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Pass Labs 20 Years and Counting

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  #61  
Old 12-27-2019, 09:11 AM
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I cannot begin to express how pi$$ed I am. I looked at my FedEx app to check on the progress of my delivery, to see them claim a delivery attempt had been made not 15 minutes earlier, and that no one was at the residence when the attempt was made... while I was sitting 10 feet from the front door having dinner with my family! And to add insult to injury, it appeared the driver really didnt attempt anything at my address, as no door tag was left! I suspect the driver was looking at two 105 pound boxes at the end of his shift and figured it was too much of a PITA to do at night. I went out of my way to make sure they were shipped so theyd arrive today.

I called FedEx and they assured me a complaint would be filed with my local dispatch office, and that Id get the packages on Sunday. That doesnt make me happy! Ive got over $10,000 worth of equipment getting tossed around and subjected to sub-freezing temperatures. SON OF A B!TH!
I've had the same thing happen to me!
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  #62  
Old 12-27-2019, 03:40 PM
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Fedex has become the low cost leader for a reason. Same reason that Amazon dropped them.
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  #63  
Old 12-28-2019, 09:32 AM
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Fedex has become the low cost leader for a reason. Same reason that Amazon dropped them.
We just moved onto a new street in a two-year old subdivision.

Amazon and the USPS have had a lot of trouble locating us. Horrible service from both. Late deliveries with both - up to a week late. We're dropping Amazon - their drivers literally stating we're putting the wrong addresses on our packages ... (their GPS changes Ct. to Dr. and they end up in the swamp ). USPS called and tried to confirm that I lived over 500 miles away from my current location. I corrected them and re-stated the address and the reply - "oh, you are right down the street." Unfortunately, we can't drop USPS. Both companies appear to depend too much on computers, or at least the wrong apps, etc.

On the other hand, while it's only been a few weeks, UPS and Fed-Ex have a 100% record here.

So, I guess it depends upon the area.
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  #64  
Old 12-28-2019, 10:14 PM
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Hey JoeN, how do you like the Quadraspire racks? Had you had any other quality racks to compare to?
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  #65  
Old 12-29-2019, 08:59 AM
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Hey JoeN, how do you like the Quadraspire racks? Had you had any other quality racks to compare to?
I personally had Solid Steel before these. And my friend's home which I babysat for like two years has HRS and Artesania racks. Out of those two I like the Artesania the best, but both are very nice.


The Qs are great. IMO, they are much better than Solid Steel, but not as good as HRS or Artesania. They are surprisingly strong. The poles are very high quality and very rigid as well. I'm using their rubber footers to aid in dampening (tile floors), but they have other types as well.

They have different levels of shelves as well. I would have loved to try their X Reference pictured below.

The bamboo is a nice touch. My parents have had bamboo furniture since the late 60s. Still as new as the day they bought it. It's very good for vibration control. Quadraspire does machining on the underside of shelves to further reduce mass and resonance without losing any of its strength. It's nicely done.

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  #66  
Old 01-01-2020, 03:36 AM
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Originally Posted by tonyptony View Post
... I’m going to give these a few days before making any real evaluations. On first listen I like what I hear, but I’m also going “d@mn that Frank Van Alstine - he hasn’t been around this long without knowing how to design a pretty impressive amp”. Shouldn’t shortchange those value priced (in some circles) guys. But like I said, too early to start drawing conclusions. My pair is used, but they will need some time to settle.
Well, any updates or verdict on your recently acquired pair of Pass x260.8 monos?

And, comparing to your AVA 600R - what do ya think?




.

Last edited by decooney; 01-01-2020 at 03:43 AM.
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  #67  
Old 01-01-2020, 09:51 AM
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Well, any updates or verdict on your recently acquired pair of Pass x260.8 monos?

And, comparing to your AVA 600R - what do ya think?
Sorry for the delay. Ive complicated things by also evaluating a range of speaker cables to match the Passes to my Von Schweikerts. But in short, the X260.8 amps are simply wonderful. Liquid, open, refined, with a realistic transient reproduction capability. Extended bottom to top. Tonally pure. Nothing exaggerated. I can tell the differences between the different speaker cables Im listening to very easily.

