Parasound JC1 or Spectron Musician 3 se

For Innersound Kaya. I'm using a Parasound A21 now but would like more power. I've listened to Innersound kilowatt monos on my speakers and didn't like the combo. The highs were to hot.
I'm sorry but I don't know Innersound products , but I have the JC1s and I'm totally satisfied about their performances on my Thiel 2.4

Wayne Donnelly, reviewer from,some years ago compared early Musician III (standard) to JC1. You can find his e-mail from their web site and ask his opinion.

I perosnally believe that while Parasound JC1 is good product its not a match for current Spectron amplifiers

All The Best,
I have listened extensively to the JC1s and relative to other ampplifiers of their class I am experienced with they are top shelf.
I've owned my 5-driver, 3-way, sealed box, dynamic driver speakers for 18 years. During that time I've owned or auditioned various RAM, Atmasphere, Cary, Joule Electra, VTL, ARC, Classe, Eagle, Boulder, PS Audio, RE Designs, and Threshold amps. For the past year and a half I've owned a pair of JC-1s and they provide the best overall musical presentation I've enjoyed with these speakers. If you are looking for power, driver control, and detailed musical but unfatiguing sound, the JC-1s are certainly worth an audition.

That said, without knowing anything about the efficiency or load of your speakers, it is difficult to suggest a recommendation. Plus I am not familiar with the current Spectrons.
Thanks for your responces.

There's not a lot of Kaya owners out there, so i didn't expect alot of experience with them.

My Parasound A21 drive them pretty well I just want a little more headroom.

Their impedance drops to about 2 ohms at 20k hz.

I like the sound of the A21 so the JC1s would probably be really nice. I'm just really intrigued by the spectron amps and like that they would put off less heat.

Thanks, Sean

When I was looking for an amp to drive my Maggies 3.6, the A21 was one of my possible choices. When I weighted all the features and performance description for the amps I was considering, the Spectron seem like the real winner to me.

For my system, I'm pretty sure this is the right choice. It's been almost a year since I introduced the first Spectron amp to my system and I'm happy to report that these amps get better as the ancillary equipment gets better. I've been updating my ICs and SP cables to Stereovox Reference series and what I'm getting is a much more tactile listening experience. There is more realness to the sound with these cables. My point is that it seems to me that these amps perform extremely well with the best components out there. So I feel that if I bring a topnotch source or preamp, I won't feel the need to re-evaluate my amps. They simply get better.

I've listened to Kaya speakers driven by Innersound amps and they sounded pretty nice. They are great speakers and I'm confident they'll sound great with either amp. To these ears, the Spectron amps sound much more sophisticated than what the price suggests and therefore they get my vote.
The Spectrons MIII MKII SE are like no other amps I have heard before, Passlabs current lineup being my most recent.
Never heard or seen your mentioned amps and speakers so I cannot voice any comments.
But I can tell you this, no other amps have made my large planars play music so life like and real. Deep, tall and wide.
And the ultimate is to operate in mono config - 'totally unreal'
Terry, You prefer the new Spectons to the Pass XA200.5 on your speakers? Thats pretty impressive. I haven't heard either but I'm going to RMAF this year so I'll check them out. Sean
IMO... if thats the choice its a no brainer..Spectron!...Parasound has build issues and run hot as hell
I'm using the Lamm M1.2 monos with my Kayas. Excellent match and even though the Lamm's are rated at 110wpc in class A @ 4 ohms, I have never felt them run out of steam. My ears give out much sooner ;)
"Parasound has build issues and run hot as hell" (Missioncoonery)

My two Halos JC1s are 4 years old and never had 1 problem
Yes it's true .. they run hot as hell .. but because they sound as a hell! :-))
Never listened my Thiel 2.4 so well driven and so trasparent
The JC1's are a top choice for those that drive Soundlab speakers. I believe the load is similar between the Soundlabs and the Innersounds. You have a beautiful set of speakers, as one member wrote "you probably will love both". It's tough to suggest one is much better than the other when your surroundings, source, connects, etc play such a big role in the sound. Then of course, there is your taste in sound. Unless you are able to set them both up and A/B them, you may just have to pick the best deal and try them.

