Parasound Halo JC 3 vs Whest PS .30R for the Lyra Delos


I am looking to reduce the noise floor in the analog section of my system.  I am using a Lyra Delos, Michell Tecnodek, Whest PS .30R, Audio Research tube amp & preamp, and Rockport Mira Monitors.

Full system can be seen here:

Through the help of various members, I have determined that the noise I am complaining about, which is subtle, but present, is coming from my Whest phono preamp.  Because of the design of my ARC preamp, and the fact that I own the cables, I want to maintain a phono preamp with balanced outputs, which is less common, and hence not a ton of choice, especially at the price point I want to be at.

My Whest retails for $3500 and is probably worth about $2500, and that is where I want to keep the top of my budget.  if I score a great deal on the Whest, and a great deal on a replacement, I can use the surplus to upgrade the cables perhaps, or another tweak, such as fuses, or perhaps some new vinyl!

I am wondering if the Lyra Delos - Parasound Halo JC 3 combo will be better than the Whest in 2 departments:  lower noise, and similar or better overall sound quality.  I am not looking to shoot myself in the foot and get lower quality sound at the cost of a lower noise floor!


PS>  If anyone is bored, or super motivated, here is the thread in which we flush out the issue of the noise...

Before changing components have your Whest and Lyra inspected to make sure they are operating properly.
+1 onhwy61. No sense panicking and buying more gear before you get to the root cause of the problem. 

Unless you are just planning to throw out your old Whest and Delos. You can't really sell damaged goods, so you might as well make sure that they are both operating properly. 
Good point!  Any way to be sure the Whest is operating properly short of sending it to England for service?  Is there some sort of bench test to see if it is operating up to spec?  I have a dealer in the area that specializes in analog, and he has repair capabilities, but I think they are general capabilities, and he is not a whest dealer specifically.
Dear Mark,  Am I correct in thinking that you assume your Whest phono stage uses balanced circuits?  I ask, because to the best of my ability to investigate it, back when I myself was in a buying mode, the Whest is not balanced.  It may have XLR output jacks, but so far as I could tell, the RIAA correction and amplification circuits inside are not true balanced topology.  The Whest website is not very helpful in any way to figure this out.  This is not to say that it cannot sound great. Just something to keep in mind.

If you are a novice with electronics, and if you don't own proper test equipment, there is no way you can very easily check out a phono stage. But since your only problem appears to be hum and/or noise, first thing to do would be to define the problem a little better.  For example, "hum" has a certain meaning, usually a 60Hz or 120Hz tone. Usually the presence of hum indicates a grounding problem.  Other kinds of noise might require the attention of a competent tech in order to eliminate it, but no reason to dump the Whest just for that, IMO.

Dear Mark,

Sorry to hear of this continuing problem.


I have used the Whest PS0.3r (55db setting, 220 ohm loading) and Lyra Delos combination for several years and find no issues with noise even with the volume cranked up to ear-damaging levels.

It’s a very clean, dynamic sound. Occasionally, with any phono stage you may be aware of recorded tape hiss on the vinyl. Go higher in volume and folk may start to hear rumble and other mechanical issues.


I draw the line at listening at levels up to 110db as someone in the other thread suggested. I prefer my ears to continue working.

As a double-check I use an SPL meter at the listening position to make sure it’s not much more than 85db on peaks. (I was a bad boy recently when I measured 93db on crescendos…)  :(  ;^)


Analogue power supplies are more prone to “hiss” when the attached pre-amp is cranked to high volumes, especially very old amplifiers which may need re-capping/servicing. Switch-mode PSUs can be deadly silent in this regard.

The simplest solution, apart from sending it back to the manufacturer, would be to unhook your phono stage, take it to your Dealer and ask him to try it in his system.

This may at least determine if you have anything functional to worry about?


Those who are blessed with more than one turntable based system can do this for themselves (unfortunately I only own one turntable)

Kind regards,

Solid state used to have a higher potential for low noise.  But in the last few years, those low-noise components are being manufactured differently to save costs.  Specifically, they are not receiving the same "baking" as earlier manufactured semi-conductors.  When new, they may test just fin on the bench and perform up to specs in their respective audio implementations.  When new.  But after time, as they "break in" they develop increasing noise.  Not all, but a SIGNIFICANT number of the devices.  Over 50%.  WELL OVER 50%.
I am running a Delos into a JC3 on my Rega RP10 and it's incredibly clean and quiet sounding no hiss or hum at all.

This combo running into my LFD NCSE pretty well has me off the merry go round I've been happily just enjoying the music for quite a while now.

Definitely a good match...

Have you considered a Sutherland?  The 20/20 model is around $2300.  

I am selling a Sutherland Insight on Audiogon at the moment, it retails for $1400.  Very good phono stage and very quiet. 

I have to agree with Moonglum: I have been using a Whest PS.30r with a Lyra Kleos mounted on an SME V on an Oracle TT. The Whest\Kleos combo is absolutely quiet.  Not a hint of hum or any other noise. Hum is usually generated by a ground loop. You need to have BOTH your TT and the cartridge/tonearm grounded to your first output device - the Whest - and not to anything else.. If you are using a noise supression power strip - conditioner-  make sure that it allows the ground to pass - many do not..  Try connecting the TT, and Whest, and your AR preamp directly to a regular grounded outlet. If that works, try moving the AR back  to the power conditioner. Leave the Whest and TT alone. The Whest is a really good phono stage and if the Delos is 3/4 as good as my Kleos, its a beautiful analog combo.