Parasound JC-2 BP - worth the bucks?

Mr_HzMr_Hz Posts: 124
edited September 2017 in 2 Channel Audio
Couldn't help but notice the recent sale Audio Advisor had on the black color edition of the Parasound JC-2 preamps. Normally a $4.5K price offered at $3K. Still quite a bit of coin, but obviously 33% less so. The question I have is that at that reduced price, is this piece of kit worth it? I did some 'internets' searching, and all seemed to come back with very positive views of the JC-2. Got the feeling that there is a strong following for both the JC-2 and its former edition, the JC-1.

As for myself... its been a slow transformation getting myself to step up from lower common names/models to the higher pro-sumer/near audiofile gear. Always hard to part with more of my hard earned money over a couple 10ths of improvement here and there... Yet things changed for me once I obtained a slightly used Bryston 4B-SST2 amp, and I've been slowly upgrading some of my other pieces around it ever since. Right now I have everything connected to a Marantz AV-7005 pre-pro, but I know I could benefit from more '2 channel purity.' That Marantz AV also feeds a MM7055 5 channel amp, so I could keep both the pre-pro and the Parasound JC-2. Just debating whether to take the plunge, to further upgrade the system.

Thoughts/comments welcomed.
2.3TL's - Living Room
CRS+'s (4.1 TL's) - Office
SDA1C's - Famdamly Rm
SDA1C's - Master Bedroom
Post edited by Mr_Hz on

Comments

  • tonybtonyb Posts: 28,359
    edited September 2017
    Just my .02, but for the coin, I'd be looking at tubed pre amps from the likes of Joule/Vac/and a host of others. I like Parasound, but I think tubes kick it up a few notches more and allow you to tailor the sound to your preferences rather than being stuck with what Solid state pieces have to offer. Just a thought....if your worried about spending big bucks on small incremental improvements, go for something that will give you bigger jumps in sound quality. I see the amp opens your eyes, as it does with most, but that's just the beginning. Everything matters in the chain, problem for most is we can't all upgrade everything at once so the changes appear to be smaller when you upgrade one piece at a time. What I like to do, when I get worried about small changes, is take the piece I upgraded back out of the system after a while. See how the sound changes once you return the system to it's prior state. Do that with a few pieces and you won't worry about small changes anymore.

    Once you get a pre amp in place you like, upgrade the cables and source components. It's always hard to decipher a certain piece's worth unless everything else is up to snuff too. Good luck to you.

    BTW....That Bryston is a sweet amp, nice score.
    ERA D-5
    B&K 1403
    Cary Xciter dac
    Joule LA-100
    SVS SB-2000 SUB
    Sony 4k bdp
    Sony 4k 55 850c
    FX 500 surround
    Acoustic zen Satori SC's
    Pioneer elite vsx21
    Sonos-Cullen mod.
    Audio Metallurgy GA-0 digital
    PS Audio Quintet
    Analysis Plus crystal ovals
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2's IC
    Wireworld eclipse 7 Ic's
  • I have battled this one out in my mind a number of times. (and lost)

    The best one could say is the Parasound is noiseless. It shouldn't depart
    any of it's own character. That is a lot of money for nothing. You should
    get a bit more detail out of the proceedings. I'd be shocked if you didn't.

    You might get a bump with improving the power situation as well.

    OTOH,

    that Marantz is noisy. (based on the specs) Even noisy tube amps would
    seem to be a step up.

    So it comes down to SS vs tubes. (and versatility of the piece for your needs)

    The amp upgrade was a nice step as Tony points out. Well done there.
    I don't know how much you use the 5 channel so...
    Studio 2 equipment;
    Yamaha a-s2100 Amp, CD-2100 CD player, T-S500 tuner
    Loudspeakers: Harbeth p3esr, Polk RT7
    Cables: Aural Harmony Sonnet Interconnect II, WireWorld Equinox 7 speaker,
    Black Cat silverstar 75 ohm digital, Signal Digital Power Cord, PS Audio Perfect Wave AC-3,
    Pangea SE14, Voltz supplied interconnects
    Optional: Arcam DV88 DVD/CD (HDCD) player, Polk SDS-400 speakers
  • sgmsmgsgmsmg Posts: 248
    It is funny that you started this thread. I just picked up the JC2BP from the sale at Audio Advisor. It arrived yesterday and I am currently breaking it in. It will replace my P5 if I can observe an improvement.

    As has been discussed I am sure it will be a small incremental improvement if any. I am in no way a critical listener or rather have the ear to detect certain changes that others observe right away.

