San Francisco -
has begun shipping its $2,350-suggested Halo JC 3 phono preamp, promoted as drawing on a venerable hand-built audiophile design that would cost more than $8,000 to build today.
The JC3 was designed by John Curl, who also designed the near-20-year-old Vendetta Research SCP2B phono preamp on which the JC3 is based. It will be displayed at International CES.
Both were designed to amplify the very-low-power audio signal generated by a high-end low-output moving-coil or moving-magnet phono cartridge while rejecting the noise that could otherwise easily enter the low-power signal.
To reject noise, the 18-pound preamp uses "the smallest possible amplifier circuit with the least amount of copper to act as an antenna for noise," said president and founder Richard Schram. "To keep the background black and silent," he added, each channel is housed in its own extruded aluminum enclosure, each isolated from the power supply with 3/8-inch thick low-carbon mild steel partitions.
The passive EQ parts' values and quality are the same as in the original Vendetta, he added.
The Halo JC 3 is a dual-mono design with unbalanced inputs and outputs using Vampire RCA jacks as well as balanced outputs using Neutrik XLR jacks. A custom-made three-position input impedance switch provides for 47 k ohm moving-magnet cartridges, 100 ohm moving-coil cartridges, and 47 k ohms, which is designed for some moving-coil cartridges and high-end moving iron cartridges.