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Martin Dew

HTF News Editor
HW Reviewer
Nov 1, 2017
United Kingdom
Real Name
Martin Dew
Martin Dew

A Chip Off the Old Parasound Monoblock

Parasound is showcasing and debuting the Halo JC 5 stereo 400 watt amplifier with its 'outstanding sound quality and value' at the Axpona (Audio Expo North America) this week in Schaumburg, IL. The John Curl-designed black slab is touted as incorporating 'the soul of two Halo JC 1 monoblocks,' and is claimed to deliver the essence of two top-of-the-line monoblocks in a single chassis of the same size.

At roughly two-thirds of the price of a pair of JC 1s, the suggested retail price of the JC 5 is still an eye-watering $5,995, but with Parasound's extraordinary track record of delivering bang-for-buck sonics, there will be little doubt that these pairs will do justice to any home theater or music setup. The new JC 5 combines high power and ultra-high bias Class A/AB sonic quality, according to the San Francisco-based audio experts. In 2003, Stereophile magazine awarded the JC 1 'Amplifier of the Year' and honored it as a 'Class A Recommended Component' twice a year for fifteen years, longer than any other audio component.


"The new JC 5 is a remarkable amplifier that creates a new sweet spot in our Halo product family," said Richard Schram, the president and founder of Parasound. "Our customers often tell us they love everything the JC 1 offers, while wondering if we could deliver comparable performance in a no-compromise stereo amplifier, and save them money and space. We challenged John Curl to distill the essence of two JC 1 mono blocks into a single chassis, and the result has exceeded everyone's expectations."

High bias class A/AB provides 12 watts per channel pure class A power and class AB to its 400 watts per channel 8 ohm rating. It can also deliver 600 watts per channel into 4 ohms, and it can be bridged to mono for 1,200 watts into 8 ohms. The output stage employs 24 beta-matched, 15 ampere, 60 MHz bipolar transistors to deliver a peak current of 90 amperes.

The power supply employs a 1.7 kVA shielded toroid power transformer with a premium H18 grade steel core. It has independent secondary windings for its dual-mono power supply. As with the JC 1, input stage B+/B- rails are 10 V above the output stage rails to eliminate any chance of distortion caused by voltage sagging when the amp is under load. Independent power supplies for left and right channels input stages employ filter caps totaling 8,880 µF. Driver and output stages employ massive Rubycon filter caps totaling 132,000 µF.

The Halo JC 5 is direct-coupled, protected by DC servo circuits to eliminate coupling capacitors, while extending bass response down to 5 Hz. Its balanced inputs use discrete circuits with Neutrik locking XLR connectors, and Vampire 24k gold-plated RCA input and loop output jacks. Five-way "propeller" speaker binding posts are custom-manufactured for Parasound by CHK Infinium. They are 24k gold-plated and accept 7-gauge bare wire. The premium-quality 9 foot detachable IEC 12 gauge power cord features silver-soldered connectors.



Parasound's refined Halo design aesthetic is evident in the JC 5. Slim, hand-milled solid aluminum endcaps with gold highlights amplify its grace and elegance. The JC 5 is available in silver or black. Rack mount hardware for its four rack space chassis is included. The net weight is 73 lbs. The unit will be available from Parasound US dealers and international distributors from June.

Full Specs Here:


Circuitry designed by legendary John Curl
Ultra-high bias Class A/AB operation
12 watts per channel of pure Class A power
90 amperes peak current per channel
Stable with speaker impedance dips to 1.5 ohms
Balanced inputs with discrete circuits
CHK Infinium, custom 5-way speaker binding posts
Neutrik locking XLR input connectors
Vampire gold-plated RCA input & loop output jacks
Direct-coupled signal path, no capacitors or inductors
DC Servo and relay protection circuits
AC turn-on inrush surge protection with relay bypass
Dual-mono input stages with ±110 volt DC rails
JFET input stage, MOSFET driver stage
24 beta-matched 15 ampere, 60 MHz bipolar output transistors
1.7 kVA shielded toroid power transformer with independent windings for each channel
Independent power supplies for left & right channel input stages, driver stages, output stages
8,880 µF Nichicon Gold Tune filter capacitors for input stages
132,000 µF Rubycon filter capacitors for output stages
Full power is rated all the way down to 5Hz for unrestricted low-end bass
Harris hyper-fast soft-recovery bridge diode rectifiers
Automatic turn-on by 12 V trigger or audio sensing
Four rack-space chassis with rear carry handles
Rack mount hardware is included
Premium quality 9-ft, 12-gauge IEC power cord, with silver soldered connectors
Finish: Available in silver or black


400 watts x 2 @ 8 ohms RMS, both channels driven
600 watts x 2 @ 4 ohms RMS, both channels driven
1200 watts x 1@ 8 ohms, in mono bridged mode
Frequency Response: 5 Hz - 100 kHz, +0/-3 dB; 20 Hz - 20 kHz, +0/-0.25 dB
Slew Rate: > 130 volts per microsecond
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
Total Gain: 29 dB
S/N Ratio: > 116 dB, input shorted, IHF A-weighted; > 111 dB, input shorted, unweighted
Damping Factor: > 1200 at 20 kHz
Dimensions: 17-5/8" x 7-3/4" x 20" (WxHxD)
Net Weight: 73 lbs

The John Curl-designed JC line of amps are regularly commended by AV and stereo critics alike for their dynamics and audio quality which would usually command $ amounts in multiples of Parasound's own pricing. If any Parasound owners here are thinking of taking the plunge with the new JC 5, let us know in the comments below.
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