parasound p6 thoughts

I want to replace my existing lite audio dac 68 with something that does USB. I also have a parasound p3 preamp

i was thinking of just replacing the preamp + dac with the
Parasound P6 with a built in dac.

Advantages is the p6
is 2.1 so I can potentially integrate my sub into the mix
it has balanced interconnects which I want
build in usb dac that seems to have decent reviews.
better preamp that my p3

Disadvantages is no seperate dac?

would i be able to get a better preamp+dac combination for a similar price. should i just hold onto the p3 and upgrade the dac? I cant intergrate a sub with the p3

budget is 1k-1.5k

The rest of my system is the HCA 35000 power amp and the sda srs 1.2TL polk
i feed all my music form a server to a pc using flac's and foobar setup for bit perfect audio.

I have given up on finding perfection and I just want to enjoy the music lol..
«1

Comments

  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,430
    Seems like you already sold yourself on the P6. If you like the Parasound house sound, and it plays well with your other gear, why not. The P3 and dac are a bit outclassed by the rest of the system so I say go for it.

    Be hard, in your budget range, to get all those things you want in another piece. My only concern for you is I have not heard many good things about the dac performance in the P5 or P6. Could just be a matter of taste though.

    Maybe look into PS Audio gain cell stuff. Many here enjoy them and I haven't heard a bad thing yet.

    The criteria so far is....

    USB dac
    Balanced connections
    2.1 for a sub.

    I'm sure the other guys will chime in with suggestions.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • thejckthejck Posts: 815
    edited September 21
    i think part of my issue is the upgrade path.
    if i need a new preamp.. what do i go with that does 2.1 since i want to use a sub. and has balanced outputs.

    I think more pressing is a need for a usb dac. but I dont want to go someting cheap and then we unhappy and want to ugprade in a few years. Also dont know if I go with something better for the dac then the p3 becomes the weak link.

    If i have to upgrade both pieces separately what budget would i need?

    I have fought with this upgrade decision for years lol. Lots of personal issues come up in my life. I think I am ready to just start enjoying the music again.

    the stellar gain doesnt do sub out?
  • thejckthejck Posts: 815
    I know this is out of left field. but has anyone on here played with this
    https://www.minidsp.com/products/streaming-hd-series/shd

    SHD
    All in One Streaming processor with Dirac Live® Digital Room Correction, Volumio Network streamer, Audiophile 32bit converters, 450MHz Sharc DSP processor, DSP toolbox for subwoofer or multiway speaker

    What is this dirac live stuff?
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,430
    Your not alone in those choices pal, many experience having to make those same decisions.

    Personally, if it was me, I'd concentrate on the preamp first. I think your biggest gain in sound will come from that piece rather than the dac first. Plus USB dacs are a dime a dozen these days and good ones on the used markets are going for fairly cheap prices. So...upgrade the dac later, concentrate on the pre first is my advice.

    And...if we are going to talk pre amps, you owe it to yourself, and those speakers, to give an evil eye towards a tubed pre. Once you go glass, you'll be spankin your a s s.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 2,471
    With a pair of 1.2TL's I would drop the notion of keeping a subwoofer at all and simplify even further. A new USB DAC seems to me to be the best choice. The P6 added a lot of convenience features over the P3, but if you look inside the case you wouldn't see much in terms of power supply or high quality parts that would set its analog performance apart much if any from the P3. I had a P3 a long time ago. It was okay. Nothing special like the HCA3500 or a pair of 1.2TLs. I don't think the P6 would be much of an improvement in terms of sound quality.

    I also like to keep options open for future upgrades and have a DAC separate from the preamp in a dedicated two channel system.
    1. Polk LSiM707, 704C, 703; Dual SVS SB2000 subwoofers; Marantz SR7011 receiver; Parasound A23 amp; Oppo 205; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S2 cables
    2. JM Labs Electra 920.1; Sonic Frontiers Line 3 Preamp; Classe Model 25 amp; Sony HAP-Z1ES; Oppo 105D; Music Hall MMF7 and Acoustech phono pre; PS Audio Power Director; MIT S1 Cables
    3. Polk LSiM703; Parasound JC2BP and A21; Sony 48" 4K TV; Wyred4Sound DAC 2; Oppo 203; Squeezebox Touch; MIT S3 cables
  • thejckthejck Posts: 815
    edited September 21
    any suggestions on some tube pre's to investigate?
    how would I intergrate a sub into the pre path if it doesnt have a .1 pre out?
    Also what should I spend?

    the lite audio dac 68 is tube.
    is this just poor product? would upgrading the tubes in there give me something interesting to play with.

