Why all these JC-1's for sale?

I don't doubt that this is a very good product and an extraordinary value, but i'm curious to understand why in the space of 1 month or so i have seen seven pairs of these jc-1's for sale here at audiogon. Could it be that these people purchased them at a discount and are selling now for a profit or is there something regarding their performance that is amiss? Could it be a coincidence? I am not familiar with these amps but have read about them. As always this forum is an opportunity for all to better understand important products that come into our passionate hobbie. Please, fire away!
This are good amps,I would think its only coincidence,
People are downsizing nowadays,I audition them,I like
them a lot.
I would guess that these amps were bought by folks who had expectations exceeding the capabilities of the amps - the world is full of people looking for quick fixes and miracles. Seems to happen all the time. Usually the differences in the top of the line stuff (in comparison to the second tier products) is small and only heard on well set up high res systems.
Probably several factors involved here.

1) Things are tight and it is tax time.

2) People that can afford to buy $6K amps often do so i.e. "flavour of the month" club. CES just took place and they saw something else that has their mouth watering.

3) Their preferences and / or system goals have changed. Many folks are moving from big systems to smaller systems. In the process of this change, they are swinging from SS behemoths to tiny tubes.

4) These amps don't have enough sonic colourations to keep them happy / band-aid the rest of their system.

5) The amps aren't performing up to snuff due to a lack of available current i.e. each should have their own 20 amp AC line. As such, they blame the amp when there are other problems.

6) The heat and power consumption of these amps are more than they bargained for.

7) They don't have enough space for these amps. Two amps instead of one, both generating heat and requiring more space to dissipate that heat, etc....

8) After purchasing these amps and dealing with trying to locate them in their existing rack using their existing cables, they now realize that they have to buy more cabling, probably of various lengths. They don't want to go through finding suitable cabling, pay the price for such or re-configure their entire system

9) The rest of their system is below the sonic potentials of these amps. They therefore blame the amps for what they hear.

Need i say more ???? Sean

It would be interesting to know how many of the folks offering their amps up for sale:

1) actually home auditioned the JC-1s prior to purchase to see how they sounded in their system

2) actually home auditioned the JC-1s prior to purchase to see how they actually looked and fit into their home
These are some awesome solid state amps.

For those that are selling or those that are interested in buying them, Empirical Audio does a modification to these amps that I think is a serious upgrade. I heard Empirical Audio's room at CES and it was solely composed of components they had modified. None of these components (stock) I would ever (and I do mean EVER) imagine having in my reference system (like the Adcom amp he was running). But I swear this system at the show sounded EXCELLENT. The mods these guys do are definitely a step up from stock (a HUGE step in many cases).

Anyway, I do not have any relationship with Empirical Audio in the least. I just think they do a fine job at a somewhat reasonable price.

Keith Forrest
Glacier Showroom
Monterey (Seaside), CA
Sean -

Your #5 (insufficient available current) is quite possibly a common culprit.

In addition, the JC-1's really do take two months of continuous play to fully break in, and that's probably the equivalent of several years of normal use.

The JC-1's do not work well with passive preamps, in my experience.

And of course there are system synergy issues, as well as individual taste and preference. As a dealer, I get to see that there really are enormous variations in listener preferences. I can't trust that my taste in sonic presentation will match someone else's any more than I can trust my taste in music to match someone else's. Diff'rent strokes, somebody from the 60's once wrote.
I have owned the JC-1s in the past, I can tell you that they are not bad amplifiers. The main reason because I was in favor of the Jeff Rowland Model 12s when I audition them side by side in my system, I know that it's not a fair comparison since the Rowlands are more than twice the price of the JC-1s. The other matter was Parasound's customer service was so bad that even tho they were to make the best amplifier in the world which the JC-1 is not I would not buy from them ever again.
All of my customers interested in the JC-1s audition them in their systems. I'm a firm believer in try before you buy, and most often I take them over to their homes to set them up. I can't say if a lot of other dealers do that.

As for reasons why there are some for sale, I'll speculate on a few possibilities:

1) They didn't try them in their systems, instead relying upon published reviews. While all of the reviews have been very favorable, there's nothing like listening to them for yourself in your system to see what these babies will do.

2) They didn't take the time to break them in. As already mentioned, break-in is a long process. You have to initially force yourself to leave them on (low bias mode is fine) and play music through them at low volume (just above zero) 24/7.

