Fist Watt F6 vs Pass Labs XA 25

I’m thinking about an upgrade regarding my power amp which is a First Watt F6 dual mono (source: LAB 12 Dac 1 Reference, "speakers": Abyss 1266 PHI TC, preamp: Dave Slagle Autoformer).

I can’t say I wouldn’t be satisfied with this configuration but I’d like to try something even more engaging.

For the moment I’m intrigued by the XA 25 but never had the chance to give it a try in my system. 

Most of the reviews just compare the F7 to the XA 25 but I would be happy to hear experiences from users who had F6 and XA 25 side by side.

Is it worth an upgrade and which exact differences could I expect sonically?



But does the Clayton slide into class A/B and then provide 80w into 8 ohms and 130 into 4?

No, but at 50wpc and 100wpc into 8 and 4 Ohms, respectively, you get to stay in full Class A for all listening.  Personally, I’d have to really need those extra 30wpc to go with the Pass, but that’s me. 


The XA25 is quite different compared to the other Pass amps. Those who never heard it sometimes generalize the sound. It’s quite different in that it only uses 1 pair of puck sized output transistors per channel vs the more typical 14 pairs per side in parallel, like the XA30.8 uses. 
The output side in the XA25 is also directly connected , shorter path to output, which removes many resistors and other parts in the signal path.  It sounds different from the others in the XA lineup, from my experiences..

@mikem I've actually owned the XA25, tried in multiple systems, and my comment stands. In FW land, only have heard the SIT3 not the newer F8 though. 

I don't have the XA 25 but I do have the 30.8, the F6 and the J2.  I like them all I think the F6 has the most delicate sound.  The 30.8 sounds like it's 3X as powerful as either of the first watts but maybe a little more harshness to the sound but much bigger sound and more bass.  They each have their own flavor and it depends a lot on the speakers that are being used.  I can get good volume out of the super power hungry Maggie LRS with the 30.8.  The F6 and J2 can't hang with the LRS.  with something way more efficient I like the sound of the F6 better and for that matter I far prefer the Decware Zen triode 2 watt amp to any of these with super efficient speakers.