    Why tubes? warmer sound?

    reading on here i have not found much in the way of p6 reviews. however i did read that it was a substantial upgrade from the p5.

  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 2,471
    Another, what may seem like an off the wall idea, is to look into a used or closeout home theater preamp if excellent subwoofer integration and other all in one convenience features are desired...

    https://www.amazon.com/Marantz-Pre-Amplifier-Component-Amplifier-AV7704/dp/B072ZBX5NZ

    A user gains the ability to use DSP to set distances and blend a subwoofer or two seamlessly that route. A Marantz processor can sound surprisingly good in two channel mode and it is not necessary to have a TV display in the system beyond initial setup.
    1. Polk LSiM707, 704C, 703; Dual SVS SB2000 subwoofers; Marantz SR7011 receiver; Parasound A23 amp; Oppo 205; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S2 cables
    2. JM Labs Electra 920.1; Sonic Frontiers Line 3 Preamp; Classe Model 25 amp; Sony HAP-Z1ES; Oppo 105D; Music Hall MMF7 and Acoustech phono pre; PS Audio Power Director; MIT S1 Cables
    3. Polk LSiM703; Parasound JC2BP and A21; Sony 48" 4K TV; Wyred4Sound DAC 2; Oppo 203; Squeezebox Touch; MIT S3 cables
  • thejckthejck Posts: 815
    actully this is an interesting concept.

    I have 2 seperate systems in my room.

    An Integra dhc 8.9 (old pre-processor) that i use with a couple of halo amps to power a 7 channel setup that is seperate from my 2 channel sda 1.2's

    Would a quality pre processor eliminate the need for a seperate 2 channel preamp and dac?

    Is there a way I can use a pre processor to power 2 seperate amp's on the front channel? so I can route it in pure direct 2 channel mode to my hca 3500 and then in my 7 channel mode to my A51 and my A23

  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,109
    Anything designed for home theater first will not be optimized for 2 channel playback. Your best bet for a dual system is adding a preamp with H.T. bypass.
  • thejckthejck Posts: 815
    ok. so back to the seperate concept.

    what would $1500 get me in terms of a preamp and a usb dac. I am open to used

    how much should I spend to see a significant bump from my
    P3 + dac 68

    A comment was made about usb dac's being a dime a dozen. what should I budget for that and then how much should i spend on what I presume is a tube pre amp to get a good feeling on money well spend but not break my bank..
  • PSOVLSKPSOVLSK Posts: 4,107
    I can't comment on the P6, but I had the P5 and it was great for combining a 2-channel set in my HT with the HT bypass feature.
    Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.-John Wooden
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,109
    Cambridge 851N would be an option
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,430
    You can go a few different ways. A HT processor if you want a more easy peasy way of combining 2 channel and HT. IMHO, the higher end processors are the way to go. Like an Anthem D2 or Cary Cinema 12. Both are very good at either, have good dacs in them too and can be had for around 1500.

    You could also try a dac that also functions as a pre amp. Something from Bryston maybe, or a few I found with a quick search are a Nad m51 for 800 bucks. Mytek Brooklyn dac for 1100. NorthStar dac for 900. PS Audio gain cell dac for 1400.

    Smaller USB dacs I said were a dime a dozen are like a IFI Micro for 160 bucks.

    Pre amps-the world is your oyster on SS ones, good tubed ones are a bit harder to come by. There's a VTL 2.5 I saw for 1200 which is a decent price.

    I think with that amp and speakers, tube gear would work well or some higher end SS from PS Audio, Musical fidelity....which is kinda ss/tube. Everyones taste vary, but many here with SDA'S over the years have enjoyed tubed gear with them or the likes of Musical Fidelity and PS Audio.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,430
    I also have it on good account, forum member Verb has a collection of really good pre amps, he's a hoarder by nature. :) Maybe you can talk him into cutting loose with one. Doesn't hurt to ask, send him a PM.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 2,471
    edited September 22
    One of the problems with trying to have two systems in the same room is the complexity in both setup and usage it brings trying to get them to work together in the same space regardless of how big it is. If the main issue is a problem of complexity, a rethinking may be in order so the gear in the room is pared back to best align with what the real priorities are.