It seems they are both around the $3500 range used so that is a wash. There is something to be said for monoblocks from a beauty and balance standpoint. The truth is that there are multiple threads regarding both amps are excellent. Both are able to drive a large range in ohm loads. Both have tons of power. Both have excellent build quality. I believe the Halo's are more pleasing to the eye but that is a small point and a personal preference.

If you know of someone local who has one or the other and would allow you to trial it for a day or two you could always purchase one and borrow one if your really wanted to do a side by side testing in your environment.

The great news is that both amps are hot on the used market right now and don't last very long but there are enough of them out there that they come up almost every month. If you have the coin, buy both. Audition them for a week or so, then sell the one you like less! :-)

I am in a similar situation with my Soundlab A-1's. I am refinishing a set right now and need to make a decision on amplification in the next 6 months. The JC-1's are on my short list. I also respect what Dr. Sander's has done with his innersound/sander's sound amps. I am actually suprised his amps were bright on your speakers but it may have been your environment, related equipment or taste (and that's just fine, no offense intended). The spectron equipment rounds out the short list for equipment. The running temp. is definitely a bonus, especially if you have a smaller room, or one that is tight and doesn't have much air movement. In an hour or two you can really bring the ambient temp up.

Good luck with you quest. It's half the fun. You have a couple of great amps to choose from. FWIW, buy both, try them and sell the other. You can't go wrong. Then you can let us know which is best in your setup. I would be interested in your findings.

Good listening.
Hello Lance,

Great post. I also heard Sanders amp (not in my own system) and I am under impression that they are indeed "bright". I looked into their web site and I can see that they use (in moderate amounts)global negative feedback which, according to Simon Thacher from Spectron:

" Negative Feedback
Additionally, when an amplifier has difficulty in delivering required power peaks, other forms of distortions will occur. For example, in transistor amplifiers the increased current drawn by speakers will cause a small voltage drop across the source--i.e., the amplifier itself--which will heavily contribute to the unpleasant so-called "transistor sound.” In that regard, regulated power supplies can be extremely helpful. Many transistor amplifiers use global negative feedback to reduce distortions and widen the bandwidth. The crucial factor in negative feedback is transit time, the amount of time it takes from when an error is detected at the input until it is corrected at the output. For example, a typical transistor power amplifier has three primary sections: a low-noise high-gain differential input stage, feeding a differential-to-single-ended conversion driving a high-current output stage. Each of these three stages is designed for low distortion and noise, but those attributes typically come at the sacrifice of speed. The typical transit time of linear amplifiers is about 2000-3000 nanoseconds, which is too slow for effective implementation of global feedback and error correction. This lagging results in ringing artifacts and enhances odd-order harmonics which are particularly annoying to the human hearing (5) so even the smallest amounts of these distortions are highly noticeable. Long delays in feedback also introduces transient and phase discrepancies, susceptibility to transient overload and vulnerability to disturbances at the output such as reactive speaker interactions.

In contrast, many switching amplifiers don't use low-distortion circuits. Instead, they use much faster digital logic circuits. The Spectron Musician III transit time is 200 nanoseconds. Such an ultra-short transit time allows the amplifier to correct for many small errors; and the control loop can follow the input much more accurately. These characteristics result in a more detailed, transparent sound with less noise and louder yet cleaner musical reproduction. "

This may or may not be explanation... particualrly on the background of Spectron SET magicial midrange.

All The Best
Hi Lance, I listened to the innersound amps on my speakers at my dealers before I bought the Kayas. He also had a Parasound A51 which is similar to my A21. I preffered the Parasound. He was using a Parasound surround processor for a preamp which I wasn't to sure about. In my room with my equipment the innersound amps may have faired better.

