Parasound JC 3 Jr
Parasound JC 3 Jr
Parasound JC 3 Jr

Parasound JC 3 Jr: Compact high-performance phono stage

Parasound JC3 Jr. is a high-performance phono stage with an extremely low noise figure, capable of working with both MM and MC heads. The ability to fine-tune the signal level and its resistance allows you to achieve the most optimal result even with the lowest output signal level MC pickups.

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Phono stage Parasound JC3 Jr. reflects productive collaborations with legendary Vendetta designer John Curl, as well as PCB wizard Carl Thompson.
The company explains the appearance of a new phono preamplifier, first of all, by a new generation of fans of vinyl sound. Halo JC3 Jr. costs half the price of its “ancestor” in the person of Halo JC3+, which has long had the reputation of one of the best phono stages in the world. Company founder Richard Schram commented on the announcement as follows: “JC3 Jr. grew out of the realization that the price of the JC3+ was an insurmountable obstacle for both people just beginning their acquaintance with vinyl and for experienced fans. Therefore, we decided to “put him on a diet.”

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As already mentioned, the device has the latest boards and circuitry, created jointly by John Curl and Karl Thompson. Although the topology of the new device is more classic stereo than dual mono in its older brother, this does not at all deprive it of technical elegance and sophistication.

Phono stage Parasound JC3 Jr. fully meets the ideology of the HALO series – it combines beautiful appearance and outstanding technical characteristics. The phono preamplifier has the ability to work with two types of cartridges: MM (impedance 47 kOhm) and MC (impedance 47 Ohm or 100 Ohm), depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation of the type of head used. The cartridge type is selected using a three-position switch. The vinyl player is connected using an RCA cable.

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The signal output from the phono stage to the preamplifier is possible using either an RCA or an XLR cable. Parasound JC3 Jr. Features a mono/stereo switch on the front panel for listening in both stereo and mono modes (for older mono recordings). The phono stage housing is divided internally by thick aluminum partitions, which significantly reduces interference from the electromagnetic field.

To power the device, an R-type transformer is used, which has much less electromagnetic field radiation compared to a traditional toroidal transformer. The “power polarity” switch allows you to reduce the noise level caused by the electrical network by changing the polarity – phase / zero. But in the vast majority of cases, the company recommends leaving the switch in the Normal position. The phono stage allows connection to a 12 V trigger input (two operating modes: auto/manual).

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Sleek, simple and high quality Parasound JC3 Jr phono stage. allows you to use your LP player with any preamp or receiver, delivering sound quality that will literally rediscover the sound of your record collection.

In the Parasound product range before the appearance of the JC3 Jr, there were two models of phono stages: the budget Zphono and the top-end JC3 Plus. The difference in price between them was more than tenfold. Naturally, this gap had to be filled with something. This is how the JC3 Jr appeared – these two letters mean “junior”. It is officially positioned as a more affordable version of its older brother, retaining its main advantages.

Physically, a typical phono stage does not contain large elements, and it does not need a very powerful power supply. Therefore, there is a variety of form factors on the market for these devices; Even companies that have been offering their equipment in identical cases for decades are guilty of this. The ability to remove the power supply only increases the number of options.

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The Parasound Halo JC3 Jr is full-size but very flat. So flat that it’s tempting to put a turntable on it. It is clear that this should not be done, but in any case it will not stand alone on the edge of the shelf. Of course, it will look best with other components of the Halo series. But if stylistic uniformity is not the main thing for someone, then the structural advantages of such an arrangement are obvious. The toroidal transformer, power supply and the corrector circuit itself are located in different corners in this spacious case, and the sound part is also separated by an additional aluminum screen.

The main move to reduce the price compared to the older model was the abandonment of the dual mono circuit, both in the amplifier part and in the power supply. Interestingly, the stated channel separation improved by 6 dB – apparently as a result of additional measures to reduce their mutual influence. I would not classify the second step to simplify the design as a compromise at all – the mains power conditioner that is missing in the JC3 Jr (which is built-in in the JC3+) can, if necessary, be replaced with an external one, without limiting your choice.

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Many other things carried over unchanged to the lower version – gold-plated RCA jacks, Vishay/Dale resistors in the audio circuits, Neutrik XLR output connectors and a mono button for old records. The basic functions are also preserved – three gain factors to choose from and variable impedance for MC heads (albeit without specifying the resistor manufacturer).

It cannot be said that Parasound has exhaustive options for adjusting input parameters for a specific type of head, but for all common cartridges they will be quite sufficient. Therefore, it makes sense only for owners of very exotic specimens to pay attention to corrector models with more flexible adjustments.

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As for the sound character, the JC3 Jr can be called quite universal. His meticulousness in midrange reproduction is unlikely to become a hindrance for anyone, and for genres that place increased demands on vocal articulation, it will be especially valuable. The only thing it lacks is vinyl charm, since the depth, neutrality and resolution of Parasound allow you to completely forget about the coloring characteristic of this type of media, which, of course, has its admirers. But the ability to showcase the full potential of analog recording without adding anything of your own will find even more fans.

Characteristics of Parasound JC3 Jr. 

Signal-to-noise ratio (for 40/50/60 dB gain): 85/89/94 dB (weighted)
Channel separation: 80 dB (1 kHz)
Harmonic distortion: less than 0.02% (1 kHz)
Gain: 40 /50/60 dB
Gain (balanced output)): 46/56/66 dB
Input capacitance: 150 pF
Input impedance: fixed 47 kOhm (for MM/MI) or adjustable 50-500 Ohm (for MC)
Sensitivity (at amplitude 1 V output and 40/50/60 dB gain: 9/3/0.9 mV (1 kHz)
RIAA curve accuracy: +/- 0.2 dB (20 Hz – 20 kHz)
Output impedance: 100 ohms
Power consumption: 9 W
Dimensions (HxWxD): 64x437x432 mm
Weight: 5.9 kg

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