"This Is the Real Deal, " Says Kevin Deal

"This Is the Real Deal"

The Parasound JC 3+ phonostage impresses Kevin

Parasound JC 3+

Designed by John Curl, it impresses even our gruff analog manager.

"This is the real deal," says Kevin Deal about the Parasound JC 3+ phonostage. Peering inside, Kevin sees things he has never seen before in any phonostage, not even crazy expensive ones. And you know that Kevin is all about "parts and engineering, parts and engineering."

The Parasound JC 3+'s circuit has been designed by the legendary John Curl, and it's his initials that adorn all of Parasound's top-end products. The board layout is by John's longtime design partner, Carl Thompson, who, when writing about the JC 1 power amp, said, "I’ve only occasionally said of the design of highly refined equipment that it starts to 'glow' after a certain point. It’s when you know that there are virtually no unquestioned design elements and there is a deceptive simplicity and wholeness to the overall package that is apparent to the practiced eye."

We don't know if he feels the same way about the JC 3+, but look at it below. We think it glows.

Parasound JC 3+ Interior

Phonostages are the hardest working amplifiers in your system, taking the minuscule signal from the cartridge and bringing it up to line-level, a gain of as much as 60 or 70 dB. (Power amps, by comparison, typically have 30 to 40 dB of gain.) Careful isolation is crucial, and even the untrained eye can see the extent of it in the photo above. In this fully dual-mono design, you can see how the input and output stages are housed in their own little boxes, and the power supply is over a fence. This really is two-box design in one box, almost crying for the tagline "External power supply included internally."

Sean-Paul Williams, our analog manager, who is famously not given to excessive praise, says, "It's a great piece: A fantastic combination of sound, parts and engineering, and features." He goes on to mention the balanced outputs, mono switch, and "a clever AC polarity switch."

Speak to one of our analog team to see if the Parasound JC 3+ is right for you and your system.

Shop Parasound Halo JC 3+
Parasound Halo JC 3+ Phono Preamplifier

"You Can Sit In the Race Car, and Still Have the Cupholders": Aurender Now Roon Ready

Aurender Now Roon Ready

Aurender, long a hold-out in a world slowly going Roon, now offers Roon integration. The update rolled out automatically, highlighting one of the most exciting features of modern digital products: over-the-air upgrades.

Sales associate Sean "Smo" Smollon, who joked about being our "tenured digital enthusiast," is a huge Aurender fan. He got in early on the beta testing of the update, spending a month ensuring everything was okay before it rolled out to our customers.

First, why does he love Aurender? "Because of how well they treat your music." Smo loves that Aurender is first built on performance but with the right balance of usability and functionality. He greatly respects how much work Aurender puts into ensuring the signal chain through its products remains pristine, and giving you features, but also giving you a Critical Listening Mode that shuts down all extraneous circuits.

Even so, he is excited that Aurender is bending its stern principles, as this allows passionate audiophiles to enjoy the Aurender sound while using software with which they're comfortable. "Now that Aurender is Roon Ready, I have an option for everybody."

For critical listening, or, as Smo puts it, "studious listening," the native app of a streaming product is going to sound a little better in well-set-up systems. After all, the factory app is written specifically for the hardware it lives on and can be extremely lean. It's like machine code versus a higher-level computer language that needs some translation.

Aurender makes it easy to switch between its Conductor app and Roon, so if the difference is apparent in your system, you can always choose which program you use depending on whether you're sitting down in the sweet spot listening with closed eyes, "making pancakes" listening with friends and family, passing the iPad around, or loving the roads that Roon takes you down.

Roon's seamless integration of music libraries means that Smo is excited to show customers that owning music isn't difficult. "You don't have to worry about files and folders. Roon is going to help clients own their music with ease, whether it's simply a Qobuz playlist or a downloaded purchase."

Browse Aurender

See You in Costa Mesa in June!

The Show

Upscale Audio will be at T.H.E. Show SoCal 2024 down the road from us in Costa Mesa, CA. In its 28th year, T.H.E. Show is North America's longest running hi-fi trade show.

From June 7 to 9, we will have three rooms and a headphone station at the Hilton Orange County Costa Mesa. Kevin Deal and many of the Upscale team will be there, and we are delighted to announce that Anji Sosna, the managing director of Fyne Audio, will be there to demo the speakers and answer any of your questions.

Room 241

Source: Aurender N20 streamer, Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC Reference Series 3

Amplification: Pathos InPol Heritage MkII hybrid integrated

Speakers: Fyne Audio Vintage Fifteen, Fyne SuperTrax supertweeter

Room 246

Source: HiFi Rose RS130, T+A DAC 200

Amplification: PrimaLuna EVO 400 pre, pair of PrimaLuna EVO 300 power amps

Speakers: Fyne Audio F704

Room 244

Source: Eversolo DMP-A8 or HiFi Rose RS250A

Amplification: PrimaLuna EVO200 or Musical Fidelity A1 integrated amp

Speakers: Fyne Audio F502SP

Our headphone station will display our now familiar range of the world's best personal audio brands, including headphones from Dan Clark, Meze, Focal, T+A, Sennheiser, Abyss, and amps from Feliks, Pathos, T+A, Manley, and PrimaLuna.

Cabling will be by Cardas Audio and AudioQuest, and power conditioning by AudioQuest.

New Video: HiFi Rose RS150B vs. Auralic Altair G2 Streaming DACs

For less than $5,000, you have choices regarding next-level streaming. Watch Joel and Jordan discuss the benefits of the Altair G2.1 from Auralic and the RS150B from HiFi Rose. Each streaming DAC provides you with different advantages and diverse styles of playback, but no matter what, you're going to be hearing some fantastic music!

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