John Curl-Designed Power Amplifier Provides Herculean Output, Class A/AB Operation, and High-End Sound: Parasound JC 5 Power Amplifier Plays with Excitement and Refinement
Outside of its awe-inspiring performance, the most important detail about the Parasound JC 5 stereo power amplifier resides in its name – the "JC" initials representing legendary designer John Curl, the man who oversaw its creation and whose signature adorns the front panel. Hellbent on delivering mammoth power (400Wpc into eight ohms, 600Wpc into four ohms, 1,200Wpc into eight ohms bridged) and taking every advantage of its high-bias Class A/AB operation, the 73-pound unit blends supreme musicality and precedent-setting value while driving most any speakers with superb control. It all starts with the topology and parts inside this sleek component.
Able to provide audiophile-quality high current via 24 hand-matched Sanken 15A output transistors with a 60MHz bandwidth that eliminates slew-rate distortion, JC 5 operates in pure Class A up to 12Wpc to further eliminate noise. Speaking of the latter, rare Toshiba 2SJ74 JFETs at the dual-mono input stage make it practically disappear. A 1.7kVA shielded power transformer with independent windings for each channel, a direct-coupled signal path, DC servos for full power down to 5Hz, 132,000uF of Rubycon filter capacitance for the output stages, and 24k gold-on-gold internal audio connections further speak to JC 5's sonic fortitude. Ditto independent power supplies for the left and right input stages, driver stages, and output stages. And just for extra oomph, JC 5 packs 8,800uF of Rubycon filter capacitors for the output stages.
On the user-friendly rear panel, JC 5 doesn't quit. Balanced XLR inputs with discrete circuits, Neutrik locking XLR connectors, Vampire gold-plated RCA inputs and loop output jacks, and CHK Infinium five-way speaker binding posts make connections a breeze – and ensure optimal security. A host of turn-on options – including auto turn-on by way of 12V trigger or audio sensing – can also be accessed. Want to rack-mount your JC 5? Hardware is included. Same goes for AC turn-on inrush surge protection.
What's also present is a quietness that borders on surreal. Infinitesimal distortion remains a Curl trademark, and JC 5 proves no exception with a THD rating of less than 0.05 percent at full power and less than 0.03 percent at normal listening levels. Indeed, this 7.75 x 17.625 x 20 inch (HWD) gem will handle any type of music with excitement and refinement, impact and grace, smoothness and vibrancy. Parasound's five-year manufacturer warranty and our 100% Music Direct Satisfaction Guarantee encourage you to discover it all for yourself with a risk-free in-home audition.
"I heard next to no distortion whatever the material I flung at it. It plays clean and neutral, a living embodiment of how close we've come to the ideal of straight wire with gain. That is, it maintains its musicality and never gives off that sterile sound you hear from many amps trying to attain surgical precision while sucking the life out of your music. The JC 5 just plays whatever you want the way it was meant to be played."
– Myron Ho, Home Theater Review
"Those who think nothing of using for parties the kind of five-figure system at the heart of which it will sit won't be disappointed in the least – it will just keep on going as long as you can. However, there's so much more refinement than that on offer here, and the JC5 will please even if you never explore the limits of its performance envelope."
– James Parker, Hi-Fi News, Outstanding Product
"There was an absolute sense of effortlessness as sound flowed smoothly and steadily from it, regardless of what speakers I used or music I played. Not only was the sound exquisitely smooth and natural, it never ran out of steam, regardless of how loud I cranked it. From the moment I began listening to the Halo JC 5 until I had to pack it up and send it back to Parasound, its sound delighted me in ways that few other components ever have."
– Roger Kanno, SoundStage! Hi-Fi