Parasound volume level question

Background: I just completed set-up of a Parasound Halo P3 preamp (purchased on eBay) and a Parasound Halo A21 amp (purchased here) with my Thorens TD320 MkII turntable using a Shure VST III cartridge and my Paradigm Reference Studio/40 v.2 speakers. I use Silver Serpent II balanced XLR between the preamp and amp and their Premium III bi-wire speaker cables.
The question: I am using a volume setting of 60-66 for moderately loud volume levels. I find I need to use the same volume levels when listening through the headphone jack, also. This seems awfully high from what I have read, especially considering the preamp volume runs from 0-80. Is this normal?
It may be pretty normal. How does it compare to volume output from other sources (eg CD player)?

I'm not familiar with your preamp, but in my experience a cartridge with less than 5 mv output (I think yours is about 3mv) will require the volume to be cranked up a fair bit to get normal to loud volume on most phono pres.

The one thing to check - if your power amp has sentivity controls on the back like most parasound amps - make sure they are turned up full.
Don't know if it's nomal, but given the proplems associated with all stardard pots, they generally are more stable and better able to deal with their shortcomings when used at one half or more of their output/rotation.
Most if not all mfgs. recommend running the level controls on pwr. amps wide open for lowest distortion. However pre amps with too much gain don`t allow a wide range of volume control settings. In this case adjusting the input level on the pwr. amp will allow a wider range of settings on the pre amp vol. control.
I have the gain control on the amp set full on to the THX reference level as Parasound recommends. They were kind enough to also answer my question - here is their reply:

"The P 3 is designed not to clip an audio signal, and advancing the volume control to closer to the high end of its range is perfectly normal. It was designed for maximum headroom and minimal background noise.

One of the all-time revered classic audio components was the JBL SA600 integrated amp (circa 1970). For average listening levels the setting of its volume knob was typically between 2-3 o'clock."

I also note that the photo of the Halo P3 on Parasound's web site shows the volume set at 57. I have noticed that I can set the volume control slightly lower for the same SPL with a CD player. I'm using an SCPH-1001 PS1 and I must say it sounds pretty darned good.

The entire set-up sounds absolutely wonderful. Really shows the limitations of poor recordings, and conversely, the range and nuances of good ones. I am spending hours rediscovering my (too) long stored away vinyl collection.

Headphones are not that much different than speakers. Maybe the headphones you are using are not very efficient, try a different pair.
Sorry to turn this around but how do you like the Shure VST III cartridge? I just got one on Ebay for $16.00 with a broken stylus.
Thank you, Rick Hall.
I own a P3 connected to a PS Audio hca-2, using a Grado Prestige Gold cartridge on a pro-ject Rm6 SB turntable, with B&W matrix 804 speakers employing the B&W bass filter or whatever it's called.

A volume of 66 on the preamp would be painfully loud. I wince when I set my volume control to 60, and I like to listen to Rob Zombie and Rammstein. My listening room is pretty bright acoustically, 14'X18' with fairly low 7' ceiling with acoustic tile that's really not acoustic.

I did find that I had to adjust volume down after employing XLR connections between pre and pwr amps rather than RCAs. Not much, but it was readily discernable.

I like the VST III very much. Very detailed. It had great reviews when new. Very close to the V15 at a much more reasonable price, at least when your talking $850 total for table, arm and cartridge.


After more time with the system I have found that the best listening levels are achieved in the 40 to 56 range. 56 and above becomes punishing after a while.