Tavish Adagio, Parasound JC3+, JC3 Jr or something else in the $1.5K - $3K

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by TheVinylAddict, Apr 23, 2018.

  1. waterclocker

    waterclocker Forum Resident

    NW Indiana
    I'd be curious how the Audio Note Kits L3 Phono V2 stacks up to those. It's tube rectified & regulated with high end resistors and coupling capacitors.
    Throw in a nice K&K Premium SUT for MC duty and you are all set! I'm loving mine, but I've never heard the stages mentioned above.
  2. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    SF Bay Area, USA
    Icon Audio PS1 Mk2 on audiogon right now at $1300 ($2400 list) in Oregon ...

    james and displayname like this.
  3. heyMo

    heyMo Forum Resident

    I have to admit, the Icon has had my curiosity. I have been enjoying my Tavish Vintage, but wondering where my next upgrade will be.
    displayname likes this.
  4. Drew769

    Drew769 Forum Resident

    So funny you show mention the Herron. I have the MW 9.0 Phono Stage. I had bought my power amp (MW KWA 150 SE), and a few month late, my speakers (Daedalus DA-2.1 v2) from the same gentleman locally. He has the Herron in his system, and so heard it a couple of times during auditions of this equipment. He’s a huge fan of the Herron - he writes reviews under Dodgealum.

    He cane by my house to hear my system (partly his old system) so that he could hear my new Daedalus cables. When I started spinning vinyl, using all albums that he is familiar with, he was pretty stunned. He knows these speakers better than anyone. He thought the level of detail, energy, and dead quiet backgrounds were different than when he owned them. For example, in Ray Lamontagne”s song “Be Here Now”, there are voices in the background like on a PA at a train or bus station. He said they jumped out at him with the PH 150, which was exactly my experience with that track conpared to my old Ares. Cables definitely were part of the picture, but he felt the biggest difference had to be in that Modwright Ph 150.

    The other thing about the Modwright is all of the flexibility and ease of changing settings. Using the MC section, the adjustable impedance really makes a difference! To be able to switch between two close settings is like being at an optometrist- “Is this clearer, or is this better?” I sometimes switch the setting for particular records. Higher impedance number means more open, more bright, while lower mellows the sound, makes a lot of music more natural, and kills fatigue. I’m not sure I could live without the front mounted knobs anymore - I’m spoiled. The easy to access mono toggle in the back is great, too.
  5. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Chicago metro, USA
    Spoke with a very well informed dealer that the new EAR phono box is going to make its debut at AXPONA this April and will be the one to get in this price range and above.
    Strat-Mangler and displayname like this.
  6. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___ Thread Starter

    MM gain of 52db and MC gain of 72db....... interesting.
    4011021 likes this.
  7. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    SF Bay Area, USA
    Yea, it has a volume control so can go directly to power amp if one chooses, though with just the three triodes, noise and output impedance are a bit on the high side. And no MC load adjustment, fixed at 100 ohms. Still, if it fits your needs, it is a pretty nice design, no transistors or ICs, no circuit boards, point-to-point wiring, good parts, custom made moving coil transformers, etc. It is Chinese manufactured, so gets to market with a better price than some of the competition.
    TheVinylAddict likes this.
  8. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Hey gang. Just popping back in here to see if there are any new opinions on this topic. For some reason, I can’t seem to decide on an upgrade phono stage. My current setup is as follows:

    Technics SL-1200GAE w/Dynavector XX2 MkII running into a PS Audio GCPH. I think the GCPH is decent sounding, but I think there is “more in there” for my particular ‘table and cart, and the GCPH is holding me back.

    I had been heavily leaning towards the JC3+. In one of those ‘insane audio moments’, I decided I needed a Technics SL-1210GR (a crazy price on a new one tempted me), which I will pair with a Nagaoka MP-200 for a secondary setup. The MP-200 is MM with 4mV of output, the XX2 is LOMC @ 0.28mV.

    I don’t necessarily need one phono stage to run both ‘tables, as I could keep the GCPH around to pair with the 1210GR+ Nagaoka MP-200 and just stick that setup wherever.

    I would really like to try a tube based phonostage, as long as it is very very quiet. I’m wondering if the Modwright PH 9.0 will have a bit of a juicier (ha!) sound than the P3+ or P3 Jr.?
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
  9. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___ Thread Starter

    Tube -- did you consider the Herron VTPH 2.0 to add to the mix?

    I have never owned one but a couple of folks who've posted on this thread have.

