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Pass Labs 20 Years and Counting

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  #21  
Old 11-29-2012, 12:38 AM
joeinid joeinid is offline
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Looks like the Pass Labs forum is getting a ton of fans and new customers. Awesome!
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  #22  
Old 11-29-2012, 02:30 AM
joeinid joeinid is offline
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Originally Posted by iceman78 View Post
xa100.5
SIDEBAR: Robert Harley on the Pass Labs XA100.5
The XA160.5 reviewed here is a scaled up version of the XA100.5 I reviewed in Issue 185. The XA160.5 employs the same low-level circuits and output-stage topology as the XA100.5, but adds more output devices and a larger power supply for 160W of output compared with the XA100.5’s 100W.

The XA100.5 is, in my view, one of the world’s great amplifiers. It is distinguished, primarily, by a tube-like liquidity in the midrange. It’s not that the XA100.5 has tube-like distortions, but rather that it lacks the characteristic signature of other solid-state amplifiers I’ve heard. Specifically, the XA100.5 has richly saturated tone colors, a wonderful warmth and body of timbre, and a completely grain-free rendering of instrumental textures. Moreover, it achieves these qualities without being colored, overly ripe, or falsely romantic. Rather than being tailored to sound pleasant, the XA100.5 simply imposes less of itself on the music than other solid-state amplifiers I’ve heard.

In addition, the XA100.5 is a powerhouse, at least when driving speakers of appropriate sensitivity for its output rating. It has iron-fisted control over the bottom end, super-fast reproduction of transient leading edges without the slightest bit of etch, and a sense of ease on even the most demanding dynamic contrasts.

But what really sets the XA100.5 apart is its supremely seductive midrange—lush without sounding syrupy, warm without sounding bloated, and richly refined and detailed without sounding analytical. This is an immensely involving set of qualities, and ones that make the XA100.5 easy to enjoy for extended listening sessions. –Robert Harley
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  #23  
Old 11-29-2012, 02:55 AM
PHC1 PHC1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeinid View Post
SIDEBAR: Robert Harley on the Pass Labs XA100.5
The XA160.5 reviewed here is a scaled up version of the XA100.5 I reviewed in Issue 185. The XA160.5 employs the same low-level circuits and output-stage topology as the XA100.5, but adds more output devices and a larger power supply for 160W of output compared with the XA100.5’s 100W.

The XA100.5 is, in my view, one of the world’s great amplifiers. It is distinguished, primarily, by a tube-like liquidity in the midrange. It’s not that the XA100.5 has tube-like distortions, but rather that it lacks the characteristic signature of other solid-state amplifiers I’ve heard. Specifically, the XA100.5 has richly saturated tone colors, a wonderful warmth and body of timbre, and a completely grain-free rendering of instrumental textures. Moreover, it achieves these qualities without being colored, overly ripe, or falsely romantic. Rather than being tailored to sound pleasant, the XA100.5 simply imposes less of itself on the music than other solid-state amplifiers I’ve heard.

In addition, the XA100.5 is a powerhouse, at least when driving speakers of appropriate sensitivity for its output rating. It has iron-fisted control over the bottom end, super-fast reproduction of transient leading edges without the slightest bit of etch, and a sense of ease on even the most demanding dynamic contrasts.

But what really sets the XA100.5 apart is its supremely seductive midrange—lush without sounding syrupy, warm without sounding bloated, and richly refined and detailed without sounding analytical. This is an immensely involving set of qualities, and ones that make the XA100.5 easy to enjoy for extended listening sessions. –Robert Harley
Many class A amps seem to share some of those traits, mainly the liquid, rich and grain free presentation but not necessarily sounding anything less than resolving and very natural. I have not really heard a Class A amp that I did not really like or at least enjoy.
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  #24  
Old 11-30-2012, 01:39 PM
pdough pdough is offline
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Joe and Mike...Did you find that the xa100.5 were able to drive your speakers to pretty loud levels? My speakers are rated at an efficiency of 91 dB. I'm wondering if the xa100.5 would be enough to give me the dynamics I'm after? What do you guys think? I wound use them for HT and stereo.

Patrick
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  #25  
Old 11-30-2012, 01:51 PM
joeinid joeinid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdough View Post
Joe and Mike...Did you find that the xa100.5 were able to drive your speakers to pretty loud levels? My speakers are rated at an efficiency of 91 dB. I'm wondering if the xa100.5 would be enough to give me the dynamics I'm after? What do you guys think? I wound use them for HT and stereo.

Patrick
Hi Patrick,

I think Mike has some hard numbers of the actual watts the amps produce but the XA100's have more than enough power to make me deaf. Even though the amps are scaled up to make more power there are subtle differences in sound quality. The 100's I feel are the most tube-like. The 160's are a little more even handed. I am sure the 100's will be fine.
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  #26  
Old 11-30-2012, 02:13 PM
mbovaird mbovaird is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdough View Post
Joe and Mike...Did you find that the xa100.5 were able to drive your speakers to pretty loud levels? My speakers are rated at an efficiency of 91 dB. I'm wondering if the xa100.5 would be enough to give me the dynamics I'm after? What do you guys think? I wound use them for HT and stereo.

Patrick
I heard the 60's right through the 200's and felt that any of them would easily drive my 93db efficient speakers. I think the 100.5's are the sweet spot - but I went for the 160.5's because I felt they were perfectly balanced from top to bottom. That being said, demos are tough to properly judge something. It needs to be on your cables, in your room and with your speakers and gear.

I have tried like heck to move the needles on my 160.5's - to no avail. I was told this about my 160.5's - "they produce 328 watts into 4ohms of pure class A. Once the needle gets past "about 2 o'clock" - you are above the 328 watts and now into class a/a/b which can deliver a lot more power - BUT distortion will increase as well." If this happens - I'll look like the guy on the old Maxell commercial! This is worth a read: https://passlabs.com/articles/leaving-class-a

My speakers can only handle 300 watts, and 30 watts is bloody loud. So, I would need to be pushing 300 watts to start to see the needles move.

Are your speakers 4ohm? If so - then you should be fine. If you can make the move to the 160.5's - then you may have an amp for life (unless your name is Mike or Joe!)

Mike
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  #27  
Old 11-30-2012, 02:15 PM
joeinid joeinid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbovaird View Post
edit - then you may have an amp for life (unless your name is Mike or Joe!)

Mike
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  #28  
Old 11-30-2012, 03:02 PM
MDP MDP is offline
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+ 1
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  #29  
Old 11-30-2012, 03:47 PM
joeinid joeinid is offline
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+ 1
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  #30  
Old 11-30-2012, 06:38 PM
slowGEEZR slowGEEZR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iceman78 View Post
xa100.5
You will love them! They power my system with ease and grace.
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