    Personally, I would not try running two systems in one space at all but would consolidate the best pieces into one system if there can only be one room with AV gear in it. Or move the two channel gear to a different spot in the house if it's an option. It is certainly true that using a two channel preamp with a home theater bypass can bring about better two channel sound than relying on a receiver or home theater preamp, but doing that in itself adds complexity. Is complexity really the main concern?

    More often than not, simplicity yields the best results with two channel audio. That's why I would not recommend using a subwoofer with large speakers and get them into their own dedicated space possibly running a separate electrical circuit too. A simple DAC and a tube preamp setup with the HCA3500 can sound magical running into 1.2TLs.
    1. Polk LSiM707, 704C, 703; Dual SVS SB2000 subwoofers; Marantz SR7011 receiver; Parasound A23 amp; Oppo 205; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S2 cables
    2. JM Labs Electra 920.1; Sonic Frontiers Line 3 Preamp; Classe Model 25 amp; Sony HAP-Z1ES; Oppo 105D; Music Hall MMF7 and Acoustech phono pre; PS Audio Power Director; MIT S1 Cables
    3. Polk LSiM703; Parasound JC2BP and A21; Sony 48" 4K TV; Wyred4Sound DAC 2; Oppo 203; Squeezebox Touch; MIT S3 cables
  • That HCA3500 is some kinda beast. Love to get my hands on one.
    2 channel: Anthem 225 Integrated amp; Parasound Ztuner; TechnicsTT SL1350; Vincent PHO-8 phono pre; Marantz CD6005 spinner; Polk SDA2BTL's; Cables ZU Mission IC's, SC and power cords, all into a PS Audio Dectet Power center.

    All TV's sound enhanced by Polk Magnfi Mini's.

    Other; S60'S, M10 series II, M7C's, Hafler XL600 amp, RB-980BX, Parasound HCA-1500 amp , P5 preamp, all in storage. All speakers have had crossover rebuilds, resulting in a small fortune invested in Sonicaps, and tweeter upgrades.

    Political memes posted as fact and accepted as fact, are sign language of the ignorant, for the ignorant

    tonyb said " but even socialists can do a good thing here and there

    Social media makes dumb people dumber and smart people dumb then dumber.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,430
    A simple DAC and a tube preamp setup with the HCA3500 can sound magical running into 1.2TLs.

    Amen to that brotha. However we all have different needs, wallets, space to work with. Heaven knows, I've done it 9 different ways to Sunday to try and get a combined 2 channel/HT system to work in a room. And just when success happened, I had to sell it all.

    The OP has nice speakers and a good amp, he's just about there. This is why I think a tubed pre will take his sound quality up a few notches and where he should start first. He can run his existing dac with it and upgrade that later as funds become available.

    Brands that many like with SDA's are from the likes of Joule-VTL-VAC-Cary- maybe throw in some Conrad Johnson- Minimax-Musical Fidelity.....and many more. Dacs are more readily available, tubed pre's aren't. Least not under 1500 bones. Tubes just have that magic, and it works well with the SDA technology.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • thejckthejck Posts: 815
    edited September 22
    the only input I need for my pre-amp is my dac. I do not use cd players or tuners or vinyl anymore. Can I save some coin by going with something with less features?

    Some of those tube brand recommendations can get up there in price.

    All my equipment is hidden outside my room. This room is the only one that I can use my SDA's in because of the size needed for those speakers. I am not a fan of having them in the basement since its an effort to go sit down there especially in the winter.

    As you can see in the picture. the SDA's are seperate from my front's which are the polk rti12's

    My htpc outputs hdmi into my projector and pre processor.
    and currently optical into my DAC.

    I have struggled to make this decision on the upgrade path for my stereo rig. I know I need something but just cant decide on how to go about it. I typically buy things and hold onto them.

  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,109
    Again, Cambridge 851n. It will also allow you to bypass a connection to the computer and elevate your game even more.
  • thejckthejck Posts: 815
    i see in its description it says "tube like warmth" but i presume the recommendation would be to just use it as a preamp as well.