    I will say it is probably the only phono stage I have ever read about where I never recall ever reading anything negative........... I'm sure it exists somewhere, but lots of glow on this stage from my readings and exchanges with those that have owned it.

    Btw sweet table (the GAE). Gotta ask too since you touched on it --- what was the "good deal" you got on the 1200GR? I am actually eyeing one up (don't need it but always intrigued being a long time 1200 user) and the best I found is 20% off potentially at Guitar Center plus local tax.
  10. mkane

    mkane Musics a Passion

    Herron does it all, just right.
  11. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Haven't read much on the Herron, but will check it out. The ModWright is becoming even more appealing since I learned you can spec true balanced XLR outputs for $300... I could send that to my headphone amp, just like I do now with my PS Audio GCPH.

    Yes, for the 1210GR I got the 20% off deal via Guitar Center, plus 3% cash back from the $1699 price via Ebates.com. Hey, $50 is $50 :) I somehow justified it by thinking a 1210GR will hold good value on the used market, and might even become a niche-favorite due to its relationship to the 1200G and made-in-Japan pedigree. But who knows.

    The only Herron phono stage is the VTPH 2.0, right?
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
  12. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___ Thread Starter

    Haha --- I like it --- PLUS 3% MORE from Ebates I'll try it when the time comes (Guitar Center was out of stock when I checked yesterday) The extra fiddy spot you just gifted me is enough to take the wife out to dinner! Hey I'm making money here on the deal now I have to buy it!!! :) Thanks.........

    BTW, on the Herron - one member on the board (Mike Catucci) owned the Herron for a time and loved it -- he also wrote a mini review of it here on the HOff that I recall -- I don't see him around as much these days but he did check in yesterday. Maybe drop him a PM........

    The Modwright - I looked at that one a few times and it looks sweet too... I was looking at a Modwright Tube preamp / line stage the other day (rec'd on a thread I started) and the more I look at their gear the more I walk away impressed.

    Definitely has all one could ask for on the 9.0 ------ multiple gain settings through MM, HOMC, LOMC ranges.......... two inputs for both an MM and MC source / table......... six different MC loading settings from 10 to 470 ohm.......... separate / external power supply......... XLR........ four tube design - two on the input, two on the output.........

    Jeez now that I typed all that.... wow. Assuming you saw this Hana SL cartridge and ModWright PH 9.0 phono stage - Positive Feedback

    When I first perused that link two things caught me off guard --- first when I saw the gear being unboxed and tossed around I immediately assumed the 1200 pictured was surely a G/GAE --- yet closer inspection yielded it was his "trusty old solid Mkii" (see 1200 Mkii haters? LOL)

    Next -- the pic of the 9.0 of the back of the unit -- it seems the XLR was not included on that one? Is it optional, or is that plate just covering the ports since they may not be in use?

    Again love, love the dual inputs as someone with multiple tables.
  13. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Thanks for the link, I had not seen that review. Regarding the picture, that is a picture of the "standard" model, as best I can tell. With the XLRs, it looks much more finished.
  14. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___ Thread Starter

    I looked at about 7 or 8 different sites to find a pic of the back of the PH 9.0 and gave up --- one of the reasons I posted the link as it showed the back. (which was clearly an early or beta version given there were no XLR?)

    Modwright should look into that for sales / marketing purposes --- get some pics added to the site --- if there I did not see them! I always look for a pic of the back --- I don't care as much what the front looks like, give me the business end!!
  15. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Forum Resident

    Orlando, FL
    Mono switch on the back though...:doh:
  16. mkane

    mkane Musics a Passion

    [QUOTE="SamS, post: 20801718, member: 680"

    The only Herron phono stage is the VTPH 2.0, right?[/QUOTE]
  17. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___ Thread Starter

    Ya, like you the more controls on the front the better --- that is one thing I liked about the Adagio.

    Hey, for anyone - just like the back pics and speaking of "business end" --- having trouble locating pics of the PH 9.0 with the top / cover off --- anyone have any nudies?

    No problem finding the SWL 9.0 model, but can't locate the PH 9.0 cover off pics..........
  18. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    SF Bay Area, USA
    There's good inside pics in the thread around here ... New Modwright PH 9.0 Phono Preamplifer - $2900

    It's a nice unit, though like the Adagio, has inexpensive MC transformers, low end Lundahl instead of Jensen, but that stands out a bit more at the Modwright price. Not sure if they offer an upgrade to better units like with the Adagio, probably do.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
  19. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___ Thread Starter

    Thanks Davey.....
  20. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___ Thread Starter

    I see on the Modwright they are using Lundahl 9926 transformers for the MC -- I think those are 1:10's. So onboard step up transformers for MC - just like the Adagio was doing with the onboard Jensen 44's. Both are good utilitarian choices, not the top end but a solid choice.