My room is pretty small and the A21 already heats up the room pretty quick but this is only a issue 2 to 3 months a year here in Seattle.

Your right about trying them both. I have heard that Rogue Zeus would be good combo to. I guess I'll just have to decide which to try first.

Best Sean
Mantis007, do you have two systems or have you not updated your system page lately? Sean
Missioncoonery wrote:
Parasound has build issues and run hot as hell
I must strongly disagree based on experience with JC 1s since early on, but if you would care to qualify your remarks with substantiating information, I'd surely be interested. Parasound takes its products' performance and reliability very seriously. While it is true that the amplifiers produce a fair amount of heat, it's also true that virtually any amplifier putting out significant power, especially in Class A, runs hot. Exactly how hot is hell? I don't know, but some years ago a physics student 'proved' that hell is exothermic. :-)

Lance's comments regarding the JC 1's suitability for driving Sound Labs are accurate. I was the first person to hear the combination soon after introduction and reported the results to the respective companies. The JC 1s became a popular choice among solid state amplifiers for driving Sound Labs. This is not to suggest they are the absolute best at any price.

Disclaimers apply.
>>Parasound has build issues and run hot as hell<<

Not in my experience.

Which is infinitely more than yours.

Dealer disclaimer.
Sean: I just haven't updated it - to many changes to keep up with, ehhe.. I've sold the 5A's and all the Cary gear.


Rereading your original post you stated that you are currently using the A21. Stepping up to the JC-1's is a huge jump in output and control. The A21 has 250W and 60 amps peak per channel. The JC-1 has 400W and 135 amps peak per channel. Also, I didn't see if the A21 had an independent power supply or not but if it doesn't, there is another excellent advantage for drive tough loads.

I don't think you can go wrong with the parasounds. There are so many owners driving their systems with the JC-1's. "50 million people can't be wrong" :-)

The resale value is really strong on these amps so worse case is you pick up a pair, evaluate them and decide to resell. You may eat shipping costs but you will certainly get your investment back. A small price to pay to audition one of the most respected choices for SS amplification for electrostat owners.

Good luck and let us know what you choose.
For what its worth,
I know of 2 very committed Mcormick DNA-500 lovers that have both opted to go to Spectron Musician III SE amps.
Because their green?
Potential as mono block for 1800 watts into 8 ohms ?

Many reasons to go.
Hi Guys, I ended up getting a used Innersound DPR-500. The DPR-500 has much more control over the panels than my A21 did. Drums sound much more realistic now. Its not bright like the former Innersound Killowatt monos I auditioned.

Also I auditioned Sanders Sound new speakers and electronics at RMAF and heard no brightness either. So I can only guess that the killowatt monos had something wrong with them, or it was something else in the setup.

I checked out the Spectron-SP tech room also. I didn't hear any sonic anomallies to speak of but it just didn't move me. Could be different in my setup. Who knows.

I was seriously thinking about the JC1s or a tube amp, but I think the heat would be to much for my small room in the summer.

Hello Sarcher30,

I think many agree that set up id SP Technology room was not the best. Did you listen to Jeff Rowland 312 and "new kid on the block" Bel Canto REF1000 Mk2?

Thank you
Hi Dob,

I heard Jeff Roland gear through the Vienna Acoustics new reference speakers and liked the sound. It would have been nice if the room was bigger, but they did a nice job of working with the room. I'm not sure if they were useing the 312 in that room or not. I did hear the Bel Canto REF1000 mk2s with the TAD speakers and was also impressed. My audition in this room got cut off early because the exhibitor didn't like the second track I had him play. He stopped it part way through and handed it back to me. I thought that was quite rude. Needless to say I left after that. Apparently Led Zepplin was to much for him.
Thank you Sarcher, Exhibitor can be low rank engineer, unexpereinced dealer (as was the case with Spectron) etc..

All The Best