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Pass Labs 20 Years and Counting

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  #31  
Old 11-26-2018, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikado463 View Post
it will be interesting to hear your comparison Steve, good luck !
Thanks, Dave.

UPS says they should be getting here tomorrow (Tuesday). Looking forward to the comparison to the X250.8 stereo amplifier.

I'll keep you all posted.

Steve
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Teres turntable, VPI rim-drive, SDS, JMW 12.5 arms, Dynavector XV1-S & London Reference; Zenith MKII STD, Lush^2 USB, Chord Blu MK II, Chord DAVE DAC, Pinot ADC. Pass XP-27, Pass XP-30, Pass X260.8 monoblocks; KEF Blade 2 speakers, dual SVS SB16 Ultra subs. Shunyata Triton v3 & Typhon QR, Sigma NR, Alpha NR cords and cables, Stillpoints ESS grid system rack, Ultras . . . and music!
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  #32  
Old 12-11-2018, 04:53 PM
thezaks thezaks is offline
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How did the comparison go?
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  #33  
Old 12-11-2018, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by thezaks View Post
How did the comparison go?
Thanks for the reminder. Iíve been enjoying the X260.8s so much it slipped my mind I owed a post or two about the new amps. The short version is, I updated my AA signature when I sent the X250.8 back to Mark Sammut at Reno HiFi. Definitely keepers.

Mark advised a good five days of 24/7 operation before doing any critical evaluation of the new amps, and based on what I heard when I started peeking two days in, he was right. At first I didnít like them nearly as much as my well broken-in X250.8. They sounded forward, flat and peaky. Very dynamic, but very fatiguing. My first impulse when listening was to turn them down a good 3 to 6 dB from where I normally listen with the X250.8.

Thankfully, they started mellowing a bit by the third and fourth evenings. By the time I had the recommended minimum hours running in, they had settled down quite nicely. However, some 300 hours into running them 24/7 they still sound like they are slowly breaking in ó that is, they keep getting better and better.

What do I hear as the differences between the X250.8 and X260.8s?

The X250.8 is a bit more laid back and relaxed in comparison to the mono blocks. It wouldnít be too much of a stretch to call the X250.8 almost liquid ó though not languid ó in comparison. The X260.8s are more vivid and feature more transient jump. My startle reflex engages more with the monos. The 260.8s also possess more separation and depth and a more 3D quality compared to the stereo amp, and I thought the X250.8 was quite good in these areas.

I also hear a bit more detail and texture as well as image specificity with the mono twins. There is a little more rosin on the bow, without losing any essential body and weight. Soundstage is deeper and the front edge has shifted bit more forward than the X250.8, but itís far from being in my lap. In combination these differences add up to a performance improvement that sounds quite significant and attractive to my ears.

Attributing these differences solely or even mainly as a result of the X260.8s staying in Class A longer than the X250.8 is probably not completely accurate. Nelson Pass has stated that one of the biggest differences across the entire .8 line from the prior .5 amplifiers was his decision to tailor the input and driver stages specifically to each power stage, where the earlier models basically shared the same front end and only varied power supplies, heat sinking and numbers of output devices to accommodate different levels of power output. I suspect this same customization of front ends holds true between X250.8 and X260.8s, particularly since there is a significant bias increase for the mono blocks. Since Iíve yet to see any meter needle movement that would indicate more than a transient departure from class A operation with the X350.5, X250.8 or X260.8s Iíve spent time with, I donít think staying in class A longer tells the whole story.

I canít discount two very large power supplies, as well as having everything else isolated on two chassis, along with bias and topology differences having their audible effects. Whatever the secret sauce might actually be, the X260.8 amplifiers are very impressive.

And none of the above takes anything away from the X250.8 which might just be the sweet spot of Passí line of single-chassis stereo amplifiers.

The X260.8s perfectly hit the mark with my KEF Blade 2s and what I like my particular fi to sound like. Mark suggested the XA series are even more vivid and up-front and might be a bit too much of a good thing for my listening preferences and speaker choice. So far heís batting 1.000 so who am I to doubt?

I couldnít be happier with the X260.8s and in fact, Iím heading downstairs in just a bit for another evening listening to music. If it goes the way it has been since the new amps arrived, it will be the early hours of the morning before I wrap it up.

Which is what itís all about, isnít it?

