I have had the Parasound JC-1's and they are a great pair of amps. Given your equipment, i feel they should mate very well. JC-1 is voiced toward the warm side and with the 400 watts should push the B&W's nicely. Levinson 436 is a nice amp as well as the McIntosh gear. The Lev and the Macs are not as warm sounding as the JC-1's. Be careful however, the JC-1s will need to be left on for a month straight before they will sound their best.
Chuck, Thanks for the response. I received the JC-1s yesterday and you are right, they are warm sounding compared to the Mac and Levinson and my B&K. I listened to them for about 5 hours last night. It took me a while to get used to the new sound. I am hearing details in the music that I have not heard before. I will keep these for a few weeks before I make my final decision. This is a dufficult decision, because I don't have the best upstream gear to bring out the best in the amps I am evaluating. But I can only afford one thing at a time...
Break in the JC-1s 24/7 with music going through, low volume is fine...at 30 or 31 days you will hear a very nice improvement, and it keeps getting better for almost another month after that as they become lighter, faster and sweeter...
One thing you may not like about the JC-1's is their slightly forward in your face presentation. I auditioned em when I was looking for a pair of high quality monoblocks a few months back, definetly a great amp, much smoother than the old HCA3500(which I owned for a few months a few years back)with the same great bass definition.
Tfee, I hope you will keep us posted on the changes you hear as the amps settle. I'm thinking about the JC-1s and I'm trying to gather as much info as I can. I would also like to hear from someone who has had experience with both the JC-1s and the Plinius SA-250 MkIV. I currently own the Plinius and I'd like to know if it is worth considering the JC-1s as an upgrade..........John
Hey Ritten, yep the JC-1s are thin and in your face for the first thirty days of 24/7 music and calm down after that....You might want to take another listen to them with more time on the clock....I'm at five weeks of 24/7 music on my current pair and they are just starting to become dimensional after sweetening up at thirty days.....I found the stock HCA-3500 unlistenable and Curl made me get after it and we used it as the prototype for the JC-1 and actually sold a few of these as CTC BBQs.....I voiced the JC-1 for complete break-in and sounds like the dealers units didn't have the hours on them as fully broken in they are slightly sweet and very dimensional.........
Ive heard em well broken in(running straight at the dealership for over 2 months 24/7 and at my place for another week on demo), they are still forward and in your face like all Halo/Parasound amps with a warmer sounding midrange and top end basically.
Ritteri, that is interesting as sure hasn't been my take on them at all and have lived with various versions of prototypes and production units now for about four years.....CTC had nothing to do with the rest of the amps in Parasound's Halo line BTW.....
One mans "up front and in your face" is another mans laid back and dull sound, it's all relative. I thought the JC-1 where just right myself, front row seat but not at the expense of loss of dimensionality, soundstage depth, ease or transparency. My neighbor owns a pair of JC-1's, I've heard them many times and in a couple of showrooms and they have become a personal reference, favoring them over $20K+ spectral and Krell amps I heard as well in many ways, not to mention anything I've heard anywhere near or below their price. They are special amps. I heard the JC-1's with the ~$5K tower B&W's (can't recall the model number, not a big B&W fan) and the sound was phenomenal, best I've ever heard B&W's sound....
People need to realize that just because an amp has a $20k sticker tag doesnt mean its going to sound any better. Completely the farthest thing from the truth. When I demo'd the JC-1's I also had on hand a pair of Bryston 7B ST's, Aragon Palladium's, A ML No. 334 on hand. Its quality was right in line with the rest of the auditioned pieces. It just wasnt the sound Im looking for. I think JC-1's would be a good match for speakers like SOnus Faber or VIenna Accoustic speakers, but it wasnt right for my setup. I personally dont/didnt want front row seating for a "presentation". Im already setup for nearfield listening to begin with, plus I found that a few other monoblocks in the same general pricerange category had better dynamics and soundstage presentation for my speakers. The JC-1's to me sounded like a more forward sounding Rotel RB-1090 with better bottom end punch, which I had a few years back. They resembled this amp in SQ very closely which isnt a bad thing at all, just not what I was looking for.
Thanks for your responses to my questions. I just wanted to give you an update so far on the JC-1s in my system. The amps have been installed for a week and running continuously with source material coming from my satellite receiver when I am not listening to miusic or watching a movie. I have listened to Rock, Jazz and Classical music with the JCs and I am finding them to be very versitile. The soundstage is becomming dimensional. Initially, there was height and width but not much depth, but now I am getting good depth as well. On most of the source material I have listend to, the speakers have completely disappeared. I managed to borrow a friends Krell 300CD for a couple of days and that made a big difference compared to my CD player. I had a much better soundstage with the Krell. I have an older model TT, Technics SL-10 that I purchased 20 years ago; I recently purchased an Ortofone cartridge for it and I must say that my vinyl has never sounded better. So far, in my opinion, these amps have been a great match with the N802s.
Would appreciate if you could share with us your thoughts on JC1 a few months after you own them. I am in Bangkok and very much interested in JC-1 to drive my B&W802N. I have been changing power amp and still looking for the one that could handle the 802N. Mark Levenson is out of my league if I need 400wpc. Unfortunately, the exclusive dealer in Bangkok refuse to demo the unit even in their showroom and overcharging the price, so I try to figure out other power amp that could go well with the 802N. I am using 2 sets of power amp - a BAT VK-500 with BATPAK (250wpc), and push-pull tube Antique Sound Lab Hurricanes (200wpc). Keep switching back and forth and end up keeping both. The BAT is a tad too sweet and fat lower mid. The ASL is a tad too analytical, but throw a big 3D sound stage. I am looking for something in between.
Hope that you could share your thoughts and experience in a quest for the right amp for B&W802N.
Som the JC1 are special,for the price they are cheap,
Read Michael Fremmer review,very accurate review.
One thing I like about the JC1,they put the instrument
in the right place.I prefer them than the Levinsons,
Krells, and Pass Lab.Forget about your dealer.
Thanks for your advice. The problem I had is that Parasound dealer is exclusive for Thailand and they slap 30% premium on msrp. Therefore, it is not that cheap. I used to own the old ML 23.5 (200wpc)but it could not drive my B&W so I have been searching for the right amp in the past 3 years. I tried Bryston (forgot the exact model) stereo and monoblock 400wpc, but they could not grip B&W802N woofer as well as BAT. I will not have a chance to listen to jc-1 as they do not even demo the amp. I guess I'm stuck here. I may have to take the risk and plunge in blind; therefore, appreciate all the feedback I could get. I reported to Bob Crump designer of the JC-1 who feedback to Richard of Parasound. May be he could persuade the dealer the right way to sell jc-1 and I got a chance to try the amp if it fits my system.
It's been 11 month's! Your JC-1's are fully broken-in, how about an update?
Just wanted to let you know that I sent the JC-1s back to my dealer a few weeks after I had them. I am staying with my current system until my dedicated listening room is complete. When that is done, I will begin the process of selecting my new Amps and source equipment for the room. I appreciate everyone feedback and information.