Integrated Amps - Ayre vs Pass Labs


Hey all,

In the very preliminary stages of starting a two-channel system from the ground up. I’d like to go with an integrated to save on space.  No phono stage necessary at this point. I’m open to an incorporated DAC but it’s not a must have. Speakers, sources, etc. TBD.

Has anyone had experience hearing Pass’ INT-250 against Ayre’s AX-5 Twenty?

Thanks for reading,

CJ
blokemate700
I had a Pass INT-60 which in my opinion a sweet spot in the Pass Line up. You get 30watts of class A then A/B kicks in to 60 conservative watts.  The Pass int-250 leaves class A at 15watts but does have a higher headroom.
Comparing to Ayre the Pass amps have higher resale values and are from a more stable  established company. They sound different and are a matter of personal taste and price points. 
 
I am a very happy owner of the Ayre. It replaced significantly more expensive separates (Modwwright KWA-150SE w/Cary SLP-05 w/ult. upgrade) and yet I greatly prefer its sq. Dead quiet with full rich sound. I am sure the Pass is great as well, although I have always found Pass to be slightly noisey and too hot. I would not buy w/o listening to both.
Both are excellent.  What speakers are you driving?  The Pass is a beast if you have a difficult load to drive.
Bobheinatz...Speaker selection far from set in stone.  I've been a MartinLogan fan for years but will certainly consider a dynamic loudspeaker as well.
You should also consider the Gryphon Diablo 300 if you have the budget.Optional DAC available.
@blokemate700 - imho - you need to lock down on your speaker selection first - then look for the right amp. Many parameters like sensitivity, listening level, impedance to frequency response will play a critical role in amp selection. Some speakers have bright top end which may need a tubey or drak amp to tame it. again - this is my 2c - ymmv. btw - i have the pass x250.5 and i believe the power section of the int-250 is almost identical to the x250.5. I love the pass house sound - doesnt sound anything like a solid state. good luck!
I would have to agree with with @pistha.  I would pick out a set of speakers before shopping for an integrated amp.  FYI, I have the Ayre AX5/20 powering a set of Vandersteen Treo CT speakers.  Very satisfied and a great combination.  I have little experience with Pass Labs electronics. I would imagine, both amps would perform extremely well with most modern speakers.  Similar in thought with @shredder, you should definitely listen to as many amps as you can and be happy with your selection before buying.  I probably listened to over two dozen integrated and separates before choosing the Ayre + Vandersteen combo.    
I went from separates and tubes to a SS integrated five years ago with a Hegel H200.  A couple of months ago I bought a dealer demo of the Balanced Audio Technology VK3000SE  Uses two 6H30 tubes in the pre section and then SS power section.  Listening is split equally between LPs and digital rips of LPS and I like the sound, build quality and flexibility of the BAT.  Just another unit to consider.
Ive been looking for aolid integrated for my hard driving Neat Ultimatum MFS. Before i was using separates like bryston bp26/4bsst2, audia flight pre/100 and some others.. but i was blown away with AX-5 twenty- Musicality, grip, bass control. I think to order ax-5 or separates pre and power twentys
Gibalok, make sure you get a demo of the Ayre gear with your Neat speakers, Ayre gear tends to be very low coloration , and your Neat speakers use a Titantium tweeter which can be a bit peaky so you may prefer a warmer more colored type of presentation.

The Ayre gear is often paired with Vandys which tend to be a bit on the more recessed side of neutral which makes that pairing excellent add in AQ cabling which tends to highlight the top end and you can see why that pairing works so well.

Blokemate you should start with the speakers first and then look at electronics. 

The Pass gear tends to be warm the Ayre tends to be more netural you should demo all of the usual contenders.

We have a few clients who purchased T+A over the Pass gear similar tonality but overall even faster and cleaner. 

If I was looking for electronics I would add T+A, Gryphon, Vitus, and now Krell is comming back as well to your list. Also the Anthen STR amp and preamp dac is stupidly good for $10k. 

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor dealers for T+A, Anthem and incoming Krell
Audiotroy. Thank you. 
I have dcs bridge and debussy, xlo sig 2 cables and hear some times that peaks. But with Siltech ls-110 the sound is more soft. I think i will change xlo to Siltech 188/110 later.

do you think that KX/VX-5 separates are significantly better that ax-5 integrated?

i like the deep bass, grip and details which AX-5 take out from Neat Ultimatum

If you have Ayre questions...just call them.  They are extremely nice and will give you the right answers without trying to sell you something.
I still have ax-5 on test and it is better than i have anything before. But didnt hear Gryphon 300
I have an AX-5 Twenty. Confident it’s my last amp . . .
Beetlemania, whats your setup?
as mentioned above the new krell integrated amp looks like it warrants serious attention and it has a new aesthetic. believe you can buy w built in dac. fwiw their integrateds have always been well regarded
Krell K-300i is the model. Check their website. 
Pass int-250 for me. I keep coming to pass sound (very musical with great texture). I had Gryphon diablo 300, Luxman 509x in my system, auditioned Ayre AX-5 twenty integrated - a little analytical and bass shy for my taste. For me pass is the way to go. Granted when I had Gryphon I liked it also. Its a little faster than pass and has a little more details on top. But (in my system) it did not sound as good at low volumes. I would love to try T+A 3100 integrated but cant arrange for a demo.