Krell ksa-300s vs Pass Labs x-350


Anyone has the good fortune of auditioning/owning these two amps? And which one do you prefer?
arthurmail
Yes. And the Pass wins by a country mile. More musical, more refined and just better across the board. Except it doesn't have quite the (artificial) slam in the bass department.
From a customer support standpoint, GO PASS!
I am a Krell owner, not a basher. I have had many pieces of Krell equipment including the two I own right now, but given the choice between those two amps I would not hesitate to get the Pass Labs.

I have never had a problem with Krell customer support or service. To the contrary I have found their support to be exemplary.

The point is, the Pass Labs X-350 is a better amp than the KSA series amps. I have thought about upgrading from my FPB 200 to the X-250 or X-350. Pass labs is making one of the best solid state amps available right now. I cannot imagine how you could be disappointed by it!
I hate to be a nay-sayer. However, I have heard awful things about the x-250. A friend of mine owned an FPB-200, which he upgraded (so he thought) to the x-250. He said it was one of the biggest audio mistakes he has ever made (just slightly worse than buying the Bose Lifestyles for surround sound). It lacked dynamic range and clarity in the highs. Furthermore, it was nowhere near as powerful. He also has B&W Nautilus 802's, and a Krell Class A front end. He owned the Pass amplifier for 2 weeks, before he purchased the Krell FPB-300cx. I strongly encourage you not to make the same sort of mistake.
Nrchy,

The Krell FPB300 and 600 (on now 400 and 700) will also blow away the KSA300S.

Having said that, I own and use the FPB300 for the top end of an actively crossed over speakers with the KSA300S for the most realistic, powerful low end imaginable.

I attend the symphony regularly, so my opinions are based on how systems sound in reference to live, unamplified concert music.

Richard
I owned an X-150 for several years. The Pass amps are good, but perhaps not as good as their reputation.
Either Jim's friends ears are broke or the x-250 was broke. I had the fpb 200 for a year and when I upgraded to a Pass I was mad at myself for living with that overpriced, unmusical, grainy amp for so long. I dont know why someone would make a bad statement about an amp that they havent even heard, but instead give an opinion about what their "friend" heard. Personally I think this guy has some other motive behind his statement. I mean to compare a Pass x-series amp to bose! ahem... GET REAL. Pass amps on the contrary are one of the few amps that nobody has anything bad to say about. Im done.
And yet another thread for Krell bashers everywhere to rise up and be heard
Drubin has it right.
Im not a krell basher. Ive only owned one or their amps and didnt like it. I just felt compelled to respond to the bogus statement above.
Sometimes when I read the responses in these forums, I find that so many people have childish attitudes and do not really know what they are actually saying. The thread unfortunately for you Stevecham, is not about to start on a Krell bashing. No company especially as high-end as Krell or Pass should be bashed at all. Different strokes for different folks- if the Krell works better than Pass- so be it- if it is vice versa, then so be it too- it is a matter of taste. But Jimwitnauer's statement coming from his friend is totally ludicrous- how can that person compare Pass Labs to Bose? Apples and oranges- perhaps Jim, your friend did not run in the amp long enough- two weeks is not a whole lot of time. Now for hearing awful things about Pass X250, where in blazes did you get this statement- is it qualified? If you look at the threads in Audiogon concerning Pass amps and X250 included, you will find very positive opinions. So before I start calling you Jim NitWithauer, please think before you make outrageous statements and if it is coming from your so-called friend, use some discretion and common sense before plunking down your 2 cents. Now for Stevecham, please no more silly juvenile statements such as "-thread for Krell bashers everywhere to rise up and be heard." We need more positive and informative advice and opinions on these discussion forums so people can seek helpful advice. It is no point trying to play stadium antics by inciting and goading people into flame wars. Both Krell and Pass Labs are very respectable brands- it all depends on the set-up and taste. So let's keep this thread helpful and meaningful.

