Parasound CD-1

I know this is a recent release but has anyone heard this yet?
It sounds like a poor mans (comparatively speaking: $14,000 vs. $4,500) Laufer Memory player. It reads until it's correct and not a pS sooner, playing from a memory buffer. It's Linux based Intel chip is devoted to music only. And its VCXO clock can go <1pS though it measures at <6pS. Femto clocks come in at 0.140pS so that's not too shabby for a CDP.

I've always wished for someone to combine the best of a CDP with a PC and maybe Parasound has pulled it off. Hopefully others will follow and prices should come down in a couple of years.

All the best,
$4500 CDP without DAC or SACD, is probably hard to sell. I did a double take in the Audioadvisor catalog. Could not believe the price, especially coming from Parasound for a CDP without any INPUTs. Maybe some others can justify the price.
I'm sure it's decent, as is all Parasound stuff, but it looks like another case of a manufacturer attempting to sell a piece of gear based on some angle - the dac chip, the memory buffer, diamond tweeters, whatever. I can certainly appreciate the concept of loading all the info into a buffer where it is "cleaned up" before replay, but, AFAIK, few, if any of the best-sounding players use this technique. As with everything, a purchase decision should be made by listening and the maker's reputation for quality and service. Fortunately, I believe AA does offer money-back, so you can decide for yourself. Who knows, it may be a killer, but if it is, the memory-buffer stuff is just a part of the sound.
I know in these responses you guys sound skeptical but I've heard this player and it is the real deal it has absolutely no digital glare and it has a lot of analogue like qualities. It has a full bodied sound. Sound like vinyl. Best CD player I have ever heard.
Here's an informative PDF, looks very interesting.
I first must disclose that I have been a dealer for Parasound Products for about six years. I normally never comment on these threads because of my obvious bias as well as I'll be instantly chastised for being a shill.

In this case, I'm willing to take the abuse. I have always felt that Parasound provide some of the best value products on the market. Their price vs performance is outstanding. That being said, I have never considered them to be in the league of the "elite best" products on the market. My opinion has now changed at least for the Halo CD-1.

I had a customer that wanted a CD-1 very badly. I ordered one in with the intention of selling it to him and not keeping one in stock, mainly for the same reasons that were listed above. (Who would ever buy a very expensive CD player that only does redbook?).

My plans changed. After hearing the CD-1, I was so impressed that I decided to keep it. It is still in my demo room and I think it will be there for a while. My customer came over for the demo about a week after I received the first CD-1. It wasn’t really even broken in yet, but after 1 ½ songs on his demo CD he brought over, he said “Sold”.

I had the same experience as Calvinj. This is one of the best CD players or best CD player that I have ever heard. Sound is smooth, yet detailed, no digital glare and analog like with layers of music and big 3-D like sound stage with height and depth. Three years ago I switched from a CD player to streaming WAV files over of a hard drive to an expensive DAC. I had switched to streaming WAV because it out performed all of my CD players and as a bonus was very convenient. Because of the CD-1, I have taken all of my ripped CDs back out of storage and the CD-1 is now my source for my personal digital listening. I still have my streaming device in the system, but if I have a CD, that's what I'm listening to now.

I would not expect anyone to purchase a CD-1 without an audition first. All I’m saying is that this product is much better than you would ever expect and I think it can give almost any piece of digital equipment out there a solid run no matter what the price point. It’s that good, but don’t take my word (I’m a shill) go out and listen for yourself.
The plot thickens.
Time to check out my Powerball picks.
Thanks, Calvnj and Eand2000 for your thoughts and impressions.

Ever since I heard that MSB setup at the Newport Audio Show last year I knew that CDPs still had some legs. What I thought was streaming was a CD playing and it simply bettered all the streaming setups at the show (to my ears). It didn't take a song and a half to convince me, just the opening notes and the start of singing. Analog like is an understatement.

