Parasound is introducing a new high-end CD Player that uses oversampling and a Linux based OS to create a nearly bit perfect playback The Halo CD 1 is a collaboration between Parasound and Holm Acoustics in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The Halo CD 1 uses a 4X CD ROM drive, slow by modern computer standards but apparently a new use in the audiophile world. The 4X CD ROM drive allows the player to resample sections if a read error is detected, without risking a buffer under run of the data stream. An on-board Intel ITX computer running a Linux based OS does all the processing and data analysis. With less errors and error concealment, there should be less artifacts to get in the way of pure music.
[This and other technical features of the CD 1 are explained in much greater detail on the
accompanying white paper entitled “The Technology in the Parasound Halo CD 1”]
Standard CD players read disc data into a buffer, which is processed by a DAC, at a constant speed as the data is being read. Thus, if an error happens, it must be concealed rather than the CD player re-examining the disc in efforts to obtain a correct read. While some companies have claimed this 1X read as a benefit, Parasound and Holm Acoustics are making a strong case against it.
Beyond the new CD ROM drive and Linux OS, the new Halo CD 1 is in all other aspects a high-end audiophile CD player. Keeping in step with the Parasound Halo product line legacy. The Halo CD 1 has a rugged aluminum chassis with extensive shielding for electrical and mechanical isolation. Three discrete power supplies make sure that the analog and digital circuits stay as noise free as possible. With premium balanced XLR connectors, gold-plated RCA outputs and S/PDIF out via 75-ohm BNC, coaxial, and optical connections.
The CD 1 also offers a unique “Discrete OpAmp” selector which allows direct CD playback from the analog outputs via the National LME49990 op-amp or via discrete transistor output stages. We’ve not heard the Halo 1, but are very interested in the sonic differences between these two outputs.
Shipping now in either silver or black, with a suggested retail price of $4,500.
About Parasound: Founded in 1981, Parasound Products, Inc., is a privately owned U.S. company that specializes in providing affordable audio and home theater components to the critical listener. Parasound’s products are available from quality audio/video retailers, and select custom installation specialists. For more information, visit www.parasound.com or call 415-397-7100.
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