    See a few electrolytic, and a couple of the larger white caps that look like Mundorfs maybe but have "MW" on them (for Modwright?)?

    Interesting....... a lot of parallels to the Adadio:
    • Loading / input controls on the front (nice - I like the dials more than the switches on the Adagio),
    • Onboard step up transformers and not JFET (which I personally like - some don't want to add a second component for step up),
    • Two inputs (MC/MM)
    • XLR Outputs plus RCA
    • External power supply (which I like)
    One thing I am luke warm about -- does not display / show off the tubes!

    Priced about $1100 more than the Adagio. Overall more aesthetically pleasing! (subjective :))
    ellingtonic likes this.
  21. Pythonman

    Pythonman Forum Resident

    I’m more than happy with what the Parasound JC3 + delivers sonically. Give one a lot of breakin and prepare to be surprised how much more depth and quiet and air and spaces turn up in your records. And that’s just using the MM input so far. Month by month it seems to be limbering up to stretch the known bounds of analog to levels I’d not imagined. I’ll put it like this. If there’s anything this preamp isn’t doing that it’s supposed to be doing, I sure ain’t missing it.
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  22. Jim0830

    Jim0830 Forum Resident

    Another extremely satisfied JC3 Jr. owner here. I had a very fast and expen$ive several months after I took delivery of my TT in October 2018. I had 800 LPs stored away unplayed for nearly 30 years. My goal returning to vinyl was to revisit these old friends, many of which had not been issued on CD. I also wanted to explore many titles on used vinyl that I had come to realize would never be available on CDs. I had many different people insisting to me that they had returned to vinyl and found the sound to be better in many ways than digital. I really didn't buy this argument because I felt on paper at least, Digital was superior in every way. I expected to spend 25 percent of my time listening to LP's and Digital 75 percent.

    I had to locate the TT in a different area of the listening room, but I was able to create a nice vinyl corner for it. But I needed a separate pre-amp because the TT was over 10' away. I chose an EAT C-Sharp with an Ortofon Quintet Black cartridge and a Clear Audio Nano V2 preamp. When it arrived I was disappointed at first to see it had shipped with the brand new EAT Jo No. 5 MC cartridge. For those interested in the JC3 Jr. driving a LOMC cartridge: This is a moving coil cartridge with a 00.3 mV output. This was EAT's first cartridge which made me a bit nervous. But I soon found it was an Ortofon OEM and it's nude fine line stylus had excellent tracking abilities and was very quiet. I heard far less groove noise and static than I expected. Certainly far less than the Micro Acoustic cartridge on my old Thorens TD 126. My greatest surprise was how great the LPs played on this new TT sounded. I had some Hi Res digital files that were my demo files to show off my system and I had picked up LP's of this same material. I got the best LP releases of these tracks that I could find/afford. I expected the digital files to be superior. I would have been happy if the turntable didn't get totally spanked.

    To my great surprise the LPs actually sounded noticeably superior in many ways. The only way in which the LP's fell short was ticks and pops, the things that helped drive me away from vinyl. But cleaned on my Okki Nokki and with the lower noise of the Jo No. 5 this wasn't as bad as I feared. The other problem was I was picking up interference from my WiFi router. It sounded a bit like a motorboat. It was relatively faint, so at first I could ignore it. Suddenly I longed to hear more vinyl. It sounded so much better than I expected or remembered . Suddenly I was doing more critical listening to LP's about 75 percent of the time. My Yamaha AVR had been up to playing movie soundtracks loudly for 2 hours or so. But I was now listening to LP's critically for far longer time periods and I began to think I could do better. So a month after the new TT, a Parasound HINT 6 Integrated Amp came home with me. This I had never anticipated. I listen to vinyl 75 percent of the time and digital 25 percent. The reverse of what I expected. I am still glad to have both because there are some digital files I have that sound better than LP or aren't even available on LP.

