Weird .. it seems no one here listened a Parasound Halo JC2
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I don't think the Pass X250.5 ourperforms the power of two JC1 and sonically since I never listened both I can't tell you my opinions.
I didn't buy a Pass X250.5 or the better sounding X350.5 only because this relatively new X.5 serie can't be converted into 220/240 AC. Voltage
Here both cost lotsa money you can't believe (11700 euro = 18.000 $USD the X350.5) so I searched for a powerful amp for my Thiel 2.4 but easy to convert into European voltage.
The Parasound Halo JC1 is one of them! I found two preowned and I bought them.
OK,got it..IMO the 250.5 sounds better than the 350.5..Ive never owned JC1s but a couple friends have had build issues with them so that alone kept me away from any considerations..there are several Euro makers that I would think would be a better match, in your price range and 220/240...but if your already committed to the JC1....
I had a JC-2 for a nearly a month.
I found that, out of the box, the preamp had high resolution, and sounded musical, but it was, for me, too lightweight in the midbass through lower midrange, which resulted in a presentation that was thinner than I liked. Frequency-wise, it had, from what I could discern, extended highs, great midrange, etc.
However, I simply couldn't get past the ethereal nature of its' sound. I prefer a more solid sound, sort of the different between Scotty beaming you up to the Enterprise and the first 5 seconds, where you can see through Cap'n Kirk, and the final 2 seconds where he's fully materialized.
On the checklist: good low-level resolution and dynamics, wide soundstage, depth good, but layering (with this setup not fantastic .....although I suspect the Usher 718s (NOT the BE version!) are no Sound Dynamic RTS-3s in the depth layering department. Overall, I enjoyed the JC-2, but it just didn't make my heart skip a beat, except for one cut on the Magical Mandarin, in a flute solo (cut 5, I think), which was lovely. I hoped it would, so I was disappointed.
In all fairness, my Hurricanes were not behaving well, and they are being repaired. However, the lightness of the sound was evident, and inarguable. One thing the Hurricanes are NOT is lightweight-sounding. Oh, the CD players were the Apollo Rega and Cambridge (also a bit lighweight, so this, no doubt, exacerbated the experience) The resolution was on a par with a First Sound Presence Deluxe Mk II, but the "bloom" just wasn't there, as it was with the First Sound, nor were the dynamics as powerful. Sound didn't blossom as much as I'd hoped -- and man, was I ever hoping it would.
Take this as an impression. I'm sure JV's review on TAS (the reason I bought it), was spot on. I agreed with all his observations, just that he de-emphasized how lightweight it could be. But then, he was using a Walker turntable, which, if anything like the Valid Points, which solidify and focus sound, would hardly demonstrate this problem. With the Cambridge, Valkyrja interconnects, the JC-2, the combination leaned too far in the "white" sound direction. The Hurricanes, bless their hearts, did not disguise that, neither did the Transparent speaker cable or the Usher, that combination being quite the opposite: weighty and solid.
I think Mr. Atkinson said about the same thing in his Stereophile review which you can read online...
Frankly, I'D like to hear someone else's take on it.
Curio - Based on my experience with the JC-1s in the past - and from what I've heard from others about them as well - they require a **great** deal of break-in. I don't know, but it's possible that this is true of the JC-2 as well. I found it curious that John Atkinson described the preamp as somewhat lean (in a relative sense), yet Jonathan Valin did not. A difference in break-in? Maybe...maybe Valin even had the same unit after Atkinson, when it was more broken in. Who knows. I don't have any experience with the preamp, but just wanted to suggest some things.
It sounds like you would like more feedback from people with experience, and I hope you can get it. One more suggestion: I suspect that there may be only a minute sample of people who have heard the JC-2 and the Pass X1 *in the same system*, never mind driving the JC-1s. You may want to re-phrase your question to get as much feedback about the JC-2 as you can (it sounds like you don't need the feedback about the Pass).
Thanks for your opinion Jfz
I noticed too the different point of view of Valin and Atkinson and as you wrote maybe it could be refferred to the different break in time.
I haven't here the two JC1 yet .. probably they left Canada this morning and so I should have them here within 10 days than I 'll be able to write an opinion about them
They 'll be driven by the Pass X1 and after I 'll consider if the marriage 'll be good enough or if the JC1 'll require another preamp
By now I'm crossing my fingers about the marriage of the JC1s and Thiel2.4 on paper should be perfect .. but with ears .. who knows..
Ok, I've got another opinion for you. The JC-2 is awesome, and that is why I own one!(as well as the JC-1's) It really is the perfect match for the JC-1's. The JC-1's aren't your typical harsh sounding solid state amp and if they err, they err towards sweetness with a touch of warmth/richness. The JC-2 is very high resoloution, and extremely quiet. I can see why people who prefer the added richness and coloration of tube gear would call the JC-2 slightly thin in it's sonic picture. If it is paired with an amp that is somewhat analytical or bright, you will have a somewhat thinner sound. I think that the JC-2 is perfectly accurate, and some people aren't ready for that kind of honesty. Anyway, when paired with the JC-1's the sound is magical. They literally were made for each other. The sound is completely sweet. Don't worry, the JC-1's are going to make your Thiels sound the best they ever have. I do believe that the JC-2 will take them to the next level also. The JC-2 is by far the single biggest improvement that I've ever realized from a component upgrade in my system... Bar none! %30 more low level details, better soundstaging, deeper bass, sweeter harmonics, it's like I turned up everything but the noise. That's as simple as I can put it. It will remain in my system for a long time.
Good luck to you!
As Audiobrooke kept his unit, he may have a clearer sense of the unit's performance.
I would, however, point out that the Presence Deluxe is not exactly a "tube unit" in the traditional sense. It is more akin to a solid-state unit in its presentation, having less sweetness than the average tube unit. It is precise in the same way that the Parasound is, but less weighty nonetheless.
Jonathan's review, by the way, did not differ from Atkinson's, I think. they simply phrase differently. Jonathan clearly said it sounded like an "...ever so slightly less three dimensional ARC Reference 3..." This is usually a function of the midbass to lower midrange energy. By the way, one can easily post at the avguide website and ask him directly. The reviewers are very good at responding to queries.
Now, what COULD make the difference is the front end, and whether it is CD or turntable. Turntables will usually have a greater "density" of sound than CDs, excluding players of high lineage (and price). He DID, after all, use the Walker turntable.
I'm sure it's a great unit.
Thanks Audiobroke and GbMcleod
As Gbmcleod wrote I'm noticeing the turntable with my Grado has much more weight in the middlebass region and density everywhere and it is more emotionally involving
While before with Odyssey Stratos Plus the difference from CD and TT was lighter now with Halos JC1 is so great I thought to have some cable troubles between CD and preamp!
I didn't think JC1s were so transparent!
They make the Thiels 2.4 really come alive expecially in the mid high frequences where the little Stratos failed
On the contrary with the same setup and cables the Stratos sounded more fat and warm in midbass region but it's so beautiful en enjoyable the pristine clear trasparent sound of the JC1s I can bear this hypothetical loss , if it's a loss and not the real sound!
The JC1's require over 1000hrs of break in to finally stabilize so don't give up on them, they are truly one of the few amps to drive your speakers. I suspect the JC2 requires the same amount of break in.
Break the amps in first, and then make a more informed decision against your Pass preamp which is excellent also.