In Barn for Review: Parasound HINT 6 Halo Integrated Amplifier

The power amp section of the Parasound HINT 6 Halo Integrated Amplifier was designed by John Curl, one of the most respected and revered circuit designers in all of HiFi. Outside of hifi, Curl designed and built the sound systems for The Grateful Dead’s road shows. All to say, if you want an integrated amplifier with unmatched pedigree, here’s more than a HINT.

The ESS Sabre32 Reference DAC endowed Parasound HINT 6 Halo Integrated Amplifier ($2995) also offers MM and MC phono inputs, making it a full-function integrated amplifier. The John Curl-designed high bias Class A/AB power amplifier section specs out at 160 Watts per channel into 8 Ohms and 240 Watts per channel into 4 Ohms. Other internal details include Oversized shielded toroid power transformer, Dual-mono power supply and power amplifier, 40,000uF power supply filter capacitance, Matched JFET input stages and MOSFET driver stages, and 12 high voltage/high current bipolar output transistor.

There are a total of 5 line level RCA inputs, 1x balanced XLR input, MM/MC (100Ω/47kΩ) phono input, balanced Preamp out (2x XLR), Sub out (XLR), Record Out, Home Theater Bypass, adjustable RCA Sub out, adjustable RCA Preamp out, and USB and S/PDIF inputs (1x Coax, 2x Toslink). The USB input can handle PCM resolutions up to 24bit/384kHz and DSD to DSD256 while the S/PDIF inputs max out at 24bit/192kHz. A pair of heavy-duty 24k gold-plated 5-way speaker binding posts, AC Voltage Selector, IEC inlet, and power switch fill out the very full back panel.

Up front we find the 1/4″ headphone jack for the dedicated high current headphone amplifier (TI TPA6120), a 3.5mm analog Aux input, Treble, Bass, and Sub Level control knobs, the on/off button, Tone control bypass button, source LEDs, balance control knob, input selector knob, Dim (for the front panel display), Mute, front panel display, and a nice fat aluminum volume control knob. The HINT 6 comes in Silver or Black and ships with a remote control.

Needless to say, but I’m to say it anyway, this is one feature-rich integrated amplifier.


Power Output – Both channels driven
(0.9% THD, 20 Hz – 20 kHz)
180 watts x 2 @ 8 Ω RMS
270 watts x 2 @ 4 Ω RMS

Current Capacity
45 amps peak per channel

Frequency Response
10 Hz – 100 kHz, +0/-3 dB
20 Hz – 20 kHz, +0/-0.5 dB

Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)
< 0.01 %, average listening levels
< 0.05 %, 160 watts x 2 @ 8 Ω

Interchannel Crosstalk
> 70 dB at 20 kHz
> 78 dB at 1 kHz

Signal to Noise Ratio – IHF A-weighted
Line in: – 103 dB (input shorted)
Digital in: – 106 dB

Amplifier Damping Factor
> 800 at 20 Hz

Preamplifier Stage Input Sensitivity
300 mV in for 1 V at Preamp Output jacks
Total Preamp Stage Gain: 10 dB
Max Output Unbalanced: 7 V
Max Output Balanced: 9 V

Power Amplifier Stage Sensitivity
1 V at Bypass/Amp In for 28 V at Speaker Out
Total Amp Stage Gain: 28 dB

Phono Stage Sensitivity / Input Impedance
MM: 41 dB / 47 k Ω
MC: 54 dB / 47 k Ω or 100 Ω

High & Low Pass Crossover Slope
12 dB per octave

Supported DAC Sampling Rates
USB: up to 384 kHz / 32-bit PCM
DSD Native: DSD 64, DSD 128, DSD 256
DSD over PCM (DoP) at 384 kHz

Coax/Optical: up to 192 kHz / 24-bit PCM

Digital to Analog Converter
ESS Sabre32 Reference ES9018K2M
384 kHz / 32-bit

USB 2.0 Controller
Savitech SA9227, 384 kHz / 32-bit

Headphone Amplifier
Texas Instruments TPA6120A
Output Impedance 10 ohms

XLR Pin Identification
1 = Ground (Shield)
2 = Positive
3 = Negative (Return)

Input Impedance
Unbalanced: 24 k Ω
Balanced: 100 k Ω per leg

Preamplifer Output Impedance
Unbalanced: 100 Ω
Balanced: 470 Ω per leg

Width: 17-1/4″ (437 mm)
Depth: 16-1/4″ (413 mm)
Depth, with cables 17-1/4″ (437 mm)
Height, with feet: 5-7/8″ (150 mm)
Height, without feet: 5-1/4″ (133 mm), 3U

Net Weight
33 lb. (15 kg)

Shipping Weight
45 lb. (20.4 kg)

Power Requirement
Standby: 0.5 watts
Idling power: 70 watts
Maximum: 750 watts
110-125 VAC 60 Hz or 220-250 VAC 50 Hz
AC mains voltage is set on rear panel

Company Website: Parasound