Friday, March 25, 2011

Parasound JC-3 phono stage: $1k product for $2.3k?

Been spending time on various forums learning what I can about tables and who rates what. Frightening or enlightening? Take your pick!  I discussed options with Music Direct (yes, we've become more friendly now that I have a digital gauge that works) and among the suggestions made, the idea that my phono stage is the weak link has emerged. I agree, it may be the weak link and perhaps starting there to learn the limits of my table might be a good idea. So, given I run balanced, I started to see what I could get for $2k (not being convinced that the Sim Audio 310LP suggestion MD made would cut it) and double the price of my current stage. The Parasound JC-3 emerged as a serious option but then I read this by John Curl on the DIY Audio site:

"This design was really for a small insert board per channel for the JC-2. Unfortunately, it 'grew up' into being more than what it was originally designed to do. The original discrete design worked fine, BUT NOW the jfets it used are too hard, and expensive, to get, so it is a lost cause.  You just reminded me of the painful reality of what it costs to make things like this........ If the insides of this unit were packaged more cost effectively, I would have been more comfortable, as it then might have cost $1000 or so. However, marketing disagreed." (full link)

More evidence, if any were needed, that the price you pay is not set by the brains who created it or the logical addition of a simple profit on top of cost to build. But in fairness to Parasound, would any other company sell this for less?

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