AMPS: PM2000 or Pass X5 or ?

I am assembling what I consider to be my 'last' audio system for a looong time, and I have a bit of a dilemma on the amplifier.

My existing system has a Pass Aleph 3, along with EAD transport and DAC, and Sonic Frontiers preamp, to Hales Concept 3 speakers. My new system is a HT/music system that has an EAD TVP, EAD TM Signature, and an EAD PM1000. (I'm still waiting on delivery of the TM Sig)

Unfortunately, I think I am not satisifed with the performance of the PM1000, and am thinking about moving up to a 'better' amp for this system. The problem is that I am spoiled by the Aleph 3! The PM1000 just isn't as smooth or as clean as the Aleph 3, and I want my 2-channel listening to be better than it is right now. The PM1000 also suffers from an audible hisssss when turned on (not the hummm that comes from power interference).

So, my question is can anyone give me a fair review of the PM2000 compared to the Pass X5, or, compared to an X150 and X3 combo?

In this price range, what other amps would you suggest that are good HT amps, but more importantly, excellent 2-channel amps? I'm in a place where there is no high end audio/HT stores, so I need to do some elimination of options before I go out to try out some amps in the nearest city (Philadelphia, 4 hours away).

One thought that I had was to buy a second Aleph 3, and an Aleph 5, and run the whole system off Alephs. However, I am concerned that the Alephs are not dynamic enough for HT listening.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
How old is your PM1000? The older units, I understand had this problem, and EAD has a modification to correct it. (I belive it was partially to do with input sensitivity and gain) All of the "later" PM1000's have it. I would call EAD and ask them about it. They may just do the mod it for free (or minimal cost).
X3?...not sure what that is actually. However, I've extensive experience with the Pass X150 amp, and it's fine fine amp! long as you run it via the XLR inputs!!! It doesn't sound near as good via RCA hookups!
Anyway, here's a thought...The hales are really lowish efficiency and sensitivity speakers, and they need a higher wattage/high current amp to make em go! If your planning on some 5 channel home theater applications, and like to crank it up pretty hard, may I suggest that the X150 (being a strong amp indeed at 75w/class a and 150w/class AB) is a minimum for the fronts! Certainly, this X150 is a much much better amp than Pass's X5 multi channel amp!...which is just OK comparitively! The X250 would be in order if you could swing the extra cash, and like to push the system at the THX level once in a while also! However, if you can cross the Hales Concepts 3's over to cut out some of the bass for HT, you'll be way ahead of the game! (most full range/non self powered speakers can play much bellow 50 hertz for home theater without crapping out!) And in this case, you might get away using the X150 up front...?
My solution for your 2 channel/5 channel needs, assuming your trying to use all in one system,which is not ideal if you can't match center channel and rear with the mains actually, is to use the supperior sound Pass X150 situation for the mains, and something like a very good ATI 3 channel amp or above for center and rears!!!! The Aragon 3 channel 8008BB would also work very well with the X150!...keeping a similar tonallity through out!...
Anyway, have fun
Let me follow up on the initial query, and respond to the comments that 'Avdcreations' and 'lotusmd50' have posted.

I believe the PM1000 is the newer version, but I have a call into the factory to confirm that. It has the older faceplate, but I was told it was the 'last' of the old faceplates to be made, which would make it a 2001 vintage.

I managed to collect a Hales center and rear channel speakers for the system from a few locations, so I have sonically matching speakers for the outfit, and I have a Genesis 928 sub for to package also.

The X3 is an amp to match with the X150 for five channel output. It has three channels, at 150 watts per channel, and costs almost as much as the X150.

One note, I don't like to listen at high levels, so the high power is not really necessary for what I like to do. The PM1000 has more than enough power for the system right now. My question is more about sonics than it is about power.

Can anyone characterize the sound of the X-150 vs. the old Aleph series amps?

Thanks for the thoughts...

I have heard the X series and was blown away. My friend who had it said it was better than the Aleph. I take this guy's opinion seriously! If you like Pass stuff (and I do) stick with it in the HT setup also. If it plays music to your liking then it will do HT just fine and the only place where more power is required for HT is in the sub. Chris
First comment is to Avdcreations: how can you be a Pass dealer and not know about the X3? Hmmmmm. To enlighten you, the X3 is a 3-channel power amplifier built on the same chassis as the X150 and the X5. It delivers 150 watts into 8 ohms all channels driven, and was designed to mate with the X150 to deliver a multi-channel package with extreme musical fidelity. Pass has been delivering them since last fall.

To answer Michael: The Aleph series amps can be characterized as being as close to a tube sound without having any tubes in the circuit and none of the service problems that typically plague tube designs. They have a midrange characteristics that is lush, full and detailed. The high end is silky smooth with never a trace of hardness or edge. The bass is full and extended. The sound stage is wide and deep. The X series amplifiers can be characterized as ultra quiet and dynamic. They have power and authority and can deliver additional power below 4 ohms, unlike their pure class A counterparts in the Aleph series. The midrange is smooth and detailed as the Aleph, but not quite as lush. It is difficult to distinguish the highs between the Aleph and X series. The bass is deep, controlled and dynamic, and the X series amps are quite versatile with a wide range of loudspeakers, being stable into any speaker load.

Information from a Pass Labs fan.

Best regards,


Thanks for the comments! That is the kind of characterizations that are very useful to me. I think I am probably going to get an X-150 for front left and right, and use the Powermaster 1000 for the center, and rear. This will give me the added benefit of having 7 channels available if I wish to go to a 7.1 HT arrangement in the future.

As a serious pass fan since the first time I heard a pair of Aleph 0 amps, and one of the first to get an Aleph 3 (all that I could afford at the time) I have been seduced by the sound. As you say, 'tubes without the problems', and more control in the base.