Yes, some of the latest integrates are truly SOTA pre/amp in one. Pass sounds good. Also, Vitus integrated, Gryphon Diablo...both stunningly powerful and also based around designers who seek purity of tonality. Depending on budget: Esoteric has one, Zanden just came out with one too. YBA Passion (their reference series) also has one, i think. Mark Levinson's 383? i think that was their integrated model.
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Thanks for your responses. I'll looked into all your recommendations and do some more research. The Focals dip down below 3 ohms at some point and I'm wondering if the Pass has sufficient power at 30w.
I may also consider separates since I will have a big void in my cabinet since the Classe equipment are quite large. I'm willing to spend some additional money if I can get a good deal on some used separates.
Regarding the 3ohm dip, the 30 watts is (as far i understand) not quite the metric to focus on. It is what happens to the amp as the impedance dips. For example, in many well built amps, the 30 watt, 8ohm rating will continue to double as the rating halves...60 watt/4ohm, 120 watt/2ohm. Which is a much better indicator the amp can handle the low ohm rating. And because the wattage doubles, you will also get more volume than if the speaker were a flat 8ohm load.
I suspect Pass may not quite double all the way down, but i bet its power reserves are quite good.
The question you may ask regarding the 30 watts might better be asked in relation to the efficiency of the speaker. For example, if the Focas is 86db efficient, then you might find 30watts does not give you enough db above 86 decibel to have big volume. If the speaker is 95db, many people would say you have enough wattage (providing it can handle the ohms as per above)...to permanently damage your hearing if you're not careful with the volume!
What sensitivity is your speaker? Does Pass tell you what the wattage is as the impedance drops? Sometimes, reviewers will measure this in the review (if Pass does not say).
I'm wondering if the Pass has sufficient power at 30w.My understanding is that the amplifier section of the INT-30A is essentially identical to the Pass XA30.5 amp. Although the XA30.5 is officially rated at 30 watts Class A, it is actually a Class A/B amplifier above 30 watts, with a maximum A/B output of 153W at 8 Ohms. From Stereophile's measurements discussion:
Superficially, the XA30.5 appears to be a 30Wpc class-A design. But this is not the maximum output power. The specifications list the amplifier's maximum output voltage as ±35V, which, assuming this is the RMS voltage, is equivalent to 153W into 8 ohms. The XA30.5 thus transitions into class-B for the top 6dB of its dynamic-range capability.I assume the specs of the INT-30A are similar or identical. You could email Pass to find out.
FWIW, I've owned 2 different Pass amps, including the XA30.5, and 2 different Focal speakers, including the 1027be.
I was just about to post essentially the same comment that Bryon just posted. I would also highlight the following statement in the same measurements discussion of the XA30.5:
The amplifier doesn't actually clip (defined as the THD reaching 1%) until a much higher power level: 130Wpc into 8 ohms (21.14dBW). Even higher powers were available into lower impedances before clipping: 195Wpc into 4 ohms with both channels driven (19.9dBW), and 332W into 2 ohms with one channel driven (19.2dBW).The Pass site indicates that the INT-30A is "based on the XA30.5," and the specs that are presented for it are essentially the same as those of the XA30.5. The only thing that gives me pause is that the INT-30A weighs 2 pounds less than the XA30.5, even though it includes additional functions.
Communicating with Pass would seem to be worthwhile, as Bryon suggested.
Thanks guys. This is the kind of info I needed and I will give Pass a call.
Bryon- You stated you owned the XA30.5 along with 1027be. What was your impression of both together and did you try another amp with the Focals?
I also read Pass equipment run quite hot and consume alot of power even when idle.
Yes, Pass will do that. Any amp that runs pure Class A will run hot...the reason is that they are design to effectively run "full blast" all the time in my non-techie understanding...very inefficient, but also very little distortion as a general rule. What does not get used to drive sound, gets dissipated as heat instead. Hence hot and hence drawing a lot of power when idle.
in the case of Pass, i think they may run Class A through 30 watts and then switch to Class A/B...but the first 30 watts actually means much of what you are hearing will probably stay within the 30 watt part of the amp's driving capability.
To those with greater tech-knowledge (probably most)...pls correct me if anything here aint quite right.
Lloyd's comment is correct. The information at the Pass site quantifies it nicely. The INT-30A consumes 200 watts as long as it is operating Class A, which will be most of the time. So it will put about as much heat into the room as two 100 watt light bulbs. Also, the manual for the INT-30A indicates that its heatsinks can be expected to be at a temperature of 25 to 30 degrees C above the ambient temperature, which probably means around 125 degrees F. Not too bad, as Class A amps go.
Also, assuming that the impedance curve for the 1027Be is similar to that of the 1037Be, and would therefore be in the vicinity of 4 to 6 ohms through most of the bass and mid-bass regions (where the greatest amount of musical energy generally occurs), the INT-30A would not leave Class A until something closer to 60 watts is required, rather than 30 watts.
Bryon- You stated you owned the XA30.5 along with 1027be. What was your impression of both together and did you try another amp with the Focals?IME, the Electra series (including the 1007be, the 1027be, and the 1037be) is very revealing of distortions in ancillary components, partly due to the tweeter. The Pass XA30.5 is low in distortions that are subjectively objectionable, which is why it, and the rest of the XA.5 series, are often suggested when people want a solid state amp that doesn't sound solid state.
Assuming the rest of the system is up to the job (esp. the source), the 1027be and the XA30.5 together will be resolving, coherent, harmonically accurate, and reasonably dynamic. I'm not saying there aren't other good choices, but IMO this is one of them.
