Parasound introduced the new Zphono XRM phono preamplifier at $599 to bridge the price gap between their entry-level $200 Zphono and higher-end $1,495 Halo JC 3 Jr. The new model includes balanced XLR outputs, a switchable rumble filter, a mono-stereo switch, plus continuously variable load adjustment for moving coil cartridges. Separate input jacks and independent circuitry for MC and MM cartridges allows it to accommodate two turntables. 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” said 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 a a significant improvement over the competitions’ typical “wall-wart” power supplies.
Price and Availability
The Parasound Zphono XRM will be available by the end of December 2018 with a suggested retail price of $599.