The 600R is a damn fine amp - Id recommend it without hesitation at its price. But in comparison with the Passes it is not as refined through the midrange. Vocals are a tiny bit grainier. It is also not as articulate in the extreme low end. It goes as low, but the AVA trades articulation for more of a fullish slam. Im glad I had it for as long as I have; it served me well. The X260.8s, however, are superior.
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  #68  
Old 01-01-2020, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by tonyptony View Post
Sorry for the delay. I’ve complicated things by also evaluating a range of speaker cables to match the Passes to my Von Schweikerts. But in short, the X260.8 amps are simply wonderful. Liquid, open, refined, with a realistic transient reproduction capability. Extended bottom to top. Tonally pure. Nothing exaggerated. I can tell the differences between the different speaker cables I’m listening to very easily.

The 600R is a damn fine amp - I’d recommend it without hesitation at its price. But in comparison with the Passes it is not as refined through the midrange. Vocals are a tiny bit grainier. It is also not as articulate in the extreme low end. It goes as low, but the AVA trades articulation for more of a fullish “slam”. I’m glad I had it for as long as I have; it served me well. The X260.8’s, however, are superior.
Tony,
I'm continuing some studies, with some related background and a few questions for you below. And, No worries about delays - i was curious. Pretty exciting upgrade and figured you went dark likely focusing on listening to the new amps settling in. I followed your shipping concerns, and the same has happened with me with some carriers - not dropping off and leaving a note. It happens if conditions are not ideal (heavy items) with some drivers. I live in Pass Land, grew up in the same work areas. Also similar long term demos and evaluations of amps, and susequent thrashing of interconnects, cables. All in order for me to further design, build speakers. Got stuck again on amps past 5-7 years. In similar fashion, last year had a brief window of study with Frank and AVA amps with great appreciation of what he offers for the $. Your feedback is helpful in comparison. And, while comparing and auditioning Nelson's latest during the .5 to new .8 amp offering. Heard both sound very good and truly awful with really bad speaker paring at a show one time. Was shocked, speaker synergy and room set up can be "everything". This preamaturely drove me right back into low watt SET/Tube triode amps for a while, then researching Firstwatt and DIY (Korg Nutube) studies Nelson was working on. And, finally right back to good PP Tube Mono amps I own now for personal use. I'm a former ss class-a amp nut for 40+ years and rediscovered tubes but always kept track of what the next SS designs would be. Hard to believe tweaks are still occurring one person to the next. That's what great designers do, letting exploration continue! Many working to achieve the right balance of smooth tube sound with driver control. As i get older perhaps I have overly sensitive hearing, dislike grain or edge . Liking "midrange" more than grainy top-end too. Also noting more recent comments back and forth between .5 and .8 version amps noting different sounds from each. Very interesting. Each with it's own signature.

Sounds like you are finding your "midrange", and looking for a bit more smoothness to rid of the remaining grain. Good fun. It's possible and a common goal many seem to strive for with these nicer amps and I could not help but notice your quick jump back to "cables". Also was an obsessed cable evaluator for too long. Seems to make a notable difference with great preamps and amp mainly. "Back to cables" happens particularly when someone makes an amp change. Inspired some questions to ask. In an email Nelson commented to me on my speakers and tube amps last year during some research, and we got into some sidebar discussion around some testing I did pairing my 6SN7 based tube preamp with other ss power amps. He confirmed it's another combo many of his customers have tried and liked...again, folks working to find the right balance of tube smoothness and speaker control. No dis on any of Nelsons preamps, great things there too.

