Parasound has announced that it is now shipping the first production samples of its John Curl designed Halo JC 3 Phono Preamplifier. As Parasound's chief amplifier circuit designer, Curl has helped create dozens of the company's best products.
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The new Parasound Halo JC 3 is a dual-mono phono preamplifier with high a very clean design. Like all phono preamplifiers, the JC 3 must multiply the tiny audio signal generated by a high-end low-output moving coil or moving magnet phonograph cartridge and make it strong enough to deliver to the input of a line level preamplifier. However, because phono signal levels are so weak, the slightest bit of noise and distortion in the system can easily compromise the musical experience.
The Parasound Halo JC 3's dual mono design with unbalanced inputs and outputs using Vampire RCA jacks, plus balanced outputs using Neutrik XLR jacks. A custom-made three-position input impedance switch provides for 47 k ohm MM cartridges, 100 ohm MC cartridges, and 47 k ohm MC. The direct-coupled amplification circuits use DC servos rather than coupling caps. FET followers on each channel's board are used to further isolate the circuits from the voltage regulators in the power supplies.
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Furthermore, The JC 3 uses power supplies with an R-core rather than a toroidal transformer, since toroids have very high capacitive coupling between their primary and secondary which enables noise on the AC line to pass into the power supply and ultimately into the phono gain stages. In an attempt to further assure immunity from noise on the AC line, the JC 3 includes a built-in AC line conditioner.
The JC 3's signal to noise ratio is reportedly 83 dB with the MM input and 73 dB for MC, and the RIAA curve is accurate to within 0.2 dB.
The Parasound Halo JC 3 is now available with a suggested retail price of $2,350.