Having dedicated power for them can help.

They like to have a preamp feeding them, not just a passive volume control, as Duke indicated. Put in a preamp with good dynamics and you've got a different animal!

The size can be a consideration, and yes, you need two power cords, although I know of some pretty darn good choices that won't break the bank :-)

And as Sean said, their sound isn't exactly colored. They can reveal problems elsewhere in the chain, though. Don't shoot the messenger :-)

Brian Walsh
I agree with the terrible Parasound customer service.
Well, I for one considered the JC-1's, but after listening to the Theta Enterprise monoblocks, and then seeing some deals on used Enterprises in the same price range, the decision to go with the Theta's was easy (for me).

Still, one does suspect that at least some of those people with JC-1's up for sale are folks who read a good review, bought them, and then weren't quite as thrilled once they heard them in their home.

Probably the rave reviews caused sales and
demo unit "bubble".
summer is coming soon these heat up the house
some people buy to be 1st on the block.
Anyone ever think that alot of these were sold and this is just a normal amount of resales. No one asks the question about Krell. Look at their listings. Everybody thinks there is a conspiracy and the worls is ending.
Check out Bound For Sound, forgot what issue. It documented a review of the JC-1's, and was perhaps the ONLY mag to find them inconsistent, due to a design flaw I believe. On some days, they were amongst the best available, yet on other days, nearly unlistenable.

Could this be the effecs of that ? Random satisfaction or dissatisfaction ? :-)
Check out Bound For Sound, forgot what issue. It documented a review of the JC-1's, and was perhaps the ONLY mag to find them inconsistent, due to a design flaw I believe. On some days, they were amongst the best available, yet on other days, nearly unlistenable.

Could this be the effecs of that ? Random satisfaction or dissatisfaction ? :-)
There was no design flaw mentioned, nor have I heard of such a thing, either from anyone associated with the product nor from any reviews.

The answer to your question is in my earlier post.

Brian Walsh
Although I don't own the JC-1's, I did quite a bit of research on them. Based on that research, I believe these amps are something special. There is near unanimous praise of them. Nearly everyone praises their sonics. Most descriptions of their sound indicate there is no particular character trait that anyone would find offensive. They are basically described as detailed, grainless, not bright, soundstaging & detailing champs, with a touch of warmth and incredible bass.

Audiophiles are often unsatisfied with anything they buy, and some audiophiles look for sound that punches them in the face, but later turns out to be irritating and overetched.

These threads on "why so many for sale" occur regularly here, and most of the time turn out to have no bearing on the quality of the product. Evaluate the JC-1 with your own ears and decide.
Chams: The review samples that BFS used were defective units i.e. had incorrect part values used in a section of the circuitry. Marty continues to refer to his experiences with the JC-1's even though he knows that the units were defective and not representative of current production standards. Given that Parasound admits that they had production problems with the earliest units and corrected this flaw, this is neither fare to the JC-1's or "ethical" for Marty to do so in my opinion. Kind of like saying that a turtle is faster than a rabbit even though you know that the rabbit that you're basing your comments on is wounded. Sean

PS... I have never heard these amps but have a great amount of respect for the people that were involved in making them happen. There are a few design revisions that i'd like to see made to them, but who am i to suggest such things??? : )
Thanks Sean! Yes twelve amps got out the door to reviewers and yours truly in 8/02 with two parts of incorrect value in the regulators, the contractor's error. DeWulf had trouble breaking in the units as did Wayne Donnelly, but Donnelly stuck with them, breaking them in as requested and Parasound was awarded a Product of the Year in 2003 in Superior Audio. The units with incorrect parts values were all fixed by 1/03 when the last of the review samples came back in. All the stock had been pulled and the two resistors swapped out in November 02 BTW......There are no amps with incorrect parts values out there.....

Aron, funny you mention replacing the JC-1s with Rowland 12s as had a customer replace his Rowland 12s with the JC-1s.....Personal preference I suppose......

I am not aware of any issues in the service department and suggest you take this up with Richard Schram as have had trouble with two amps ( of about thirty) both of which were resolved very quickly. One had an early failure and was replaced and the other had a led burn out.......

Bob Crump
TG Audio/CTC Builders
Aron and Tpk123,

Based on the interactions I have had with Richard Schram, I'm quite confident that any customer service breakdowns happened without his knowledge. He runs a very tight ship, but that doesn't mean he knows everything that goes on. I'm quite confident that Richard doesn't stand for customers not being taken care of as quickly and courteously as possible. Call Parasound at 1-888-888-5115 and ask for Richard Schram. Tell him Bob and Duke sent you. Or call me at (504) 866-1730 and I will call Richard for you.