    The sound listening to LPs was vastly better which was a bit of a double-edged sword. Better sound quality meant I was listening louder for longer periods of time. The motor boating interference from my WiFi router was more prominent due to a combination of the HINT 6 having a lower signal to noise ratio and me listening at a louder volume. So a few weeks after the HINT 6 arrived, I was thinking about a better preamp and if that might have better shielding to cure the motor boating sound. My dealer said he had several preamps I would like, but he thought I would really like the JC3 Jr. He said it offered a lot of bang for the buck and was quiet answell shielded. I spent time listening to it at the store and I loved the sound. He was going to send a demo unit home with me, but I said I trusted him at this point. He had made great recommendations in the past. He mentioned that demo unit had gone out 7 times and all 7 people bought the Jr for themselves. I got my new JC3 Jr home and I was rather amazed. The motor boating sound was totally gone, so I was already pleased. Honestly, this was all I was expecting/hoping for. But the sound!!! Everything seemed more well defined, the bass in particular was well controlled. I was hearing more detail in the music. The sound stage was very wide and quite precise. Most amazing of all was the silence I heard. I would drop the needle on some records and even at an 85-90 db listening level I was hearing little to no noise or hiss. I was really stunned by this more than anything else about the JC 3 Jr. I never knew vinyl could be so quiet. From my listening position 9' away from my speakers I often hear no hiss from the grooves or the electronics on a good pressing. If I walk up to the speaker I hear a tiny, tiny amount of hiss from the electronics which increases a bit when the needle hits the lead in groove. Back at my seat, nothing. But this unexpected development set the stage for the next expense.

    The fist time I listened to The Beatles 5oth Anniversary White album I was shocked by how dead quiet it was. After the first click where the stylus found the lead in groove....dead silence. I was becoming a fanatic for clean silent vinyl.I never knew this was possible. I had an Okki Nokki which did a very good job, but was not perfect. I wanted to see if I could step things up a notch. After cleaning about 100 albums with the Okki Nokki I was getting a bit tired of the two step two sided cleaning process. Everything was totally hands on and I often had to pre-clean certain albums with a Zerostat and an anti-static brush. So 2 months after getting my TT, an Audio Desk Vinyl Cleaner Pro was on its way to me. My dealer resold my Okki Nokki cleaner for me and I have never looked back. The UCM is a one step, pretty much hands off process. I have recleaned all of the records I cleaned with the Okki Nokki and the results are as good or better than the Okki Nokki. The Okki Nokki was a good machine at it's price, but the improvements to my system have created a monster. I WANT quiet records. I recently added a Tru-Sweep tonearm-style record brush to the mix. Now I have vinyl nirvana. I anticipate owning the JC3 Jr for long time. Money I would have to spend to do a significant upgrade the JC3 Jr is better spent on buying more albums to enjoy.

    **As a footnote: my system purge was not over. After seeing how much better the 2 Chanel sound became after adding the HINT 6 and replacing the Yamaha AVR, I started thinking...How much better would the home theater experience be with a no-compromise AVR? So 3 months after the TT arrived and started this domino effect, I talked to my dealer and came home with an Anthem MRX-720. The Yamaha now powers the system in my Living Room for non-critical listening and video. The MRX-720 has improved multi-channel sound noticeably and when I used the ARC room correction software I found it did a better job than YPAO on the Yamaha. It is amazing how one purchase can create an avalanche in this hobby. But I have no regrets and my credit card should stop smoking soon.
  23. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___ Thread Starter

    Great write up! Sounds like you found the right match, which is 95% of the battle!! :)

    What phono pre did you own prior to the JC3 Jr?
  24. Jim0830

    Jim0830 Forum Resident

    Yes now I get to sit back and enjoy great music that sounds great to my ears. Which to me is the point to all of this. The gear is a means to the end.

    I was originally getting a ClearAudio Concept Active which was announced in 2017. It was the Concept with a built-in headphone amp preamp. I ordered one in February 2018 and my dealer was being told that it was 2 month lead time. CA kept moving the goal posts back. In October the end was still not in sight. My dealer said he would hook me up with something else that he promised would be as good or better. The EAT C-Sharp came in at the same price but the price didn't include a preamp. To make for a happy customer, he threw in the Clear Audio Nano V2 preamp, which was what was being built into the Concept Active.

    Prior to that my last preamp was the one built into my mid 1970's Sansui 9090 receiver which I used with a Thorens TD 160 MK I and a Micro Acoustics 3002 MC cartridge, last used about 30 years ago. I have been gone a long time from vinyl.
  25. Drew769

    Drew769 Forum Resident

    FWIW, I think the Lundahl SUTs implemented internally within the Modwright PH9.0 sound quite a bit better than the internal Cinemag Blues that my old Rogue Ares has. Shindo uses Lundahls in some of their preamps’ phono sections, as a point of reference. I also own a separate SUT made by VAS, and I prefer the internal Lundahls.

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