Originally Posted by vmpswrx
The Parasound P7 is here, in my living room!
Bottom line: if you are an audio-first person, mostly listen to 2 channel, and listen to multi-channel music more often than movies, this P7 is worth considering as an audiophile's alternative to a receiver or pre/pro.
Background: The P7 is straight analogue. It has no decoding abilities or HDMI connectivity (unless matched with an optional video HDMI switcher).
This is an excellent all analogue two channel/multichannel rig. If you don't need Video switching and don't need decoding abilities, this promises more revealing music reproduction than most similarly priced pre/pros out there.
If you have great source components for 2 channel and also a great DVD player for movies and multichannel music that outputs high quality audio, this is an excellent alternative to a receiver or pre/pro, because it's audio is cleaner and more detailed than that of an AVR, from what I can hear.
Some will wonder what to do with a unit that doesn't do the decoding. However, new players (like the new Panasonic BD55, as well as a Marrantz's BD8002 player, output all seven channels of movies, music, blueray, DTS-maseter, etc, via analogue outputs. More universal players (Oppo has one in the works) will be coming out that handle CD, SD DVD, blueray, DTS-MASTER, etc, and output via analogue. IF the output from the source/player is high quality, the opportunity is there for much cleaner audiophile listening. The P7 avoids the millions of miles of wire found in recievers and pre/pros, and instead focuses resources on high quality analogue circuits.
The proof is in the pudding and I would encourage those interested to see for themselves. (Audio Advisor for example, allows one month of trial testing -but any dealer in higher end stuff should allow a similar testing period and return). I hear a lot more details in the music and more realism through the P7 than through my AVR (which is a very good one) even though my source/player is not top notch in terms of analogue output.
What do you give up by going this route?
-easier connectivity via HDMI instead of several RCA connections
-Audyssey or similar EQ system
-money - for this to meet it's potential for multichannel music, you need to buy a very good universal player.
-give up various play modes that receivers and pre/pros have.
-most AVR's have more accurate trim level settings, delay/distance settings, and sub control settings than source players, so a little more fine tuning of those dynamics is possible in AVR's than this kind of set up.
-clearer, crisper, more detailed, more palpable, "you are there" sound
-nice simple interface and less stuff you don't need
-attractive uncluttering unit
-a really nice 2 channel preamp along with the multichannel abilties
-bass management for 2 channel
-very intelligent and simple layout and controls.
PS: If you have a decent receiver or AVR already, you can use that for movies, and the P7 for 2 channel and/or for mulitchannel music, all easily integrated in the same system.
Hope this is an interesting perspective. Look for a review os this unit sometime soon in the mags too.