In a market filled with DACs, Parasound has set a new standard for performance and value with the help of acclaimed Danish digital experts Holm Acoustics.
The new Zdac v.2 sounds more natural and less "digital" than DACs selling for far more because of its innovative design and high quality parts - but primarily from Parasound's know how and experience in this area as alluded to above. Its 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 their highly acclaimed 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.
The Zdac v.2 builds further on this high performance pedigree as it has an 'over-sized internal toroid power transformer' - not a wall wart like many competitors. So Parasound like many other premium audio manufacturers are now fully aware of the improvements with digital performance, and although this lies in decent processing capabilities, it also lies with very high quality power supplies (as it does with the best analogue components) and this is something Parasound are particularly aware of, and good at implementing - and the Zdac v.2 is no exception.
What's more is that the Zdac v.2 works with any format file on your computer up to 96 kHz / 24 bit, meaning that it is highly compatible for a host flexible applications - whether it be used for higher end audio reproduction or just used as a multi-format DAC that has great adaptability. This is also seen in that it works in variable volume mode in Windows® for connecting direct to a power amp - and this mode obviously no additional preamp is required.
For the more 'conventional' projects the Zdac v.2 has familiar optical and coaxial digital inputs for use with any standard digital connection requirements. As you'd expect the unit has both RCA unbalanced and XLR balanced analogue outputs on board - again meaning that it can be used for a host of residential or commercial applications - or just different amplifiers etc.
The unit interestingly (away from the CI focus totally) also is going to win huge praise and many friends as it also has a dedicated in-built high current headphone output with volume control can drive any headphones from 32 to 600 ohms. This feature really brings it into the realm of high end compact audio systems - and this is a hefty label it should wear well, even despite it's demure footing. So it's hard to think of another DAC with with features, at this price-point that can get close to it - pair it with a Zamp v.3 and you all of a sudden have a draw dropping compact modern hifi system...maximum 'bang for your buck'!
The Parasound Halo Zdac v.2 is available in black and silver finishes - please note that it cannot be rack mounted.
Parasound Z Series Zdac v.2 - Digital to Analogue Convertor Features & Benefits:
Analogue volume control for RCA and XLR outputs
Separate volume control for the headphone Jacks
Digital audio connection to Lighting jack equipped Apple® devices (USB adapter required)
Updated headphone amp with increased gain
1/4" and 1/8" 24k gold plated headphone jacks
12V input and output triggers
Volume control lock out switch
Black finish now available w/o rack mount holes
Premium Analog Devices AD1853 24-bit/192 kHz Digital to Analog Converter IC
All inputs feature jitter reduction and are re-clocked and up-sampled to 422 kHz / 24 bit
USB input for playing music from PC or Mac (driver-less for easy setup)
Asynchronous sample rate conversion for all inputs including the USB input
Works with any format file on your computer up to 96 kHz / 24 bit
Works in variable volume mode in Windows® for connecting direct to a power amp (no preamp needed)
Optical and Coaxial digital inputs for use with any standard digital connection
RCA unbalanced and XLR balanced analog outputs
High current headphone output with volume control can drive any headphones from 32 to 600 ohms
Over-sized internal toroid power transformer (not a wall wart like many competitors)
Will always power back up to the same input in the event of an AC power outage
Parasound Z Series Zdac v.2 - Digital to Analogue Convertor Specifications:
Supports Incoming Digital Word Lengths:
16 bit - 24 bit
Supports Incoming Digital Sampling Frequencies:
Opt & Coax: 8 kHz, 11.025 kHz, 16 kHz, 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz, 192 kHz.
USB: 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz and 96 kHz
422 kHz / 24 bit (all inputs)
USB Streaming Controller:
Texas Instruments TAS1020B
Sample Rate Converter:
Analog Devices AD1895
D to A Converter:
Analog Devices AD1853
Texas Instruments TPA6120
20 Hz to 20 kHz ±0.2 dB
< 0.05 dB, 20 Hz - 20 kHz
> 95 dB, 20 Hz - 20 kHz
Signal to Noise Ratio:
110 dB, A-weighted
THD + Noise:
< 0.015 %
Audio Output Level, RMS (maximum):
Unbalanced Variable: 2.4 V
Balanced Variable: 4.8 V
Unbalanced Fixed: 2.2 V
Balanced Fixed: 4.4 V
Line out: 160 ohms, unbalanced or balanced
AC Power Requirement:
110-130 VAC 60 Hz or
220-240 VAC 50 Hz (voltage is selected on the chassis bottom)
Operating: 10 watts
Standby: < 1 watt
Width: 8.5" (220 mm)
Depth: 10" (254 mm)
Height: 2" (51 mm) with feet, 1.75" (45 mm) without feet
Net: 5 lbs (2.3kg)
Shipping: 8 lbs (3.7kg)