In Barn for Review: Parasound JC 3+ Phono Preamplifier

Imagine an audiophile game show and the clue is — “He designs phono stages”.

I imagine the number one answer might very well be John Curl of Vendetta Research fame. Here’s J. Gordon Holt from his review of the Vendetta SCP-2 Phono Preamp in Stereophile (c.1995):

Few people in the audio business would deny that John Curl is an audio design genius—arguably the greatest one of our generation.

…at $1895, it is the most expensive stand-alone solid-state phono-preamplifier on the market.

My, how some times have changed as today’s most expensive phono preamps approach the $100K mark.

John Curl is all over the Parasound JC 3+ Phono Preamplifier, figuratively and literally, as he had more than a hand in its design.. The JC3+ can handle the output from Moving Magnet (MM) and Moving Coil (MC) cartridges, offering adjustable input impedance for the latter by way of back panel mounted knobs. THe rest of the business end of the JC3+ offers single-ended RCA and balanced XRL outputs, a screw-down Ground terminal, AC Polarity switch (Invert/Normal), optional 12V Trigger control, the power button and IEC inlet.

The unit’s spartan front panel has two backlit buttons on its far left and far right sides — On/Off and Mono (for playing mono records), respectively. Pretty straight forward.

I’ve been living with the Parasound JC 5 Stereo Amplifier for some time and I’ll share that there’s also a Parasound JC 2 Preamplifier headed to the Barn for a review of the complete Parasound stack! Stay tuned.

Parasound JC 3+ Phono Preamplifier
Price: $2999


Frequency Response
20 Hz – 20 kHz, +/- 0.2 dB

Total Harmonic Distortion
< 0.01% at 1 kHz

Signal to Noise Ratio, MM
> 87 dB, input shorted, IHF A-weighted
> 78 dB, input shorted, unweighted

Signal to Noise Ratio, MC
> 87 dB, input shorted, IHF A-weighted
> 67 dB, input shorted, unweighted

Interchannel Crosstalk
72 dB at 1 kHz

Input Impedance
MM: 47k Ω
MC: 50 – 550 Ω variable, 47k Ω fixed

Output Impedance
Unbalanced: < 100 Ω
Balanced: < 100 Ω per leg

Input Capacitance
150 pF

Input Sensitivity at 1 kHz
MM: 4mV for 1 V output
MC: 600µV for 1 V output

Total Gain
MM: 48 dB
MC: 64 dB

XLR Pin Identification
1 = Ground (Shield)
2 = Positive
3 = Negative (Return)

AC Power Requirement
Standby: 1 watt
Power On: 12 watts
115 or 230 VAC 50 – 60 Hz
(Selected on Chassis Bottom)

Width: 17-1/4″ (437mm)
Depth: 13-3/4″ (350mm)
Height, with feet: 4-1/8″ (105mm)
Height, without feet: 3-1/2″ (89mm)

Net: 19 lbs. (8.6 Kg)
Shipping: 26 lbs. (11.8 Kg)

Rack Mount Accessory
HRA 2 (may be purchased separately)

Company Website: Parasound