Parasound Halo Integrated Amplifier

Compact Powerhouse

Equipment report
Integrated amplifiers
Parasound Halo
Parasound Halo Integrated Amplifier

The Halo Integrated phonostage has three settings. The setting switch is on the back panel and offers one moving-magnet as well as two moving-coil settings at either 100 ohms or 47k ohms resistance.

Outputs on the Parasound Integrated 2.1 include one pair of speaker outputs via 24k-gold-plated five-way binding posts, one pair of RCA single-ended fixed “rec out” line-level outputs, one pair of balanced XLR main outputs and a single XLR sub volume-controlled output, two single-ended RCA subwoofer outputs managed by the crossover, and one pair of single-ended RCA main outputs managed by the crossover. So while there is only one pair of speaker outputs, you can easily attach a second or even a third power amplifier to either the balanced or single-ended main outputs to add another set of speakers to a second or third room. Also, you can have more than one subwoofer (but not stereo subs unless you use the main line-level output into an external crossover).

If you plan to incorporate the Halo Integrated into a home-theater system it has provisions for accepting the pre-outs of any home-theater receiver and routing them directly to the power amplifier section of the Halo. This feature, called “home-theater bypass,” can also route your receiver’s subwoofer output so that you won’t need to run two connections to your subwoofer to have it active for both two-channel music and multichannel sources. You can use the Halo to drive the left and right front channels of your system while the receiver handles the center, rear, sub, and side channels (if you have side channels).

Setup and Ergonomics
Installing the Parasound Halo Integrated 2.1 in my upstairs system was easy. I simply removed my Parasound P 7 preamp and Perreaux E110 power amplifier and put the Integrated 2.1 in their places. I’ve been using the Parasound P 7 as my reference preamplifier for several years. In fact, I have two, so that I can have a P 7 in each of my room-based systems. Since the upstairs system was already set up for 2.1 listening with a pair of Skiing Ninja-modified AV123 X-Static speakers and a Velodyne DD+10 subwoofer, inserting the Integrated 2.1 was merely a matter of reconnecting inputs and outputs and then spending some time dialing in the integrated’s built-in crossover.

Setting up the Halo Integrated 2.1’s crossover was relatively easy, but you need to have access to the crossover controls located on the back of the unit. This means that unless you have a setup where you can easily access the rear panel and, ideally, see the crossover controls, you may be doing a lot of hunting and pecking. The knobs are small and there are no detents to alert you to where they’re pointed. Compared with the Parasound P 7 that has crossover controls located in a menu you can access through the remote and see on the front panel, the 2.1’s crossover is not as easy to use, but it does allow for more settings since the P 7 only permits a limited number of crossover options.

When I moved the Halo Integrated 2.1 into my computer audio system the installation was equally simple and straightforward. The primary difference was that I needed to reset the crossover settings for the Audience 1+1 speakers and Aperion Bravus 8D subwoofer.

The Halo runs warm, but not hot. Even when on continuously, it never required a fan or additional ventilation. While I would not recommend shoehorning it into a spot with no ventilation, if you give the unit several inches of breathing room above it, heat build-up should not be an issue.

The remote control for the Halo Integrated 2.1 is plastic with illuminated buttons. It includes volume control, input selection, tone on/off, mute, and power on/off. During the review period, the remote worked reliably.