All the best,
I enjoyed reading the discussion on the Parasound CD-1in this blog especially that by Eandj2000. This CD player sounded interesting when I read about it in the Audio Advisor catalog. I would love to listen to one but there are no Parasound dealers anywhere near where I live, Las Vegas. I will have to drive to the LA area to check one out. I will be in the LA area in July.
I got the ayon cd2s today with a classe cp800 and clarus crimson cables with focal speakers. The ayon is now the best player I have ever heard. The parasound cd1 is still great but this ayon does not have any weaknesses. It is smooth. Great vocals. No digital glare. Very analogue sounding but open. Not tubey but clear. I am amazed. I am very happy with this player and it is now the new best player I have ever heard. Home run for ayon audio.
Hey CalvinJ - In April the Parasound was the best you ever heard and in May the Ayon is the best you ever heard. Are you really Douglas Schroeder under an assumed alias?
Calvin and EandJ thank you for your thoughts. I compared the Meridian 808.3 memory player to an Ayon CD5s and while Meridian was great I clearly favored and purchased the Ayon with NOS Tubes and have enjoyed it for the reasons Calvin mentioned and more, for over a year since. From the design, this new Parasound sounds like a contender, along with NeoDio and Era Tentation for a listen. EandJ - have you hear any of the above in a good set up? or what was your past best CD player, so we can get an idea of where you are coming from.
I post real opinions. I love music. I posted about the ayon cd2s because it did everything the parasound cd1 did but only better. I have owned marantz bryston oppo and I have heard the luxman d06. The ayon just did it better than all the rest. It is amazing and probably my last player for a long time to come.
My last CD player was a bryston bcd 1. The luxman d06 which was clearly better. I heard the parasound afterwards it was better than the luxman fir me because of the analog lie sound but the luxman is still a great player. Then I heard the ayon cd2s. It blew me completely away. I am so happy I bought. It has been the best purchase since I bought my pioneer elite kuro plasma 5 years ago. Reference level performance for a CD player. Nice highs. Great midrange. Great tight bass. Smooth. Great separation. The music just comes together as a whole with ease and fluidity.
My last CD player was a bryston bcd 1. The luxman d06 which was clearly better. I heard the parasound afterwards it was better than the luxman fir me because of the analog lie sound but the luxman is still a great player. Then I heard the ayon cd2s. It blew me completely away. I am so happy I bought. It has been the best purchase since I bought my pioneer elite kuro plasma 5 years ago. Reference level performance for a CD player. Nice highs. Great midrange. Great tight bass. Smooth. Great separation. The music just comes together as a whole with ease and fluidity.
I have learned more about this. It is system matching and the parasound is good in some systems and the luxman is d06 is better for other. The ayon seems to be able to work with different systems and still perform at a high level
I really do agree that Parasound makes equipment that is some the best for the money. I use JC1/2 amplification in my system. I also think the new trend to either memory type CD playback (like the new CD-1 or the older PSA PWT) or digital playback of bit perfect ripped CD files will smoke standard PCM type CD transports, unless you spend many thousands more.

My dissapointment with the CD-1 is the lack of a discrete class A output stage ergo the JC1, not an OP-amp driven psuedo discrete setup, esp for the price being asked.

I think if they put John Curl to work on a discrete analog output stage for this puppy, then they will have something.
I was surprised with the quality. I like my ayon cd2s better but this parasound is really good.
I went back and forward on this one. First I thought the ayon cd 2s was better than the parasound. Then the ayon started sounding thin and bright and forward. I heard the parasound again and it sounded a lot better. The ayon went through some changes after I initially listened. The parasound does one thing. That's cd playback and does it well.
Ayon cd2s eventually changed in sound. It started sounding forward.
Listened to parasound cd1 with vienna acoustics beethoven baby grand se. I got a glorious sound out of the combination. No digital glare. Deep soundstage. Great separation. Warmer fuller sound. A friend loaned me the parasound. I hated to give it back.
Consider yourself lucky enough to have had it in your system. :-)
@nonoise. Have you heard it yet?
@ Nonoise, Hi, I like calvinj's question above for you, If you have listened to the parasound unit, what was your take on the sound, I have read some of your post on other threads, so I feel like your evaluation would mean something here to me, cheers.
@ Nonoise, Hi again, It seems that I forgot to ask you more questions, On another thread, you liked the marantz sound, How does the Parasound Halo cd-1 sound stack up to your exsperience with marantz?, cheers.
Well I have I had marantz and now parasound cd1 on loan from a friend. I have it today again and it is smooth but it's still has enough dynamics. It increased the soundstage. It's a little deeper and wider. It has separation without being analytical. I have vienna acoustics speakers Beethoven se. I have a classe cp800 ca 2200. I have one romance 2 ic from fusion audio. I have one nordost Tyr ic with fusion audio 2 romance power cords. Have a system with great density and enough dynamics. It has great balance. The parasound comes in and cleans the digital edge off the CDs. It only plays CDs. No dac etc. Is it a one trick pony? Yes. But it does it does the one trick really well on differently recorded CDs very well.
I have the unit for a while , I had it modified to improve its performance , mainly power supply and better USB inner connecting cable , to be frank , you can say it "top" within its asking price , but not to be compared with my MPS-5 , not even closed to my Burmester 069 . Of course , given the price difference , it should be .

Heys guys, sorry to not posted sooner but I've not heard it yet. I'm sorry if my last post gave the impression that I had and thanks for thinking my impressions would amount to something :-)

All the best,
@larryng did the power supply mod help the player a whole lot.
Certainly , just look that small computer grade SW power supply , one can't help taking up a hot iron . The SWPS supplies also the DA board , there is a separate PS for analogue section which you can say adequate but far from Hi-end to me , the @9" of USB cable is also computer grade , I made my own USB using much better wire and shielded off by layers of copper foils . Of course , I am risking warranty but Parasound does not honor such to 2nd owner and CD-1 is not imported here . I bought my CD-1 from Audiogon . That gives me the courage to modify it .

