PS Audio Stellar Phono Pre vs. Parasound JC3 Jr. / 3+

I’m currently using a Parasound JC3 Jr. to great effect, but would very much like to hear from anyone who’s heard / owned both the PSA Stellar Phono Pre and a Parasound JC3 Jr. or 3+. It may be that time (again) for upgrades.

My analog front end is as follows:
Rega RP-10 with Rega Apheta 2 cart (and the aforementioned Parasound JC3 Jr.)
This feeds a PSA BHK Pre into Sanders Sound Systems Magtech Amps and electrostatic model 10e speakers. A very revealing system by my estimation.

Any first-hand experience and impressions of the Stellar compared to the Parasound or something similar would be most appreciated.

Darren and I made the comparison some time ago, when Stellar Phono was being designed and we bought one for a reference. The Stellar definitely was more open, lush, and a better midrange. Which is why Fremer gave it such a rave as the best midrange he’d heard
at any price, I imagine.

@Paul thanks for the feedback and direct reply. I re-read lots of beta test impressions yesterday and noticed at least one forum member also had the JC3 Jr. He had lots of positive things to say about the Stellar as well. In any case, I already pulled the trigger late yesterday. Decided there’s very little risk given your in-home trial period and reasonable trade-in allowance. Very much looking forward to the at-home audition in the near future. Will definitely provide feedback after I’ve had some time to experience and absorb.

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@Paul just curious. Did you compare to the JC3 Jr. or the JC3+? Seems that the + would be a better target / similar price.

Thanks, Kurt. Please let us know your thoughts after break in (it takes a week or so of constant use to really hear what it’s doing). I am excited for you. Let us know!

It was the regular 3 as I recall, not the Jr. Darren brought it over here back then. No contest in my mind.

Edit: Had not heard the 3 referred to as the Plus. It was the Plus.

Just curious @badbeef what are you using for a phono pre these days?

What else?:cowboy_hat_face:

SPP in the main system, and the VTL moved to the 2nd system.

I have had the JC3 Jr for 1 year and love(d) it. I was skeptical that the Stellar Phono could be much better but figured with the trial option I couldn’t go wrong so I took the bait.
Let me tell you, the bait was very tasy, and I was hooked!
I’m not going to try and ‘verbalize’ my listening experience. Let’s just say it exceeded my expectations and sounds phenomenal in my system.
I currently have an MA5200 McIntosh, Stellar Phono, Rega P8 / Apheta 3 and KEF R5 (the ‘R’ series, not the Reference).

Have been using the SPP now for a couple of months with great results. I still think the Parasound products are very good value and would recommend the JC3 Jr. to anyone looking for a versatile phono preamp at a competitive price. However, the SPP does sound more refined and the mid-range and transient response is better. Lots of vinyl has passed under the “needle” and I never thought “oh what a mistake the SPP purchase was”.


What’s a SPP

@huang it’s short for Stellar Phono Preamplifier SSP. I have owned the SSP for over a month now, it is still breaking in, that being said it replaced a Parasound JC3+ which sounded very nice with my Clearaudio turntable, I prefer the new SPP which has a smooth sounding midrange, clear high’s and a solid low end. The only thing I miss with JC3+ is the mono feature,.but it’s not a deal breaker. For me it’s a keeper and another great design from Darren!!!

Thanks, I’m just dipping my toes in two channel analog… and have a “SPP” on order.