Happy Listening,

Zenaissance
I guess I'm just so sick and tired of so many times logging on and seeing someone go after Krell (and Thiel; I own both) when they haven't even heard how good this system sounds. There is no stereotypical "harshness" or "ear bleed" or "treble madness" going on here in my home. I have had MANY people visit to listen, both tube and solid state audio lovers, and all agree the system sounds great, neutral and detailed. Whenever there is music that sounds the least bit harsh, it is always due to the quality of the recording and I personally enjoy the fact that my system doesn't rosy up the sound as an excuse for poor engineering and production values. Any equipment that would make all recordings sound "good" and of that ilk in my opinion is coloration of the worst kind. I also have a huge amount of admiration for Nelson Pass and his designs. I guess as Dan D'Agostino has found out on many occasions, when you're near the top of your game, you're bound to attract dissent. Call me oversensitive, I'm just tired of all the Krell bashing to be found on Agon and yet there is no better place to share valuable information on the hobby so near and dear to us all. My apologies.
I see the sherrif is in town.

For the record, Jim never said his friend compared Pass to Bose, he compared his decision to get Pass with his decision to get a Bose system. Read before you leap.
Steve, no problem- I do understand your frustrations and share the same. As the President of the Martin Logan Club, many members of the club have Krell amps in their set-ups and are extremely happy with them. From a technical standpoint they are extremely well-built and last very long- they also exhibit phenomenal amounts of power. The older KSA models (1988-1990) are built to last and unfortunately they don't make these likes anymore. Krell, or Pass, they both show us how solid state amps should be built and it is fortunate that we do have choices which makes hi-fi such an enjoyable and even debatable hobby. For those who like SS, well more power to them. As established and renowned high-end audio American companies, it is important to stand behind them and our continued support makes it all the better. Enjoy your music and as the saying goes "May the best amp wins...!"

As for Drubin, it doesn't really matter that he is not comparing directly to Bose- just the idea of having an experience in that regard is pitiful. After all, Bose is not a true Audiophile high-end experience- it is ridiculous to say even a purchase of a Pass Labs amp is such a lowly experience. How can it be? You are an intelligent person and it does no good to defend such odd and stupid statements- the decision to get a Pass should be an exciting and fulfilling one- if the amp does not work as well it is because the set-up is incorrect- so many factors to consider (warm-up time, break-in time, room acoustics, etc). Even if the Pass is not up to the same level as the Krell according to the listener's personal taste, it can't be so terrible that one has to compare that to a decision getting Bose! No, I am not a sheriff but someone who enjoys reading helpful comments and not flame-inducing comments. I always read first and god forbid ever want to leap into such a mess- so peace and leave it at that.

Happy Listening!