    If I want to get into the world of tubes.
    is tubes in a dac a bad idea?
    Listening to the psaudio guy talk, he basically said. a preamp is not necessary though it can make improvements to your sound quality but only some preamps.
    So I assume these tube preamps would be out of my price range.
    I am not looking to spend more than a couple of grand on a preamp itself and not have anything left over for a dac.

    Is there some off brand tube pre that might be worth taking a shot at? Perhaps a diy tube amp kit that I could put together that would not break the bank but give me something to do and get started in the tube world that I could upgrade over time?

    Or just put the tube idea aside for now until a different time in my life. I guess the comments on here about tubes got my mind going. Thought you dont know what you are missing if you never knew it exists.
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,109
    DAC's generally need a preamp in front of them regardless of how they were designed. I have had times where it works to use the DAC as a preamp, but its the exception and not the rule. DAC's used as preamps are generally lifeless and completely unengaging. I haven't found this to be true as much with the Cambridge streamers like I have other units - its one of their strengths that nobody really talks about.

    The Parasound is a Pre with a built-in DAC. This option CAN work, but the DAC in the preamp is the weak point of the Parasound so its hard to recommend as an upgrade for both areas.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,430
    edited September 24
    Judging by that pic, seems to me you have other decisions to make before deciding your upgrade path.

    For instance, having both sets of speakers in that room. Neither of which is setup properly either. I'd go with the SDA's and retire or sell the 12's and put that coin towards upgrades. The SDA's are more suited for a dual purpose system.

    For HT, and maybe I missed it somewhere, I see nothing giving you the newer codecs like DTS HD Master audio, which is a cryin' shame in HT speak.

    That screen also seems way too big for the room, but I get it's a matter of preference. Kinda like some like to sit in the first 5 rows at the movie theatre.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • JayCeeJayCee Posts: 564
    edited September 24
    Noteworthy quote of the day!
    tonyb wrote: »
    Once you go glass, you'll be spankin your a s s.

    I have an Anthem Pre-2L that's a very good match with SDA's and has HT bypass. Purchased it from @dpowell in 2011. I ran it with an upgraded Parasound HCA-1500A and it was a sweeeet combo. Very good pre for the coin and garnered high praise from @tonyb + others back then.

    Original purchase thread....https://forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/125805/anthem-pre2l-tubed-preamp-black/p1

    Upgraded the output caps to Mundorf Silver/Oil after reading @thsmith's post on his experience. Worked with Jeff, at Sonic Craft, getting cap recomendations.

    Haven't thought what I'd ask for it but I'd definitely look to pass on a good Polkie deal. Still in the original condition DPowell described minus the stock box. It was in rough shape. Still have the stock tubes that would go with it and they weren't used more than a few hours because I opted for a different tube that I purchased with it from DPowel. The Anthem, along with a closet full of gear, is going to be posted in the coming months for a potential L800 fund :smiley: . Only reason I stopped using the 2L was to try other gear and move up the ladder. I currently have tubed gear as a result of starting with the 2L.

    Anywho, reading this thread today kicked me in the a s s to get the ball rolling. Search the forum and you'll see many have included this piece in their SDA journey.
    Speakers: Polk1.2tl's (Uber Mods) Pre/Amp/DAC: PS Audio BHK Signature & 250, Perfectwave DirectStream Cables/IC's: MIT S1Bi-Wire/S1 Balanced +Avel Lindberg 1000VA "Dreadnought" Power Conditioner: Core Power Technologies EQUI=CORE 1800 Power Cords: Core Power Technologies Gold, DH Labs Power Plus DIY w/Neotech NC-P301 & P311ends FLAC Streamer: Roon ROCK on wifi'd NUC⟿Ω☯☥☮⟿🔊♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬
  • thejckthejck Posts: 815
    the sda's are setup from the rear wall and the side wall based on the distances recommended. also the distance between the 2 speakers and my sitting position is the same. again based on what i found on these forums.
    those rti12's i hate to sell because i wont get anywhere near to what i paid for them..
    also the rest of the 7 channel setup is in the same rti line.

    the screen size is what it is. i have no problems with it.
    the integra dtc 9.8 preprocessor i use is old but it does DTS-HD Master. i am going to keep that till it dies.

    tonyb wrote: »
    Judging by that pic, seems to me you have other decisions to make before deciding your upgrade path.

