Differences in sound in Parasound P3 and P5

Hello.  Has anyone ever compared these two preamps, soundwise?  Any notable impressions of one over the other? Why choose one over the other?    Again, soundwise only please. 



I've never heard the P3, but I did own a P5 for a short time. It was feature packed, and relatively inexpensive considering all it had to offer. However, I did not think it sounded very good when compared to other pre-amps I've owned. I did not need most of the "extra" features it provided, so I was only auditioning it for its 2-channel sound quality. I found it lacking, just kind of flat sounding, like a modern HT receiver.

If you are looking for a feature rich pre-amp, the P5 might be a good choice. However, IMHO, if you are looking for high resolution, exciting sound, I would look elsewhere.

Would be happy to hear other opinions to see if they mirror mine.
All you have to do is search online for Parasound P5 opinions, most are quite impressed.  But like everything else, it depends on the rest of the system, the cables, the room and the listener's preferences.  No single component is loved by 100% of owners.

And sorry, can offer no help to the OP's comparison.

Thanks guys.  Anyone else COMPARE these two preamps face to face, toe to toe ( you get the idea ), regardless of features/bells/whistles/balls??

I'm wondering if you should not be comparing the P3 and P7 instead though. The P7 is a better preamp than the P5 by far, even if you only use it for 2 channel. 

Hi Erik.  Im not sure if I wanna stretch that far.  Ive read plenty of good things about the P7, and if I could afford it right now, I would get it, or a nice tubed pre. I've read a lot of good stuff on the Schiit Freya too, and a lot of bad as well.  I would assume the p7 and the Freya are in two separate leagues.  Again, I assume.  If the price for a used p7 is right, I might just go it's route.


The Parasound P5 is a current product, but if you look internally you will see a switching power supply and rather lean circuit board.

The P3 is a discontinued product, but it has a beefy linear power supply and much more in the audio circuit.  I would choose the P3.

Sorry, I couldn't tell you soundwise.  But my experience with both linear and switching power supplies points to my recommendation of P3.  I have converted several devices from switching to linear and have had an increase in sound quality every time.
The P3 was retired some time ago, so I'm not sure why the OP is asking about it unless he already owns it or can buy it used.  It was retired about 5 years ago.  Some of the specs are not very good, crosstalk of 55 db at 20 kHz, S/N ratio of 92 db A weighted.  Apparently it didn't sell well thus the retirement.

The P5 has crossover options for the sub and main speakers that greatly improve the sound quality in any room.  The volume control is implemented very well too, allowing for very small increases and allowing for much more of the dial range to be employed.  

I mention these features because they do affect the sound and also because I recently took delivery of the P5.  I can say I have also owned the P7, and I prefer the P5.  There was something about the P7 for me in my system that was just off putting.  The P5 offers excellent detail, giving a deeper look into the music and imaging with air that adds to the realism.  

I know on paper the P7 should be the better unit, but I have to disagree with the suggestion to opt for it over the P5.  As for the room inside the P5, it was designed from the start to drop a 160 wpc amp section in, albeit in a taller cabinet.  

And IMHO, the P7 is not worth double the price of the P5 if one simply wants 2 channel.