Zenaissance
Krell sucks and as long as they keep making them like they are I will keep buying them!!! My FPB 200 is the best amp I have ever owned. I have heard worse sound from better(?) products!
Kudos Nrchy!
pass labs makes very ,very , very, very,very, very,............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................good amps... not great ones.
Cdimi,
What is a great amp for 4000 used that will better the x-350? And please tell me why.
Where is it mentioned 4000 used?????????? I heard the 350 and I stand by My answer good amp not great....and the fact that your putting it at 4000 used is telling me something? if it makes you feel better Krells are overpriced.there imho are other used amps out there,but there used price does not drop like a rock.so I was comparing super amp to super amp.Guys it's only my opinion I've been wrong before.........NOT:)
I was not being sarcastic, I was asking a serious question. (Which you didnt bother to answer) The x-350 is easily the best amp to have graced my system and if there is better in the same price range, new or used, I would like to have your thoughts (since you're never wong). Im not stuck on any one piece of gear and change frequently although I have had the 350 for a while. I have'nt heard everything but I do quite a bit of listening at high end dealers here in Florida and so far I have'nt heard anything that made me want to run out and sell the 350. So if you have a suggestion for a amp in the same price range. I would definitely like to hear it, I just want to know what makes it better. And lets be realistic, any high end gear thats a few years old is going to sell for about half of what is cost new in most cases. Sorry for the snide remarks, I couldnt help myself, but my question was serious.
Have you listened to any of the latest generation of digital amps, such as those from Spectron, Rowland, or Acoustic Reality? You might not prefer them, but worth checking out. Lots of benefits apart from sonics (size, weight, heat, power consumption), if those matter to you at all. These attributes don't matter so much to me, but they are definitely in the nice-to-have category.
Then I stand corrected..X-350 is the greatest amp ever new or used .let's all sell are amps and keep our opinions to ourselves.Listen you can't just list a bunch of amps and say why this or that ....I listened to X-350 and I moved on ...This is an open forum ,I am by definition allowed to state my opinion ,you can agree or disagree.the pissing contest is next month.
Sorry for asking a simple question. Durbin, the only one in your list i've auditioned was Rowland and it was very nice, I just preferred the presentation of the Pass, it just sounded more natrual. Spectron is on my short list to audition as well as Spectral. I have Dunlavy speakers and John Dunlavy actually reccomended Specrton amps although his ears have often been questioned. Have you compared any of these amps with the Pass x-series amps?
I replaced a Pass X-150 with Rowland 201 monoblocks and feel it was a dramatic improvement, but I understand how personal these decisions are.
Searching previous threads reveals that Cdimi is Eurotrash with a fondness for foul language and whose favorite brands include REL, YBA and Audio Magic.
Im not sure of the particular model but it was a stereo amp, Im sure the monos are a step up. Of course the 350 is a step up from the 150 also. I guess its all system dependant too.
Cdimi, if you have something to offer to a thread or conversation, by all means, weigh in. If you have nothing to offer by way of helpful advice, go hang out with Pbb!
The thread asked if someone had the good fortune of try said amp..I did and didn't like it .. But I said it was a very good amp . now as for eurotrash bash...You have just proven that just like in real life, most people just don't have a clue or any class.in a couple of years ,you too will probably move on from X350.experience takes time.But first gentlemen control ...this is not a personal attack
I have had both, and would lean toward the Pass Labs, but hey do you want to know what these were traded to me for? Belles 350-A at a recently increased price of $4000 new. Reviews will easily support the fact that these are regarded as the finest amps at any price let alone the bargain price they list at. These are different by way of being almost tube-like in their smoothness, and are remarkably natural sounding, but most noticeable is their involving nature, you like them more and more as you listen to them. They are dangerous to your free time of which there isn't enough of.
Keith
I'm a happy owner of a KSA-250! I’ve brought my amp to my local audio store to do a direct comparison to the Pass x-350 to determine what the fuss is about. We used the same CD, Source, Pre and interconnects.
We must remember the krell is analytical, an acquired taste. To say that it is not musical is an exaggeration. If you smooth its precise tendencies out with a descent tube pre amp, AR sp16 in my case, I found the treble to be more dimensional and the bass precise and punchy on the KRELL. The PASS X-350 was nothing more than expected.

I took my KSA-250 back home a happy 12 year owner..
2nd. thread and bored

Let's keep in mind that Jimwitnauer did not directly compare his friend's sonic analysis of the Pass X-250, to that of a Bose Lifestyle surround sound system back in 04. He was mealy expressing the level of severity of buyer's remorse that his friend felt after the purchase of the X-250. If you all take a second look at his words, there was no direct comparison of the Pass Labs sound to the Bose, just a comparison of similar feelings of disenchantment that could be derived from any experiences.
Come on.... anyone here must know the saying "NO HIGHS, NO LOWS, MUST BE A BOSE!"
I have had the X150, X250 and a FPB200 in my system. I would pick the Krell over the Pass by a country mile. The post above said the Krell was grainy is a complete fool for saying that. I am not bias at all and giving an honest opinion. I thought the Krell was very smooth, airy, punchy, and had tons of power. The Pass X (not X .5)series was too analytical, cool or sterile but had great detail. Too much for my ears or speakers IMO. The bass was fantastic I have to admit. Some of the best I have heard.

Like I said I don't hate either one of these manufacturers at all. I am going on what I have heard.