Parasound Halo Series HINT 6 Integrated Amplifier
Halo Series HINT 6 Integrated Amplifier
A high-powered integrated amplifier
Parasound's HINT 6 integrated amplifier is loaded with features and design perks that make it an excellent centerpiece of a high-performance two-channel audio system. It offers plenty of digital and analog connections for music sources and delivers 160 watts of clean power per channel. And this amp is stable at low impedances, so it's compatible with a wide range of speakers. All that power comes from a large toroidal transformer and the amp's high-bias Class A/AB amplifier design (more on that later.)
My hands-on experience with the Parasound Halo HINT 6
We like to set up sound system demonstrations here at House of Stereo, so we can really get a sense of how different components perform under real-world conditions. Sometimes we assemble a system that's all made by the same manufacturer.
The HINT 6's Class A/AB amplifier delivered power smoothly and efficiently, allowing the Wharfedales to showcase the extreme fidelity afforded by their Kevlar cone and AMT tweeter, while revealing a slightly warmer, fuller sound from ELAC's three-way design with soft-dome tweeter. As I expected, each pair sounded great in its own way, and I was able to identify characteristics of each signature sound that I could use when recommending them to customers with different tastes.
The upshot: I would choose an amp like the Halo HINT 6 as the centerpiece of a sound system because of its proven ability to get the best out of any gear I might choose to connect. Throughout the next decade, I may replace my turntable, get new speakers, or even upgrade my CD player. It's nice to know that an excellent integrated amp like this one can be the heart of any system, no matter what my fickle heart and ears might fancy next.
Home theater bypass
This is a great amp for music listening, but Parasound hasn't forgotten about home theater lovers. There's a section of inputs for home theater bypass, so you can use the HINT 6's superior power to drive the front left/right speakers in your surround sound system. Just connect the preamp outputs from a home theater receiver/processor to the dedicated home theater bypass inputs to gain superior power and clarity for those all-important front speakers.
You get five unassigned RCA inputs for connecting analog sources, plus a dedicated phono stage for moving magnet and high- and low-output moving coil cartridges. And there's a balanced XLR input for making an audiophile-grade analog connection, too. Digital sources benefit from the HINT 6's high-resolution DAC — there are two digital optical inputs and a single digital coaxial input, plus a USB Type-B port for playing hi-res files from your computer.
Versatile subwoofer setup options
One mono XLR output and two mono RCA outputs accommodate one- or two-sub setups. And here's a detail we love: a handy subwoofer level knob on the front panel lets you easily adjust the balance with your stereo speakers on the fly. And using the HINT 6's crossover controls, you can dial in high- and low-pass filtering for optimum performance from your whole system.
Class A/AB operation for smoother sound
The HINT 6 uses a Class A/AB power circuit. You don't see an amplifier described that way every day, so let's break down the benefits.
Engineers and audiophiles generally agree that Class A designs offer the purest sound, but they tend to run hot and take up a lot of space. As a result, home audio amplifiers often use a compromise known as Class AB, which hands off part of the audio signal to a different set of output transistors at high power levels. AB can sacrifice a bit of signal purity, but it lets the amp run cooler and more efficiently.
So this Class A/AB amp operates in pure Class A mode up to a higher power level than most other amplifiers in its price category, before the second set of transistors kick in. The result is a sound that's smoother, less fatiguing, and more natural.
- 160 watts x 2 channels into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.05% THD
- 240 watts x 2 channels into 4 ohms (20-20,000 Hz)
- 4-ohm capability allows use with a wide range of speakers
- ESS Sabre32 Reference (ES9018K2M) 32-bit/384kHz digital-to-analog converter for high-performance playback of digital sources
- high-bias Class A/AB amplifier design
- large toroidal transformer
- home theater bypass input for surround sound integration
- switchable high-pass crossover with variable settings (20-140 Hz) affects speaker-level outputs and RCA and XLR preamp outputs
- switchable low-pass crossover with variable settings (20-140 Hz) affects subwoofer outputs
- front-panel subwoofer level control
- frequency response 10-100,000 Hz (+0/-3dB)
- signal-to-noise ratio: 103dB (line); 106dB (digital)
- handles very low impedances for use with virtually any speakers
- thermal and short circuit relay protection
- remote control included
- rack mountable with the optional RMK 33 kit
- detachable power cord
- 2 optical and 1 coaxial digital audio inputs (accept stereo PCM signals up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution)
- USB Type-B input for connecting a computer (cable included)
- accepts stereo PCM signal up to 32-bit/384kHz resolution
- handles native DSD files up to up to 11.2 MHz and DoP (DSD over PCM)
- 5 unassigned unbalanced stereo RCA audio inputs
- phono input for use with moving magnet and moving coil cartridges
- three-position load/cartridge selector switch: MM (47k ohm); MC (47k ohm); MC (100k ohm)
- balanced stereo XLR input
- unbalanced stereo RCA input for home theater bypass:
- bypasses preamp section and allows HINT 6 amplifier to power front left/right speakers in a surround sound system
- connected preamp/processor must have a volume control
- dual mono RCA subwoofer inputs route processor's subwoofer signal to HINT 6 subwoofer outputs
- front-panel 3.5mm auxiliary input for connecting a portable audio player
- built-in headphone amplifier with front-panel 3.5mm jack
- fixed stereo RCA record out
- balanced stereo XLR preamp output
- balanced mono XLR subwoofer output
- stereo RCA preamp output
- dual mono RCA subwoofer outputs
- heavy-duty gold-plated speaker terminals
- 12-volt trigger output
- IR remote input and loop output
Dimensions and warranty:
- 17-1/4"W x 5-7/8"H x 17-1/4"D (3U rack spaces)
- weight: 33 lbs.
- warranty: 5 years
- MFR # HINT 6 BLACK