    For instance, having both sets of speakers in that room. Neither of which is setup properly either. I'd go with the SDA's and retire or sell the 12's and put that coin towards upgrades. The SDA's are more suited for a dual purpose system.

    For HT, and maybe I missed it somewhere, I see nothing giving you the newer codecs like DTS HD Master audio, which is a cryin' shame in HT speak.

    That screen also seems way too big for the room, but I get it's a matter of preference. Kinda like some like to sit in the first 5 rows at the movie theatre.

  • thejckthejck Posts: 815
    DSkip wrote: »
    The Parasound is a Pre with a built-in DAC. This option CAN work, but the DAC in the preamp is the weak point of the Parasound so its hard to recommend as an upgrade for both areas.

    would it be a good preamp by itself? for example buy it now start using it since it has the usb dac that I want. then in a few months or a year buy a different dac to pair with it. i loose out on the idea of tubes with this. but could I add something like a tube buffer down the road to get that effect?

    After looking at an inside picture of it and the lack of a proper power supply made me question it.

  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 2,471
    The Pre-2L is a gem. Especially so because it uses commonly available tubes and only needs four of them. I also run the Pre-2L with an HCA-1500 every now and then into a pair of LSiM 703. I could happily live with just that system if I had to.

    That is one preamp I could recommend. It also has a home theater passthrough function.

    I would recommend continuing to have a separate DAC unless the DAC being built in is a must have function. The Cambridge or P6 would be sufficient if the DAC being built in is the main goal. Maintaining a separate DAC keeps options open in what is still a rapidly changing product area.

    A Pre-2L or even a Sonic Frontiers Line 1 preamp would be whole new experience that does not cost that much. Service is also still available for them from the original designer. And, if a good one is found and it doesn't work out it's easy to sell them onwards.
    1. Polk LSiM707, 704C, 703; Dual SVS SB2000 subwoofers; Marantz SR7011 receiver; Parasound A23 amp; Oppo 205; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S2 cables
    2. JM Labs Electra 920.1; Sonic Frontiers Line 3 Preamp; Classe Model 25 amp; Sony HAP-Z1ES; Oppo 105D; Music Hall MMF7 and Acoustech phono pre; PS Audio Power Director; MIT S1 Cables
    3. Polk LSiM703; Parasound JC2BP and A21; Sony 48" 4K TV; Wyred4Sound DAC 2; Oppo 203; Squeezebox Touch; MIT S3 cables
  • thejckthejck Posts: 815
    anyone live near Kansas City want to come over for a beer? lol
  • JayCeeJayCee Posts: 564
    I want to come over for a beer....but I live in WA State. Think I'll have one, anyway, thanks for the suggestion. LOL.
    Speakers: Polk1.2tl's (Uber Mods) Pre/Amp/DAC: PS Audio BHK Signature & 250, Perfectwave DirectStream Cables/IC's: MIT S1Bi-Wire/S1 Balanced +Avel Lindberg 1000VA "Dreadnought" Power Conditioner: Core Power Technologies EQUI=CORE 1800 Power Cords: Core Power Technologies Gold, DH Labs Power Plus DIY w/Neotech NC-P301 & P311ends FLAC Streamer: Roon ROCK on wifi'd NUC⟿Ω☯☥☮⟿🔊♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬
  • JayCeeJayCee Posts: 564
    Freshly poured. Prost, @thejck!

    4a3w1lm7v1yx.jpg
    Speakers: Polk1.2tl's (Uber Mods) Pre/Amp/DAC: PS Audio BHK Signature & 250, Perfectwave DirectStream Cables/IC's: MIT S1Bi-Wire/S1 Balanced +Avel Lindberg 1000VA "Dreadnought" Power Conditioner: Core Power Technologies EQUI=CORE 1800 Power Cords: Core Power Technologies Gold, DH Labs Power Plus DIY w/Neotech NC-P301 & P311ends FLAC Streamer: Roon ROCK on wifi'd NUC⟿Ω☯☥☮⟿🔊♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬
  • thejckthejck Posts: 815
    i have strict dietary rules about drinking during a work week. friday cant come soon enough.
    however on vacation weeks. day drinking is a thing. 10am glass of wine..my wife shakes her head at me.
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