Steve Z
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Teres turntable, VPI rim-drive, SDS, JMW 12.5 arms, Dynavector XV1-S & London Reference; Zenith MKII STD, Lush^2 USB, Chord Blu MK II, Chord DAVE DAC, Pinot ADC. Pass XP-27, Pass XP-30, Pass X260.8 monoblocks; KEF Blade 2 speakers, dual SVS SB16 Ultra subs. Shunyata Triton v3 & Typhon QR, Sigma NR, Alpha NR cords and cables, Stillpoints ESS grid system rack, Ultras . . . and music!
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  #34  
Old 12-11-2018, 11:11 PM
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Sexy!!



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  #35  
Old 12-11-2018, 11:51 PM
Down Under Down Under is offline
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Great system you have there.
I had the 260.5 monoblocks and really enjoyed them.
I notice you have the XP 27 phono stage.
Would you care to elaborate on your experience so far with the XP 27.
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  #36  
Old 12-12-2018, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeAllan70 View Post
Sexy!!



Itís been a while since anyoneís said that to me.

Oh, you meant the system.

Steve Z
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Teres turntable, VPI rim-drive, SDS, JMW 12.5 arms, Dynavector XV1-S & London Reference; Zenith MKII STD, Lush^2 USB, Chord Blu MK II, Chord DAVE DAC, Pinot ADC. Pass XP-27, Pass XP-30, Pass X260.8 monoblocks; KEF Blade 2 speakers, dual SVS SB16 Ultra subs. Shunyata Triton v3 & Typhon QR, Sigma NR, Alpha NR cords and cables, Stillpoints ESS grid system rack, Ultras . . . and music!
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  #37  
Old 12-12-2018, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Down Under View Post
Great system you have there.
I had the 260.5 monoblocks and really enjoyed them.
I notice you have the XP 27 phono stage.
Would you care to elaborate on your experience so far with the XP 27.
Thanks very much for the kind words.

I lived with the XP-25 for a few years before trying out the X-27 this spring. It wasnít a subtle upgrade by any means. Instrumental textures, musical detail, tonal saturation, micro- and macro-dynamics -- all are notably improved from the XP-25. If the XP-25 was a little laid-back (and I'd never thought that about the XP-25 before), the XP-27 is vivid and lifelike and very, very present with absolutely no hint of being in-your-face forward.

Some of this is probably due to enhancements to the power supply that they mention in their literature. I know that the earlier -25 was by far the quietest phono amp Iíd had up to the XP-27 but the noise floor seems completely non-existant with the new XP. Dead silent even with the volume cranked and my ear next to a speaker. That includes running the London (Decca) Reference cartridge and the Decca designs are reputed to be touchy about hum.

When I chatted with Passí Kent English about the XP-27 he offered two observations that have certainly proved true in my experience moving up the Pass line over the years. One, that Pass doesnít release an upgrade or new model unless it offers a significant improvement in performance over existing models. No incremental upgrades every year which is the norm for some segments of the audio field. And two, that there is a substantial amount of trickle-down from lessons learned with their Xs models.

Some have said the new line stages ó XP-12 and XP-22 ó have leap-frogged over the next higher models; that is, the XP-12 not only supplants the XP-10 but also the XP-20, and the XP-22 does the same with regard to the XP-20 and the XP-30. Iíve read the same thing with respect to the XP-17 and the XP-25. I havenít heard the Xs phono amplifier so I canít speak to how close the XP-27 is getting to that rarified territory, but Iím definitely enjoying LP play that compares very favorably to the best Iíve heard anywhere.

Hope this answers some questions,

Steve Z
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Teres turntable, VPI rim-drive, SDS, JMW 12.5 arms, Dynavector XV1-S & London Reference; Zenith MKII STD, Lush^2 USB, Chord Blu MK II, Chord DAVE DAC, Pinot ADC. Pass XP-27, Pass XP-30, Pass X260.8 monoblocks; KEF Blade 2 speakers, dual SVS SB16 Ultra subs. Shunyata Triton v3 & Typhon QR, Sigma NR, Alpha NR cords and cables, Stillpoints ESS grid system rack, Ultras . . . and music!
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  #38  
Old 12-13-2018, 08:09 AM
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Thanks very much Steve for your detailed reply.
Many people hold the XP-25 in high regard so your comments on the XP-27 are really interesting.
I will have to hear it!
One forum member had trouble with hum with his XP-25 so I am very interested in your hum comments re Decca cartridges.
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  #39  
Old 12-13-2018, 03:25 PM
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Steve , your setup looks great , are your KEF Blade 2 with Stillpoints under them ?
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  #40  
Old 12-13-2018, 03:29 PM
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Steve, glad to 'hear' you are as happy with your 260.8's as I am with mine !
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