>two amps (of about thirty)

Does that mean there are thirty of these amps out there total? Fifteen pairs?
Thanks for the clarification, Bob. As ssid, there were some units with the wrong part installed, which were corrected as quickly as possible once it was discovered. Of the hundreds out there in use, there were few that had this, handled promptly.

Richard Schram is fanatically dedicated to quality and service, as anyone who has spoken with him has found out. Aron and Tpk123, I suggest that you contact Richard and discuss whatever issues you have or had, because he would not knowingly allow customer dissatisfaction to occur because of something they did or didn't do. If I may be of help please contact me.

Brian Walsh
Drubin, Parasound did not have much in the way of High End dealers initially so I asked to become a dealer for my CTC preamp customers. I sold about thirty amps and ran out of customers over a year ago and retired from the retail business. Had a failure of one amp shortly after delivery and it was replaced within a week and a month ago had an led burn out and it was turned around in about ten days door back to the same door.....The amps are done in batches of a hundred units and believe Parasound is selling out of the fourth batch now.
Brian, there were only twelve units that got out the door with the incorrect parts......Six to reviewers and six to yours truly. The remainder of the first run of a hundred units were pulled and the parts changed out in November 02. The review units were updated in December and January and the last set, my demos, were updated in January 03 before they went to live in Chicago. Other than the twelve mentioned all units were corrected prior to being sent to dealers......My demos were shipped all over the map and did not have the revisions until they returned and were the ones we used to good effect at the CES in 1/03.
To some of you audiogoners out there who have sold their JC-1's:
Since they are sold now:
Could you tell us in all honesty why you sold them?
What did you not like sonically or ergonomically, etc., about them?
Thanks for your responses.
I had a pair of the JC-1's for about 2 months and left them on from day one. I used a pair of 20 amp dedicated lines in a dedicated sound room with Vandersteen 3a Signatures using an Audible Illusions L-2 and a Sony xa777es. I played them long enough to kill my Sony! Seems it didn't like being on 24/7 I used a Rotel until the Sony returned which I must say was good service in a one week turnaround with a complete new laser assembly.
As for the JC-1's, I tried my best to like them. I did think they were neutral to just a hair sterile in the lower mids but the soundstaging depth was at issue. This was my one BIG quival. It was certainly not as good as my Belles 350a nor the Ayre V5x I bought after I sold them. They sure had plenty of power and viceral impact. However, I'm a midrange and soundstaging freak. I could never warm up to them. They never sounded quite as musical as the other two amps.
It sad to see they take such a long time to break-in. I was unaware of this(I did hear it took a few months) and maybe I didn't give them enough time.
The other 2 issues with the amps was one of them had a transformer that hummed a little more than I thought was reasonable. I disconnected everything and turned it back on own and it continued. After calling Parasound about this, they said it was pretty normal and the other amp was just unsually quiet. Well, you know what I thought about that BS. Anyway, the bottom line was if I sent it back at my expense, they would put a new transformer in it. I felt that a little much for a 1 week old amp that I had waited 2 months for!
The same amp also liked to disconnect the speaker relay for no reason. It would be playing very softly and you would hear it click off and within a minute, click back on. I again disconnected everything except the speakers thinking it might be something triggering it from up the line. Not so. Finally, after about a week, it decided to quit it and functioned fine after that(other than the hum which got a little better---still very audible however)
So, that's my story for what its worth.
5) The amps aren't performing up to snuff due to a lack of available current i.e. each should have their own 20 amp AC line. As such, they blame the amp when there are other problems.

I have not had any problems with dynamics running a single 20-amp service shared with all components and the two monoblocks.

6) The heat and power consumption of these amps are more than they bargained for.

This is a function of the biasing. If it is not adjusted correctly, one amp can get a lot hotter than the other. When I mod these, I adjust the biasing to be matched. This can cause one amp to buzz louder than the other. Once adjusted, they dont get very hot at all. You can put your hand on the heatsink continuously. As for musicality, these dropped from being my references after I modded another amp which outperformed them. However, this summer, I found the time to mod the JC-1's and they have regained the reference status. Have not heard a better amp, anywhere.

