Parasound has introduced a new version of the John Curl-designed Halo JC 2 stereo preamplifier, adding a home theater bypass function that allows it and its companion power amplifier and speakers to be connected as the front left- and right-channels of a surround sound home theater system.
The new configuration provides total performance and control in both modes without compromising the performance of either mode.
"When we started the JC 2 project I hugely underestimated how many people would want to blend a JC 2 into their surround system," said Parasound's president and founder, Richard Schram. "I put the idea to John Curl, and we eventually came up with a way to implement this without touching the L and R channel audio boards. The result is a perfect sonic duplicate of the original JC 2 with the added benefit of home theater bypass."
The changes made to create the JC 2 BP included a modified potentiometer board and some clever new control software. Circuit board designer Carl Thompson revised the potentiometer board layout so that it is now equipped with four relays that short out the four-gang main volume control and both two-gang trim pots.
Additional fixed resistors set the outputs to unity gain when the bypass mode is selected. Any one or more of the JC 2 BP’s six inputs, including the two balanced inputs, can be assigned as a bypass input.
A new front panel includes an amber Bypass LED to indicate when a selected input is also assigned the bypass function.
Parasound is including an entirely new and improved remote control handset with the JC 2 BP, as well. In addition to fail-safe buttons to program the new bypass control function, its new shape and rubber coating improves stability over the previous model, the company says.
The Parasound Halo JC 2 BP will be available September 15 with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $4,500. Parasound also will offer a retrofit to existing JC 2 owners for $500, including return ground shipping in the US. This way there is no penalty for existing JC 2 owners who want to update to the bypass feature. The JC 2 will continue in the line at its original $4,000 price.