low-level background white noise - Parasound Halo JC-3+

I’ve got an issue with the background noise that I can’t seem to figure out. It’s white noise, there is no 60 hz hum present at all. So, I don’t think it’s a grounding problem. If I turn up the JC-2 on the JC-3+ input to 100%, I get 61db of white noise (c-weighted, slow response) from the listening position (about 12 feet from the speakers). There is a faint 60-hz component, but it’s mostly white noise. (It’s not pink noise). That test is with the tonearm cable disconnected from the system. 

My system:
Me: 51 year old 30-year audiophile with tested 35 year-old ears. Excellent hearing in both ears.
Linn LP-12 Radikal/Keel/Ittok LVII/Dynavector XX2Mkii/Audio Origami phono cable
JC-3+ set in the MC Variable position at 100 ohms loading
JC-3+ with Belden XLR cables to the JC-2 as well as Goertz single-ended cable (A/B testing)
The rest of my system is a Linkwitz LX-521 based system driven by Emotiva XPA-5 Gen 2 amps in an analog active cross-over config. It’s irrelevant to this conversation in my opinion.

Here’s my problem:
Parasound JC-2 on input 1 with the volume control set at the 9 o’clock position. (or 25%). This is normal volume and produces about 75 db music at the listening position. White noise is clearly present, I’d estimate it at the 50 db level. It’s about the same level as when the HVAC is pulling air through the vents.
Inputs on the JC-2 positions two thru six are dead silent all the way to full volume.

Here’s my test chain of events:
Disconnect the 90 degree connector from the LP-12. White noise still present.
Disconnect the Audio Origami phono cable completely. Connection from JC-3+ to JC-2 only via XLR. White noise present.
Replace the XLR cables with RCA cables. White noise present. Substitute different XLR cables, white noise present.
No cables on input one of the JC-2 (JC-3+ disconnected). No white noise present. Dead silent.

I tried reversing polarity via the switch on the JC-3+, but this doesn’t help.
Both channels have the exact same level of white noise in all of the above tests.

Any ideas? Is this normal? Am I being too critical? Is there something I haven’t thought of? 
I know this doesnt help much but my JC-3+* is dead silent.

Parasound is incredibly responsive. Have your JC3 checked out! :)


Do any of the components need to be set for balanced/single ended operation? If they're not set right, you can definitely get some noise. Also, make sure your balanced cables are really balanced, and not SE with XLR connectors. 
It's possible that you've got some RF in your listening room, and it is being picked up by any of the cables you've tried for connecting the two units. To support this hypothesis, you could try moving the two JC units as close to each other as possible and using very short cable.  Or you could try a cable that is very well shielded.  (I like Goertz cables, but if memory serves they are not so well shielded.)  Along the lines of what Sfall wrote, it is also possible that either the output of the driving unit or the input of the driven unit is not internally configured in true balanced mode, because I would have thought you would hear at least an improvement when connecting with balanced cables.  On the other hand, sometimes RF defies logic, owing to its very high frequencies.

Thanks for the responses! I've been in a back and forth with Richard Schram at Parasound who graciously answered my support e-mail question himself on a Sunday. First class company.

I think I may have an internal issue on the box itself as I've tried every test scenario I can think of and a few that Richard suggested. It's still under warranty (as I bought it from an authorized dealer), so I suspect the next step will be to send it in. 
I also have a JC3+ and am running it with a Voxativ integrated and mine is also dead silent.  If your ground is good then you must have an issue with the unit itself????

Good luck!
Have you tried using your amp, ASP or DSP, JC2 with the LX521's while playing a cd or digital file?  

If so, does the noise still appear?  

I have the same preamp, with the Linkwitz ASP and Orions, and there is a very low level noise just barely audible within a foot of the speakers, which I've traced to the ASP.  
  • Not related to this strand but I happened to be reading a dec post were you commented that you had an ref 3 that could be for sale. I've been looking for ref 3 or 5 at fair price to replace ls26 that I will sell. 
  • Doesn't seem like arc gear selling quickly at the moment