Did you read the reviews on the JC3? It appears to be very nice. I think it's a dual mono design, but there's not enough options for input impedance. I think you would be limited to cartridge selection. Check out Primare's new phono stage, too.
Ayre products are a different level. They all are balanced designed and therefore should be used with balanced interconnects and connected to other balanced equipment to get the best from them. They will work single ended but its a shame not to get all that they are capable of.
Any one actually using the Parasound JC3? Would like to hear from current users and their thoughts.
No one has used the jc3? from the reviews it would seem like a giant killer but who really knows!
If you want please e-mail me and I can tell you my thoughts! I've been using the JC3 for several months and it's one of the most accurate phono units I've heard to date.
(Note: Dealer disclaimer)
I've been using my JC3 for a number of weeks now and can report a few things about it. First, it is by far the most quiet phono stage I've ever heard. I'm talking CD like quiet. The music emerges from a black hole. The soundstage depth and width is better than the CAT Ultimate and the Sim Audio 5.3, both of which I have owned at one time. It takes hundreds of hours to break in, mine is very slowly getting a bit more bloom with increasing musicality.
While I don't have vast experience with high dollar units, to my ears this one is special.
I found the Ayre too bright for my tastes and eventually went with an Audio Research PH5.
Unless you're opposed to tubes I'd demo the PH6, though I'd like to know how IT compares to the JC3.
Jeepers, I am a tube guy, but I owned the Ayre p5Xe for a year or two as a second phono stage, where the primary phono is a tube unit. The last thing I would ever say about the Ayre (used by me only in balanced mode) is that it is "bright". I found it to be incredibly neutral. I am kind of sorry I sold mine.
I too had the P5x, (not the e) for me as my primary phono pre for several years and kept it around through my upgrades. I was very neutral sounding to my ears.
As I upgraded TT, arm, cart, AND my ability to set it all up, so-so recordings that at one time sounded bright would become much more listenable. The whole process surprised me some. Not claiming any miracles though.
In my experience if equipment is neutral what you get out depends a lot on what goes in.
One caveat is that I only used ZYX cartdriges with the Ayre. And I ran it balanced which was clearly better IMO.
What else can I say but what I heard?
The Ayre was clearly brighter and harsher than the phono stage I had at the time, a Graham Slee Era Mark V, and had nowhere near the presence of the ARC PH5 I eventually purchased.
However I'm still wondering how the sound of the ARC units compares to the JC3.
I have had my JC-3 for a few weeks now and am just now settling into it with everything dialed the way I like it.
It is not fully broken in yet, but I can say with sincerity that all the great reviews of it are correct. This is an excellent preamp. I upgraded to this from a Lehmann Black Cube, which was excellent for it's price, but the JC-3 is in another class, as it should be considering it is 3X the price of the Lehmann.
I will post more thoughts on this as I continue to break the unit in and understand more about its characteristics. I do believe my $2350 was well spent. If you are thinking of taking the plunge you can do so with confidence.
This thread has been inactive for over 18 months. Few seem to have listened to the JC-3 as of the last post. What's the current opinion? I've been looking for a JC-3, but perhaps I should also look for a P-5xe. I'll use either with an Ortofon SME 30H MM cartridge.
I've been using a JC-3 for over a year and can say it is one of the most neutral phono stages out there. When I say "neutral" I mean that it does not editorialize the signal, it will pass what ever is delivered and will respond to tweaks and power upgrades.
If the TT/setup is perfunctory it will reveal it and also if it is superlative, it will reveal it as well. The JC-3 will also reveal the power integrity fed to it and as such is a true high end phono stage, IMHO.
It is true that the input flexibility is limited and that was a concern when I bought it but it has proven to be a non issue for me so far.
Feed it clean power, preferably balanced or even better AC regeneration and pay attention to what it is sitting on and you will be rewarded. I have mine on a SR Tranquility Base being fed by high current balanced power via a SR Hologram A power cord and the results are sonic bliss!
John Curl is considered by many to be the guru for small signal amplification as this is clearly the case with the JC-3, in fact many consider the JC-3 a descendant of the famed Vendetta phono stage but on a budget.
Bottom line is feed it clean stable power and pay attention to what it's mounted on and you will be most rewarded :-)
Thanks, Nnmusicman. The TT is a Thorens TD 124 with an SME 3009 Series III arm and Ortofon SME 30H cartridge. I haven't been a vinyl guy, but playing several $50 recordings on my cousin's high-end setup convinced me I should consider it. Then I found the arm and TT at a local shop, and was hooked on the iconic appearance. It sounds superb even with the Channel Island Audio phono stage, and I'd guess it will sound even better with one of the two phono stages I'm considering.