A close colleague who pushed me to sell him my highly modified higher powered tube amp was doing some long-term side by side comparisons back and forth with the lower powered Pass amps too, and enjoying the smaller XA25 too. While being lower powered with less grunt (for his speakers) he found it to be almost tube-like in some ways (paired with upgraded Harbeths). I got engaged trying to figure out what more amps designers were doing in the (20w range) of amps, and what Nelson was doing with NuTube in the DIY design offering, i.e. seemingly working to make ss amps sound even more like tube amps, good fun. A little background if it helps to relate. Many of us striving for that smooth magical midrange sound yet retaining clarity and sound stage too. Got four questions for ya.. related to some of the updates you reported, and possibly to the type of sound you are looking for, and seemingly some potential fine tuning opportunities. As you've noted, NOW you can start to hear changes with cables. Good sign. Let the fine tuning begin:

-how much burn-in time do you actually believe has been put on the 260.8 amps?

-what preamp are you running with your recently acquired 260.8 monos?

-what brand/model interconnect cables are you using between source, pre, amps?

-what speaker cables to the VS speakers, standard/bi-wire, brand/model?

------

Once shared, I gather other pass amp owners will likely be able to assist with further fine tuning opportunities to investigate with your new amps pairing with your VS speakers and all. Curious to know what happens after 30-60 more days of burn-in on your amps. Seems some premature sales happen with new owners who never really burn-in their gear and just sell it off not knowing to give it some good long burn in time. Makes a great opportunity for 2nd-hand buyers.

.

Last edited by decooney; 01-01-2020 at 12:24 PM.
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  #69  
Old 01-01-2020, 01:27 PM
tonyptony tonyptony is offline
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It's possible and a common goal many seem to strive for with these nicer amps and I could not help but notice your quick jump back to "cables".
There's a reason for this. The Von Schweikerts arrived first. When I hooked them up to the 600R and my then current cables (the “newer” white/clear version of the classic Kimber TC), I knew the Kimbers had been outpaced. I was happy enough with them running my beloved Shahinians (although back in the day it was the blue/black), as Kimber cable seemed to be made for those speakers. So I borrowed some MasterBuilts from Leif, and various Iconoclasts from Blue Jeans (who now sells them). I was an original beta tester for the Belden Iconoclasts and knew they had potential. Anyway, so the original scenario was in finding the best match for the 600R and VSA, all the while knowing if opportunity arose I would move to Pass amplification. My XP-20 and XP-17 have served me very well for some years, and I had many great years listening to the X250.5 in my friend’s system. Seemed an easy call for Pass amps to drive the VSA, as Leif owns an INT-250 and uses it often when listening to his own speakers.

So a used pair of X260.8’s pop up and the seller accepts my offered price. On the heels of new speakers I have a mint but used pair of monoblocks sent to me. Based on my conversations with the seller they’d had several hundred hours put on them. Since arrival here I’d estimate an additional 120 hours or so, with the amps never being flipped into Standby. The speakers thus far have over 400 hours on them.

My standby IC between preamp and amp has been a Purist Audio Venustas. Is it the best match for this new arrangement? I don’t know, but my logic is - what did I change? Speakers and amp. The likely first place to start would be with speaker cables. I know the sound of the Venustas well, and felt that’s not the first place to start changing things. IC between digital source (PS Audio DS DAC) and preamp is Audience SX. I like it there.

So I have three different Iconoclast speaker cable types, all provided as true biwire (separate cables) pairs. I’m trying each type as biwire and using a single run to the VSA’s. The MB is a single run only. I’m not find the difference between biwire and single run of the Iconoclasts to make me change my mind about my feelings for each type.

That’s the scoop so far. Still a bit of work left to do.

Oh, I have plenty of other speaker cables in my left over stash box (Analysis Plus, Siltech, Cardas, Monster, a few others) that of course I tried. The speakers and amps outclassed what I had on hand. So it was time to find something more suitable.
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  #70  
Old 01-01-2020, 02:54 PM
decooney decooney is offline
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..Oh, I have plenty of other speaker cables in my left over stash box (Analysis Plus, Siltech, Cardas, Monster, a few others) that of course I tried. The speakers and amps outclassed what I had on hand. So it was time to find something more suitable.
Good luck on finding the right synergy. Different amps, speakers, cables all at the same time makes for fun testing. With ICs I've concluded higher end and more is not always better, in fact more than half the time I found it to be worse. It's finding the right combination working together in synergy with your other gear.




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Last edited by decooney; 01-05-2020 at 06:23 PM.
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