Parasound 12-Channel Amp Solves Multi-Room Problems

Parasound doesn't make a huge distinction between "Home Theater" and "Custom Installation." In most cases, if you have one, you have the other.

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."