Yes , a lot , I would say worth my effort . Everything you would expect from improved power supply .
Thanks. I have narrowed my choices down to the cd1 and the Marantz sa7s1. They are used in my price range. I also may look into mods eventually when I educate myself more on what they can and can't do. I will be on the lookout for one of these two. They are in my range.
I bought one. This is superb. It completely blew away a $10K digital front end of Denon 100 anniv CD transport, Jeff Wells Custom DAC (hot-rodded 'signature' edition) and JPS best Aluminata Digi cable.

I bought at $3500 'demo' from Audio Advisor, with 30 day return privilege. I knew in 10 minutes I was keeping it.

Its like streaming files. The delay of start up and booting discs mentioned by some reviewers is not out of the ordinary at this level. Once playing, track access is the fastest I've experienced.

I'll still be searching for a DAC under $10K that can take it up another level, and with BNC/SPDIF and AES outputs this is a worthy platform and Class A jitter-free transport. Rating it as a CD player is above my pay grade, but as I say, I love it.

This is just stunning digital DONE RIGHT. No hash!! You've never heard it this smooth from a rotating silver disc.

The two output choices are subtly different:

The OPAMP has superb spatial cues and greater depth.
The recording is slightly more exposed.
The two circuits vary in bass presentation in hard-to-describe ways.

The DISCRETE output circuit is slightly creamier in the upper half, bass tonality different somehow.

Transport features are bare bones. I've rarely seen a more spartan tranport: no repeat, shuffle or any programmable function. Play, forward, rewind, skip, stop, eject, invert. That's it.

Its very responsive to AC filtering and Power cord tweaks, but not much to physical ones like plates and etc. But it likes the Synergistic Reasearch big MiGs I put underneath.
Auditioned it, loved it, bought it.

$3500 from Audio Advisor with 30 day return.

It replaces $10K worth of Denon and custom Jeff Wells DAC (super signature version) and $2K JPS digital link.

A very worthy player/transport.

Dave R
I got one. It sounds great. Happy cd1 owner. Excellent player.
Congrats calvinj!
@audiolabryinth. I have played with the setting and they make subtle differences. I'm very happy with the player. I have 1000 CDs so it good to have a player that handles differently recorded CDs as well as they can be handled. This player is great at the price I got it. I won't disclose the price but to me it was well worth it.
I haven't heard the CD-1, but I must say that I have the new Rowland Continuum Integrated with the Holm Acoustics DAC card option installed. I see that they also have done the digital on this Parasound unit. Quite simply, the sound of my DAC was incredible-it sounds like I need to venture deeper into some of Thomas Holm's work-it sounds like a trend worth looking into.
@ calvinj, Hi, Did you buy new or used?, thats all I would like to know.
New. Got a good deal. It's worth the price if you are a 90 to 95% cd guy. Cd playback on my Viennas through my classe gear is wide deep with no digital glare. It makes bright CDs more listenable and gets the most out of CDs that are already great.
New. Got a good deal. It's worth the price if you are a 90 to 95% cd guy. Cd playback on my Viennas through my classe gear is wide deep with no digital glare. It makes bright CDs more listenable and gets the most out of CDs that are already great. Also if you are ready to dive in on one let me know.
Thanks calvinj.
Cool. It is going fine so far. Love that it has a smooth sound. No digital
glare. This is a very analog sounding player. The highs are there without
being abrasive. The most notable improvements are in the soundstage it's
now wider and deeper. It also better at instrument placement. I have
owned the ayon cd2s. It was way too bright and thin. I own the oppo 95. It
is great but the sound stage is not as wide and deep. It also has a little
digital edge but is great for those who want to stay in a certain price point. I
owned the marantz 15 sb2 a few years ago. I think that's the model name.
Anyway. It was smooth but did not have the dynamics that I like. I
compared it to the luxman d06 the luxman is great but at $9000 price point
the parasound holds it own and beat it in a couple of areas. I also have
compared it to the sony 5400 es. The sony is great for the price but it is
kind of cold and they need a better power supply. Thinner soundstage is
not as wide. If CDs are dying then this is the player I'm listening to while
they are on life support. If you want to stay with CDs for the next 3 to 5
years this is your go to player!!!
great write, This is awsome, I will keep this in mind, However, I need a player with a volume control, the last wadias look intriguing!
Just on further review of my parasound cd1 I will discuss the the output stages. It gives the listener two choices. Discrete will give you a more lively or open sound. The op amp will give you a smoother relaxed sound. I played with the settings for a few hours tonight. I think it is great because it will allow you to adjust to recordings a little bit. It all starts in the recording studio before audiophiles spend a dime. The cd1 allows you a little leeway to adjust. This is system dependent but is great to have.
great read calvinj.