How good is Empirical Audio's Parasound JC1 Mod?

Category: Amplifiers

I am looking for others that have had their Parasound JC1 modified by Steve Nugent at Empirical Audio. I just got mine back, and what a difference. I loved my JC1s, 2004 Amp of the Year. Now I am absolutely ecstatic... It’s like I went from an Audi TT to a Porsche 911. Same product family but a lot better… The result the most musical solid-state amp I have ever had in my system.

I have found that the JC-1 monoblocks stock sound a lot better than most amps in their price range, however there is a lot more performance potential locked-up in these amps. Their primary weakness is dynamics, particularly in the high frequencies. They also tend to be a bit muddy in both the midrange and highs due to their power delivery topology, even though they deliver the detail in spades right out of the box, or at least after a month or two of break-in. This muddiness can best be described as a bit of congestion or compression. They just do not open-up and envelope you in an unrestrained, spacious sound field.

The EA Turbomod removes all of these weaknesses. It transforms JC-1s into spectacular, breathtaking music machines. The soundstage doubles in width compared to the stock amp and the slam factor improves by an order of magnitude. The weight, authority, and richness of the music are improved dramatically. There is a spaciousness of the sound field that just immerses the listener. The focus of violins, violas, and cellos is razor-sharp, but with finesse and sweetness, not harshness. Transient response is improved so that percussion, such as drums, cymbals, bells and vibraphone, all have real attack, sustain and decay. Vocals are breathtaking – airy and articulate. The front-to-back layering is so detailed that the relative positions of different instruments can be sensed within a few feet. Most first-time listeners believe they are listening to surround-sound, when it is only 2-channel. Is it the best-sounding solid-state amp on the planet – I think so… But note that it took me about two weeks of break-in to get them to their peak performance.

p.s. Has anyone tried them in low level listening mode. I have and boy is it fun not to lose the detail at low levels.
Hi Drhst20,
Just curious, did you ever get your JC-1's back from Empirical Audio?
If so, what are your impressions after mods?
In ALL HONESTY, are the mods really worth the $2,300.00 that they charge?
Would you still recommend having the Empirical Audio mods done, or would you recommend keeping the units in their stock form?
Thanks for your info.
Have a great day!
PS- The reason I am so cuious is because I talked to a guy who had the mods done, and he told me that the amps now sounded too strident and forceful. He said he wished he would have kept his in their stock form!

Sorry but I have not been active on Audiogon for the past few weeks (I have a new job which is keeping me busy). I will give you a call and hope to have a review up in the next week or two.

here is Dan's review:

His 2005 system shows that he has the amp. But the last poster in his review indicated that his amp was for sale.