Parasound 12-Channel Amp Solves Multi-Room Problems
Recognition of the fact that most folks with home theaters also have whole house sound systems led to the design of the recently-introduced ZoneMaster Z-12, the latest in a long series of quality amplifiers from the 20-year-old San Francisco company. Retailing at $2000, the new amp features twelve channels capable of fifty watts each---more than enough to power a dozen loudspeakers distributed throughout a home or business. The ZoneMaster can also be configured as six channels of 100 watts each, ideal for home theater systems with 6.1 surround sound. The amp has a huge power supply (1.2 kVA toroidal transformer and 120,000 µF of capacitance) at its core, and each direct-coupled channel is capable of a 10-ampere peak current.
The 12 channels can be operated via a two-channel input master bus, or via individual inputs for maximum installation flexibility. A selector switch assigns each channel to L, R, L+R, or local input, with the level set by separate volume pots on each channel. Parallel input jacks allow the looping of extra amplifiers from the same input, a useful feature found on some other Parasound models. The 85-lb. amp is claimed to be exceptionally stable into low-impedance loads, and is protected from thermal and current overloads.
The company has called upon its long history of building audiophile-quality amplifiers in the design and execution of the Z-12, according to Parasound's director of sales John Johnsen. "This is arguably the world's most sophisticated 12-channel amplifier," he says. "You can clearly trace its lineage from the company s high-end power amplifiers. The ergonomics and build-quality will make this the must-have product for demanding and practical custom installers. There are cheaper and more expensive 12 channel amplifier products on the market; however, power amplifiers are Parasound's most established core competency. None beats us in our own backyard."