Not sure how good the DAC is of your Olive 4HD but maybe an amplifier with a good DAC could also be an option. Something like a Naim Supernait. Just an idea. I do not know if the combo would work but it might.
Personally I am a bit of a fan of Symphonic Line amps. In my limited experience they are one of the few amps I have heard that sound so lively, dynamic and present lots of minor details without giving listing fatigue.
I do think a integrated amp is the way to go. They give much more bang for buck.
I just pulled the plug and purchased the Pass-INT150. The dealer recommended the INT-150 over the INT30a for the Focals. I decided to keep the Classe 5 channel set-up but use the Pass for the front channels. This way I get the benefit of 2 channel music and 5 channel surround movies and sacd.
Thanks again for your comments and suggestions.
It's been some time since I last wrote in this thread and at the time I was awaiting for the Pass INT-150 to be delivered. I considered selling my HT system and going back to 2 channel but decided to keep the HT system and use the Pass for the front channels. Once I received the Pass I realized it didn't have a HT bypass as I was told by Reno-hifi. The amp sounded well with my Focals but I decided to send it back since it didn't have the HT bypass. I finally decided to sell the HT system last month and now it was time to purchase an integrated amp. Since I owned a Sim and heard the Pass, I decided to try the Modwright KWI-200. I called Dan at Modwright and he offered a great deal on a demo so I purchased it with his built-in DAC. Dan offered a 2 week trial period so it was a no brainer.
I received the amp a week later and noticed buzz coming from the speakers only when I switched to the built-in DAC. The buzz increased as the volumn increased. I tried trouble-shooting by unplugging the amp from the Richard Gray power supply and unplugging the rest of my equipment but the buzz was still there. I called Dan and discussed the different trouble-shooting that I tried. He suggested I return the amp and he offered to send another unit. So I packed it up and returned it. Dan tested the unit and didn't hear the buzz. So he tried to re-create my set-up by connecting an Oppo 95 into the DAC but still no buzz. After exchanging phone calls, Dan agreed to send the new unit so we can trouble-shoot over the phone if the second unit had the same problem. I received the second unit 2 days later and it had the same buzz. But before I called Dan I decided to unplug the Synergistic power strip I used for the cable power warts. The power strip was located directly behind the amp. Well low and behold, the buzz was gone. I called Dan and he deduced the electrical fields from the power strip and power warts were affecting the DAC since it was located right behind the amp. Once I relocated the power strip all was well. I have to commend Dan for working with me and also sending a new unit even though it turned out to be a problem with a power strip and not the amp. Dan is a great guy and if anyone is interested in his products, give him a call.
Now that the buzz was gone, it was time to listen. The unit comes with about 50 hours of break-in so it will need some more time to break-in especially the built-in DAC. I began by playing music from the Oppo's analog output. It sounded good but not great. I then plugged the Oppo into Mod DAC and wow, what a big difference. The sound was smoother and sound stage opened up. The Mod sounded more 3 dimensional than the previous amps I had. I can't wait to hear the Mod break-in further and report back my findings.
Interested to hear how the modwright is working out for you. I have a pair of Focal 1007Be's and tried the INT30 and sent it back as I felt the 30 ran out of breathing room on some of the more percussive passages of large symphonic works. I am seriously looking at going with the XA60's with an XP 10.
The MW KWI-200 is a well built and designed amp. As mentioned in another thread it is a reference amp in its price range and has plenty of power to drive most any speaker load. I have had mine for a year now and still am impressed each time I play it, the amp is driving my Selah Tempesta's and are a joy to listen too. In short when compared to its peers. .. this amp really does shine it is a great value for the dollars invested.
I have around 150 hours on the unit and it's still opening up. I really enjoy the larger soundstage than I had with my other amps (Pass INT-150 and Sim I-7). The Sim sounded very controlled and tight but less dimensional and dry. There is one thing I don't like at this point is the Focals sound brighter at times and a little harsher than with the other amps especially with female voices. I changed the speaker cables from the Synergistic Accelerators to the older Signature 2 and it helped a little. Another agoner suggested I stick with the amp since he believes it needs a min of 500 hours to break-in. I'll keep you posted.
The MW IA needs around 400 hrs to be broken in, this has been stated on Dan's AC circle. The MW does have a warmth to it's sound, and the Focal's are also a warm sounding speaker. I believe if you continue to stick with the MW you will have a good outcome. If you have not done so yet, check out his forum on AC.
@ mcpherson,If you are talking about the krell 300i with the focal speakers,the answer is no.,put some warm whatever the speaker cable you like on the speakers and a very resolveing i/c on the krell as well,wala! synergy for the focal speakers for the money that will not have you take a second morgage out on the house!cheers!
Bryon, hopefully it will change after the break-in period. I do like the open soundstage and the 3d sound of the KWI200. It sounds great with certain jazz selections but voices are still harsh. If the KWI200 doesn't change after the break-in, I might consider trying the Pass INT-30A since I already tried the INT-150. I read the INT-30A is better sounding than the INT-150 especially on brighter sounding speakers.
I listen to a variety of music from classical to hard rock but mainly jazz these days. My basement listening room is 13x18 but only 6'6" high due to a suspended ceiling so I don't need to play it loud. The speakers are around 4' from the front wall and I sit about 7' from the speakers.
I'm trying to be patient and hopefully the MW settles down so I don't need to change amps. The Sim I-7 was the smoothest amp I owned with the Focals but it wasn't as open and 3D as the MW. Let's wait and see!