It was part of what happened to be my favorite system that day, running some massive Tekton MOAB speakers that seemed like they took up most of the room.
I was impressed by the sweet, warm, immersive sound, and I wasn’t alone. I heard several people roaming the hallways–on floors nowhere near the Parasound setup, by the way–marveling at the paring.
At that point, I knew I had to get one in the house, and Parasound graciously sent one out for this review. It will be returned when I complete my evaluation.
Features and Build Quality
The Parasound NewClassic 200 puts out a substantial 110 watts per channel of Class D power into 4 or 8 ohms, using an amp stage from Denmark’s Pascal Audio.
The use of Class D amplification allowed them to put such a powerful amp in the NewClassic’s slim 1U (Rack Unit) chassis, which is only about 2 1/2 inches tall! It’s a little bit wider and deeper than your standard audio component, but not by much.
The chassis is a black, utilitarian affair — the NewClassic integrated looks more like a pro audio component than a home audio one. The rack sizing of the unit and availability of a rack mount is also a nod to pro-audio/custom design. That said, it’s still a handsome unit, and you can tell it’s built to last.
This model is a departure from their usual hefty Class A/AB designs (see HALO for a recent example), which are well known for providing the most (clean) power for the dollar. Parasound amps are also known for their depth and transparency, which is something lower-priced Class D amps like the NewClassic 200 are not known for.
So how does this square? Does the NewClassic 200 Integrated Amplifier have the same depth and transparency as their A/AB brethren? In a word, yes.
If you think Class D amps of a certain price range (or any price range for that matter) are cold and dull, you haven’t heard this one. Parasound’s expertise gained from years of building much-admired amps and preamps shows here.
The NewClassic 200 Integrated is a modification of Parasound’s NewClassic 200 Pre-Amp, meaning it’s pretty much the same unit with the addition of an amp section. As such, it has a ton of advanced Pre-Amp features, which they both inherit from the high-end HALO line.
These include analog bass management on the rear panel for managing speakers combined with a sub, a home theater bypass input for integration with a home theater receiver, and split sub outputs (one with a low-pass filter, one full-range mono).
Additional L and R pre-outs let you use this amp as a quality preamp if you decide to upgrade your amplification later.
It also inherits a Burr-Brown 192kHz-24 bit DAC from the HALO line, accessible via the three digital inputs. The Optical (Toslink), and Coax (RCA) accept PCM signals up to 24/192, and the USB does up to 24/96. No DSD, MQA , and the like.
There are also three analog inputs on the back of the unit, along with a 3.5mm aux input on the front (this is a shared input, meaning if you something into the front, you will disable Input 3 in the rear). There’s also a 3.5mm output on the front for the dedicated headphone amplifier.
Input 1 can function as a standard line-level source or a phono input. A switch on the rear allows you to set this input for use with either Moving Coil or Moving Magnet cartridges.
This amp is definitely for the control freak. If you’re the type who likes to have an option for everything, you will love the NewClassic 200. The multifunction knob on the front allows you to not only select the input but activate the tone controls, and set sub-level.
The remote has even more options. First of all, it’s nice and big, no itty bitty card remotes here. Aside from the usual volume controls and such, it has controls for presetting the volume level, setting the balance, tone controls, and you can even turn your sub output on/off or set the sub-level.
The remote even has a backlight, and you can dim the green display on the front of the amplifier.
There’s no Bluetooth however, something I’ve found to be pretty convenient on other integrated amps, but that isn’t a deal-breaker. Sound is my primary concern, and this amp doesn’t disappoint in that department.
Listening to the NewClassic 200 Integrated Amplifier
If I had to sum up the sound of this amp in a couple of words, they would be neutral and transparent.
For my sound test, I used the Audiolab 6000N Play streamer as a source, tapping into my NAS drive to play 24-bit audio files, or to stream music from TIDAL. I connected it to the Parasound’s optical input to put it’s Burr-Brown DAC to the test.
During my testing period, I hooked up the NewClassic 200 Integrated Amp to two different sets of speakers for extended listening sessions.
The Kef was a more detailed listen, especially in the midrange, where vocals soared naturally within the soundstage. The S400 wasn’t as accurate, but it provided a more natural presentation with a super-wide soundstage, a nice weight on the bottom end, and a super smooth treble. The NewClassic 200 just seemed to bring out the best of both speakers.
With both the Kef and Buchardt, there was a lot of air, and the sense of space was uncanny. Listening to “Anatomy Of Angels” from Jon Batiste, I felt like I could hear “inside” of the recording. It was probably the most transparent amp I have listened to at this price range. Even at very low volumes, the depth was apparent.
The Bass on both speakers was also tight and well defined, even though the S400 produced more of it.
When I compared the sound to the Audiolab 6000A, my $1000 reference amp, the 6000A was more forward sounding, and a tad bit more open, but it couldn’t compete with the NewClassic’s transparency and depth.
The Audiolab had a bigger soundstage and scale, but the Parasound’s performance was more textured and separate. The 6000A sounded flat and two-dimensional in comparison. The vocal on Jon Batiste’s “The Very Thought Of You” sounded more natural and vibrant on the NewClassic 200.
With the NewClassic 200 Integrated, Parasound has done a masterful job of blending a quality pre-amp with a sweet-sounding amp section. It’s neutral and transparent sound will make any speaker you hook up to it sound amazing!
There’s also a ton of features that make it a flexible component you will be able to use for years to come. This amp is a beast, so if you are looking for an Amp/DAC combo in the 1k range, you owe it to yourself to give it a listen!