    I know it has been said a million times here to go to a tubed pre-amp but I do not want to go down that rabbit hole with so many tube options/variables.
    2 Channel
    Pre:Parasound JC2BP
    Amp:Bryston 4B3
    Speakers: Golden Ear Triton One
    Source: Oppo 103D, Mac Mini, Bryston BDA-3
    Cables: AQ Castlerock Speaker, AQ Columbia XLR/RCA, AQ Diamond USB
    Power: PS Audio P10 Regenerator, AC12, AC10 and AC5 Cables
    Display: Panasonic TC-P65ZT60

    Home Theater
    Reciever: Yamaha CX-A5100
    Amp: Parasound A21, A31, A51
    Speakers: Polk LSiM 703 (Fl, FR, RL, RR), Polk LSiM706 (Center), Polk 900-LS (Atmos)
    Subwoofers: SVS SB13 x 3 (4th is on the way) +DSPeaker Anti-Mode Dual Core
    Source: Oppo UDP-205, Apple TV, Amazon Fire
    Power: PS Audio P5 Regenerator, Furman IT Reference 15i, Pangea AC14SE and AC9SE Cables
    Display: Sony XBR75X940D
  • A John Curl engineered pre, what's not to like.
    2 channel: Anthem 225 Integrated amp; Parasound Ztuner; TechnicsTT SL1350; Vincent PHO-8 phono pre; Marantz CD6005 spinner; Polk Signature S60's
    Cables: Wireworld Eclipse IC, Audio Art IC3; Speaker cable LA International SS-800; PS Audio AC-3 power cords; All into a PS Audio Dectet Power center.

    All TV's sound enhanced by Polk Magnfi Mini's.

    Other; SDA2BTL's, M10 series II, M7C's, Hafler XL600 amp, RB-980BX, Parasound HCA-1500 amp , P5 preamp, all in storage.

    Memes are sign language of the ignorant for the ignorant

  • Here ya go! Nothing like real world experience.
    SGM has the power conditioning in place as well.
    Please post back your experiences.
    sgmsmg wrote: »
    It is funny that you started this thread. I just picked up the JC2BP from the sale at Audio Advisor. It arrived yesterday and I am currently breaking it in. It will replace my P5 if I can observe an improvement.

    As has been discussed I am sure it will be a small incremental improvement if any. I am in no way a critical listener or rather have the ear to detect certain changes that others observe right away.

    I know it has been said a million times here to go to a tubed pre-amp but I do not want to go down that rabbit hole with so many tube options/variables.

    Studio 2 equipment;
    Yamaha a-s2100 Amp, CD-2100 CD player, T-S500 tuner
    Loudspeakers: Harbeth p3esr, Polk RT7
    Cables: Aural Harmony Sonnet Interconnect II, WireWorld Equinox 7 speaker,
    Black Cat silverstar 75 ohm digital, Signal Digital Power Cord, PS Audio Perfect Wave AC-3,
    Pangea SE14, Voltz supplied interconnects
    Optional: Arcam DV88 DVD/CD (HDCD) player, Polk SDS-400 speakers
  • motorhead43026motorhead43026 Posts: 2,308
    edited September 2017
    ^^I am very curious about the noise floor vs the P5. Should be a vast improvement.
    2 channel: Anthem 225 Integrated amp; Parasound Ztuner; TechnicsTT SL1350; Vincent PHO-8 phono pre; Marantz CD6005 spinner; Polk Signature S60's
    Cables: Wireworld Eclipse IC, Audio Art IC3; Speaker cable LA International SS-800; PS Audio AC-3 power cords; All into a PS Audio Dectet Power center.

    All TV's sound enhanced by Polk Magnfi Mini's.

    Other; SDA2BTL's, M10 series II, M7C's, Hafler XL600 amp, RB-980BX, Parasound HCA-1500 amp , P5 preamp, all in storage.

    Memes are sign language of the ignorant for the ignorant

  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 1,982
    edited September 2017
    The above observations about noise floor are correct. The JC2 was designed to have a very quiet background. I also have Sonic Frontiers tube preamps but prefer to keep the JC2 in the two channel system. Not because of the sound quality necessarily, because a top quality tube preamp is more musical even if the noise floor is higher. The thing is I don't have much time to listen to two channel music, maybe once a month now, and my tube preamps sound good only if they are left warmed up. To me the JC2 is a better compromise. It is very powerful and neutral. Listening to vinyl through it takes away the musicality advantage a tube preamp has.

    One caution. The JC2 is designed to complement Parasound Halo amps. The sound using it with a Bryston amp may be a bit sterile, dry. Also, if the JC2 is brand new it needs a couple hundred hours of use to open up and bloom.

    If integrating into a home theater system I would suggest something at a lower cost like the P5.
    1. Polk LSiM707, 704C, 703; Dual SVS SB2000 subwoofers; Marantz SR7011 receiver; Parasound A23 amp; Oppo 205; Toshiba HD-DVD Player; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S2 cables
    2. JM Labs Electra 920.1; Parasound JC2 Preamp; Sonic Frontiers Power 2 amp; Sony HAP-Z1ES; Oppo 105D; Music Hall MMF7 and Acoustech phono pre; PS Audio P1000; MIT S1 Cables
    3. Polk LSiM703; Pioneer Elite SC97 receiver; Oppo 203; Squeezebox Touch; MIT S3 cables
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 13,908
    I have no direct experience with the jc2, but do have experience with two entry level SS preamps that could be considered as cheaper alternatives to go down this path: the P5 and the Ampino Preamp.

    The P5 does have a noise floor that I don't like, but the versatility and tone are hard not to like. It is a nice pre but not end game. It's impossible to downplay the overwhelming versatility of this unit and is what sets it apart from the pack.