Steve Nugent
Empirical Audio
Steve, all amps in a run (100 units) are pulled when they arrive at Parasound and are checked for a number of parameters including bias......You stated elsewhere here it took a month to break these in and others have reported it took almost two months for them to open up.....The thin sound goes away at a month and you think there are done as they won't be ready for prime time for another month......
If so, they don't know what they're doing when they check them. I had to return one amp recently because it ran significantly hotter than the other--new, straight out of the box.
I still have them as a back-up. The hard-sell on these amps is absurd; they're excellent value for the price, no more than that. The idea that they can trounce amps much above their price range is laughable.
Audioeng, i bet guys at Parasound are very happy about your mods?!
I have not spoken with Richard since I modded them. He's a good egg. I doubt if he cares much. Besides, if it sells more amps, then it's good for him too.

Bob - you should come to my room at THE Show next Jan. and hear them. You will not believe how good they are...You and Curl did 95% of the work and I only had to do the last 5%, so you guys get most of the credit for this.

If you can run these amps off of a single 20 amp line and aren't encountering any problems with them, you're obviously not driving them very hard. That could be due to having very efficient speakers, high impedance spekars, a small listening room, low average listening levels, etc...

In order to put out power, it takes power to operate. This is NOT a "high efficiency" switching amp and it is biased quite high, so low current draw is not a strong point of these amps. They are "thirsty" amps due to their higher bias levels. By their very design, "thirsty" amps will generate a lot of heat. My "high bias" amps idle at about 130* F at the heatsink with the air conditioning on. If i left them on without the air in the middle of the summer, they would be up around 140* - 150* or so.

On top of all of that, if your "bias adjustments" are lowering the temperature of the amplifier at idle, you've simply reduced the amount of power available from the amp while remaining in Class A mode. This assumes that there isn't multiple bias adjustments for the output stage and that there is a mismatch between those adjustments. This would also account for your lower current draw from the wall as reducing the bias levels reduces current draw and increases amplifier efficiency, but it does so at the expense of linearity and sonics. In effect, it sounds as if you're defeating the design principles of the amp. Sean
Sean - the draw from the wall should be only steady-state current. If the amp is working correctly then the transients should be supplied by the internal storage capacitance. These transients are what is quite loud. I have experienced no compression at all, but I dont listen at 110 dBA either. Sometimes I do listen at live volume levels, to my wifes dismay, and the 20 amp circuit seems to be fine. I wired it with about 10 foot of 10 gauge wire from the sub-panel to the outlets. I of course use my own power cables.
Audioengr: You didn't address any of the points that i brought up. On top of that, if you're not pulling anything above the steady state draw that the amp produces at idle, you're listening to elevator music and / or have very high efficiency and / or high impedance speakers. Other than that, the only way that you can lower heat dissipation is to lower the bias of the unit OR to replace all of the output devices with matched units that have been run on a curve tracer. Given that the latter is not real probable, the former is the only possible answer that i'm aware of. Sean
Easy to explain; Great product,big new amp(was),hot hot reviews and lots of all kinds of I want to be a audiophile, well maybe buy a Harley insted after amp just does'nt thrill anymore. Fickel restless americans we lot !! It's great to pick up on this great hardly used gear thou is'nt it ? Save big bucks so you can have some cash left over for an RV and a deep sea diving bell.
Interesting points, Sean.
Just some observations...

I noticed as of today, there is only 1 Pair of JC-1's for sale here @ 'Gon.

So, what about the hundreds and hundreds of completely satisfied owners such as myself? (Maybe we're just too busy enjoying them to read these posts, and respond... ;)

Anyone even contemplating a purchase of the JC-1's, would be doing themself a great injustice if they didn't at least audition a "completely broken-in" pair, in his or her own system.

I conducted an extensive (over 4 mos.), side-by-side audition, comparison, shoot-out with the highly lauded Antique Sound Labs "Hurricanes". Well, I guess you know which mono blocks won in MY system. Don't get me wrong the 'Canes are also fantastic amps, but the JC-1's continued to consistanty sound more "musical", relaxed, and refined. And this was confirmed by a parade of audiophile and non-audiophile friends, alike, who graced my sound room over that time.

Also auditioned within a few weeks (but not simultaneously with the JC-1's) was a Spectron Musician II and a LLano Trinity 300.

