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Parasound Expands Z Series with new DAC

Parasound says its new Zdac digital-to-analog converter (DAC) can be used to improve the sound of computers, CD players and other components.

The Parasound Z Series Zdac digital-to-analog converter (DAC) is now available at a MSRP of $475.
Robert Archer · November 13, 2012

Back in the 1990s there was a segment of the audiophile community that wanted the highest level of control over their CD players and from this desire a new product category was born: digital-to-analog converters (DACs). Years ago these devices were used in tandem with a CD player or transport mechanisms to enable audiophiles to separate the CD spinning device from the circuit boards, processors and other potential sound degrading elements that were associated with a standard, fully integrated CD player.

A few years ago when audiophiles were discovering the potential of computers as audio source devices the market’s interest in DAC products led to a new generation of solutions that can be connected to everything from CD players (used as transports) and gaming consoles, to computers and other digital audio products. Recently Parasound expanded its compact and price friendly Z Series of components when it announced the latest DAC to hit the market, the new Zdac.

Parasound says the half-rack size Zdac can be be used for desktop audio applications for connections with computers and digital audio products from companies like Sonos, and it can also be rack mounted with other Z Series products to form a complete and diverse audio system. “The Parasound Zdac brings digital-to-analog [DAC] technology to an entirely higher level of performance at a price comparable to many conventional aftermarket DACs,” says Richard Schram, president of Parasound. “The Zdac is an ideal upgrade for many components such as digital media players with less-than-optimal on-board DACs or computer audio, TV audio, CD or other player with digital outputs. It is rugged, reliable and easy to hook up. Once it is up and running there is little to do by enjoy the music.”

The San Francisco-based manufacturer points out the Zdac employs advanced anti-jitter technologies to reduce timing errors and digital noise to preserve the quality of a connected device’s audio data stream. Parasound adds the product is compatible with digital audio files as high as 24-bit/192kHz via the optical and S/PDIF inputs, and 96kHz from the USB input. Those signals are then reclocked and upsampled to 422kHz sample rates, and a built-in power supply that utilizes a toridial transformer is used to ensure clean and consistent power.

Other user features include a headphone output and a dedicated volume control for use with the headphone output, and the company offers the product in black with rack mounting ear tabs and in a silver finish without the mounting tabs.

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  About the Author

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at

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  Article Topics

Computer Audio · DAC · Digital Audio · High-Resolution Audio · Parasound · All Topics
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