    The Ampino Preamp he's no detectable noise floor in comparison but like all their designs, it is built around simplicity and sound quality first and foremost. It's major features are two pre outs, four inputs, and remote. At $900, it's a great way to begin that path into 2 channel and could be in the rig for a long time before becoming a major bottleneck. I used the Ampino pre and monos with the Usher Be-10 and felt no need to upgrade. I'm not saying there isn't room to gain, but I felt that the expense to upgrade didn't make sense for those gains.

    I usually recommend one or the other depending on gear and purpose, but I think the Ampino could be a great fit if you have a source that can feed it directly.

    With all of that said, $3k is a great price on those units and can definitely be enticing.
    audiothesis.com/

    Speakers: Harbeth: P3ESR, 30.2, SHL5+; Usher: CP-6311, Be-10, T-515; Rosso Fiorentino: Elba, Fiesole, Volterra; Polk: T50, Signature S60, S55, S35, S30, S20, S15, RTA 15tl, Sonner Audio Allegro Unum
    Preamps: Shuguang S200MK, Dayens Ampino, Parasound P5
    Amps: Shuguang S845MK, Dayens Ampino Monoblocks, Parasound A23
    Integrateds: Dayens Ampino, Triode Corporation TRV-88SER, MastersounD: Dueventi, Compact 845, Evolution 845; North Star Design Blue Diamond
    Sources: AURALiC Aries, AURALiC Altair, Denon HEOS Link, North Star Design: Magnifico, Supremo, Incanto, Intenso, Venti
    Cabling: Wireworld
    TV: Sony XBR-75X940C
  • motorhead43026motorhead43026 Posts: 2,308
    edited September 2017
    I agree on the P5, and it's good qualitys the noise floor is easily dismissed.
    2 channel: Anthem 225 Integrated amp; Parasound Ztuner; TechnicsTT SL1350; Vincent PHO-8 phono pre; Marantz CD6005 spinner; Polk Signature S60's
    Cables: Wireworld Eclipse IC, Audio Art IC3; Speaker cable LA International SS-800; PS Audio AC-3 power cords; All into a PS Audio Dectet Power center.

    All TV's sound enhanced by Polk Magnfi Mini's.

    Other; SDA2BTL's, M10 series II, M7C's, Hafler XL600 amp, RB-980BX, Parasound HCA-1500 amp , P5 preamp, all in storage.

    Memes are sign language of the ignorant for the ignorant

  • motorhead43026motorhead43026 Posts: 2,308
    edited September 2017
    Check out the new Anthem STR integrated. It is what wet dreams are made of.

    Oops, actually the wrong thread, but I will leave this here anyway.
    Post edited by motorhead43026 on
    2 channel: Anthem 225 Integrated amp; Parasound Ztuner; TechnicsTT SL1350; Vincent PHO-8 phono pre; Marantz CD6005 spinner; Polk Signature S60's
    Cables: Wireworld Eclipse IC, Audio Art IC3; Speaker cable LA International SS-800; PS Audio AC-3 power cords; All into a PS Audio Dectet Power center.

    All TV's sound enhanced by Polk Magnfi Mini's.

    Other; SDA2BTL's, M10 series II, M7C's, Hafler XL600 amp, RB-980BX, Parasound HCA-1500 amp , P5 preamp, all in storage.

    Memes are sign language of the ignorant for the ignorant

  • Mr_HzMr_Hz Posts: 124
    Thanks for all the input, gentlemen. Appreciated. sgmsmg, interesting timing there, and yes, spurred by the sale. Not having ever dealt with tubed equipment, and just recently stepping up my game on some items... I don't think I'm ready either to go the tube route. So many choices, and other than McIntosh, I've never really followed 'you's who in the tube zoo.'
    2.3TL's - Living Room
    CRS+'s (4.1 TL's) - Office
    SDA1C's - Famdamly Rm
    SDA1C's - Master Bedroom
  • Mr_HzMr_Hz Posts: 124
    Just an FYI... I now have a Parasound Halo A21 amp on the way. (Thanks to recent Audio Advisor sale/special pricing) Will pair this up with the Parasound JC-2 BP Pre-Amp I previously purchased.

    Will still look at other solutions to compliment my Bryston 4B-SST2 amp. Ultimately - looking for high performance systems for both my living room (main listening) and my family room/entertainment/exercise space... both benefiting from solid performing systems. Bryston sells both some preamp solutions, plus their SP3 Sound Processor, which is priced out of this world... Still a neophyte in the ways of tube based pre-amps with so many selections, and no real knowledge on my part. Maybe time for me to do some 'homework.'
    Emlyn wrote: »
    The above observations about noise floor are correct. The JC2 was designed to have a very quiet background. ......

    One caution. The JC2 is designed to complement Parasound Halo amps. The sound using it with a Bryston amp may be a bit sterile, dry. Also, if the JC2 is brand new it needs a couple hundred hours of use to open up and bloom.

    2.3TL's - Living Room
    CRS+'s (4.1 TL's) - Office
    SDA1C's - Famdamly Rm
    SDA1C's - Master Bedroom
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