Parasound ZoneMaster 2350

Does anyone have any experience with the Parasound ZoneMaster 2350?

I currently have Ohm 1000s speakers hooked up to a Yamaha AV receiver. It’s OK but I’d like to drive the Ohms with a lot more power to really open them up.

My issue is my AV receiver does NOT have any pre-outs. This makes hooking up an external power amp a challenge. Ideally, I’d rather not buy a new AV receiver.

What intrigues me about the 2350 is it has speaker level inputs which seems like the perfect workaround.

ZeroFidelity (YouTube) gave it a very positive review.

Any thoughts/experience would be appreciated.

Parasound gear is great, I have a halo a21+ and two 2125v2 and really like them. I think you should have no problem

Thanks @M0N

So if I use the speaker level input will the AV receiver control the volume of the 2350?

Yes. That would be how it would work.

Wow! You’re quick!!
Also, is there any way to add a DAC to this setup (AV to 2350 via speaker level inputs)? Again, no pre-outs on AV.

If you wanted to, you could get a smsl su-8 v2 and control the volume from there, bypassing the need for the other reciever, but I would also make sure to add a physical volume knob as a back up like a mackie big knob, or you could just get a preamp with a built in dac. But you should just be able to run the dac into the av receiver if you wanted to

Ok - let me get this straight in my mind.
If I connect my Ohm L/R fronts from the AV receiver via the 2530s speaker level input, the 2530 will power the fronts while the AV receiver will manage the surrounds and I’ll be able to control the volume for everything via the AV receiver.

I can take this on step further and get a pre-amp (w/ a built in DAC) and also connect to this setup. This would bypass the AV receiver and the preamp would control the fronts. Would the pre-amp get plugged directly into the 2350? Would I b able to switch back to the AV receiver when I want to watch a movie in surround?

So you would connect the front left and right channels from the av receiver to the parasound, and the parasound is connected to the ohms and can be managed by the receiver

If you want to use a dedicated preamp for 2 channel listening, you could connect it to the rca ins on the parasound. For multichannel you could just turn off the extra preamp and use the av receiver as normal. If this ended up not working, you could chain it in as an input

So I pulled the trigger and picked up a Parasound Zonemaster 2350 amp.

Earlier today I connected my Yamaha AV receiver (no pre-outs) to the 2350 via the speaker level inputs, paying particular attention to the polarity of the wiring. It seems to be working BUT I’m very surprised by the results.

Since the ZM2350 has WAY more power then my receiver I was expecting to gain a lot of headroom. This doesn’t seem to be the case though?

Prior to hooking up the ZM2350 I would listen to music directly through the receiver in the -25dB to 20dB range. I would consider this a “comfortably” loud volume for the size of the room. Since hooking up the ZM2350 I noticed I have to go down into the -15dB to -5dB range to achieve a similar volume, AND more importantly I start to hear distortion as I move closer to 0 dB? The gain controls on the ZM2350 are set a bit past the middle (12 o’clock position). I experimented by turning the gain way up/down but it didn’t help much.

I find this hard to believe but it seems like I actually had a lot more headroom when I was running directly through the AV receiver? Is this possible?? In fact, today was the first time I ever experienced any distortion through my system.

I’m 99% sure I hooked it up properly. It was only a matter of adding another set of wires to/from the ZM2350 via the speaker level inputs. I’m not getting any faulty wiring warnings/lights. I can confirm the signal is going from the receiver to the amp because if I turn OFF the amp (but leave on the receiver) I get no sound.

Am I doing something wrong? Or am I missing something obvious?


Interesting, the gain controls don’t change anything? I would also check to see if your actual source is the same volume

By maxing out your av receiver, it would make sense you are getting distortion because you are pushing the av receiver very hard and the distorted signal is being fed into the parasound. I’m surprised the gain control’s don’t help is the thing.

Another thing is does your av receiver have a gain control of it’s own?

Also is there an audible quality difference between the parasound and the av receiver?

Hi Mon,
Thanks for helping me troubleshoot.

Actually, the turning the gain up on the 2350 does help a little. Certainly better then it being turned down, but I don’t feel like it’s the fix.

There is no overall gain control on the AV receiver but there are level controls within the speaker setup menus as part of the surround adjustments. I haven’t played with them but I believe they are set to flat for the fronts.

That is a very logical explanation about maxing out the receiver and the associated distortion. I have to say I was expecting the opposite regarding the volume control considering all the new clean power being generated by the 2350. I thought I would barely need to touch the knob on the receiver to raise the volume.

A couple other notes…

  1. Honestly, so far I don’t notice any difference in the sound. That’s probably the thing I’m most disappointed about. Now maybe it’s not fair to judge yet because I’m still working through the setup process, but I was kind of anticipating a very different sound signature. I’ve read several reviews about the neutral to warm sound the 2350 is known for.

  2. My Ohm speakers cast an amazing/seamless sound-stage regardless of where I sit in the room. I can literally sit directly in front of my right speaker, and because of the cross-firing tweeter from the left, the right speaker disappears. Since I’ve setup the 2350 the balance seems off. Suddenly I’m aware of the speaker being in front of me.

Are you sure you have the positive and negative wires correct?

Also the more power does not necessarily equal more gain, just more headroom for the amp. Also I was curious why you didn’t want to take your receiver out of the chain

Edit: also make sure the gain is set equally

Also I think the 2350 is pretty balanced, so it really shouldn’t have that big of the signature

I will check the polarity again tomorrow, but I did triple check everything before I turned on the system for the first time. Then did another check when I started running into the issues.

Although my main interest is listening to music I’m keeping the the receiver in the chain because I use it for the surround capabilities. I couldn’t justify dumping it because it’s fairly new, works well for the video side of things, etc. the only negative is it doesn’t have pre-outs…that’s how I landed on the 2350…besides solid reviews, it had the speaker level inputs.

Agree - I need to ensure the gain setting are equal. They are quite fiddly little knobs on the back of the unit with no detents so it’s tricky to get them perfect.

Turning them to max can get them matched.

I do wonder why you have a different stage and imaging performance changed. I would say listen for a couple of days and see if you notice any benefit

My gut told me to max them out BUT I assumed maxing them out would cause distortion or some other sort of sound issue.

Is this not the case?

It shouldn’t because you are not sending a very high level signal to it in the first place it seems

If you don’t like the amp after some testing and listening, I would say either return it or possibly buy a small dac/preamp combo for 2ch listening

Just maxed out the gain…hum.
That’s right, I did this earlier today and noticed the same thing.

Again, everything was perfectly silent when it was just the receiver without the amp.

Very very strange. I can max out the gain on my 2125v2 and have no issues, I guess get the gain to where it doesn’t hum but is as high as possible