3k Phono preamp upgrade options (JC3+, XP-17, etc)

Hi everyone,

I’m looking to upgrade my phono preamp in my sytem and am fairly decided on going the solid state route. The two options I’m most interested in are the Parasound JC3+ and Pass XP-17. I’m curious if anyone has compared these two together, and can describe how these units differ. Here is my system:

Lyra Delos (0.6 mv) -> (new phono here) -> Hegel h120 -> Dynaudio Heritage Specials.

I’m sure both phono preamps are great units, but I’m looking for something that will pair nicely with my Dynaudios. The Hegel is here for now, but I see myself upgrading it eventually, so compatability in that regard isn’t as important.


If you think there is a tube option that will work well with my sytem (Sadly Herron isn't in production, so that's a no go) feel free to recommend, but I’m mostly interested in SS for now.


Dear @lewm : " his work or products that use his name to make it seem he designed them these days are not necessa rily wonderful or in the same high level. "


Well I don’t know which facts you have that can confirm your statement because any audio item that comes with " JC designed " was in true designed by him at JC designer levels he has ( " wonderful  " ! ! ? ? ). The design it’s a truly good one.

Differences in overall quality levels were made by the manufacturer parts/boards/execution quality of the JC design but these is different from what you stated. The JC design is " wonderful ".

Take a look, his Levinson ML-2 amplifier monobloks is now not only a legend but even today is a true " amplifier bible " for an amplifier SS design and I know because I own a pair of 20.6 that came from " there "/ML-2 topology and I can tell you that these monobloks are second to NONE.







Remember the Bluetorch ( or something like that, I can’t remember the correct name. ) phono stage that he designed along other 3 gentlemans,.JC was in charge for the electronics design? and the whole electronics line ( preamp, amplifiers, equalizer ) side by side with Colangelo ( very expensive units ) ? and where is the place of his famous phono stage Vendetta.

For me he is the best audio electronics/devices freelance advisor/consultant for any audio manufacturer. Several manufacturers that you not even imagine were taken " advise /wok " from him.


Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,



Regarding differences between Pass XP17, PS Audio Steller, and Parasound JC3+, they are closer than different.

The Steller is dead quiet, more than the JC3+, a little more resolution than the JC3+, but maybe not quite as dynamic. Both have great mid-range.

The XP17 is all of the above, quiet (equal but not more so than the Steller), great resolution and dynamic while very musical.


I at the same time owned the PS Audio Stellar and Pass Xono, which was around before the XP17. The Stellar was quiet and had more body than the Xono, but the Xono's resolution and dynamics were better, albeit sounding more typical to 'solid state' regarding temperature. The Rogue Ares Magnum with good tubes easily bested them, and the Modwright PH9.0X easily bested the Rogue.

My apologies to JC.  The intention of my post was not to criticize him or even any single thing he designed, but simply to point out that it is wise to choose based on your own listening tests and experience, rather than based on the fame of the designer, up or down. The proof is in the pudding, for any designer of any piece of gear.  In this case of the JC3+ vs the XP17, one would be hard pressed to claim that one designer is inherently superior to the other. They're both in the Mt Rushmore of solid state design.