I suspect anyone disappointed with the sound simply didn't let them break in long enough. Yes, the break-in time borders on the absurd (over 400 freakin' hrs. in my system!) but once they are fully "settled", they are easily one of the great amps currenlty available in the market, and yes, at any price.
I think that many people confuse "leaving the amps turned on but with little to no signal passing through them" with actual "break-in" time. While the idle current consumed and heat generated will help somewhat, there's nothing like throttling the amp to move things along. This has to do with the dynamic stress that components undergo when amplifying a signal, varying amplitude output levels and switching specific circuitry off & on, etc...

On top of that, and while i'm a big proponent of leaving high bias amps turned on, i do recommend turning these off after being on for a few days and letting them heat-down. This increases the thermal swing that the components under-go not to mention the increased "stress" caused by the massive in-rush current drawn when firing them back up.

As a side note, if a component is going to fail, it is most likely that it will fail when firing it up from being stone cold. This is due to the aforementioned problems with in-rush current and rapid thermal changes. As such, turning the amps off every now and then, letting them discharge fully overnight and then firing them back up in the morning is a good way to find out if you've got a unit with a potential problem.

If you're going to do this, do it early in the week so that when you turn it back on, the amp will be back up to a stabiized temperature for week-end listening sessions. As i've stated before, high bias amps sound best to me after being powered up for an uninterupted 48 - 72 hours or so. Just make sure that they have more than adequate ventilation. Sean
Denf, would you be kind enough to post your impressions of the Musician II compared to the JC 1's. And did the Spectron have 400 hours on it. I know from personal experience my digital amp took at least that long to really open up.

One of the attractive aspects of digtial amps for me is the lack of heat. Should I need more power with a speaker change, the Spectron would be a consideration.

I am sure the JC-1's are great, but not in Hawaii !
Denf, never mind.

I did a search and found my answer. Much as I suspected.
In regards to Denf's comments, I also had an extended listening period (couple of months) with both, the Huricanes and a year old pair of JC-1s. The point of my post is to reinforce the importance of system synergy and personal preferences. IN MY SYSTEM, I much preferred the Hurricanes to the JC-1s due to wider, deeper, more holographic soundstage, more natural instrument voicing, and finally, a better, fleshy midrange (perhaps I favor tube colorations?)

Just for the record, my Hurricanes were using EH KT88s and EH 6SN7s for the drivers and NOS Brimar CV1988s for the input.

That being said, both monoblocks are wonderful, especially at their respective price points, and I could have easily lived with either if I didn't have one or the other.
Sean - the bias on my particular monoblocks was not set the same. One was much higher, so I adjusted them to be the same. They still get 20-25 Watts of class A. This misadjustment is fairly common - many have reported more buzz and higher heating from one monoblock.
The temperature of the JC-1's is overblown. If you are in a small room and leave them on high-bias, then you will need air conditioning. You can always leave them on low-bias until you are ready to use them.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Audioengr: I don't doubt that the amps weren't a "matched pair" and / or operating exactly as they should. This is part of the problem with buying mass produced gear. Having said that, we've already seen that many "custom built" and "mega-dollar" components come out of factory with BIG problems and a lack of quality control. This is why i align all of the products that i sell before i sell them. I also tell the customer to bring the units back in after a couple of months of normal use. That way, i can inspect and adjust as needed.

If someone wants to obtain optimum performance from their gear, they really should have it spec'd and possibly aligned AFTER running it in for a period of time. Components do change, circuits do settle and adjustments shift. Anybody that tells you that they don't is either lying to you, knows not of what they speak or are dealing with circuitry that is so over-designed and lacking in thermal stress that only the government could afford it.

With that in mind, idle current of the amp is spec'd at 250 watts. While i would have to assume that this is in high bias mode, 250 watts of steady state dissipation will surely dissipate a sizable amount of heat. That's appr as much as two backyard flood lamps, which would surely scorch your skin after being turned on for a period of time. These amps are also spec'd at pulling well over a kilowatt each when driven hard, which will surely heat things up a bit too. On top of that, 1000+ watts of demand per amp ( when throttling the system ) will surely cause voltage sag in most 20 amp circuits, hence my other comments pertaining to your AC set-up. That's why i said that you must either have very high efficiency speakers, high impedance speakers and / or not listen very loudly at all. Even so, if left on in high bias mode, your amps should be getting noticeably warm. If they don't, they aren't running in Class A. Sean
Also, for those not familiar with "Secrets of Home Theater...", here's an interesting review>