Parasound has introduced the Zphono USB, a compact preamplifier for moving coil and moving magnet (MC/MM) phonograph cartridges and line-level analog sources.
The Zphono USB compact preamplifier.
For new media applications, Zphono USB also adds an analog-to-digital (A-D) converter with a USB port to transfer audio from vinyl LPs onto Mac and PC as digital media. Zphono USB is the newest of the company’s Z-Series family of half-rack-width components.
The Parasound Zphono USB is engineered for the optimum in playback quality for vinyl LPs. Like its predecessor, the Zphono analog phono preamplifier, Zphono USB uses high quality parts and precision RIAA equalization to achieve low levels of noise and distortion, and accurate frequency response, according to the company.
For the digital realm, the Parasound Zphono USB also includes an adjustable USB gain control and defeatable RIAA equalization to improve the quality of audio transfers from LPs to digital media. The USB gain control and USB clipping indicator are used to optimize the digital record-output levels for the optimum signal-to-noise ratio with all recording software programs. For those using sophisticated digital music software in their PCs or Macs, the rear-panel RIAA defeat switch allows users to bypass the internal hardware-based RIAA phono equalization in favor of software-based digital equalization. These capabilities are provided only for the rear panel USB digital output.
The Parasound Zphono USB has a stereo input for an MC or MM phonograph cartridge, and two stereo line-level inputs to facilitate digital transfers of analog sources such as a tuner, CD player or tape deck. Rear-panel settings for MM-47 k, MC-47 k or MC-100 cartridges allow the user to select the ideal impedance matching for their phono cartridge. Front panel rumble-filter and mono/stereo switches are also available to refine the quality of phono playback for older LPs and mono LPs.
There is a single pair of fixed-level line-level outputs and a headphone output. The Zphono USB has dual power transformers and analog power supplies to minimize noise and an AC polarity reverse switch to combat hum issues related to power line polarity.
The Parasound Zphono USB will be available in the first week of September with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $350.