In Barn for The Big Speaker System: Parasound Halo JC 5 Stereo Amplifier


With power, comes effortlessness.

The Parasound JC 5 is latest piece of The Big Speaker System to arrive in Barn. The Parasound Halo JC 5 Stereo Amplifier’s full name adds “by John Curl” at the end because John Curl designed it. Patreon subscribers already know that  John Curl sits on my list of favorite HiFi designers along with other luminaries.

The JC 5 packs a walloping 400 Watts per channel into 8 Ohms upping the ante to 600 Watts per channel into 6 Ohms. The thing about power, this kind of power, is it doesn’t come in a cigarette pack-sized case. The JC 5 is big (17 5/8″ W x 7 3/4″ H x 20″ D) and heavy (73 lb.). Just ask my hernias (that’s a story for another day).

photo credit: Parasound (because there’s no way I’m moving the JC 5 after I just hoofed it onto my rack)

My experience with Parasound products, including the HINT 6 Halo Integrated Amplifier (review), A21+ Two Channel Power Amplifier, and Zphono tells me they offer gobs of musical bang for the buck. So when it came time to pick an amplifier for The Big Speaker Review System, I thought John Curl.

My initial impressions listening to the DeVore Fidelity O/93 speakers powered by the gobs-O-music power delivered by the Parasound Halo JC 5 are, in a word, effortlessness. This quality brings with it a number of neat tricks — it makes the O/93s disappear completely (evaporate?), music sounds delicate and dangerous, and the overall listening to music on the hifi excitement factor jumps up a number of notches.

You may be wondering if I’m enjoying the beginnings of this Big Speaker Review journey.

Yes, I am.

Company Website: Parasound

Parasound Halo JC 5 Stereo Amplifier


Power Output – Both Channels Driven
400 watts x 2, 8 Ω
600 watts x 2, 4 Ω

Power Output – Bridged Mode
1200 watts x 1, 8 Ω
Bridged 4 Ω operation is not recommended

Power measurement parameters are at 120 VAC:
0.05% THD, RMS continuous power,
full audio band (20 Hz – 20 kHz)

Current Capacity
90 amps peak, per channel

Slew Rate
> 130 volts per microsecond

Frequency Response
5 Hz – 100 kHz, +0/-3 dB
20 Hz – 20 kHz, +0/-0.25 dB

Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)
< 0.05 % at full power
< 0.03 % at typical listening levels

IM Distortion
< 0.04 % TIM Unmeasurable Inter-channel Crosstalk > 87 dB at 1 kHz
> 72 dB at 20 kHz

Input Impedance
Unbalanced: 33 kΩ
Balanced: 66 kΩ,(33 kΩ per leg)

Total Gain
29 dB

Input Sensitivity for 28.28 V Output into 8 Ω
Unbalanced: 1 V
Balanced: 1 V per leg

S/N Ratio
> 116 dB, input shorted, IHF A-weighted
> 111 dB, input shorted, unweighted

Damping Factor
1000 at 20 Hz

DC Trigger Requirements
+9 Vdc to +12 Vdc, 5 mA

Audio Trigger Requirements
2 mV – 10 mV

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

Width: 17-5⁄8″ (448 mm)
Height without feet: 7-1⁄8″ (181 mm)
Height with feet: 7-3/4″ ” (197 mm)
Depth: 20″ (508 mm)
Depth with cables: 21-1⁄2″ (546 mm)

Net Weight
73 lb. (33.1 kg)

Shipping Weight
90 lb. (40.8 kg)

Power Requirement
Standby: 1 Watt
Idle (no music playing): 225 Watts
Typical listening levels: 400 Watts
Maximum: 1500 Watts