 CD player. To further improve sound quality, the signal is up-sampled to 422kHz. This highly effective jitter-reduction system works on all inputs, not just the USB input, as in many other DACs.
Like all Z Series components, Zdac has a high-quality built-in power supply rather than a typical 'wall wart.' In the case of Zdac, an oversized toroid power transformer assures unrestrained dynamics and unparalleled bass extension and authority. All of this quality is available at both unbalanced gold-plated RCA jacks and balanced XLR outputs.
The Zdac headphone output is driven by a low-noise/high current amplifier that will drive nearly any high quality 32- to 600-ohm headphone. A dedicated precision volume control for headphone listening adds to the Zdac's convenience. The Zdac includes fast-acting muting relays to eliminate any hint of transient pops or thump noises during turn on/off and when selecting inputs.
The Parasound Zdac is available in the traditional Z-Series black rack-mount configuration and the new Z-Series silver finish without rack tabs. Both versions are one rack-space high. The black Zdac is 9-1/2 inches wide — half of a standard rack width — and the silver Zdac is 8-1/2 inches wide.
The black Zdac can be used with Parasound's SBS side-by-side bracket to link two Z Custom units together, or Zblank for mounting across one standard rack space. Parasound also offers its half-width Zrack for mounting up to five Z Custom components.
Both versions of the Parasound Zdac Digital to Analog Converter will be available the second week of November with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $475.