The X-1 preamp is not a warm sounding preamp, very neutral. The X-250 that I owned was to the warm side of the midway point but nothing like tube warmth.
Hope this helps.
Hope this helps.
I just sold my Pass set up because of a move to a much smaller room until I get a dedicated room built. The X350.5 is a great amp. It has the sonic characteristics you are looking for. I mated mine with Thiel CS 2.4 and Thiel CS 7.2, which are revealing speakers, and it was a great combo.
As far as the Pass X1 is concerned that depends on what you are looking for. It is a good pre amp which is on the shady side of neutral.I do not know if balanced is a priority to you or not. However, I would also encourage you to audition some tube pre amps which work well with revealing speakers.
Tboooe, yes, the 350.5 has a overall sonic signature that could be called "warm" or "musical" yet still has great details/dynamics/extension.
I believe you asked this question before, the .5-series is a vast improvement over the first generation X-series amps, that were "cooler" sounding.
The .5 amps add some of the Aleph/XA series "sweet/warmth" to the overall sonics. The 350.5 is a great piece and one of the better single chassis amps out there today.
If you are sticking with your B&W 804S speakers, I would not go with Pass labs. Both Classe audio and especially Jeff Rowland would be much more suited to your speakers. One of my friends had a nice Pass Labs B&W setup. While it sounded good, it was nothing compared to the Classe system and the Jeff Rowland system with B&W.
The X1 is not a warm preamp. To my ears, it has a rather clinical and bare midrange that does not have a cohesiveness to it. Voices do not sound "whole", they sound pieced together. When a singer hits a note, the various elements of the voice do not line up together-- the vocal cords, cavity resonance and the lips. Otherwise, the preamp has great bass, clarity and high end extension. Since I use tube preamps as my reference, they are a hard act to follow.
I heard one of the new point 5 series. Very good, very detailed, powerful, dynamic. Very clear, and able to unravel every thread of a complex passage. They have a certain warmth in the lower midrange that could be considered a coloration. However, above that range, they are a bit forward and slightly aggressive-sounding to my ears, but the amp I borrowed may not have been fully broken in.......
The X350.5 is indeed a warm amplifier. It may be one of the best out there in terms of combining the speed, detial and dynamics of solif state and the open, fluid and warm sound of tubes. Is it as warm and rich as a tube? No. But does it posess tube qualities? yes.
The X1 is dead neutral and I would think the combo would be a great match.
"The X1 is not a warm preamp. To my ears, it has a rather clinical and bare midrange that does not have a cohesiveness to it. Voices do not sound "whole", they sound pieced together."
Kevziek, I'm not sure I understand this. I've been using an X1 since the beginning of the year and find it hard to come to terms with what you've indicated. Been in the high end for well on 20 years, heard all the great stuff (and tried a lot of it in my own system), blah, blah, blah. My best friend uses the Full Function Quicksilver preamp, another FetValve hybrid amp, and the same speakers as me. Does his system produce a better midrange than mine? Hard to say. I could live happily with either system, but in comparison I would not call the X1's mids "clinical and bare". Could you relate the listening configuration that led to this assessment? Could you also recommend a piece of music that you used which pointed this out? I'd like very much to try it on my system.
Believe me, I'm not saying that the X1 is the greatest thing in the world - no piece of audio gear is. But IMO it's a pretty darned good preamp.
I am surprised to hear opinions about the Pass components on such opposite ends of the spectrum. I have read that the previous .0 version was a bit aggressive and lean sounding. I wonder if people are confusing the .0 and .5 versions? For those of you who say the Pass is not warm, can you please specify why model amp and preamp you are referring to? Can a Pass "expert" chime in and settle this debate?
Tony, with all due respect, if you don't hear much of a difference between a solid state preamp and amp and a tube preamp and hybrid amp, I don't know what to say. What recordings did you listen to? If you use some poorly recorded, compressed, canned sounding material, it is hard to make meaningful observations.
This was several years ago, so I don't remember all the equipment or recordings. I did use Sarah Vaughan Mercury Volume 4 Box set. These are good, but not outstanding recordings, that I know intimately and can listen around the average sonics. Sarah's vocals sounded anemic on the X1. The throb of her distinctive vibrato was almost absent on the X1, and the complex overtones and ring from the voice was reduced 50%. I also used Reference Recordings Dick Hyman Swing, which is a Big Band jazz disc. I remember the brass did not bloom out into the room, but sounded contained and smaller. Cymbals and high hats didn't ring out as freely or fully and didn't sound as natural. That's what I remember.
Kevziek, I may not have expressed myself clearly. I did not say there was no difference between the two; what I did say was that I could be happy with either one. Either has its strengths and weaknesses. Yes, they are different, but your description of the X1 midrange implies it is of a significant deficit in comparison to other high end preamps. I have not found this to be the case.
I actually listen to a lot of live music, and your point about cymbals and high hats is interesting. That's an area that I've paid some notice to on my system. Now I'll caveat everything with taking into account listening to a recording versus live, different acoustic space, et al, that the reproduction of things like cymbals and high hats now sound closer to the real thing (in my system) than before - in both tonal and spatial qualities.
I have tried the X1 preamp for few months and it was very good as far as soundstage, detail and low noise floor are concerned, harmonically things sounded right. Overall sound was neutral and refined and little dark but I would put it on par with all the really good ss preamps from Aire, Simaudio etc. The only thing I found was that musical drive and involvment were lacking a notch, things were a little dry in this area. Perhaps Pass amps compensate here (I used it with Krell FPB cx).